Turnout Toronto is a "Civic Engagement Fair" that allows organizations and people who are engaged in making Toronto a better city. It was really a very interesting evening that allowed anyone to interact on various topics. There were 36 total organizations or people who had space at Turnout Toronto and I attempted to take a minute for them all. I actually got engaged in a few conversations that I felt were important to Ward 3.
Gensqueeze is an organization that gave some interesting stats for "young people" (people under 45) in regards to income and education. Having a strong workforce that is well paid will allow for the future prosperity for all. One example that Gensqueeze mentioned is:
younger Canadian work and study more to have less. Their earnings have dropped by 11% since 1976, even though they are twice as likely to have post-secondary education.
Two organizations that could really effect the sense of community in Ward 3 would be Park People and CycleTO. Park People help 'friends of parks' which are local residents that help maintain local parks. Currently there is only one park in Ward 3 that has any presence which is Friends of Glen Park. Given the amount of parks in Ward 3, we need to consider what parks meant to us when we were growing up. Are the parks a representation of our local identity? We have Centennial Park which is an amazing asset but under appreciated. The second group that can be a great catalyst for Ward 3 is CycleTO. With only a few bike lanes in Ward 3, they are simply lanes separated by a painted line on the road. This weekend I saw a contractor working on a house parked in the bike lane. Would you want your children or grandchildren riding on Renforth or Rathburn and have to merge into live traffic?
Toronto Budget Improvements
One of the most fascinating organization was Better Budget TO. Having spent the last few months combing through the City of Toronto website, it is very informative but can be hard for residents to find what they are looking for. Do most residents know what the city budget contains, how can they effect the budget? One of the goals I hope to accomplish when elected to City Council is to be able to inform residents of Ward 3 about important policy. Having a better interactive budget that residents can understand is just one aspect to move this city forward.
Explore and Celebrate Neighbourhoods
I took the time to take a Jane's Walk during the Turnout Toronto event. Jane’s Walks are free, locally organized walking tours, in which people get together to explore, talk about and celebrate their neighbourhoods. Our tour took the group outside and into Regent Park. We discussed the change in the community, how the revitalization would effect the community and some historical significance of aspects of the tour. It was a great idea and I highly recommend checking out the Jane's Walk that may be in your area on May 2-4.
Currently before the Government of Ontario is a proposal for the 2018 Toronto Municipal Election for "Ranked ballots". This is a concept that is around the world and although it is difficult by most to understand versus our current model, it would be a great benefit to Toronto. Currently a candidate can win by having the highest number of votes. This percentage can be very low when compared to the overall population of the ward. Ranked ballots will allow residents to pick their First choice, Second choice, Third choice. This may make candidates take a stand on policy and speaking more than just talking points. 2018 could be a great transformation of city council and definitely is a topic all residents should take a moment to read.
My last comment on the event was the ability to have a few moments with a mayoral candidate that was not listed on the Turnout Toronto listing. John Tory had arrived and took the time to interact with the various organizations. I had stopped John to introduce myself and we discussed a few items, including transit for Ward 3. It was a pleasure to be able to promote Etobicoke Centre with one of the possible mayors in this election. I look forward to seeing additional policy ideas from him and all the mayoral candidates.
I have linked to some of the organizations at Turnout Toronto below. Please take a moment and click on any that may interest you. Each organization or candidate offers their perspective on how they can make Toronto a better city.
- Jane's Walk
- Park People
- 100 in one Day
- Women in Politics
- Better Budget TO
- Open Streets