Kyle Rae

Kyle Rae

Kyle Rae (born 1955) is a Canadian politician. He is a city councillor for Ward 27 Toronto Centre-Rosedale in Toronto, Ontario.

Rae graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in History from Brock University in St. Catharines, Ontario. He also has a Master's Degree in History from the University of Birmingham, and a Master of Library Science Degree from the University of Toronto. Before he became involved in politics, Rae was executive director of the 519 Church Street Community Centre in the heart of the Church and Wellesley area. [City of Toronto councillor, Ward 27 profile, [http://www.toronto.ca/councillors/rae1.htm] ]

Politics

He was first elected to Toronto city council in 1991 as a left-leaning councillor filling the seat vacated by Jack Layton (who was running for mayor at the time). He campaigned as an openly gay candidate and beat his closest rival by 1003 votes. He became the city's first gay councillor. [Timothy Appleby, "Political Fallout Slight", "Globe and Mail", p. A6, 13 November 1991.] During his first term, as Chair of the City's Personnel Committee he attempted, with Mayor June Rowlands support, to introduce affirmative action in the city's fire department. The motion was defeated. [Donald Grant, "Proposal on Firefighters Rejected", "Globe and Mail", p. A16, 2 February 1993.]

A longtime member of the Ontario New Democratic Party, he left the party because the failure of the NDP government to pass long-promised reforms on gay rights issues. Rae led a local boycott of the NDP in the 1993 by-election in the riding of St. George—St. David (now Toronto Centre—Rosedale) to highlight his position. [Scott Steel, “Rebuking the NDP”, "Maclean's", 12 April 1993.] In recent years, Rae supported John Sewell's independent candidacy in the 1999 provincial election [Andrew Cash, "Citizen Sewell stands alone", "Now Magazine", 20 May 1999, [http://www.nowtoronto.com/issues/18/38/News/feature.html] ] and federal Liberal Bill Graham. [Eleanor Brown, "Graham in the Balance", "Eye Weekly", 24 June 2004, [http://www.eye.net/eye/issue/issue_06.24.04/city/graham.html] ] Because of his long running and historic criticism of the NDP's legislative failure on gay rights issues, Rae surprised many when he endorsed former New Democratic Party Premier Bob Rae (who is no relation to Kyle Rae) when the latter successfully contested the Toronto Centre federal by-election on March 17, 2008 as the Liberal Party candidate. Kyle said of Bob, "He has a unique set of skills and experience, and I hope he wins .... His candidacy has my full support." [Unnati Gandhi, Rae the councillor backs Rae the MP candidate, "Globe and Mail", p. A9, March 6, 2008.]

In 2000, Rae and fellow councillor David Soknacki were both acclaimed in their ridings.

In 2002, he was sued for defamation by members of the Toronto Police Force after he sharply criticized a 2000 raid on "Pussy Palace", a lesbian bathhouse event. His calling the police "rogue cops" and "goons" and the operation a "panty raid" was criticized, and the officers alleged what was only a standard liquor inspection hurt their careers and reputations. A jury eventually decided that the seven officers were defamed and ordered Rae to pay $170,000. The settlement money was paid by the city from a fund that protects councillors from having to pay lawsuits from personal funds. [Emily Sharpe, "Don’t cross the cops", "Xtra!", 27 June 2002, [http://www.ottawamenscentre.com/news/20020627_dont_cross_the_cops.htm] ]

With the legalization of same-sex marriage in 2003, Rae married Mark Reid, his partner since 1994. ["Canada OKs Marriages", CBC News. 20 June 2003.] [Photo of Rae and Reid at their marriage ceremony, CBS News. 20 June 2003. [http://www.cbsnews.com/elements/2003/06/27/in_depth_us/photoessay560736_0_5_photo.shtml] ]

In May 2007, Rae renewed his call for a bylaw to further protect historic buildings. ["The fight against 'demolition by decay,'" HeritageHome.ca, [http://www.heritagehome.ca/news/2007/07/the-fight-against-demolition-by-decay-court-ruling-latest-snag-for-would-be-toronto-heritage-bylaw/] ] The proposed bylaw would give the City of Toronto the power to charge building owners who let historic buildings fall into disrepair. It would also give the city the power perform emergency repairs in certain cases, applying the bill to the owner's taxes. Rae's call came after the Walnut Hall, a historic Georgian Rowhouse, collapsed after decades of neglect. The building's various owners sought to tear it down and were prevented because of its historical value. ["The Martyrdom of Walnut Hall," HeritageHome.ca, [http://www.heritagehome.ca/news/2007/06/the-martyrdom-of-walnut-hall/] ]

There has been some debate as to whether Rae can authentically claim to represent the gay community after several redistributions have changed the make-up of the ward Rae represents to include wealthier neighbourhoods at the same time as the gay and lesbian community has made itself more at home across the city, leaving it less geographically anchored to the Church-Wellesley neighbourhood. Writer Brent Ledger, who has interviewed Rae on several occasions, has written that Rae has been a disappointment for those who believed that a gay councillor would make a difference. [Brent Ledger. Why is an answer too much to ask? "Toronto Star". May 24 2008. pg. L4.]

References

External links

* [http://www.toronto.ca/councillors/rae1.htm Kyle Rae profile on City of Toronto website]


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