As the October 24 municipal election approaches, The Varsity profiled the three candidates who are running for city councillor in Toronto’s Ward 25 Scarborough—Rouge Park municipality, the electoral district where the UTSC campus is located.
Ashan Fernando has been a resident of the Scarborough—Rouge Park ward for more than 22 years. He graduated from George Brown College with a diploma in hotel management. In an interview with Toronto.com he said, “I am not for the super-rich developers, nor a yes man to politicians or developers.”
One of Fernando’s top priorities is to provide dedicated housing spaces for the elderly, which he believes will allow elderly residents to build new friendships and have decreased feelings of isolation. In an email to The Varsity, Fernando wrote that these dedicated housing spaces will also allow the elderly to rent out their previous residences, which will in turn provide “a well maintained property for students as well as others who are looking for affordable housing.”
Jacinta Kanakaratnam moved to Scarborough with her parents in 1979. Currently, however, she lives outside Ward 25.
According to her campaign website, Kanakaratnam has long advocated for affordable housing, community safety, and civic action in Scarborough. She also holds a Bachelor of Applied Science degree in justice studies from the University of Guelph and a diploma in law and security administration from Humber College.
Kanakaratnam currently works as a procurement advisor, who advises companies on their hiring strategies, and is a director on the board of the West Scarborough Legal Services Clinic. If elected, Kanakaratnam’s main priorities will be community engagement, mobility, and affordable housing.
Jennifer McKelvie is the incumbent councillor of Ward 25. She has lived in the Scarborough—Rouge Park district since 2005 and graduated from UTSC with a Bachelor of Science in environmental science. She also holds a PhD in geology and, prior to being elected, worked as a professional geologist.
McKelvie sat on the UTSC Campus Council from 2015–2018. In her tenure as the chair of the Infrastructure and Environment Committee, she was able to secure funds to clean up litter, repair recreational trails, and remove invasive species. McKelvie also made progress on some transportation projects, including plans to extend the Eglinton East LRT to Malvern.
While advance voting ran from October 7–14, voters in the ward can still go to one of 47 locations — including one at the UTSC campus — to cast their ballots on election day.
Jacinta Kanakaratnam and Jennifer McKelvie did not respond to The Varsity’s requests for comment.