About a month ago, I did a re-cap of the College Ward debate. You wouldn’t think this would be an interesting, with Chiarelli firmly entrenched as the incumbent, but with two smart and intriguing candidates–Ryan Kennery and Emilie Coyle–it was a much more interesting debate, and a much more interesting race, than I would have expected back in the winter.
Four years ago, I wrote that College Ward deserved better than Chiarelli, but there was no better choice running. This time around, College Ward still deserves better than Chiarelli, but now there are real, good options for voters.
Endorsement: Emilie Coyle
Okay, here it is: Emilie Coyle isn’t just the best candidate in College Ward; she’s one of the best candidates across the city.
I’m absolutely serious here. If I were to rank the candidates from all ward races and the mayoral race, Coyle might just break the top-ten. She’s smart. She’s dedicated. She works hard. And she has a worthwhile vision for College Ward and the city.
Coyle recognizes that College Ward is going to go through changes…it absolutely has to. There’s pressure from the core, as intensification spreads outwards, but, butting up against the greenbelt, there’s still a lot of pushback from residents wanting to maintain the traditional, inner suburban communities they’ve had and love.
And you know, I get that and, more importantly, Coyle gets that. A neighbourhood that isn’t growing is a neighbourhood that’s dying, so, no, College Ward cannot be frozen in amber and maintained in its current, pure form. In Coyle, College Ward would have a councillor who has the wisdom and understanding to guide ward forward. Managing growth, without arresting it; enhancing the ward without radically transforming it.
Now, at the debate, Coyle didn’t have the depth of knowledge of the details of city matters that the other two showed. But that’s to be expected–one is a long-time councillor and the other is a former mayor and city staffer.
Still, as I wrote after watching the debate, she was able to hold her own. Throughout the campaign, she has demonstrated more and more understanding of city building and city governance. She has shown that she has the qualities necessary for a good councillor and that she has the capacity to learn more and really understand how the city–and how city council–works.
I’ve spoken about this debate with a handful of people, and without fail, everyone has been impressed by Coyle (and maybe a little disappointed in Kennery). Everyone I’ve spoken with has recognized her intelligence, her leadership and her potential. She has the temperament and the demeanour to be a valuable representative, and the wherewithall to be a strong voice at the council table.
Personally, I’m surprised that I’m so strongly endorsing Coyle. At the start of the campaign, she was intriguing, but I wasn’t sure how strong a candidate she’d be, but from her diligence out on the campaign trail to her thoughtfulness when speaking to city issues, she’s the absolute best choice in College Ward that I can see.