Municipal Socialist Alliance

Municipal Socialist Alliance

The fledgling Municipal Socialist Alliance exceeded most expectations by garnering 14,870 votes across Ontario, despite getting almost zero coverage in the commercial mass media, amid a very low voter turnout to boot (about 29 percent in Toronto).

Official Municipal Socialist Alliance candidates ran for city council, school board, and, in one city, for the office of mayor.

Socialist Action Canada was an integral part of the forming of the Municipal Socialist Alliance, in the lead-up to this year’s municipal elections. Among the candidates running for the office with the Municipal Socialist Alliance are numerous members of Socialist Action.

The Municipal Socialist Alliance is a coalition of socialists, labour unionists, community organizations, and social justice activists, who are presenting a team of candidates to fight for the interests of workers, tenants, women, LGBTQIA2S+ folks, racialized people, seniors, and all who seek a city and world without exploitation and oppression.

The fledgling Municipal Socialist Alliance exceeded most expectations by garnering 14,870 votes across Ontario, despite getting almost zero coverage in the commercial mass media, amid a very low voter turnout to boot (about 29 percent in Toronto). Official Municipal Socialist Alliance candidates ran for city council in numerous wards across Toronto and in the Peel region, as well as in school boards in Toronto and Ottawa, and, in Guelph, for the office of mayor.

Municipal Election Results Across Ontario on October 24, 2022

Municipal Election Results Official candidates:

Wali AbroCouncilor – Toronto-Danforth – Ward 141,9827.22%
Kiri VadiveluCouncilor – Scarborough Center – Ward 2118009.97%
Miguel AvilaCouncilor – Toronto Centre – Ward 1310444.85%
Corey DavidCouncilor – Scarborough Southwest – Ward 205982.57%
Adam GoldingCouncilor – University-Rosedale – Ward 114781.97%
Daniel TaradeTrustee – TDSB, Parkdale-High Park – Ward 75002.2%
Sarah SzymanskiCouncilor – Mississauga – Ward 33503.74%
Mark FreelandCouncilor – Mississauga – Ward 75806.45%
Sandra Griffith-BonaparteTrustee – Ottawa/Carleton – Zone 12387931.76%
Danny DrewGuelph – Mayor365912.8%

Total number of votes cast for MSA candidates: 14,870

Other candidates endorsed by Municipal Socialist Alliance:

Chloe-Marie Brown for Mayor of Toronto: 34,821 votes,   6.31%

Thomas Yanuziello for City Councillor Ward 2  – Etobicoke Center: 2,653 votes,  10.33%

Walter Alvarez-Bardalez for City Councillor Ward 16 – Don Valley East: 592 votes,  3.39%

Total number of votes cast for independent candidates endorsed by the MSA:  38,066

A serious political analysis of our campaign and the unfolding situation in which it occurred will be forthcoming.  The next Municipal Socialist Alliance online convention is set for Monday, November 21 at 7 p.m. where there will be a discussion of lessons learned, and future plans.  The latter includes the idea that the Municipal Socialist Alliance form a “shadow council” consisting of Municipal Socialist Alliance candidates and activist members to monitor the actions of the elected politicians, to hold them accountable, and to continue the fight for a Workers’ Agenda everywhere possible.

Further on the vote results, two things: 

1. We are inspired by the achievements of Vote Socialist Vancouver whose candidates obtained an amazing 49,000 votes in all in the 2022 Vancouver municipal elections.

2. While we note that independent candidates endorsed by the Municipal Socialist Alliance attracted over 38,000 votes themselves, it would be a stretch to claim those ballots for the Municipal Socialist Alliance, especially given the lateness of the endorsement. At the same time, the process is very promising in that it may lead to ongoing collaboration on the ground.  Hopefully, other socialist and working-class organizations will follow suit and join the Alliance.

From every angle, nearly fifteen thousand votes for an explicitly socialist platform in Ontario are pretty positive.  Let’s now build on the gains we have made.

Corey David, a resident of Scarborough Southwest for decades, is the MSA candidate in Ward 20. Corey was the Socialist Action candidate in the January 2021 Scarborough Agincourt by-election. He championed social housing, quality public long-term care and health care, workers’ power, and police abolition. Corey has worked as a machinist for 7 years. Before that, Corey supported individuals with developmental disabilities working as front-line staff at Community Living Toronto and the Toronto District School Board. In 2020 Corey David campaigned to stop the for-profit housing development at the Quarry Lands, which destroyed the natural habitat and park space — another reason radical change is needed at City Hall.

Mark Freeland is a unionized construction worker, running for city council in Ward 7 Mississauga. As a worker, Mark recognizes the need for solidarity — twice Mark helped unionize his workplace, including IATSE Local 58 and LIUNA 183.

Mark strives to end municipal politics being dominated by careerist politicians who shove money into developers’ pockets while social justice issues are ignored. Workers need a real voice in municipal politics.

To know why a Workers’ Agenda at City Hall is needed just look at Patrick Brown, Dipika Damerla, and Doug Ford. Mark Freeland says that the fight for free mass transit, accessible and supportive housing for all who need it, to preserve crucial farmland, end racist policing, and tax giant corporations and the rich requires a mass social movement.

Kiri Vadivelu is a social justice activist running with the MSA for the seat in Scarborough Centre Ward 21. Kiri, who immigrated from Sri Lanka as a child, successfully resisted the illegal eviction of his family at the Ontario Landlord and Tenant Board during the 2020 emergency lockdown. He passionately strives to make housing a human right in Ontario. A founding member of the Scarborough Tenants’ Union, Kiri is a leading voice of Toronto ACORN and a committed member of Justice for Workers. He was a shop steward of the United Steelworkers Union where he fought for better working conditions and was the recipient of a 2019 leadership award from USW headquarters in Pittsburgh, USA. Kiri Vadivelu acquired a Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Criminology, Justice, and Policy Studies at the University of Ontario in 2010.

Wali Abro became a Canadian citizen last winter, having immigrated from Pakistan nearly 10 years ago. He subscribed to the clichéd image of Canada: that it was fair, compassionate, and built in partnership with the Indigenous peoples. That image was quickly shattered.

Now, Wali is fighting for the Canada that was promised. Wali has long been an advocate for electoral reform, holistic social support, and decolonization. He is an active community volunteer, keeps close to the grassroots, and is a passionate activist for Indigenous rights from Turtle Island to Palestine.

Wali is taking his fight forward by running, as part of the Municipal Socialist Alliance team, to be Councillor for Ward 14 – Toronto-Danforth on a platform that features immediate housing for people experiencing homelessness or precarious housing; improved public safety by significantly de-funding the police and investing in community well-being; and rebuilding Toronto’s infrastructure with climate change and population growth in mind.

Sandra Griffith-Bonaparte emigrated in 1988 to Canada from Grenada in the southeast Caribbean.

For 16 years she has been President of Local 70607 of the Union of National Defense Employees, a component of the Public Service Alliance of Canada.

Sandra, a member of Socialist Action, was the Workers’ Action Movement candidate for Second Vice-President of the Canadian Labour Congress in June 2021.

Based on a lifetime commitment to high-quality public education, with special attention to the needs of racialized students, teachers, and staff, Sandra is now running as an MSA candidate for school trustee in Ottawa.

Daniel Tarade immigrated to Canada as a child refugee from Bosnia and Herzegovina. Inspired by the story of the discovery of insulin, and prompted by his brother’s experience with type 1 diabetes, he committed himself to changing the world for the better as a scientist. Daniel obtained his Ph.D. from the University of Toronto in the Department of Laboratory Medicine & Pathobiology in 2021. When he saw that science alone cannot resolve the systemic issues plaguing society, Daniel set out to organize in the streets and in the workplace against exploitation and oppression in all forms. Daniel is a proud union steward in CUPE Local 3902 and ran for Secretary-Treasurer at the 2021 Ontario Federation of Labour (OFL) convention as a candidate of the Workers’ Action Movement. Today, Daniel lectures at both the University of Toronto and Toronto Metropolitan University in the Life Sciences is a member of Socialist Action, and is running for Toronto District School Board (TDSB) trustee in Parkdale-High Park (Ward 7).

Along with our Ontario-based Socialist Action members aligned with the Municipal Socialist Alliance. Socialist Action is also working in support of VoteSocialist2022, a Vancouver-based municipal alliance with candidates running for both city council and school board.

VoteSocialist2022 looks to rebuild the city of Vancouver for all, not just the wealthy few.