mark saunders mayor toronto

People are trying to get a controversial ex-police chief to run for Toronto mayor

The John Tory resignation debacle has dragged on, and there is now question as to whether the sitting mayor will indeed step down as promised in a bombshell Friday night press conference that shocked Toronto.

Toronto's mayoral future remains unclear, and a handful of familiar names have entered the discussion, including a former police chief best known for his controversial defence of carding practices.

Former Police Chief Mark Saunders, who stepped down from his role as Toronto's top cop in 2020, has been thrust into the mayoral discussion by backers urging him to run for mayor should Tory indeed relinquish his role.

Tory's confirmed on Friday that he had engaged in an affair with a 31-year-old (now former) staffer in a much-talked-about press conference, shocking reporters and the public with the revelation that he planned to resign as mayor.

Less than two days later, a fledgling campaign to pressure Saunders to run in his place launched on Twitter.

The account, known as "Draft Mark Saunders," claims on its Twitter account that it is not affiliated with the former chief but is "hoping to persuade former Toronto Police Service chief Mark Saunders to run for Mayor of Toronto."

And let's just say the responses have been somewhat polarizing.

The account is unabashedly pro-police funding and takes aim at councillors that oppose increasing the policing budget.

Police funding is an especially hot topic at a time when both crime and public awareness of police brutality in disproportionate interactions with marginalized communities feel at dam-breaking levels.

The account claims that Saunders would implement politically "moderate" policies if elected mayor, while repeatedly referring to politicians on the left as "radical."

Polls shared to its limited Twitter following similarly use loaded questions that make no effort to even create the illusion of an unbiased survey.

There is a precedent for this unsolicited nomination, as Saunders' post-police career has involved an unsuccessful bid as an Ontario PC candidate for the riding of Don Valley West in the 2022 general election, losing to Liberal candidate Stephanie Bowman.

blogTO has approached the backers of the campaign for comment, but requests have gone unanswered as of writing.

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