Morgan defends voting record as he launches bid to be London’s next mayor

London’s current deputy mayor and Ward 7 councillor is throwing his hat into the ring to become the next mayor.

On Thursday, the 44-year-old father of four officially registered as a candidate.

“This council has a great track record,” Morgan told the media after filing his paperwork with the clerk’s office. “Not only have we [made] historic investments in housing, not only have we committed to a roadmap to 3,000 more affordable [housing] units, we passed the Climate Emergency Action Plan, and we have taken significant steps to address anti-racism and equity.”

After seven years on council, CTV News asked Morgan if he’s running on a ‘more of the same’ platform.

He responded, “I think you have to look beyond one term of council. When you look at the things we’ve started, [they] absolutely, positively must be completed.”

Morgan hints that his platform will also focus on housing affordability, downtown revitalization and strengthening the voice of Londoners in local decision making.

“You will see new initiatives, that I am not going to reveal today, centred around how people can contribute to shaping and improving the neighbourhoods around the city,” he said.

Asked directly about some of his voting history that drew criticism from council colleagues or the public, Morgan suggested it’s to be expected serving two terms as a city councillor.

“I’ve certainly built bridges with individuals who have said to me ‘I didn’t like your vote on this’— but they’re happy with some of the other things we’re doing. Londoners don’t always agree, and one of the great things about politics is we have debate and dialogue,” Morgan said.

Specifically, he recently backed a land deal aimed at relieving overcrowding at Sir Arthur Currie Public School in his ward.

Critics argued the deal sidestepped policies in The London Plan intended to ensure orderly development near the city’s periphery and curb sprawl.

“You can support an official plan and also have amendments to it,” Morgan responded. “The context in the City of London is very different from when we first passed the official plan. Not only are we the fastest growing economy and fastest growing city in Ontario, we’ve gone through a pandemic.”

In 2019 he voted against the west route of the bus rapid transit system, and as an administrative employee of Western University, declared a conflict of interest regarding the north route.

Morgan wouldn’t say if northwest London now requires rapid transit routes, instead pointing to upcoming work to develop city hall’s Mobility Master Plan.

“There are changes that need to be made, and I am not going to jump ahead and suggest that I know what those [changes] are when we’ve started a comprehensive process to determine that,” he said.

Morgan was joined at his news conference by former city manager Martin Hayward.

“He’s very much a consensus builder, a team leader,” praised Hayward who retired after a 35-year career with city hall.

It’s the first time Hayward has voiced support for a candidate.

“He [Morgan] does his homework. I can’t tell you how many times when I was [city] treasurer he came in to question me about complex issues just to have an understanding so he could make an informed decision at council.”

Morgan was hand-picked by Mayor Ed Holder to be his deputy mayor for the second half of this council term.

On Tuesday, Holder announced he was retiring from politics this fall.

Morgan is the second candidate to register for the mayoral race.

Sean O’Connell filed on May 2.

Londoners go to the polls on October 24.