Rookie councillor for Scarborough brimming with self-confidence
Cynthia Lai believes in Cynthia Lai.
There are other things the realtor and first-term councillor for Ward 23 (Scarborough North) believes in — like subways.
Perched at a bistro table by the window of her small office with dark violet walls, in a Markham commercial building across the street from a plaza populated by Chinese merchants selling food, she leans forward conspiratorially, inviting her listener to lean in, too, over a Wechat message glowing brightly on her cellphone. She translates a text written in Chinese, beneath a photo of a map of the Tokyo subway.
The message is from a constituent, travelling in Asia.
“I’m counting on you,” Lai translates. “I want the Sheppard subway to be extended and I want this type of subway to be in Toronto.”
Lai laughs. The Tokyo subway is so far ahead of Toronto’s, it seems like a fairy tale.
“I’m a subway champion. Any world-class city, the first thing they do is build transit,” says Lai, adding that she has been told that potential ridership is not sufficient to support a subway extension along the Sheppard line.
“We have to be visionary. With the population growth, you don’t wait for the ridership.”
Cynthia Lai was elected a councillor for the new Ward 23 in the Oct. 22 election.