Toronto city councillor Mary-Margaret McMahon is keeping a campaign promise to run for just two terms.
She is now asking other long-serving councillors to follow her example, however that seems unlikely.
“My name will not be on the ballot for 2018 because I truly believe in democratic reform,” McMahon told reporters.
McMahon has been a vocal advocate for term limits, arguing that they would lead to more diversity on city council and lower the barrier to entry for aspiring municipal politicians.
During her seven years as a councillor, McMahon has brought two motions to city council calling for term limits, but both were defeated. She has also supported ranked ballots, the redrawing of ward boundaries and other measures to increase voter turnout.
With little progress on the city council floor, she’s now making an appeal to other incumbent councillors to step aside on their own accord — but hasn’t specified how long she believes councillors should be in the job.
Unsurprisingly, some of the city’s longest-tenured councillors say they’re staunchly opposed to mandatory service limits.
When McMahon was first elected in 2010, she was one of 15 new councillors to win a seat in the council chamber.
“We brought a breath of fresh air to city hall and we came up with new ideas, we had new energy and no baggage,” McMahon said.
Across the GTA it really is the same story, long-term councillors never stepping down and letting fresh talent come in.
The problem is that the current system favors a sitting incumbent who uses the term to effectively campaign and build their name-recognition among residents. Anyone else who aspires to compete with the incumbent would always be at a disadvantage because they don’t have the platform or the budget to promote themselves.
So really having municipal elections is really a waste of money because very rarely does it result in any change because 90 percent of the time it is the incumbent who wins by default. – CINEWS