John Sewell’s name will be familiar to anyone who has lived in Toronto during the last fifty years. He has been an influential voice in many aspects of the life of this city.
John began his political career in the late 60’s in the Cabbagetown area of Toronto (Ward 7) where he and our own Karl Jaffary, were aldermen. John was a vocal advocate for better housing–which has continued to be a big interest of his. As an environmental activist, John rode his bicycle to City Council meetings and opposed the building of large banking and convention centers at the expense of low cost housing. He was elected mayor in 1978 and was often dubbed by the media as “Mayor Blue Jeans”. He wore jeans as a way of distancing himself from developers and connecting with the counterculture.
As well as housing and the environment, policing has always been a strong interest of John’s. He taught the first course offered in policing at York University and later taught ‘Policing in Canada’ at Ryerson. John continues to be an active member of the Toronto Police Accountability Coalition.
John is the author of several books, the most recent: Police in Canada (2010) and How We Changed Toronto (2015).
With policing being very much in the news and playing a significant role in political discussions, we have invited John Sewell to be our Fourth Sunday Speaker on October 25th. There will be a short pause after the end of our 10:30 am service to allow everyone to get a bite to eat and then John will begin his presentation at 11:45 am, followed by Q and A.
We have asked John to share his insights about Toronto’s police force and his ideas of how it might be improved.