Dear Toronto,

I believe we are at a crossroads in our city and the decisions we make today will determine our future. Our transit system is struggling under the weight of chronic under-funding. Poverty and inequity are increasing. We are facing a housing crisis, both in availability and affordability. Vision Zero has had zero impact. There are solutions that exist in cities around the world to address these problems, and yet we spend far too much time talking or offering political compromises, not making data based decisions. It’s not a lack of wealth in this city that is compromising quality of life for our residents, it’s a lack of vision and political will to make change.

I don’t want to stand by and watch these challenges overtake our city. So, here are my top 10 reasons for running for mayor.

1. It’s time to listen – to city staff, experts and residents.  City staff, experts, local councillor and residents, have clearly asked to reduce the number of lanes on upper Yonge Street, and yet the current mayor has stated he does not support that option, preferring a more costly and less effective hybrid plan on alternate streets. I am unequivocally supportive of the Transform Yonge plan for a liveable Main Street for North York residents.

2. It’s time to make evidence-based decisions.  At 3.5 billion and counting for the Scarborough subway, residents should be able to expect an improvement in local transit service. Instead, Scarborough is facing a loss in service when the SRT shuts down. It’s time for long-term, integrated, evidence-based transit planning.

3. It’s time for less talk and more action. On December 6, 2017, the mayor voted against a motion to open the Moss Park Armoury and other sites for the homeless . It took 13 days of extreme weather alert before talk turned to action. I support taking emergency measures when front line workers tell us it’s necessary and the resources are there, and taking the important steps on housing to reduce the need for shelters.

4. It’s time to develop a sustainable budget. We must have a full and frank examination of where in our budget we could become more efficient, and look at the options that are available to us to invest in a long-term city building strategy. It’s time for a clear vision around on budgeting with multiple revenue tools, accountability, transparency and metrics to measure our success.

5. It’s time to reimagine housing. Access to safe, affordable housing is crucial to creating a safe and healthy city. Home ownership is now unaffordable to many and the rental vacancy rate is critically low. The waiting list for social housing is about to reach 100,000. It’s time to address the housing crisis with a bold vision and multiple solutions, from investment to inclusionary zoning to laneway housing and other gentle intensification strategies.

6. It’s time to make human lives a priority. Every 3 1⁄2 hours in Toronto a pedestrian is hit by a car – and those are just recorded instances. Last year 46 people were killed who were walking or riding a bike on city streets. Cities around the world have proven how to fix this. We need to move beyond signs and make street safety a reality throughout our city.

7. It’s time to address poverty. 1 in 4 children in this city live in poverty – and that statistic increases to almost half of children of newcomers. This is not Torontonian, it’s not Canadian, and it’s not acceptable. It’s time to prioritize our basic human rights and invest in city services to create a high quality of life for residents no matter what their income level is.

8. It’s time for fiscal responsibility. In 2013, following consultations and expert advice, city staff recommended tearing down the eastern stretch of the Gardiner Expressway and building a boulevard in its place. City Hall asked and voted for a ‘compromise’ alternative which will cost at least $2.3 billion – far more than the tear-down option . It’s time to correct this regressive and irresponsible mistake, which we will be paying for for decades to come.

9. It’s time to build a city for people. The way we travel in Toronto is changing. People need choice in their transportation options, and I will do everything I can to make sure those choices are safe, affordable, dignified and accessible. It’s time to design our city for the needs of people first with better cycling options, more walkable streets, and more open public spaces.

10. It’s time to build a city for our children: TransformTO, a program to combat climate change, is another example of committing to address a problem, without allocating the necessary budget to do so. It’s time to work closely with environmental groups, waterfront advocates, parks experts, city staff and residents to integrate a healthy environment into our budgets and decision making, so we can make sure our city is one that future generations will be proud of.

  • Kyle G
    Posted at 12:07h, 30 June Reply

    Can you link the source for 1 in 4 children live in poverty please… thanks:)

    • Derek Baker
      Posted at 12:50h, 24 September Reply

      The report, titled “Divided City: Life in Canada’s Child Poverty Capital,” says 133,000 children in Toronto – 27 per cent – were living in low-income families in 2014, the year the data were collected – Try Google, it’s so easy…

  • Jon Pol
    Posted at 18:19h, 15 July Reply

    >> 5 Housing; Social 100k waiting list; … address the housing crisis WITH A BOLD VISION and multiple solutions,

    – As this city has about 500,000 rental units, and social housing waiting list is about 100,000…or 20%.. how about…
    – City Coincil to make 20% of all rental units to be at affordable rents. This would finally start lowering the waiting list.
    Plus it is a better option than make the whole building social. Social buildings are a kind of poverty geto.

  • Frederick (Brian) Anderson
    Posted at 14:05h, 25 September Reply

    Thank you for your information, and desire.

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