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City council to vote on candidates vying to fill vacated seats

Liberal Adam Vaughan celebrates his by-election win in the Trinity-Spadina riding with party leader Justin Trudeau at the Steam Whistle Brewery in Toronto on Monday June 30, 2014. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Aaron Vincent Elkaim

Aaron Vincent Elkaim/THE CANADIAN PRESS

Toronto City Council will hear from a slew of candidates on Monday vying to fill two vacated seats.

Etobicoke-Lakeshore (Ward 5) and Trinity-Spadina (Ward 20) became up for grabs when their councillors resigned to run for other levels of government. Peter Milczyn, who was the councillor in Ward 5, was elected last month to represent the provincial Liberals at Queen's Park, while former Ward 20 representative Adam Vaughan won a federal by-election last week, running under the Liberal banner.

Forty-five candidates have applied to fill their municipal seats, 19 in Ward 5 and 26 in Ward 20. Among the candidates in Etobicoke-Lakeshore are former city councillor Blake Kinahan and ex-Etobicoke councillor Agnes Potts.

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Also running are Mr. Milczyn's former aide, Kinga Surma, who is president of the local Progressive Conservative riding association, and Nico Fidani-Diker, who was a special assistant to Mayor Rob Ford for less than a year.

According to police affidavits released by the Ontario Superior Court last fall, Mr. Fidani-Diker expressed concern that Alessandro Lisi, then the mayor's driver, was allegedly providing Mr. Ford with illegal drugs. The allegation has not been tested in court. Mr. Fidani-Diker left the mayor's office in May, 2013.

Of the 19 candidates in Etobicoke-Lakeshore, only five live in the ward, including Mr. Kinahan and Ms. Surma.

In Trinity-Spadina, the race includes former city councillor Adrian Heaps, Toronto Community Foundation board member Ceta Ramkhalawansingh and ex-Peel Regional Police chief Robert Lunney. Both Ms. Ramkhalawansingh and Mr. Lunney live in Ward 20; Mr. Heaps resides in Scarborough.

Ms. Ramkhalawansingh has racked up an impressive list of supporters. More than 100 people have put their names to a letter endorsing her bid for council, including former mayors David Crombie, John Sewell and Senator Art Eggleton and ex-University of Toronto president Robert Prichard. Ms. Ramkhalawansingh previously worked for the city in the role of manager of diversity management and community engagement.

Mr. Lunney, who led the Peel police from 1990 to 1997, has lived in the Trinity-Spadina area for the past 17 years and is director of condominium outreach for the Toronto Entertainment District Residents Association. He said he put his name forward to fill the brief gap because of his commitment to public service.

Indeed, whoever wins the council appointments will serve only briefly, as the municipal election is slated for Oct. 27.

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Each applicant will have five minutes to address council on Monday. The successful candidate must gain the support of a majority of members present. Council will continue voting until that benchmark is reached.

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