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Carpenters’ support Bailao’s campaign for Toronto mayor

Don Wall
Carpenters’ support Bailao’s campaign for Toronto mayor
CARPENTERS FACEBOOK — Former Toronto city councillor Ana Bailao appeared in a Carpenters’ Union video posted March 13.

Former Toronto deputy mayor Ana Bailao has announced she is running for mayor, and she’ll hit the campaign trail March 17 with the support of the Carpenters’ Union.

“I’m in,” Bailao announced on Twitter early March 17. “I’m running with a plan to fix our city’s services, build housing, and make life more affordable.”

Earlier in the week, Carpenters’ Union Local 27 posted a 42 second video on social media showing the former councillor, currently the head of affordable housing with Dream Unlimited, touring a downtown Toronto jobsite and talking to members of the union. She was hosted by Mike Yorke, president of the executive board of the Carpenters’ District Council of Ontario.

“Absolutely, we’re pleased,” Yorke said of the news that Bailao will run.

“She has been a strong advocate for working people at the city level,” Yorke said. “She has been a good friend of working people and the Carpenters’ union for many, many years.”

He commented in the video, “She is a leader, and she’s one of us.”

After 12 years on council, Bailao decided not to run for a fourth term ahead of the municipal election last fall. During her time in office she supported such initiatives as the HousingTO 2020-2030 Housing Action Plan and Housing Now, and spoke out in support of such policies as flexible inclusionary zoning regulations and the Garden Suites Bylaw.

In 2019, she led the campaign to ensure the city retained its status as a construction employer in the ICI sector, maintaining binding collective agreements with nine trade unions with LIUNA added as a 10th.

“She was the champion. She was the advocate at that time. She took the lead on that file,” said Yorke.

“We are reciprocating. We’re acknowledging that leadership over the years and believe that it needs recognition.”

Yorke noted Bailao’s father was a construction worker who was hurt badly on a jobsite, a point she referred to often during speeches at City Hall. Her mother was a cleaner who made attempts to unionize her colleagues.

“For us it was very moving. It shows the connection between our industry and working people and Ana,” he said.

The byelection to replace Tory will be held June 26. Tory resigned after admitting to an improper relationship with a former staffer.

On March 15, former Toronto councillor Giorgio Mammoliti announced he is running for the top job.

“Toronto is a city with so much potential, so many opportunities, but at the same time, so many challenges,” said Yorke. “It’s a challenging job. But I really believe that Ana is up to that challenge. We need a champion at this moment in our city’s history.”

Yorke said Carpenters’ executives will no doubt be meeting to discuss any role the union would play in the campaign.

“We want to play a role in the city,” he said. “We want to play a role in engaging our members.”

Follow the author on Twitter @DonWall_DCN.

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