Longtime union leader running for city council won’t take no for an answer

Brian Christoph, a longtime labor leader who has recently dedicated himself to helping marginalized people, says he is showing determination in his campaign to run for a seat on Town Ward City Council.

“‘No’ and ‘never’ are not part of my vocabulary,” he said. “I’m not a professional politician – I just bring a lot of experience and common sense.”

Christoph, 67, grew up in East City.

He studied at both Ryerson University and the University of Regina, then pursued a career as a union organizer for workers in the hotel and hospitality industry in Saskatchewan.

He said he was the first union leader to organize workers at all KFC restaurants in Regina; he won collective agreements for everyone, including the delivery drivers.

The drivers were considered independent contractors by KFC, Christoph said, even though they appeared on employee schedules and performed tasks such as cleaning restaurant restrooms.

Christoph said he used his knowledge of labor law to win in this case and many others, and the cases he worked on are still cited today by unions across Canada.

He was sometimes flown to Las Vegas to work on hotel pickets, he says: “I was probably one of the best union organizers.”

For the past 12 years he has again lived in Peterborough on Stewart Street in the Town area.

These days, he works downtown as a volunteer street advocate for marginalized people.

He says he goes “wherever I am needed” downtown to meet people experiencing homelessness, addiction or mental health.

It helps them fill out forms so they can apply for help like mental health programs, for example.

“Nobody else is doing this service for them,” he said. “That’s what I do.”

If elected to city council, he said, he would bring new ideas on how to help marginalized people.

For example, Christoph notes that Extendicare is about to build a new long-term care facility on Towerhill Road; he thinks the city should buy the current building on Alexander Court, once it is vacated, and convert it into a drug and mental health clinic.

“We don’t need band-aid approaches anymore,” he said.

In the city district, the outgoing councillor. Dean Pappas is seeking re-election, but roommate Coun. Kemi Akapo is not.

Former Peterborough-Kawartha federal NDP candidate Joy Lachica, artist Alex Bierk and Speak Easy Café owner Vickie Karikas are also in the running.

The municipal election will take place on October 24. People have until August 19 to file their candidacy at City Hall.

Who is running for mayor?

Mayor Diane Therrien will not run again.

Com. Stephen Wright of Northcrest Ward is running for mayor, as is Monaghan Ward Coun. Henry Clarke and former Peterborough City Councilor and former Peterborough—Kawartha MLA Jeff Leal.

Com. Otonabee Ward’s Kim Zippel no longer shows up, but roommate Coun. Lesley Parnell is running for re-election. Kevin Duguay, a professional planner, is also running in the Otonabee ward, as is former Peterborough-Kawartha federal Green Party candidate Chanté White (2021 federal election).

Councilors Keith Riel and Gary Baldwin are both up for re-election in the Ashburnham ward, as is former Peterborough-Kawartha federal Green Party candidate Andrew MacGregor (2019 federal election).

Com. Town Ward’s Dean Pappas is seeking re-election, but his roommate Coun. Kemi Akapo is not. Former Peterborough-Kawartha federal NDP candidate Joy Lachica, artist Alex Bierk, volunteer street lawyer Brian Christoph and Speak Easy Café owner Vickie Karikas are running.

In Monaghan Ward, county. Don Vassiliadis is a candidate for re-election. IT specialist Matthew Crowley is a candidate, as are former Kiwanis Club of Peterborough president Jeff Westlake, diversity and inclusion advocate Charmaine Magumbe, tax preparer Lyle Saunders and millwright at retired Tom Wigglesworth.

Com. Andrew Beamer is running for re-election in Northcrest Ward. Former Northcrest Ward councilor Dave Haacke is also showing up in this ward, as are Monarch Ultra co-founder Carlotta James, RV sales consultant Aldo Andreoli, behavior consultant Shauna Kingston and service specialist Social Karen Grant.

Who is running for mayor?

Mayor Diane Therrien will not run again.

Com. Stephen Wright of Northcrest Ward is running for mayor, as is Monaghan Ward Coun. Henry Clarke and former Peterborough City Councilor and former Peterborough—Kawartha MLA Jeff Leal.

Com. Otonabee Ward’s Kim Zippel no longer shows up, but roommate Coun. Lesley Parnell is running for re-election. Kevin Duguay, a professional planner, is also running in the Otonabee ward, as is former Peterborough-Kawartha federal Green Party candidate Chanté White (2021 federal election).

Councilors Keith Riel and Gary Baldwin are both up for re-election in the Ashburnham ward, as is former Peterborough-Kawartha federal Green Party candidate Andrew MacGregor (2019 federal election).

Com. Town Ward’s Dean Pappas is seeking re-election, but his roommate Coun. Kemi Akapo is not. Former Peterborough-Kawartha federal NDP candidate Joy Lachica, artist Alex Bierk, volunteer street lawyer Brian Christoph and Speak Easy Café owner Vickie Karikas are running.

In Monaghan Ward, county. Don Vassiliadis is a candidate for re-election. IT specialist Matthew Crowley is a candidate, as are former Kiwanis Club of Peterborough president Jeff Westlake, diversity and inclusion advocate Charmaine Magumbe, tax preparer Lyle Saunders and millwright at retired Tom Wigglesworth.

Com. Andrew Beamer is running for re-election in Northcrest Ward. Former Northcrest Ward councilor Dave Haacke is also showing up in this ward, as are Monarch Ultra co-founder Carlotta James, RV sales consultant Aldo Andreoli, behavior consultant Shauna Kingston and service specialist Social Karen Grant.

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