London

'Our differences are our strengths': London's new mayor and city council sworn in

More than 450 Londoners attended an inaugural ceremony in which the city's new mayor and councillors were officially sworn in on Tuesday evening at RBC Place London. 

15 councillors took the oath of office. More than half of them are new to the job

Josh Morgan was sworn in as London's new mayor at an inaugural ceremony on Nov. 15, 2022. (Isha Bhargava/CBC)

More than 450 Londoners attended the inaugural swearing-in ceremony for the city's mayor and councillors Tuesday evening at RBC Place London.

Mayor Josh Morgan and 14 councillors — including eight new to the job — took their oaths of office.  Morgan also appointed Ward 2 councillor Shawn Lewis as deputy mayor, and Ward 12 councillor Elizabeth Peloza as budget chair. 

"We are 15 Londoners of various backgrounds, we come from different parts of the city but these differences are our strengths, they're to be embraced and celebrated," Morgan said." I truly believe there's more that unites this council than divides it."

"The work that lies ahead of us should be focused on the 'how' not the 'what' and it's not always been that way with previous councils," he added. 

Morgan was given the investiture of the Mayor's Chain of Office by Ann Bigelow, the daughter of Jane Bigelow, London's first female mayor who served from 1972 to 1978. 

In his inaugural address, Morgan said he's excited to work with a council that shares the same priorities on tackling major issues plaguing the city, but acknowledged that the solutions won't be straightforward. 

"It's exceptionally rare in any political contest that there's near unanimous agreement on the issues. Where we will differ is on the solutions but that's what excites me most about this council, we'll be dealing with issues not insults," he said.

'We've come very far', says mayor

Shawn Lewis, along with 13 other city councillors took their oath of office on Nov.15, 2022 (Isha Bhargava/CBC)

All council members unanimously voted to appoint Lewis as second in command. Morgan said Lewis has been a strong voice for the London's east end, which he says is an incredibly important part of the city with immense potential to grow and expand. 

Lewis is also London's first openly gay deputy mayor, which Morgan described as big step forward from previous decades in which Pride flags were not raised, and mayors didn't proclaim or march in Pride parades. 

"I have the distinct honour of nominating someone who is a member of that [LGBTQ] community and I think we've come very far and we have so much further to go," he said. 

Lewis hopes his role can inspire young people in the LGBTQ community to play a leadership role in the city. Top priorities for Lewis are working on interlinked issues of homelessness, housing, and community safety. 

"You can't tackle one issue without recognizing that those other issues are linked to it. Affordable housing isn't going to fix the life of someone who needs mental health and addictions treatment," he said.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Isha Bhargava is a multiplatform reporter for CBC News. She's worked for Ontario newsrooms in Toronto and London. She loves telling current affairs and human interest stories. You can reach her at isha.bhargava@cbc.ca or on Twitter @isha__bhargava

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