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Saron Gebresellassi for Mayor of Toronto

September 27, 2018

Unique among Toronto mayoralty candidates with a platform, Saron Gebresellassi has proven credentials supporting ordinary workers, including workers of colour. A vote for her sends a signal of support for Toronto’s diverse working class. An outspoken supporter of the $15 and Fairness Campaign, Gebresellassi is a successful labour and human rights lawyer. She is the go-to solicitor for Black Lives Matter Toronto and has won cases for Gilary Massa (fired while on maternity leave from Ryerson University) and workers of colour in the Ontario public service. The latter case resulted in a moratorium on suspensions for such workers given the proven discrimination in their cases.

Her “Six for the 6ix” platform  calls for 20,000 units of affordable housing over the next four years, free public transit, fairer spending to generate 1,000 new jobs for youth in low-income neighbourhoods (“as opposed to hiring 200 new police officers”), employment outside the city’s core, mental health and accessibility services, and the right to diversity in city politics and hiring.

But it is not her specific platform that earns her our endorsement so much as her track record in support of the working class, especially among those who are racialized or otherwise marginalized. While her candidacy did not arise as obviously from the movements as, for example, Jean Swanson in Vancouver, her appeal lies in her identification with workers and people of colour. Ideally her campaign would flow from and help build a larger progressive movement, which, unfortunately, is not happening at this time.

Despite this limitation, the International Socialists group is happy to endorse her candidacy. Vote for Saron Gebresellassi on October 22.

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