A Personal Agenda: Josh's Story

Typically, at this time of year, his workload would be ramping up, especially in the run-up to an election. But these days, Josh Colle ’92 finds himself winding down his political career and reflecting.

“I’m really proud of everything I accomplished, coming on the heels of wrapping up four years of heading up the TTC and eight years on council, I just thought the timing was good on a lot of fronts,” says Colle.                   

The road for Colle took a sharp, somewhat unexpected turn at the end of July, as he was about to register to run again for a seat on Toronto City Council representing Ward 15, Eglinton-Lawrence.

“As the deadline approached to put my name back in and I was kind of preparing myself for an election, a couple of opportunities came up and that got me thinking a bit,” says the married father of three.

His thoughts were focused on much more than work.

“It’s a really demanding life for your family too and with three young boys — one is a teenager now, one almost is a teenager — you also start to think about when is it the best time,” he says. “There would be too many days when I’d leave when they were asleep and I’d come home when they were asleep. And you learn that you can’t keep up that pace.”

IN HIS BLOOD

That vantage point is one Colle is familiar with.

“I think probably my experience growing up in that world contributed to me making the decision.

As a boy, Colle watched his father Michael build his own career in politics, which has spanned more than 20 years. Michael Colle was also an alumnus of and teacher at St. Michael’s College School. Josh is the second of four children.

“I don’t necessarily believe that you have to stay once you are elected, forever.” Colle says. “I think I probably could have. I was really confident because of the hard work I’ve done that I was going to be re-elected, but it’s also good for the system that new voices can get involved.”

LIFE LESSONS LEARNED

During his high school days, Colle was very active in the school’s co-curricular programme. He participated in the student government, played football, hockey, and ran cross-country. “One of the things that I think St. Michael’s gives young men is it gives you a sense of confidence and that you are able to carry yourself in certain settings and that you feel that you can be a leader,” he says. “It’s not a foreign concept to step forward or step up when needed whether it’s in your community or a business setting. And so I think St. Mike’s instills that.”

Looking back, Colle believes some of the many important life lessons he learned in high school came via his athletic pursuits.

“St. Mike’s is often thought of ‘oh it’s just a sports school’, and I always kind of try to dispel that myth. I always say of course, sports is part of it. Sports is a tool to teach, so it’s not for the sake of sports,” he says. “Generations of Basilian priests have used sports to teach goodness, discipline, and knowledge. I could argue that there’s no better place I’ve learned that then on the football field.”

Applying those principles in the blood sport of politics, Colle says, have served him well.

“What you’re trying to do is you’re trying to help people. That’s your goal. And you realize that of course there is going to be differing opinions and of course you have to make sure your voice is heard and your opinion matters and is heard. But you can do that in ways without diminishing the other person and that’s certainly something I was taught at St. Mike’s,” he says.

“The same way you would respect your opponent on the sports field, the same way you would respect other people’s opinions in a classroom, the same way you would respect your teachers --- I think you can bring that to politics and we need more of that in politics. I would say we need more St. Michael’s men and we need more people who think of some of the virtues of goodness, discipline. and knowledge in this space. That could be a great motto for any politician.”

Josh Colle will be revealing his next career stop in the coming weeks. The municipal election in Toronto is slated for October 22, 2018. Colle has two sons currently attending St. Michael’s College School.