Cover Photo adapted from morganbaskin.ca.
Our team recently had the chance to sit down (digitally) with Morgan Baskin, a candidate to succeed Rob Ford as mayor of Toronto. Morgan is eighteen, a student, a cub scout leader, and a traveler. She offers study habits and passion in the place of entrenchment and cynicism, and offers voters a change to give Toronto a fresh start in October.
She says that there is never a bad time for a smile and a cupcake, and that Toronto can use both.
TNT: Rob Ford recently announced his candidacy and pledged “Ford more years.” What will you be able to bring to the people of Toronto that he won’t?
MB: I don’t like to compare myself to the other candidates because enough people will be doing that for me already. I can tell you what I will bring, which is a fresh perspective, an open mind, honesty and a drive to work for the things Torontonians believe in.
TNT: How difficult has the transition from student and Scout to politician been?
MB: Not difficult all. All three of those roles, which I am currently fulfilling at once, involve a lot of the same things. All three require a lot of interaction with people, hard work, drive and a willingness to put in the time. In addition, my roles in Scouting have often been ones of leadership. This has transitioned well into imagining myself as leader of this city. Those who know me through Scouting have had the easiest time seeing me as a political leader.
TNT: We’ve noticed that you often discuss transit in your blogs and writing. How much do you think you could accomplish on the subject? There’s only so much room on downtown streets, after all.
MB: I think I could accomplish lots, because I am incredibly driven on that subject and because there is a very strong feeling in the city that things need to be better. I am aware better public transit is no longer a want to have but a necessity.
You’re right, there is no more room to build more roads and for the most part the roads we do have are incredibly full. It’s for those very reasons that we need better transit. If we can provide reliable options people are more likely to ride it taking the pressure of our roads.
Increased service rather than the seemingly endless decreases could make a significant difference right away. Needless to say, a relief subway line would not add traffic to roads, but take some of that pressure off.
TNT: What other policies are you putting forward in your electoral platform?
MB: Right now my platform is an ever evolving beast. I am taking my own advice and talking to experts in specific fields, to develop specific policy. The broad strokes are around teamwork, community involvement, building for the future and of course transit.
TNT: The past eight months has seen Toronto featured everywhere from the Daily Show to the Kuwaiti press. How would you restore Toronto’s reputation on the international stage?
MB: The only way to improve a reputation is move forward gracefully. We need to just continue being the awesome city we are.
TNT: Toronto City Council has become famous for shouting sessions, tackling colleagues, drinking milk, dancing, and tickling one another. What type of environment would you try to create in the Baskin administration?
MB: Respect is the most important thing. We don’t all need to be friends we we all need to be respectful, of each other, of the residents, of the space.
TNT: It seems like every other day someone new is throwing their hat into the ring. What do you think that says about this race? How do you think you stand against seasoned politicians like Tory, Chow, and Ford?
MB: Seasoned politicians are great at winning elections. I am here to say that I think I could do a great job as Mayor, and I plan to spend the next seven months proving it. I am honest, ready to ask for help when I need it, to offer help where it’s needed, and to admit when I’ve made mistakes and own up to them.
TNT: Lastly, if you could impart one piece of wisdom to our readers, what would you tell them?
MB: If there is something you are putting off, just do it. Get up right now and start.