is a Canadian
Canada is a North American country consisting of ten provinces and three territories. Located in the northern part of the continent, it extends from the Atlantic Ocean in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west, and northward into the Arctic Ocean...
politician. In 2003, she was elected to the Toronto City Council
The Toronto City Council is the governing body of the city of Toronto, Ontario, Canada.Members represent wards throughout the city, and are known as councillors....
for Ward 30 Toronto-Danforth.
Fletcher was born in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario
Sault Ste. Marie is a city on the St. Marys River in Algoma District, Ontario, Canada. It is the third largest city in Northern Ontario, after Sudbury and Thunder Bay, with a population of 74,948. The community was founded as a French religious mission: Sault either means "jump" or "rapids" in...
. She worked as an educator in third world development, and became a community activist in Winnipeg. She was a plant organizer in a Toronto garment mill in the early 1970s. After working at the mill, she worked at the Downsview DeHavilland Plant. When she worked there she went by the nickname ‘Rosie the Riveter’
. At the plant she was involved in the women's committee of Local 112. Today CAW 112 represents the aerospace workers at the Bombardier/DeHavilland plant. One of her many activities included a stint as a singer with a group called the Rank and File
Formed by brothers Chip and Tony Kinman after they split up their punk band the Dils, Rank and File were a roots rock post-punk band. The Kinmans' singing was distinctive; they weren't traditional harmony singers à la the Everly Brothers, but rather sang synchronized upper and lower octaves. The...
in the early 1980's.
As of 2010 she lives in Toronto with her husband John Cartwright and their two children. Her husband is the president of the Toronto and York Region Labour Council.
Manitoba Communist Party
In 1980, she ran for the Winnipeg School Board for Ward 2, in the city's north end. In 1981, she was elected leader of the Communist Party of Canada in Manitoba. She stayed on as leader for five years. She ran twice in the 1981
The Manitoba general election of November 17, 1981 was held to elect Members of the Legislative Assembly of the Province of Manitoba, Canada. It was won by the opposition New Democratic Party, which took 34 of 57 seats. The governing Progressive Conservative Party took the remaining 23, while the...
The Manitoba general election of March 18, 1986 was held to elect Members of the Legislative Assembly of the Province of Manitoba, Canada. It was won by the New Democratic Party, which took 30 seats out of 57. The Progressive Conservative Party won 26 seats and formed the official opposition...
provincial elections in the Winnipeg riding of Burrows. She garnered 144 and 131 votes respectively, less than 2% of the popular vote. In 1986 she left the party and relocated to Toronto. In the 1990s Fletcher worked at Toronto City Hall as executive assistant to councillor Dan Leckie.
In 2000, she was elected as a trustee for Ward 15 in the Toronto District School Board
Toronto District School Board, also known by the acronym TDSB, is the English-language public school board for Toronto, Ontario, Canada...
. During her time on the board, she was active in fighting the cutbacks of the Mike Harris
Michael Deane "Mike" Harris was the 22nd Premier of Ontario from June 26, 1995 to April 15, 2002. He is most noted for the "Common Sense Revolution", his Progressive Conservative government's program of deficit reduction in combination with lower taxes and cuts to government...
and Ernie Eves
Ernest Lawrence "Ernie" Eves was the 23rd Premier of the province of Ontario, Canada, from April 15, 2002, to October 23, 2003.-Beginnings:...
The Progressive Conservative Party of Ontario , is a right-of-centre political party in Ontario, Canada. The party was known for many years as "Ontario's natural governing party." It has ruled the province for 80 of the years since Confederation, including an uninterrupted run from 1943 to 1985...
governments and was able to prevent two school closures in her area. One of them was Bruce Junior Public School, which Fletcher helped save by housing a new facility there for childhood learning and development centre for families.
In 2002, the provincial government appointed Paul Christie
Paul Christie is a municipal politician and administrator in Ontario, Canada. He served as a Toronto and Metro Councillor for the Metro ward of East Toronto from 1985–1997 and as supervisor of the Toronto District School Board for the 2002-2003 and 2003-2004 school years.Christie was born in...
as supervisor for the school board since the trustees had refused to submit a balanced budget. During this period, Christie had the power to overrule any decisions made by the trustees. Although trustees continued to meet in what was at most an advisory role, frustrations with their situation often led to confrontation. During a meeting in January 2003, Fletcher and school board director David Reid exchanged words in a heated debate. Reid accused Fletcher of misleading the meeting over a series of questions she said had not been addressed by staff.
When Jack Layton
John Gilbert "Jack" Layton, PC was a Canadian social democratic politician and the Leader of the Official Opposition. He was the leader of the New Democratic Party from 2003 to 2011, and previously sat on Toronto City Council, serving at times during that period as acting mayor and deputy mayor of...
resigned as councillor to run for the leadership of the federal New Democratic Party
The New Democratic Party , commonly referred to as the NDP, is a federal social-democratic political party in Canada. The interim leader of the NDP is Nycole Turmel who was appointed to the position due to the illness of Jack Layton, who died on August 22, 2011. The provincial wings of the NDP in...
(NDP), Fletcher received the endorsement of the NDP to run to replace him in the ward. In the race she was endorsed by Layton, who by the time of the election was the leader of the federal NDP, and the local NDP Member of Provincial Parliament Marilyn Churley
During the election she was described as "a high profile lefty who has the backing of the NDP." A key issue in the election was the fixed link to the Toronto Island Airport that Fletcher opposed.
In the 2003 election, eight candidates competed in Ward 30. Prominent candidates included Chris Phibbs, who was executive assistant to Toronto City Councillor Kyle Rae
Kyle Rae is a former Canadian politician. He was a city councillor for Ward 27 Toronto Centre-Rosedale in Toronto, Ontario from 1991 to 2010. Rae is now a self-described consultant.-Politics:...
for 11 years, and Maureen Gilroy, a centrist candidate who had the backing of Liberal MP Dennis Mills
Dennis Joseph Mills is a Canadian businessman and former politician. He was a Liberal Member of Parliament for the riding of Toronto-Danforth in the east-end of downtown Toronto. He now sits on the board of directors of Magna International....
Fletcher won with 39.5% of the vote (6,460 votes) beating Phibbs who had 26.1% of the vote, Gilroy who received 19.3% of the vote, and McCormick who received 5.1%. The total number of votes cast was 16,373 votes.
Following her election, Fletcher became part of the governing coalition led by newly elected Mayor David Miller
David Raymond Miller is a Canadian politician. He was the 63rd Mayor of Toronto and the second since the 1998 amalgamation. He was elected to the position in 2003 for a three-year term and re-elected in 2006 for a four-year term...
As a councillor, Fletcher rallied Toronto City Council to oppose the Portlands Energy Centre
The Portlands Energy Centre is a 550-megawatt natural gas electrical generating station on the Toronto waterfront at 470 Unwin Avenue – next to the site of the decommissioned Hearn Generating Station.-Corporate Support:...
, a 550 megawatt power plant in the Port Lands district beside the Hearn Generating Station
The Richard L. Hearn Generating Station is a decommissioned electrical generating station in Toronto. The plant was originally fired by coal, but later converted to burn natural gas. It is still owned by Ontario Power Generation, a publicly owned electrical generation company...
. The grassroots campaign was unable to stop construction of the plant which was completed in 2007.
Other significant developments in Ward 30 supported by Fletcher include Filmport
Pinewood Toronto Studios is a major film and television studio complex in Toronto, Ontario, Canada and is the largest of its kind in Canada...
(now known as Pinewood Toronto Studios), Canada's largest purpose-built sound stage and film production space, and the Zhong Hua Men Archway, the only traditional Chinese archway to be built in Toronto.
In the 2006 election Fletcher ran in a field of six candidates. The overall turnout in Ward 30 dropped to 13,181 votes. Fletcher won with 60.3% of the vote. With the drop in voter turnout, however, her vote total increased by 1,476 votes over the 2003 results to 7,936 votes. Suzanne McCormick, who had run against her in 2003, was the second place candidate and received 26.3% (3,470 votes).
During the term, She served as the Chair of the Parks and Environment Committee where she spearheaded the City of Toronto's Climate Change, Clean Air and Sustainable Energy Action Plan and Climate Change Adaptation Strategy, and the People, Dogs and Parks – Off-Leash Areas and Commercial Dog Walker Permit Policy. As chair, she was also a member of the mayor's Executive Committee. She also served on the boards of Toronto Public Health and the Toronto Community Housing Corporation, and she chaired the Aboriginal Committee and the Animal Services sub-committee.
Calling herself "an unapologetic, unadulterated left-winger", Fletcher is regarded as an advocate for affordable housing, environmentally sustainable municipal policy, social justice, and good land use planning.
In 2008, Fletcher requested Leslieville’s Duke of York Tavern to paint over a mural of a rifle-wielding John Wayne
Marion Mitchell Morrison , better known by his stage name John Wayne, was an American film actor, director and producer. He epitomized rugged masculinity and became an enduring American icon. He is famous for his distinctive calm voice, walk, and height...
at the corner of Queen Street East and Leslie Street. Fletcher said that the mural was inappropriate given that a young woman was killed by a stray bullet in front of the tavern in October, 2008. Fletcher was surprised that some patrons were upset. "I’m a little shocked that they are [upset]. It just shows their lack of sensitivity," she said.
Leslieville Smart Centres development
In 2009, Fletcher campaigned against an application by Smart Centres, to build a 65000 m² (699,654.2 sq ft) retail facility in the City's 'Studio District'. The development was proposed for lands occupied by Toronto Film Studios which would have required a change in the zoning from industrial to retail. The proposal was denied on the grounds that the development would have destabilized the surrounding employment district. Smart Centres appealed the decision to the Ontario Municipal Board
The Ontario Municipal Board is an independent administrative board, operated as an adjudicative tribunal, in the province of Ontario, Canada...
. In March 2009 the OMB sided with city council. However, OMB vice-chair James McKenzie was critical of measures taken to block the proposal. In his decision he wrote, "the city (planning) instruments represent a panicked response to an unwanted development scheme and are neither measured nor rational response. They are not the product of a bona fide planning initiative - they are not appropriate, practical, workable or achievable and they do not represent good land use planning."
On 2 March 2010, Fletcher "interrogated" a man who was identified as John Smith during deputations on the City of Toronto's budget. Fletcher wanted to know if he expected her to cut the arts budget, school breakfast programs, or subsidized daycare spots.
Smith replied, "Councillor, you're asking me to do your job. Are you seeking re-election in [October]? You're being paid to make tough decisions." After a further exchange he added, "You should be fired." The Toronto Star then reported that Fletcher yelled back: "Oh, come and run against me. Come on down, baby!"
Fletcher subsequently apologized to Toronto City Council for her comments by letter writing: "if my tone was argumentative or if they believe I do not value their participation in the budget process." The outburst was covered by major media in Toronto including an editorial in the Toronto Sun and an article about the outburst from the point of view of her fellow city councillors.
University Avenue bike lanes
In May 2010 Fletcher voted against a proposal to install bike lanes on University Avenue in downtown Toronto. The proposal failed on a 15-13 vote. She said she had intended to vote in favour of the proposal and blamed fatigue and city hall technology for her mis-vote. Consequently, her vote had cycling advocates mourning the loss of "the ultimate in bike lanes."
In the October 25, 2010 municipal election, Fletcher narrowly beat former Citytv reporter Liz West by less than two percent of the votes cast. According to The Globe and Mail
, this was a "hot" ward race. The Globe
reported that there was a strong desire for change in the ward that lead to the close showing by West who entered the race only in mid-August. Third-place candidate Andrew James dropped out of the race and endorsed West prior to the election day.
The Toronto and York Region Labour Council made several endorsements of councillors and trustee candidates including Fletcher.
|2010 Toronto election
For information on the campaign for mayor see Toronto mayoral election, 2010The 2010 Toronto council election was held on October 25, 2010 to elect councillors to represent Toronto's 44 wards at Toronto City Council...
, Ward 30