The battle for Scarborough-Agincourt has pitted two veteran city councillors against each other, who both share similar political platforms, in their bid for the council seat.
Ward 22, like ten others, has two incumbents fighting for the same council seat. Long-time city councillor Norm Kelly is battling fellow councillor Jim Karygiannis to represent the 105,542 residents in the ward.
While both councillors have been familiar faces in public office, some residents are seeing them on the campaign trail for the first time. While canvassing his neighbourhood, Nizzamuddin Ahmed said it was the first time in his 11 years living there that Kelly has come to his door.
“Though he had been 24 years here, this is the first time he came here,” said Ahmed. With the pressure high to win this time around, Ahmed noted that the competition is heating up in the final weekend of the campaign.
Ahmed said with so much development in the area, he wants to see a councillor at City Hall who supports the Scarborough subway. Both Kelly and Karygiannis are in favour of it – and it isn’t where the similarities in their platforms end.
After what has already been a violent year, both incumbents have committed to crime reduction plans.
Kelly said along with increased community policing, the best way to tackle crime, is to starve gangs of their membership by investing in social programming.
“You have to attack the gangs at their base” said Kelly, who wants to see more mentoring and recreational programs. “More importantly,” said Kelly, “when you introduce those programs, you must make them sustainable.”
Karygiannis agrees that programming is an important part of reducing violence. But he’s also pitching a repository plan to ensure guns stay off the street, while making sure law-abiding owners aren’t penalized.
“If you want to take your handgun out in order to go practice shooting, you go sign it out and you bring it back in,” said Karygiannis. He thinks the program would cut down on the amount of guns that are stolen and end up in the hands of the wrong person.
With time running short, both incumbents are hitting the campaign trail hard to ensure they can secure the final votes needed to win.