"I was starting to get upset with what was happening at City Hall, on a small level, when I was calling my city councillor and I would not have anybody return my calls," said Simon Wookey. "This is where I live, (Ward 18 and the absent incumbent is Adam Giambrone, a member of the NDP caucus) so this where I am running. The local issues are being ignored. People aren't being called. People aren't being listened to. There are no public consultations, or if there are they are done last minute or secretly, and that's wrong," adds Wookey.
"My grandfather, Emanuel Lepik, who passed away six years ago, was the minister of the Estonian Orthodox congregation, who worshipped at St. Peter's Lutheran on Mount Pleasant at Eglinton. He instilled a sense of public service in me, to give back," explains Wookey."My grandfather worked as an architect for my father for ten years," adds Wookey.
"I have an Estonian passport (citizenship) and when I worked in London, England between 1995 and 1999 (as an underwater cameraperson) I would fly to Estonia a few times every year to visit my relatives. It was easy, because the Estonian airline would fly to Gatwick Airport (London) a few times a day. My mother and I are looking at buying a place in Saaremaa, Muhumaa actually, my mother has a good friend from there," said Wookey.
"My grandfather taught a lot that applies to politics, he taught me to listen. Despite losing two of his children and his parents during the war, he was a very positive person, believed in the inherent good of all people and I truly respect him for that," reflects Wookey, adding "I miss him very much."
"The first time I went to Estonia was in 1976, when I was five years-old. We went to see my grandmother's brother who had just returned from Siberia. We came by boat from Sweden and I remember entering this cage-like structure and soldiers with Kalashnikovs standing around. They took away our passports and gave us an "inturist" document and I remember the fear that it would generate. We went to my great uncle's apartment yet we couldn't talk and everything outside was bleak and grey. I next went back in 1994 and in the three years of independence things had changed greatly. Street signs were in Estonian and the city was bright, Estonian border guards were there. The world could learn a lot from countries that have lost their independence. Here only 32% of the people come out in municipal elections to vote and take for granted things people suffered, fought and died for" said Wookey.
"It is important that we start establishing trust again by listening and being honest and not try promising everything but saying I will do the best I can," said Wookey.
The Committee room is on 1090 College St., Toronto, Ontario, phone number 416-534-6504 and the website is www.wookey.ca .
Simon Wookey speaks (2)