Thursday, March 18, 2010

Where to Focus on Issues for Elections 2010

Decisions, Decisions, Decisions :

Following all the various news reports closely, I have come to the inescapable conclusion that the biggest problem in running as a candidate for political office is CHOOSING which issues to focus on. It must be the same for any councillor, and even more so after he or she is in office.

We live in a very big city (By 2011, Toronto will see a popultion of 2.6 million people, with the GTA as a whole hitting 6.26 million ! Source: Statistics Canada as reported here: ).

Demographics tells us that your typical Caucasian (me) will be a minority very soon., but that just means that Toronto is very comple and that we are all different in some way. We have over 180 languages served by Toronto's new 311 service ( ).

After all, the city's motto is "DIVERSITY OUR STRENGTH". Diversity means we each have identifiable differences in our backgrounds (examples: ethnicity, culture, language) and in our lifestyles (examples: financial status, sexual orientation, beliefs). We are a people of differences and varieties.

Yet, we have a common value in that we have agreed to treat people equitably based on "race, ancestry, place of origin, colour, ethnic origin, disability, citizenship, creed, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, same sex partnership, age, marital status, family status, immigrant status, receipt of public assistance, political affiliation, religious affiliation, level of literacy, language and/or socio-economic status." (Adopted by Toronto City Council April 2003) This reflects much of what is in our Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms (1982).

This all explains and emphasizes the importance of CHOICE in deciding which issues need to be focussed on. No one person can be everything to all people. Beware the politicians who promise to do everything you want might be a good thing for voters to keep in mind when choosing where their vote goes.

I am reminded of what a poet and musician, Gil Scott-Herron, once said:
"Nobody can do everything, but everybody can do something"

This is precisely why our Toronto City Councillors have to be prepared to work with, consult with and engage their constituents. If we want to have a better city for all, we must all contribute in whatever way we can.

In formulating my platform, I resolve to give priority to the issues that most affect my neighbours and my community. Yes, there will be issues that have city-wide significance (such as Transit City) and I will have to take a position on those, but my firm belief is that a city councillor, with the structure we have in place right now, needs to listen to his or her own ward first. We cannot allow our local representative to forget who he or she represents, because...