I haven’t written for months. I have started several posts and given up in disgust. I am going to start now. I am going to make my way past my utter disgust with Toronto politics or die trying. There’s an election and our city is infested with a frightening fungus called Ford.
So it’s a week later and I am back trying. In this past week Olivia Chow has released her fabled book and boy is it a lulu. Talk about a self serving vanity piece. Does she really think we’re all so stupid as to believe Jack actually said and wrote some of that stuff? John Tory is threatening to run again. This Is simply childish. Then when the week seemed to be just cold and boring Rob Ford treated us to another great piece of cinematic drunken wonder.
OK, seriously. Here I go again. This is ridiculous now. I have so much in my head that wants to be said. I have avoided Twitter for a while and I went back on the other day. So after over a month I felt as if no time had passed at all. Same old shit. Same old voices. Ford, Ford, Ford, Ford…….
I just figured something out. It isn’t about Ford. You all need to stop this crap NOW. So I am taking a vow. I will write. I will talk about this election. I will not talk about Ford. He is not the issue. He is done. I will talk about Toronto. As they say on CTV, MY TORONTO!!
When I was a kid I was kind of disconnected. I didn’t really fit anywhere. Except Toronto. We moved here from BC when I was just shy of 16 and I fit here from the word go. It was as if I had just been treading water waiting to find my place and here it was. I got on buses and the subway and street cars and explored this city from one end to the other. I haunted the downtown core. I knew every nook and cranny of the squeaky wooden floors in Eaton’s College Street. I tromped High Park up and down and across. I travelled the College Street car from one end to the other. Queen Street too. I stared at the hippies in Yorkville. I dragged my little sisters with me up and down Yonge Street. We loved all the little boutiques in the old row houses along Bloor Street between Yonge and University. We had milkshakes and Boston Cream Pie at Fran’s College Street.
That Toronto is gone. That’s OK. I can live with that. Because there’s a new Toronto out there that is just as good. Actually, better. We’ve been so busy bitching about this, that, and the other that we have all lost site of what we have. We only talk about what we don’t have. I think the path to what we don’t have is right through the middle of what we have.
What if we all stopped focusing on the Ford Brothers show? What if we ALL started showing up at our Councillors public appearances. The community Council meetings. The school appearances. The election meetings. What if we demanded they tell us what they are going to do for us? Not promise us. Do for us!
The mayor of Toronto has ONE vote in council. The mayor can be irrelevant as we all now know. If we demand that our Councillors start paying attention to the Toronto we want and not the ridiculous promises we all know can’t be kept. Imagine what kind of Toronto we’d have?
Let’s look at some of the issues. Lower taxes? I’m sorry kids but that is simply not realistic. Rob brags about our low taxes but in the next breath he promises you subways. He says he’ll get the money from the Feds. Well where the hell do you think they get their money? Do you want to pay higher property taxes where you can demand to have a say in how the money gets spent? Or do you want to pay higher income tax and watch it disappear into coffers where promises are never kept?
You want your sidewalks plowed, your garbage picked up regularly, your power on ALL the time, no floods, pot holes fixed, mowed lawns in parks, sensible property development, Transit – transit – transit, homeless people cared for, a police force that works, firemen, …………..
It all costs money.
Anyone who says they can give you lower taxes without cuts to service is straight up lying. Plain old in your face lying. It is time for us to face this. It is time for us to grow up. We are a major world financial centre. We are, in the eyes of the world, a giant embarrassment right now. The butt of a thousand jokes a night over the antics of a ridiculous man. IGNORE him. Stop talking about him. Start talking about the Toronto we want and deserve. He cannot give it to you. He wouldn’t know how if it bit him in the ass.
We each and every one of us need to look to our individual Councillors and DEMAND that they listen to WHAT WE WANT. No more voting according to their personal agenda. Their personal agendas are irrelevant. We are their relevance. Period. We elect them to vote for our needs. They need to know what the majority needs and then they need to get it for us. If they have to make some painful choices for our own good then they have to do it. Not vote to save their job, vote to save us!
Example. Like it or not, the Scarborough SRT is falling apart. Ask anyone who rides it. It will not last for 15 years while we wait for a subway we can’t afford to be built. Every Councillor knows that. They knew it when they very stupidly voted with the mayor. They all know it will never be built. They all know an LRT is the answer, both physically and monetarily.
Councillors listen to the loudest voices. If the loudest voices are newspapers and people with money who don’t have any other interest but their own. Then that’s who they feed. We need to raise our voices. NOT on Twitter. NOT on Facebook. NOT on Instagram. IN THEIR FACES. It’s time to be heard. It’s time to talk to your neighbours. It’s time to march.
We have become a city of bitchers. From the comfort of our living rooms we crab non stop about the state of our city. But we do nothing. Less than half of us even bother to vote. Well if you aren’t prepared to at the very least, vote. Then SHUT UP. If you want a better city then start reading, listening, knowing. And SPEAK UP.