Mayoral candidate John Tory’s cancellation of campus appearances has managed to disappoint not just one, but two student groups at Ryerson.
The budding Mobilizing Actively Political Students (MAPS) organized a week-long series of question-and-answer sessions starting Monday as its first major project — but it was struck by disappointment before the week even began.
The office of Tory, who was slated to hold a one-hour Q-and-A session Monday morning, withdrew from the event last Friday and, according to MAPS staff, did not offer any specific reasons.
“John Tory dropped out after confirming various emails,” said Jordan Perreault-Laird, MAPS president. “It was obviously a sign that he wasn’t interested in engaging with students in a very meaningful way, which is very upsetting for us because we put so much work into doing it.”
Tory has also cancelled on another appearance at Ryerson, a 5 p.m. debate with Chow organized by the Ryerson Students’ Union, which was also the co-host for the morning Q-and-A. A union representative said Monday the absence is “another move that’s indicative of his not engaging with students.”
Perreault-Laird said MAPS was having a meeting to discuss final logistics Friday morning when they received an email from Tory’s staff.
“(The email) was basically saying that they had to reconfigure things in their schedule and that was pretty much it,” said Amanda Buckingham, MAPS executive member and liaison for the invited candidates. “There was definitely an upset tone in the room.”
The event, which was co-hosted with the Ryerson Students’ Union, ended up a solo Q-and-A with mayoral candidate Olivia Chow, who received a warm welcome.
Tory’s absence comes after two other disappointing cancellations for MAPS, which was formed last March to educate Ryerson students about local politics.
Candidates David Soknaki and Mayor Rob Ford separately cancelled their appearances with MAPS the past month after dropping out of the race.
Now, only three of MAPS’s six events are going ahead as planned, though the group says there are still great events to look forward to for the rest of the week.
Candidates for Ward 27 Toronto Centre-Rosedale will be on campus Tuesday for one hour starting noon. Eighteen-year-old mayoral candidate Morgan Baskin will hold her Q-and-A session on Wednesday from noon to 1 p.m. Both events will be held at the Sears Atrium on the third floor of the George Vari Engineering and Computing Centre.
Doug Ford has also been invited to hold his Q-and-A session on Thursday from noon to 1 p.m. at the seventh floor of the Chang School building, but MAPS is still awaiting confirmation.
Despite the absences on campus, Tory did appear later at another debate at St. Andrew’s Church at 7 p.m.
Tory’s office did not immediately respond to requests for comment, though he did answer questions at a media event on Tuesday.
Tory said he has been to 22 debates, and made a conscious decision to not attend the ones at Ryerson, and will be “accountable” for the absences.
With files from Kayla Hoolwerf