In the lead up to the 2022 Toronto municipal election, CJRU is reaching out to all candidates in the downtown wards.
Climate and housing justice activitist Diana Yoon enters the race for Ward 11 to become University Rosedale’s newest city councillor.
She made the decision in the late July when incumbent Ward 11 city councillor Mike Layton announced that he would not seek re-election.
Yoon said she wants to be a progressive, left-wing voice in city council and represent the local, grassroot communities of the ward.
As a young adult, graduate student and renter, she wants to make the ward a more affordable, climate conscious community for its residents.
“We know that the city is a state of crisis – we know over the last few years, people have really struggled,” Yoon said. “I see people leaving Toronto all the time, and I think progressive politics to me, and to the people I know and the communities I’ve organized with like Kensington Chinatown, means what is reflective of what a community needs and who would be reflected of the diversity of our community on city council.”
For affordable housing, Yoon said decision makers at city hall need to understand the realities of “the nature of the precarious housing market” for younger, lower income and working class residents.
As tent encampments re-emerge this summer, Yoon said it it necessary to build trust between the unhoused organizations dedicated to making shelter more accessible. This includes increasing the capacity of the shelter system and working with organizations like the Shelter and Housing Justice Network.
Yoon cited her experience with ACORN Canada and the Federation of Metro Tenants to understand what affordable housing actually looks like in Toronto, including increasing the threshold for inclusionary zoning and boosting the non-profit sector.
On the climate action front, Yoon said it starts at the grassroots, community levels. During her time with the Toronto Environmental Alliance, Yoon helped initiate projects like communal cooling centres and promote TransformTo, Toronto’s project to reach net zero emissions by 2050.
Leading up to the election, Yoon hopes voters will care about local communities and the city. She said this campaign is an opportunity to have conversations about what can be improved in Toronto for the long-term, and not fall back on the status quo.
Toronto’s municipal election is scheduled for Oct.24 this year.
Listen to Diana Yoon’s full interview: