Toronto Coun. Joe Cressy announces he won’t seek re-election

Board of Health Chair and Councillor Joe Cressy makes remarks about public health at city hall in Toronto, on Wednesday, April 24, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Christopher Katsarov

Toronto Coun. Joe Cressy says he will not be seeking another term in next year’s municipal election.

Cressy, who represents Spadina-Fort York and is the chair of the Toronto Board of Health, made the announcement Sunday.

“I confirmed today that in the next municipal election, which is about a year from now, I won’t be running for re-election as councillor,” he told Global News in an interview.

“In fact, I won’t be running for any election — for mayor, provincially or federally — I’m leaving elected office.”

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Cressy said there are two main reasons for his decision.

First, he said he has long held a view that people who enter politics should “contribute, do good, and then move on.”

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Second, he said that the COVID-19 pandemic has had an “emotional toll” on him.

“I want to spend more time with my two-year-old son — time that I frankly missed a lot of in the last two years of non-stop work through this pandemic,” he said.

“There was a time in my life when I did seriously contemplate whether I would run for mayor, but when [my wife and I] decided to start a family, that’s when it all changed. And certainly the experience and the grind of the last two years of this pandemic has affirmed that decision for me.”

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Cressy said he is proud of work he has done with regards to supervised consumption sites, building bike lanes on Bloor Street, and “making our streetcar move faster” on King Street.

“I like to think that some of the progressive changes that I’ve been part of championing will certainly not only stand the test of time but will lead to a better city going forward,” he said.

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Cressy said as the chair of the board of health, he is most proud of the city’s response to COVID-19.

“We, throughout this COVID pandemic, have operated on the basis of team Toronto. And it’s been a partnership model. Mayor Tory and I have governed in a wartime-like cabinet where we governed together in coalition,” he said.

“That style and that legacy will hopefully carry on as we seek to not only overcome this pandemic but build back better. And that’s what I hope my legacy will be a part of.”

Cressy said he is still not sure about what he is going to do once he leaves office.

Toronto’s municipal election is scheduled to be held on Oct. 24, 2022.

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