Kevin Clarke (politician)
Kevin Mark Clarke is a perennial candidate for public office in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. He was also one of the most recognizable homeless persons in the city[dubious ], campaigning on the issues he has advocated for most of his life- "the people's rights". He is the leader of the People's Political Party of Ontario.
Clarke advocates for comprehensive reform in the criminal justice system, to create a system which prevents first-time offenders from entering the vicious circle that causes many first timers to be repeat offenders. He has proposed a program which reduces the inevitable recidivism which violent prison environments create:'The Inmate Monitored Education System' otherwise known as[T.I.M.E.], which would help eliminate the harmful influence of prison life on first-time offenders.
He also campaigns strongly on the issues of poverty and homelessness.
Clarke worked in the automobile business during the early 1990s. He sought election as Mayor of East York in the 1994 municipal election, describing himself as an "advertising consultant, political rebel and welfare recipient". He promised to resign after three months if elected, and to form a provincial party for ordinary people.
Clarke first campaigned for the Legislative Assembly of Ontario in the 1995 general election, challenging New Democratic Party Premier Bob Rae in York South. He received 170 votes, finishing seventh in a field of nine candidates. During this election, Clarke vowed to oppose the "pimps" of government who "live off the avails of the people".
Clarke campaigned for York South again in 1996 after Rae retired from the legislature, and finished last in a field of six candidates with 70 votes. The winner was Gerard Kennedy of the Ontario Liberal Party.
He sought election to the Canadian House of Commons in the 1997 federal election, and finished sixth out of eight candidates in Broadview—Greenwood with 211 votes. The winner was Dennis Mills of the Liberal Party of Canada. During this election, Clarke described himself as a salesman and a businessman.
He became homeless in 1998, after his auto business failed. For the next seven years, he frequently sang and preached on the streets of Toronto while wearing long, flowing robes. He was also actively involved in public affairs, and was a member of the Toronto Disaster Relief Committee.
Clarke ran for the Ontario legislature a third time in a by-election for Beaches—East York on September 20, 2001. He finished sixth out of eight candidates with 94 votes. The winner was Michael Prue of the New Democratic Party.
Clarke campaigned for Mayor of Toronto in the 2000, 2003 and 2006 municipal elections, and ran for Toronto City Council in by-elections held in 1998 and 2001. His primary issues were street and water safety, though he also emphasized anti-drug policies. He ran his 2001 campaign out of a homeless shelter which he used every night. In the 1998 campaign, his age was listed as thirty-four.
He took part in an unusual protest during the 2003 campaign, by tearing up pieces of a telephone book and scattering them to the wind during lunch hour at a busy Toronto intersection. "You care if there's paper on the street," he said to passers-by, "but you don't care if there's people on the street". He also described himself as an "ex-con, ex-drug dealer and ex-teacher".
He was a candidate running for the 2010 Toronto mayoral election. Clarke has been known to employ eccentric tactics to reach the public during his campaign, including speeches while aboard the TTC.
On July 28, 2011, Clarke stormed a meeting held by City Council and their constituents to review core city services. He was ejected.
He has also been known to stand in front of various offices of the large political parties and campaign for the People's Political Party. In the 2011 Ontario Election, he was asked to leave private property after scaring customers of local businesses.