I think it is important to vote for who best represents you intellectually — how you think, your opinions, your outlook on life, etc. Voting for someone based on one issue or policy idea doesn’t guarantee that they won’t put forth an idea you disagree with in the future. But if you select a candidate with similar priorities and beliefs to your own, you can minimize the chance of that occurring.

I recognize there are a number of valid ways to view your representative (MP, MPP, or city councillor), but I caution people against voting for someone as a “social mirror.” This refers to voting for someone because they share the same characteristics as you, like ethnicity or gender. Just because I’m a female doesn’t mean I’m going to agree with a female more than a male. One’s gender might coincide with the person they most ideologically align with, but I’d always rank intellectual compatibility before characteristic compatibility.
— Christina Atkinson

First, I look for a candidate who has their priorities straight. They should respect traditional institutions and values, care deeply for the people they lead, and be fiscally prudent, while remembering economics is about real people.

Second, they need to have the organizational and political skills required to be effective leaders and accomplish their objectives. No matter how much their values may align with mine, it is also critical that they have policies that are well thought through and can be implemented realistically.

Third, they need to be able win. Especially in municipal races, which lack formal partisan identifiers, it is critical not only to find the candidate most in line with my values and most ready for the office, but one who has a good chance of actually winning. Strategic voting is what leads to real political change, not choosing a candidate exclusively on the basis of shared priorities, or abstaining from voting altogether due to an insufficiently “pure” competitor in the race. Splitting the vote only allows for even more ideologically alien contenders to win.
— Aidan Slind

As an English student, I’ve always had a certain fascination with the Fords. Grotesque and repulsive, their exterior figures perfectly mirror the almost fantastical evil they inwardly embrace. They wouldn’t be out of place in a Dickens novel, gobbling down a dinner snatched out of some starving orphan’s withered hands.

Yet, in spite of their literary charm, my vote in this election was aimed at keeping the Fords as far away from City Hall as possible. And, in this electoral climate, anyone who shares that goal must vote for John Tory.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not Tory’s biggest fan. As a self-proclaimed “orange Liberal,” the thought of voting for the former leader of the Ontario PC Party makes me a little queasy. But, around a year ago, I argued in The Varsity that if Torontonians wanted to conquer Ford Nation, we’d have to find a single candidate behind whom the rest of us could unite. And I stand by that statement today.

John Tory, for all his faults, was that unifying candidate. He is conservative enough to attract the disgruntled of Ford Nation, whose idealistic dreams of Rob’s responsible governance went up in clouds of crack smoke. Yet he is progressive enough to earn a ringing Toronto Star endorsement. In short, he was the ideal candidate of the moment, perfectly situated to kick the crooks into the street.

And into the street they need to go. Because while all the cocaine dealers and hash pushers, sexist jokes and racist jabs make great material for Kimmel, they also make for pretty bad governance.

I’m sure purer leftists than myself will call me a cynic. And really, it’s hardly inspiring that I cast my ballot to get rid of what I didn’t want instead of fought for what I did.

If my beloved Kathleen Wynne’s proposed municipal electoral reform legislation were in place today, I might have suggested a very different endorsement. But we need to work with the voting system as it stands today. In the current model, the mathematical reality was that a vote for any candidate other than John Tory was as good as a vote for Doug Ford.

So, for what I very much hope will be the only time in my life, I voted Tory. It’s a compromise, no doubt — but, in a case like this, it’s a compromise I’m willing to make. The Fords were fun for a while. Somewhere between the drugs and corruption it felt like City Hall had turned into Gossip Girl. But I, for one, am happy to say XOXO as a legislator replaces the clowns in the mayor’s office.
— Devyn Noonan

Every two weeks, The Varsity and Ask Big Questions U of T post a thought provoking question over social media to prompt students to start conversations about the things that matter most.