Maria Augimeri

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Maria Augimeri
Maria augimeri.jpg
Maria Augimeri in February 2007.
Toronto City Councillor for (Ward 9) York Centre
Assumed office
December 1, 2000
Preceded by Ward Created
Chair of the North York Community Council
Assumed office
June 16, 2005
Preceded by Denzil Minnan-Wong
Chair of the Toronto Transit Commission
In office
February 19, 2014 – November 30, 2014
Preceded by Karen Stintz
Succeeded by Josh Colle
Toronto City Councillor for (Ward 7) Black Creek
In office
January 1, 1998 – December 1, 2000
Preceded by Ward Created
Succeeded by Ward Abolished
Metro Toronto City Councillor for Black Creek
In office
December 1, 1988 – January 1, 1998
Preceded by Ward Created
Succeeded by City Amalgamated
North York City Councillor for Ward 5
In office
December 1, 1985 – December 1, 1988
Succeeded by Anthony Perruzza
Personal details
Born Italy
Political party New Democratic Party
Spouse(s) Odoardo Di Santo
Residence Toronto, Ontario
Occupation Social Anthropologist

Maria Augimeri (About this sound listen) (born in Italy) is a city councillor in Toronto, Ward 9 representing one of the two York Centre wards.


Augimeri moved to Canada with her family at age two. Before entering politics, she was a Social Anthropologist at York University. An Italian-Canadian, she has written three books on the Italian-Canadian community and is also a published poet.


She first entered politics as a school trustee, and was elected to the city council of North York in 1985. A left-leaning member of the council,[citation needed] she ran for the Ontario New Democratic Party in the 1987 provincial election in the riding of Downsview. (Her husband, Odoardo Di Santo, had held the riding for ten years before losing it in the 1985 election.) She lost to Liberal Laureano Leone by 174 votes.

Augimeri was elected to the Metro Toronto council in 1988, and remained on that council until the creation of the new city of Toronto in 1997. She has been elected to the new city council three times. She is known for promoting environmental awareness and cultural issues.

She was endorsed for re-election by the Toronto Star newspaper in 2003, although the Star also accused her of "hypocrisy in fighting housing for homeless youth, despite her New Democratic Party roots."[1] Augimeri had previously introduced measures which held up a housing construction project. The left-leaning Now Magazine also gave her a tepid endorsement in 2000, describing her as a "do-nothing councillor", but also claiming she was better than the opposition.[2]

Augimeri considered running for the federal New Democratic Party in York Centre in the 2004 federal election, but ultimately declined.

On November 21, 2006, Toronto's integrity commissioner "tentatively reached the conclusion" that Augimeri had committed discreditable conduct over voicemail comments she made about Councillor Peter Li Preti. Augimeri said on the tape that Li Preti was unsuitable to be a councillor and alleged he was "being actively investigated by police".[3]

On August 10, 2008, a massive propane explosion in Augimeri's riding destroyed a propane distribution facility which caused the evacuation of thousands of residents. Augimeri cut short a summer vacation in Italy and returned to Toronto to assist with the situation. During a press conference, she became involved in a heated discussion with Tony Di Santo, head of the local ratepayer's group. She said, "If people have problems of a partisan nature they should not be using the death of a firefighter... So shut up!" Later she apologized for losing her temper, "letting my anger" (get in the way) in her words.[4]

2010 municipal election[edit]

The 2010 Toronto municipal election was held on October 25. Augimeri won by an 89-vote margin (0.7%) over local businessman Gus Cusimano. Augimeri thanked her supporters the following day on October 26, 2010 when she said, "I know a lot of the community voted for me because they know I'm the one to protect community interests."[5]

Cusimano later announced that he would challenge the results. The matter was heard in court on March 29, 2011.[6] The judge ruled that there were enough irregularities in the 2010 voting that the election should be held again. Initially the city's legal staff said they would be appealing the decision but on May 13 it was announced that the city would not launch an appeal. City Clerk Uli Watkiss said in a statement, "The decision to proceed with a by-election and resolve this matter as quickly as possible is in the best interest of the public, the individuals directly affected, and the workings of Council."[7] The mayor's office supported the decision. Rob Ford's press secretary Adrienne Batra said, "Obviously the mayor supported (Cusimano) during the general election and once the byelection gets under way he will be fully supporting him again."[8]

On May 16, Augimeri announced that she would be appealing the decision herself. She said the by-election would cost $525,000.[note 1] She said, "The clerk’s advice not to appeal does harm to taxpayers as well as to the integrity of our electoral system."[9] On August 4, the city reversed its decision and decided to join the appeal which was held in September 2011.[10] On December 19, the court ruled in Augimeri's favour. A three judge panel ruled that although 300 ballots were unsigned by electoral officers the people voting were very likely eligible to vote and that this would have no effect on the election. In a related judgement, they also ruled that Cusimano incorrectly voted in the Ward 9 election because he lived in another riding. They decided that no further action was necessary.[11]

Election results[edit]


Ontario general election, 1987: Downsview
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Liberal Laureano Leone 11,832 46.80 +2.88
New Democratic Maria Augimeri 11,658 46.11 +3.06
     Progressive Conservative Drew McCreadie 1,788 7.07 −5.94
Total valid votes 25278 100.00


2014 Toronto election, Ward 9
Candidate Votes %
Maria Augimeri 6,373 42.74%
Gus Cusimano 4,230 28.37%
Anthony Fernando 3,367 22.58%
Danny Quattrociocchi 562 3.77%
Ances Hercules 248 1.66%
Wilson Basantes 130 0.87%
Total 14,910 100%
2010 Toronto election, Ward 9[12]
Candidate Votes %
Maria Augimeri 5,452 44.3
Gus Cusimano 5,363 43.6
Gianfranco Amendola 1,082 8.8
Wilson Basantes 259 2.1
Stefano Picone 142 1.2
Total 12,298 100
2006 Toronto election, Ward 9[13]
Candidate Votes %
Maria Augimeri 7,256 77.6
Vlad Protsenko 2,100 22.4
Total 9,356 100
2003 Toronto election, Ward 9[14]
Candidate Votes %
Maria Augimeri 7,898 74.1
Anna Oppedisano 1,061 9.9
Richard Baldachino 779 7.3
Annmarie Robb 487 4.5
Domenic D'Abruzzo 422 4.2
Total 10,647 100
2000 Toronto election, Ward 9[15]
Candidate Votes %
Maria Augimeri 8,698 72.3
Anna Oppedisano 2,816 23.4
Richard Baldachino 504 4.3
Total 12,018 100
1997 Toronto election, Ward 7
Candidate Votes %
Maria Augimeri 11,243 28.01
Peter Li Preti 9,747 24.28
Maria Rizzo 8,850 22.05
Anthony Perruzza 6,347 15.81
Anna Stella 2,961 7.38
Jeanelle Julien 523 1.30
Abdulhaq Omar 467 1.16
Total valid votes 40,138 100.00


  • Italian-Canadians, a cross section. 1978. National Congress of Italian-Canadians. Ottawa.
  • Calabrese folklore. 1985. National Museums of Canada. Ottawa.


  1. ^ The cost of the ward 9 by-election is estimated at $175,000. The court decision also affected a school trustee election and that election would cost $350,000 since it spans two wards.


  1. ^ "Star's selections for city council". EDITORIAL Section. The Toronto Star. 2003-11-07. pp. A26. Retrieved 2007-02-22. 
  2. ^ Anderson, Scott; Enzo Di Matteo (2000-11-09). "Now's Election PICKS a ward by ward voters' GUIDE". Newsfront. Now Magazine. Archived from the original on 2007-09-29. Retrieved 2007-02-22. 
  3. ^ Moloney, Paul (2006-11-21). "Message left by councillor probed". GTA section. The Toronto Star. pp. B1. Retrieved 2007-02-22. 
  4. ^ Alcoba, Natalie (2008-08-14). "Augimeri says sorry for 'shut up' outburst, says she 'blew up' after people 'took pot shots at me'". National Post. Retrieved 2010-11-03. [permanent dead link]
  5. ^ Queen, Lisa; Sunshine Fannie (2010-10-26). "Ward 9: Augimeri scores 89-vote victory". Inside Toronto. Toronto Community News. Retrieved 2010-12-07. 
  6. ^ Nickle, David (2011-02-04). "Ward 9 to be challenged in court". Inside Toronto. Toronto Community News. Retrieved 2011-02-16. 
  7. ^ "Augimeri to face new vote". CBC Toronto. Canadian Broadcasting Company. 2011-05-13. Retrieved 2011-08-14. 
  8. ^ Peat, Don (2011-05-13). "Byelection a go in Augimeri's Ward 9". Toronto Sun. Retrieved 2011-08-14. 
  9. ^ Alcoba, Natalie (2011-05-16). "Councillor Augimeri to appeal byelection decision". National Post. Retrieved 2011-08-14. 
  10. ^ Rider, David (2011-08-04). "Mississauga asks to join Augimeri-Cusimano appeal". Toronto Star. TorStar. Retrieved 2011-08-14. 
  11. ^ Dale, Daniel (2011-12-19). "Ward 9 byelection rejected, Augimeri to stay". Toronto Star. TorStar. Retrieved 2011-12-19. 
  12. ^ City of Toronto elections page Archived 2010-10-26 at the Wayback Machine.
  13. ^ City Clerk's Official Declaration 2006 Archived 2011-06-07 at the Wayback Machine.
  14. ^ City Clerk's Official Declaration 2003 Archived 2011-04-29 at the Wayback Machine.
  15. ^ Toronto Election Results Ward 9 Archived 2012-10-14 at the Wayback Machine.

External links[edit]