Morgan Baskin – Teenager, Toronto resident, mayoral candidate

Morgan Baskin, 19, decided to go for the mayor's chair after graduating high school. Photo by Morgan Gallagher. Morgan Baskin, 19, decided to go for the mayor's chair after graduating high school. Photo by Morgan Gallagher.
Morgan Gallagher
Queen’s Park/City Hall Reporter

After graduating from high school, teenagers often move on either to university or college. Morgan Baskin, 19, graduated from high school she decided to run for Mayor of Toronto.

“I would rather lose running for mayor being incredibly passionate about it, giving it my all and know I would do a good job if I was elected,” Baskin said.

Baskin, who lives in Corktown with her family, loves Toronto and wants voters to know that she is taking this race seriously.

“There’s a reason you can run at 18,” she said. “You’re now an adult, and if people want to disrespect that or debate that that’s fine and they can do that.”

Diversity to Baskin doesn’t only mean race, gender and sexual orientation – its includes age as well. Baskin wants to encourage the youth of Toronto and show them that they do have a voice.

“Young people are important, and we matter. We have good ideas.”

Baskin knows there are skeptics out there who believe she doesn’t have the right or experience to run a city like Toronto. For those people she has some choice words.

“If you like the status quo of experienced politicians then don’t vote for me. But if you’re not happy with that why wouldn’t you try someone else?”

An issue on Baskin’s mind is the spending cap to which all registered mayoral candidates’ campaigns must abide. This year’s spending cap is a whopping $1,305,066.65, a number Baskin thinks is not representative of the people who live and vote here.

“Our city is not full of people who can raise a million dollars in 8 months. That’s not who our city is. That’s not who lives here. And that’s not who represents here,” she said.

Pauline E. Beange, a sessional lecturer at the University of Toronto specializing in Canadian government and politics, said a popular party that appeals to more supporters or activists will more than likely have more funds to spend on a campaign.

“A party that attracts a large number of individual members or activists can be expected to raise and spend more money than a party that does not. Spending often follows the policy or platform a candidate has chosen—spending does not necessarily ‘cause’ a candidate to adopt a certain policy,” Beange said.

Nelson Wiseman, a professor in the department of political science at University of Toronto, said the candidates who aren’t taking the campaign seriously shouldn’t have a say in the spending cap.

“There are only three competitive candidates out of 60 or so others. Most will be spending next to nothing and relatively few people are contributing time or money to their campaigns,” Wiseman said. “Should the leading candidates be restricted in their spending because of that?”

Baskin understands that the race she has entered is incredibly competitive. She is up against some high profile, experienced opponents. Former Ontario Conservative party leader John Tory has already participated in a Toronto mayoral election. Olivia Chow was a Toronto city councilor and a member of parliament. Doug Ford is currently the Toronto city councillor for Ward 2 in Etobicoke North.

But Baskin isn’t letting that stop her.

“For me, I think it’s important to recognize I was never going to raise a million dollars. Instead I was going to run a campaign based on, in many ways, the things Rob Ford based his campaign on, not policy wise, but authenticity and showing up for people. I think it’s incredibly important to run an authentic campaign because we saw what happened when that happens.”

If she doesn’t win she is considering rejoining her peers for a degree in urban studies. When and where she’ll do her studies is still “up in the air.”