Whether he has a political background or not, canvassers backing Rocco Rossi’s campaign think that he is what the city needs.
Into the final weeks of the mayoral race, Rossi and his campaign team headed into a Rosedale neighbourhood in Ward 27 to talk with residents about their concerns for the city, or just to greet them hello.
Rossi’s executive assistant, Radey Barrack, has been with the candidate since the beginning of the campaign. As someone who has been in politics for most of his life, Barrack thinks that a candidate who hasn’t had a political background to be the mayor of Toronto is what the city needs.
“I’ve been in politics my whole life and I’ve seen every other candidate who has had political experience. Too many mistakes have been made by career politicians. We need a real change, not just another politician.” he says.
Rossi’s approach to his campaign can be traced back to the values he has learned from his parents. “My parents taught me that above everything else, you’ve got to tell people the truth. And yes, it’s about family, the values I’ve learned from them, the hard work and living in your means and telling people the truth. I’m happy to win or lose based on staying true to those values.”
Canvassers of the campaign team have also enjoyed being part of Rossi’s road to being mayor because of what they call his genuine and wonderful personality.
Steven Swanson, who coordinates the canvassing and scheduling of the campaign, thinks Rossi is the best choice. “Political, non-political, I don’t think it makes a difference other than the gentleman is a leader, a business man, and can lead a team. And that’s what Toronto needs, a leader that can make Toronto important, the best that it can.”
Swanson believes that Rossi is a good leader because he listens. “He hears what everyone has to say. He doesn’t shut down ideas. He’s open to ideas. He thinks outside of the box and he encourages that from the people he works with or has worked with and not just to stick to the status quo. He thinks of ways to make things better.”
During the campaign trail, Rossi stops to speak with a local film crew taping for a show called Falling Skies.
For many members of the crew, they plan to vote strategically in order to get the right person to City Hall.
Mario Silva, who is a lighting technician, says he doesn’t follow the election, but would consider Rossi after having just talked to the mayoral candidate.
“He would seem like the person I would most likely to vote for,” he said.
Whether Rossi wins or loses is not a concern for the mayoral candidate. For him, it is about making the right decision.
In obvious allusion to dwelling frontrunners Rob Ford and George Smitherman, he says, “If you’re elected just because you’re not someone else, what kind of mandate does that give you? What kind of mandate does that give you to make decisions that will affect the lives of people who are going forward?”
Having grown up in Toronto, the city is a family to Rossi.
“When people are suffering, when people are being left behind, we have a duty within our family to make sure everyone’s taken care of and everyone has that opportunity. The city can’t be great, unless it’s great for everyone. That’s the same values my parents and family have taught me.”