By Paul Lewkowicz
The 2018 municipal election featured many close and exciting races for voters in Centennial Scarborough. The campaigns for city councillor, public school trustee and Catholic school trustee all resulted in the winning candidate being elected with less than 50 per cent of the vote.
The vote for mayor was an exception with nearly three-quarters (71.7 per cent) of voters in Scarborough Rouge-Park voting for incumbent John Tory compared to 63 per cent of Toronto as a whole. When looking at the seven polls that make up nearly all of Centennial Scarborough, Tory received 75.1 per cent of the vote.
The closest race of all city councillor wards in Toronto happened here. Jennifer McKelvie, 2014 runner-up and former CCRA president, defeated incumbent Neethan Shan by 154 votes or 0.5 per cent. The results within the ward show a divided electorate.
Shan won every poll north of Sheppard Ave. with more than 50 per cent of the vote, resulting in 68 per cent of the votes in the northern part of Ward 25 that made up most of the now-defunct ward that Shan was elected to represent in a 2017 by-election. In the central part of Ward 25, between Sheppard Ave. and Kingston Road, Shan and McKelvie split the vote, with McKelvie winning 42 per cent of the vote compared to 36 per cent for Shan. In the southern part of Ward 25, south of Kingston Road, McKelvie dominated, winning 57 per cent of the vote and all but one poll. Among polls that make up nearly all of Centennial Scarborough, McKelvie won 66 per cent of the vote. McKelvie also had a strong presence among advance voters, winning 44 per cent of advance polls compared to 37 per cent for Shan. Overall, McKelvie won 30 polls on election day and the largest advance poll, while Shan won 23 polls on election day and three advance polls.
In the race for public school trustee, Dr. Anu Sriskandarajah was victorious with 36 per cent of the vote in a crowded field to replace retiring incumbent Jerry Chadwick. Sriskandarajah won 42 of 53 polls on election day and two of the three advance polls and had support across the ward. She garnered 42 per cent of the vote in the polls that make up nearly all of Centennial Scarborough. Sriskandarajah, or “Dr. Anu” as she advertised herself prominently on her signs, won by 12 per cent over her nearest challengers, Roxanne Wright and Kirsten Doyle. Sriskandarajah will now sit on the Toronto District School Board alongside her husband, Parthi Kandavel, besting her husband’s vote total and percentage of the vote on her first campaign. (Kandavel was re-elected with 22 per cent of the vote in Scarborough Southwest.)
In the race for Catholic school trustee, Garry Tanuan was re-elected with 36 per cent of the vote. Tanuan, who was first elected in a 2012 by-election, has never been elected with more than 50 per cent of the vote. The four candidates for Catholic school trustee generally received the same support across wards 23 and 25, with Tanuan having slightly stronger support in Ward 25 and Potenciano having slightly stronger support in Ward 23. Tanuan won 33 per cent of the vote in the polls that make up nearly all of Centennial Scarborough.