Former Toronto police chief Mark Saunders running as PC candidate in Ontario election

Former Toronto police chief Mark Saunders is running as a PC candidate in the upcoming Ontario election.

By Patricia D'Cunha

Former Toronto police chief Mark Saunders will be running in the upcoming provincial election, the Ontario PC Party says.

The party announced Tuesday that Saunders will be its candidate in the riding of Don Valley West.

The riding is currently held by a Liberal MPP, former Ontario premier Kathleen Wynne, who won’t be running in the election on June 2.

“Mark brings an incredible amount of experience serving with the Toronto Police Service for nearly four decades. I’m thrilled to have him join our team and have no doubt he’ll be an incredible voice at Queen’s Park,” Premier Doug Ford said in a release.

Last year, the Ford government appointed Saunders as a special advisor for the redevelopment of Ontario Place.

Saunders, 60, the City of Toronto’s first Black police chief, stepped down in July of 2020. Before becoming chief in 2015, he spent years dealing with street gangs, combating drug trafficking, and working with the emergency task force.

The Liberals have nominated financial services executive Stephanie Bowman to run in the riding.

Ontario election on June 2

As the provincial election approaches, Ford’s approval rating has dropped four points to 37 per cent, according to a Maru Public Opinion poll released last week. His rating sits three points below where his approval rating was when he won the election in 2018.

Earlier this month, Ford lost his most prominent cabinet minister, MPP Christine Elliott, who said she won’t be seeking re-election but will stay as health minister until the spring.

Elliott’s departure was the latest in a string of Ford’s cabinet ministers who won’t be running in the upcoming election. Rod Phillips, who was serving as minister of long-term care, resigned his post and stepped down as MPP in January.

Burlington MPP Jane McKenna, the Associate Minister of Women and Children’s Issues, former environment minister Jeff Yurek, and Scarborough Centre MPP Christina Mitas were among half a dozen other members of the party’s caucus who won’t seek re-election.

Meanwhile, Ford and his MPPs have been on the campaign trail announcing new projects, including a 30-year plan for GTA transit and eliminating licence plate renewal fees. Ahead of the election, the Ford government will be delivering the last budget of this term on April 30.


With files from CityNews staff Richard Southern, Meredith Bond, John Marchesan, and Lucas Casaletto, and The Canadian Press

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