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FORUM: Reducing downtown’s vehicles by 25 per cent (May 2018)

May 9th, 2018 · No Comments

Policy would lead to better health and increased revenue

By Daryl Christoff

Ontarians have been very clear — and so have the people of this riding. We don’t just need a new government but a whole new approach to government. The New People’s Choice offers this.

One issue that I am passionate about is the Downtown Toronto Congestion Charge. Traffic congestion is hugely frustrating. It negatively impacts thousands of people in our downtown riding and is completely ignored by the other parties, whose leaders have snubbed residents on this important issue. We know we are dealing with a productivity loss of $10 billion due to traffic congestion and healthcare costs alone.

At the New People’s Choice, our major advocacy push is the Downtown Toronto Congestion Charge (from which downtown residents will be exempt). Residents here pay a premium for living in the downtown core. We pay higher household costs with dramatically less square footage. The New People’s Choice is modelling an urban agenda that’s comparable to London, Stockholm, Singapore, Milan.

Our goal is to incentivize a 25 per cent reduction of vehicles in Ontario’s urban core — downtown Toronto — which would allow for productivity and optimal flow in the transit system.

This policy would have added benefits in terms of the health of the community. Commuting is a major cause of stress, which leads to stroke, heart disease, and other costly chronic illnesses. This policy would lead to fewer roadside fatalities and injuries. Pollution-related deaths killed 25,000 Canadians last year, while 43 pedestrian lives were lost in Toronto because of road fatalities (with 1,600 injured). The positive effects of our policies for the lives for Ontarians can’t be understated. Revenues gleaned from the Congestion Charge coupled with the funds saved in our healthcare system would number in the billions.

Ninety-five per cent of University-Rosedale residents support this policy, yet it continues to be ignored by those who seek to represent us. We need to regain our community voice! It is the people who live in a community who know it best.

I’ve been spending a lot of time talking to people who live here, my neighbours. There are issues most of them agree on, like the Congestion Charge, and then there are more contentious issues where people disagree.

One of those is federal legalization of cannabis. As the federal government has turned the question of distribution over to the province, it’s something your member of provincial parliament will be dealing with.

I’m the only candidate in our riding who can present effective public policy on this issue. Unlike the Liberals, who are stuck with Wynne’s problematic distribution plan, or the Conservatives, who have to pander to their religious base, or the New Democratic Party, who are beholden to the unions who want to ensure that the Canadian Union of Public Employees controls dispensary jobs, the New People’s Choice Party presents a clear-thinking and common-sense alternative.

We would provide some Ontario Cannabis Store locations in highly populated areas, but we support independent distribution and the craft market — with stringent licensing regulations to provide quality to Ontario’s cannabis consumers and protect public safety.

Out of the 75 per cent in tax revenue that the federal government is passing on to the province, we would give 37.5 per cent back to the municipalities, to set licensing and regulations regarding hours, quality, inspections, employees, and other requirements.

The residents of University-Rosedale are tired of politics as usual. I hear it every single day. People have had enough of the antics and corruption of the Wynne government, and they are looking for a better option. Unfortunately, with Ford’s Conservatives and Horwath’s NDP beholden to their respective special interests, voters don’t know where to turn.

Politics is now more akin to theatre than actual policy. Ontarians deserve better and so do the people of this riding, which is why I have decided to run with the New People’s Choice Party. As member of provincial parliament, it would truly be my mission to speak for the people of this riding — and to work for the advancement of good public policy.

Ontarians have been clear. We need a new approach in our government.

People are demanding change, but what kind of change? The choice is ours.

Daryl Christoff is the candidate for the New People’s Choice Party in University-Rosedale.

Tags: Annex · Opinion