A former Toronto police chief has thrown his hat into the ring to replace former mayor John Tory in June’s upcoming byelection.
Mark Saunders, who served as Toronto’s first Black chief of police, confirmed the news on Monday evening.
In a statement sent to Global News, Saunders said his history meant he was perfectly placed to lead Toronto.
“My unique experience battling crime and its root causes in every community across Toronto gives me an equally unique understanding of how to tackle it,” he wrote.
“City council needs new leadership, new ideas — or we’ll continue to get more of the same.”
The former chief’s entry into the mayoral race comes after a campaign — Draft Mark Saunders — was launched to pursued him to run for the city’s top job.
In one tweet, the campaign touted his stance as “pro-safety, pro-housing, pro-economic growth, pro-transit, pro-mental health” as reasons he would make “the best choice for mayor.”
Saunders previously ran as a candidate for the Progressive Conservatives in 2022’s provincial election. Saunders lost to Liberal candidate Stephanie Bowman in the riding of Don Valley West.
The mayor’s job was vacated by John Tory — who was serving just a few months into his third term — in February after he admitted to having a relationship with a former staffer that began during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Tory said he would step down so he can “reflect on my mistakes” and “do the work of rebuilding the trust of my family.”
Former city councillor Ana Bailao has also confirmed she will be running for mayor of Toronto this June.
The byelection for Toronto mayor is set for Monday, June 26.
— with files from Global News’ Gabby Rodrigues
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