2014 Toronto Election: Implications for Politics & Social Justice in the Inner Suburbs

The event was a great success. We thank all those who participated!

Below are some photos from the event as well as a description with bios of the panelists.






The City Institute at York University (CITY) presents:

How has the 2014 Toronto municipal election affected residents of the inner suburbs, such as Etobicoke North, Scarborough and North York, who face growing socio-economic inequalities and a lack of public transit? A panel of academics, community activists and emerging politicians will discuss the dynamics, as well as the steps, that could lead to a more socially just city.

Despite the inequalities of the inner suburbs, conservative politicians and their politics remain ascendant in these communities and in most of the city. Former candidates will share their recent experiences running for office, including the interesting challenges of building local coalitions and of articulating credible progressive and left alternatives, while confronting mainstream policies and discourses that emphasize austerity.

“2014 Toronto Election: Implications for Politics & Social Justice in the Inner Suburbs” will take place Monday, Dec. 1, from 3:30 to 5:30pm, at 280N York Lanes, Keele campus. The panel discussion is presented by The City Institute at York University (CITY). Everyone is welcome to attend. The meeting will be chaired by Jane Farrow.

yFile article on the event

Monday December 1, 2014

Room 280N, York Lanes
York University

  • Jane Farrow (Moderator) 2014 Candidate for City Councillor in Ward 30 Toronto-Danforth
  • Paul Bocking 2014 Candidate for City Councillor in Ward 35 Scarborough & PhD Candidate, Geography, York University
  • Munira Abukar 2014 Candidate for City Councillor in Ward 2 Etobicoke North
  • Amarjeet Chhabra 2014 Candidate for City Councillor in Ward 44 Scarborough East
  • Professor Stefan Kipfer Environmental Studies, York University
  • Professor Roger Keil Environmental Studies, York University
  • Parastou Saberi PhD Candidate, Environmental Studies, York University
  • Nigel Barriffe Elementary Teacher & Community Activist in Rexdale, Etobicoke North NDP Candidate in 2014 Ontario Election


Welcome to all!


FarrowJane Farrow
Jane ran for the Toronto City Council in Ward 30 Toronto-Danforth in the 2014 municipal election. Jane Farrow’s career highlights include stints as CBC Radio One host and producer, best-selling author, executive assistant at City Hall and dynamic emcee and moderator. She was the first executive director of Jane’s Walk, a dynamic non-profit organization based in Toronto engaged in walkability initiatives that celebrate the ideas of urbanist Jane Jacobs. The Toronto Community Foundation recognized Jane's contribution to urban resiliency with a Vital People Award in 2010 and in 2014 she was honoured with a Lifetime Achievement LGBTQ Inspire Award. She was an advisor to World Pride Human Rights Conference and sits on the External Advisory Board at York University’s City Institute (photo credit: janefarrow.ca).


The following is a list of the speakers:


Munira Abukar
Munira ran for Toronto City Councillor in Ward 2 (Etobicoke North). Her aim is to restore integrity and accountability back into municipal affairs. Munira is also a student at Ryerson University (photo credit: muniraabukar.ca)


Nigel3Nigel Barriffe
In the 2014 provincial election, Nigel Bariffe finished second for the NDP in Etobicoke North, beating the conservatives in that riding for the first time in nearly 20 years. A community organizer and an elementary teacher with the Toronto District School Board in Rexdale, Barriffe is co-chair of the Elementary Teachers of Toronto Political Action Committee, Board Chair for Educational Attainment West, and a board member of the Urban Alliance on Race Relations and the Rexdale Community Legal Clinic. He is also treasurer for the Ontario Alliance of Black School Educators and is a former co-chair of the African Heritage Educator’s Network. His work has won him the 2011 Urban Heroes Award and the 2012 JS Woordsworth Award.

Paul BockingPaul Bocking
Paul Bocking was a first time candidate in the 2014 Toronto election for city councillor in Ward 35 Scarborough Southwest. His platform included increased TTC funding to freeze fares and improve service, opposing contracting out and offering more employment training, after school children’s programs, better rental housing conditions and local participatory democracy. He will be sharing some of his experiences from the campaign and observations on local politics. Bocking is also in the third year of his PhD in Geography at York. His research interests focus on labour movements, education policy and political economy in Canada, Mexico and the United States. He has worked for several years as an adult educator and as a high school teacher of English, Geography and History with the Toronto District School Board.

AmarjeetAmarjeet Chhabra
Amarjeet Chhabra was a city council candidate for Ward 44, Scarborough East. She has contributed her considerable organizational talents to The Canadian Cancer Society, Council of Agencies serving South Asians, Equal Voice, The Canadian National Exhibition Association, a housing co-op Board, Community Volunteer Income Tax Program for young people sponsored by The Canada Revenue Agency and a Community Voter Project in New Haven, Connecticut. She has also worked on campaigns in Vancouver, British Columbia, Boston, Massachusetts and Anchorage, Alaska. She has worked with decision makers at City Hall on development projects and with a Scarborough East School Trustee on a civic engagement program for students. She also spent six years representing workers in the hotel and hospitality industry. Amarjeet was recognized by City Idol, a grassroots program that promoted new potential candidates with fresh ideas and a passion for community building (photo credit: electchhabra.ca).

Keegan Henry-Mathieu
27 year old Keegan Henry-Mathieu began his involvement in civic affairs at the age of 16 when he joined the Toronto Youth Cabinet where he served for almost 10 years in numerous executive positions and eventually was elected as co-chair. Keegan travelled the city helping to connect communities to the decisions being made at city hall while challenging City Hall to do more to engage communities on policies that affect their neighborhoods and individual lives. During that time he also helped build the foundations of the Black Youth Coalition against Violence through his position as treasurer; served on the Toronto Police Services Board Advisory Panel on Community Safety; Served on the CNEA board; and played a role in organizing the first election of Youth Tenant Reps at the TCHC. At the age of 26, Keegan ran unsuccessfully for Toronto City Council. Today he works in the private sector in Communications for the Royal Bank of Canada (photo credit: keeganhm.com).

rk guggenheimRoger Keil
Roger Keil researches global suburbanisms, urban political ecology, cities and infectious disease, and regional governance. Among his recent publications are the forthcoming Suburban Governance: A Global View (ed. with Pierre Hamel; University of Toronto Press, 2015), Suburban Constellations (Jovis, 2013) The Global Cities Reader (ed. with Neil Brenner; Routledge, 2006); Networked Disease: Emerging Infections and the Global City (ed. with S.Harris Ali; Wiley-Blackwell, 2008); and Changing Toronto: Governing the Neoliberal City (with Julie-Anne Boudreau and Douglas Young; UTP 2009). Keil is a co-founder of the International Network for Urban Research and Action and previous director of the City Institute. He is also the principal investigator of the MCRI project on Global Suburbanisms at CITY (2010-17).

kipferStefan Kipfer
Stefan Kipfer teaches in the Faculty of Environmental Studies at York University. His research interests range from social theory to comparative urban politics. He has been analyzing the role of new right populism in the production of space in Toronto since the mid-1990s.


Parastou Saberi
Parastou Saberi holds a B.Arch and M.Arch, as well as an M.A. in Sociology. She is currently a PhD candidate in the Faculty of Environmental Studies at York University and a contract faculty in the Department of Geography at Trent University. Her doctoral dissertation examines the politics of place-based policies of urban development and policing in Toronto’s postwar suburbs. Alongside her doctoral research, she is also immersed in excavating the interconnection between pacification and (colonial) urbanism, as well as the relations between urban politics and right-wing populism.