Some of Algonquin College’s professors, both past and present, are running for city council in the Oct. 24 municipal election.
Steve Desroches is running for city council in the Riverside South-Findlay Creek ward. He is a former local government professor at Algonquin College who was a city councillor and deputy mayor from 2006 to 2014.
“I decided to run because I was approached by many residents in the ward to put my name forward so that the area would have an experienced city councilor,” Desroches said. “There is much work to be done to keep up with the growth in the area.”
Desroches explained why public transit would be a top priority if he is elected.
“The city operates a large number of services that impact students, such as transit. Their voice is their say. Voting is one of the key duties of citizens and part of a healthy democracy. Public Transit is a top priority. We need to ensure that the new O-Train service benefits the residents of the ward with a reliable feeder system to access the new service.”
Michael Wood is running for councillor in the Knoxdale-Merivale ward. He is a current professor at Algonquin College where he has been teaching business, music, media and film for 15 years.
“The only reason I decided to run for office was that I have a passion for helping people,” Wood explained. “I can think of over the last 15 years of being a part-time professor at Algonquin College where students would all say the same things about me. I saw a post where a student talked about how they sent an email to me at 2 a.m. and I responded in 5 minutes. I don’t care how big or small your problem is, I will always try to help you. You may say, ‘It’s no big deal’, but it is to you so it’s a big deal to me. I want the people to know that I want to help you in any way that I can.”
Wood talked about why it is important to encourage students to vote.
“One of the advantages of myself running for office is that the students see that their prof is running which could get them to want to get involved in the community,” Wood said. “They see us wanting to be engaged in the community and I think that everyone should be involved as it would make the community a better place. I prefer my students to call me Mike over professor as I always viewed myself as a mentor than a professor. Students get to see first-hand what’s involved in a campaign and getting involved. They want to ask questions about the election and I think it’s a super cool way to inspire students to do something in the future.”
One of Wood’s main goals as city councillor would be to improve the transit system, based on his experience with his students.
“I have students come late to class and apologize as their bus was late,” Wood said. “I tell them to take a seat and don’t worry about it because it’s not their fault. Then, I have other students tell me that they waited for the bus and even went early to the stop, and nothing showed up.”
Wood described his plan for fixing this issue.
“I will take the stories I hear from others up with everyone involved with city transit so that we can come up with a viable solution on this issue,” Wood said. “We have to work together to make it more efficient, affordable, and reliable. Once we do that, it will help everybody who uses it.”