Saturday, August 9, 2014
A great deal of time has been spent during this prolonged mayoral campaign talking about big stuff: subways, jets, the Gardiner Expressway, LRTs – and it is sad that great many small things get overlooked.
Typically in any society the voices that never get heard belong to those who are considered – by many politicians at least – as the weakest and least valued voices in the community. Often this dishonour is placed squarely at the feet of women and children.
Mayor Ford has shown his willingness to use children as campaign props on many occasions – including kissing them on the campaign trail (yuck!), upstaging them at ribbon cuttings of parks that not only did he vote against, but that the kids and community actually worked independently to achieve. He regularly uses his own kids as human shields against the media. And his preference for late-night partying at every festival and event, leaving his family at home particularly galls me.
Women and children need a stronger voice at City Hall. I know for a fact that if the waiting lists for assisted housing and daycare were not so long, more women would have the chance to either find work, or do more for their families and themselves.
If kids had easier access to school programs, including free or subsidized breakfasts, our community would benefit.
If elderly citizens (as one of the tenants at Thorncliffe Park told me during my visit there on August 3) could have access to benches, they would be able to feel more engaged and healthy, and would be able to do more to support the families they love.
Now I cannot help having been born male, but I have spent my life fighting for the rights of all citizens, and I cannot and will not stand for a political rating system that puts moneyed people, or people of a certain race, class, or orientation above others.
Toronto is a meeting place. We welcome everyone and we support everyone.
So my request of you is to help me put together the big list of small stuff (small, that is, in the minds of career politicians). What’s important to you, as a mom, as a single mom, a single dad, as a new Canadian, as a student, as a brother or sister or grandparent?
Not everyone has access to Twitter or the Internet of course, but if you are reading this, then be the ambassador: ask your grandparent, your sister, your child – ask them what a Mayor should do to make your lives better on a day-to-day minute-by-minute basis.
Our current mayor may be good at telling the press that he’s a great mayor, but I don’t buy that. Only you as a citizen get to say if someone’s performance is good enough, and that kind of honour has to be earned, not self-appointed.
So tell me, please, what is important to you, no matter how small.
This is your city. Your Mayor should be your servant, not your king. Let’s make this happen.