About

John has continuously represented the Willowdale community since 1982, initially as a trustee and chair of the North York Board of Education, then as a ward councillor for the City of North York starting in 1991.  He was elected as a Toronto City Councillor following amalgamation in 1998, a role he has held for over 20 years.

John sees cities as a collection of neighbourhoods that need to be supported and protected, especially as they grow. He believes in keeping residents informed and involved in decision making, which is why John maintains an office in the North York Civic Centre and spends much of his time dealing with local issues, and fighting to deliver results for Willowdale.

John has work tirelessly defend and improve the City’s plan for the North York Centre and overseen the creation of dozens of new parks, child care and community centres to ensure the necessary amenities for the rapidly changing community.  John also created the Cultura Festival, showcasing Toronto’s rich diversity through music, food, and art every July at Mel Lastman Square.

At City Council, John has provided steady leadership through many challenges. As Chair of the City’s Board of Health, he protected restaurant-goers from unsafe food practices by creating Toronto’s DineSafe program, which has since been copied by cities around the world. John also brought provincially-funded nurses to the City to halt a bed bug epidemic and led the charge to ban smoking in Toronto’s bars and restaurants earning John the Queen’s Golden Jubilee Medal. As Toronto’s first Arts Advocate, John helped create the highly successful Arts in the Parks program.

More recently, his vigilance blew the whistle on an improper land purchase, saving taxpayers $12 million and prompting an OPP investigation. His continued work on the Audit Committee, and at General Government and Licensing is focused on ensuring that Torontonians get the city services that they pay for on time, at a fair price.

Before entering politics, John was a journalist with the Toronto Star and North York Mirror, and was a founding editor of the Canadian Global Almanac. He has an Honours B.A. from York University.

 

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