Welcome to the “Peanut Gallery” aka Toronto City Council. Our creation.
If there’s anything more embarrassing than the dry snot on your face while giving someone a handshake (on a winter day I might add) it would have to be Toronto’s City Council. Check them out during the week on ROGERS TV. Plagued with career politicians, political party infestation, and shouting matches similar to a Puerto Rican cockfight. Toronto has the misfortune of a classless group of individuals representing them. Lets be honest, most Canadians could care less about city politics or at least we act like it. This is reflected nation wide with major cities struggling to pull a 40% voter turnout. I can bet that most of us don’t know when to contact a councillor, MPP, or MP regarding specific issues.
Amongst other factors. I believe lackadaisicalness and party influence are two problems that stand out most. I can smell the strong sent of fresh cut ORANGEs and RED Strawberries coming from the entrance (get it?). Sure maybe a bit of BLUEBERRY here and there.
When someone is good at their job they should hold their position forever…right? While that may be a general thought, city council is the perfect example of why this thought process needs to be eliminated from our minds. Being good at your job this year may not be good at your job next year. Sure, your councillor may offer manure for your lawn every year and post a photo-op with the prime minister or premier. Heck, they may have organized a park clean-up to show how “green” they are. These minor actions may equal progress in the minds of many but in the largest city and economical capital of Canada, they are minute, minuscule, and well… “wee.” Its these acts, amongst others, that continually give councillors another chance to stunt growth, stall progress, and continue with their “cute” 1970’s-style park clean up photo ops (please don’t think I’m against green initiatives its just the perfect example of what most of these unproductive councillors do). In a city, that is now the fourth Largest in North America we no longer have room for “wee”, “cute”, and repetitive ideas. We should be able to describe plans as MAJOR, PROGRESSIVE, and FUTURE PROOF.
The onus is not solely that of the councillors. A portion of it is on us; the taxpayers. We have to understand as voters that although they represent our wards and tackle neighbourhood issue their job also extends to Toronto as a whole. Promoting yourself as a champion for a specific ward is dated. In order for the city to progress and continue to grow, our councillors need to be champions for the city in addition to its constituents. Keep that in mind the next time you take the TTC and you journey is 40mins to get to a subway station, or wonder why TTC fares are being raised, or why many of your roads are in terrible conditions or why our past urban plans seem to be drafted by someone on a napkin at the Firkin. Have a look at your councillors voting record or what their gameplan is to tackle CITY issues. Why not ask them personally and listen closely to their answer? You’ll hear one of three things; a run around answer (because they don’t want you to be unhappy with them) no answer (he/she has no idea) or , like a true councillor should, their stance/gameplan.
Toronto, we have let the FLUFF fool us all and its unfortunate because this has set our city back a few decades. We are no longer in the era of pre-amalgamation folks. The mentality of “well I’m from Etobicoke, or I’m from Scarborough or York (my old hood, had to add that!) so those issue don’t affect me” isn’t helping the cause. City issues affect us all.
Left, right, centre, centre-left, centre-right, socialist, communist, conservative, progressive, liberal etc etc etc etc. Do you really care at the municipal level? Actually communist worries me a bit. These are some of the classifications on the political spectrum that, to be honest, are needed at city hall. There is a yearning for balance that reflects Toronto and can tackle some issues in all communities. Being conservative does not require you to be insensitive to social issues and being liberal does not require you to be anti-corporation. Lets just clear the air. Where classification truly becomes a problem is when the good old provincial parties twiddle their sticky fingers in city hall like a bag of salt & vinegar chips. Eating at their own convenience and at whatever pace they choose. Believe me, I have fallen into the trap of supporting a municipal candidate solely because of their party ties but its not as effective as we might believe. Because of the power and influence parties hold, municipal councillors can reap the benefits of affiliation. However they are now putting personal priorities ahead of constituents and the City of Toronto. Councillors are almost obligated to vote in favour or challenge most initiatives that can affect the influence of their Provincial Mother or Federal Father or risk being disowned. This isn’t new news folks. Im simply highlighting what has been going on for years and if you open your eyes you’ll notice its more blatant than ever. Do a scrub of left leaning councillors twitters feeds and council voting . Most, not all, support NDP initiatives or NDP backed initiatives and make negative comments towards right leaning councillors. The same is done by the centre-left with the Liberal Party, and Centre-Right with the PC. Its a great political gameplan…to win. But not for Toronto. When it comes to municipal politics its PEOPLE over PARTIES.
The current mayor, John Tory, has stated on several occasions including during his campaign that “we need a commitment from the all levels of government”. That is a reality. Especially from our Mother; the Province. Lets leave the parties out of our “wee” council. We can lean on them for other things like allowance (consistent funding) and tuition (major funding for MAJOR plans). Do I believe there is a party that will work better for Toronto as whole moving forward? Absolutely. But I will keep that to myself because that is another conversation.
Regardless of party, what Toronto needs is a Queen’s Park that can set politics aside, comprise, and listen to our needs as a city. Each party has dropped their dirty on the city and the province (GOOGLE the following: Bob Rae Era, Mike Harris Days, McGuinty/Wynne era). But as selfish as this sounds, its now about Toronto. The economic capital. If we cannot come to realize the importance of our city, our vote and our TRUE influence as Torontonians, we can kiss our dream of a world class city good-bye. Its time to keep our politicians accountable as well as ourselves.
Complain much? Vote. Exercise your right. Don’t believe that works? Flex your muscle as a community/ward and keep your candidates on their toes!
Its time to grow
Love Toronto x Love Canada x Love You