Toronto’s 50 Most Influential: #1, Justin Trudeau

Toronto's 50 Most Influential: #1, Justin Trudeau
Justin Trudeau Photograph by Markian Lozowchuk

Justin Trudeau


1 Toronto voters played a decisive role in handing the Liberals a majority last October, when every one of the city’s 25 ridings turned red—nearly 15 per cent of the party’s total haul. Trudeau hasn’t forgotten his debts. Since taking office, he has pledged $840 million in transit funding, $32.5 million for waterfront flood protection and $11.25 million for the Don Trail. He promised to address the affordable-housing crisis and authorized a slew of measures to keep the city’s helium-filled real estate market from making a hard landing. Whereas Harper made Tory trek to Pearson for a face-to-face and all but ignored Wynne’s existence, Trudeau has become a familiar face at city hall and Queen’s Park. In fact, he might just like it here: he stopped by to march in the Pride Parade, to welcome the first wave of Syrian refugees, to kick off the countdown to the Invictus Games and to snuggle with baby pandas. A number of his staff have strong Toronto connections, including the holy trinity of advisors (Gerald Butts, Katie Telford and John Zerucelli), key cabinet ministers (finance, international trade, Indigenous affairs, and science) and a slew of new senators (Ratna Omidvar, Frances Lankin, Gwen Boniface, Tony Dean, Sabi Marwah and Howard Wetston). If Trudeau is paying close attention to Toronto, the reverse is true, too. His musings on pot legalization triggered a flurry of dispensaries across the city, and when he fast-tracked the arrival of Syrians, residents opened their hearts, wallets and doors. Trudeau’s mail may go to Rideau Cottage, but no one holds more power over Toronto’s fate. So far, that’s been a very good thing.

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