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FORUM: Take back Toronto on the 22nd (City Election 2018)

October 17th, 2018 · No Comments

Vote progressive on election day

By Jessica Bell

Doug Ford has hurt Toronto. Ford slashed Toronto’s wards from 47 to 25 in the middle of an election, and threatened to suspend our Charter rights and freedoms by invoking the notwithstanding clause for the first time in Ontario’s history.

Why did Ford trample on Toronto? Because he wants to get back at the “downtown elites” and keep conservatives in control at Toronto City Hall.

There is nothing more persuasive than having a local resident talk to their neighbours about why they are supporting a candidate.

Doug Ford got his way at Queen’s Park. Let’s make sure Toronto wins on election day.

Here’s the plan. We need to strategically help progressive candidates so we can have a progressive voting majority at City Hall. That means we need to win at least 14 of the 26 races.

By help, I mean voting, volunteering, and giving money to candidates. Campaigns need people who can volunteer on evenings and weekends to canvass and phone residents. In this era of fake news, distrust of institutions, and political apathy, there is nothing more persuasive than having a local resident talk to their neighbours about why they are supporting a candidate. At this stage, campaigns don’t need people to provide policy or communications advice. Early donations are the best, and the good news is you get up to 75 per cent of your donation back.

Here’s who to help.

Help new candidates win battleground races. Some races are not competitive because a longtime incumbent is running. Other races have two progressives running against each other, which is heartbreaking because Toronto did not need a Hunger Games election.

And then, there are some competitive races that could have a huge impact on the balance of power at City Hall. Here’s three candidates who are running serious races in winnable wards. These candidates are women, young, or people of colour — all voices that are sorely needed at City Hall.

Elementary school teacher and community advocate Felicia Samuel is running in Ward 23 Scarborough North. Samuel is running in an open-seat ward with no incumbent. Incumbents have an unhealthy advantage over new candidates.

Chiara Padovani is running in Ward 11 York South Weston. Padovani has been running a year-long powerful community-led campaign that could have the momentum to unseat conservative incumbents Frances Nunziata and Frank Di-Giorgio. Both incumbents have voted against improving TTC service, more affordable childcare spots, and measures to address the inequities facing York South Weston. They have to go.

Amber Morley is running in Ward 3 Etobicoke Lakeshore. Electing a progressive councillor in Etobicoke-Lakeshore is important if we want to unseat Conservative Member of Provincial Parliament Christine Hogarth in 2022 and take back Queen’s Park.

Keep our downtown councillors: Mike Layton is running in University Rosedale, Joe Cressy is running in Fort York Spadina, and Kristyn Wong-Tam is running in Toronto Centre. These councillors have always stood up for the issues that matter. From voting for two-hour TTC fare transfers, to stopping Walmart in Kensington Market, to ensuring the Honest Eds development has some community benefits, to bike lanes on Bloor and Sherbourne streets, to approving fair regulation of Airbnb, these councillors consistently advocate for good public services, affordable housing, livable neighbourhoods, and safe streets.

Jennifer Keesmaat for mayor because she has the vision and policy knowledge to lead Toronto in the right direction. I attended the mayoral transit debate in Scarborough on September 26, and listened to Keesmaat share her vision, her deep understanding of our city, and her bold policy platform that includes building 100,000 affordable housing units, community benefits agreements for major infrastructure projects, building the relief line, and a luxury surtax on $4 million homes. I left that debate convinced that Keesmaat was the mayor for me and Toronto.

Here’s my simple dream. After a long day of encouraging people to vote, I hope to spend the evening of October 22nd watching the election results roll in and cheering because progressives finally won on election night. Let’s roll up our sleeves and make it happen.

Jessica Bell is the Member of Provincial Parliament for University-Rosedale.



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Tags: Annex · Opinion