2014 Municipal Election Wrap-up - Part 3
Today marks over a month since the results of the Toronto Municipal Election were realized. Within the first few moments as the finality of the whole process hit me, I knew there would need to be a cooling off period. This would allow for clarity in my conversation about what this election meant, how the process changed my life and of course to share my thoughts and feelings.
I will separate my thoughts about the election into three parts: My city, my ward, myself. Each will be my reflection of a segment of the election including my emotional responses. I will keep the facts and figures to a minimum; it won't be that kind of wrap-up.
This post will be best described as a summation of twelve months; a 'year in review' if you will. I was told over the course of the election that my website was very personal. Residents liked the fact they could sense my tone, my voice and my overall thoughts beyond the statistics and policy directives. I had wondered if it was a good thing, do we want political leaders that are more than their position and instantly thought "YES!!"
With only a few days left until the end of 2014, I really just want this year to be over. From personal tragedy to an election of defeat, from personal growth to a growing family - life continues forward despite any one event. It should have been a year with more laughter and less tears. It should have been a year of strengthening friendships and making plenty of new ones. It could have been the year that my ward, my neighbourhood got a representative who understood that the needs our community has will come at a cost.
TRUTH: About Politics
Throughout the past year I have repeatedly said that I am not a politician. Many felt it was "just a line" because who else would start a campaign so early and put so much time into the election if I didn't have aspirations of being a politician. I would agree with that argument for most candidates who had an agenda, until I met many who didn't have a plan of winning the election then set their sights on provincial or federal nominations.
The municipal election benefited from the circus that was city hall. For the first time a lot of residents began to wonder what the role of the government was, who was running the government and finally how can they help change it! Politics is not the way for a person to become a celebrity. I met many residents who said that they usually blindly voted for a candidate (some based solely on the campaign material they would receive). This year they felt that it was important to determine who was the best representative for them.
Although the recently elected council looks identical to the last council, a few points to consider: many councillors did not receive a majority and of the new councillors, only a few also broke the 50% mark. There is hope that the next election will have less candidates, but better candidates from across the spectrum to challenge the incumbents. I am proud to be able to speak well of many candidates from all across the city. Politics has that sense of 'good for as long as you're useful' which is very true, but also creates bonds of like-minded people.
TRUTH: About the Future
Over the last 12 months my life has had a lot of change, both big and small.
- I've lost at my peak 23 pounds (currently only 14 pounds after some weight gain around the holidays).
- I participated in my first election (canvassing for Provincial Election)
- Followed by running a campaign (my own)
- I met new and interesting people across the city
- Great to meet residents of Ward 3
- Including several I now consider friends
- I've become aware of many great organizations within Toronto
- I've expanded my understanding of municipal politics
- I've benefited from walking my community and realizing there are many issues we can solve
- I've attended events across the city that don't make the news
- I've promoted events within our community many residents don't hear about
- I finally gave in to Twitter and now can label myself addicted
The future is a very interesting concept; it allows for hope and contemplation but is mixed with all the pre-existing behaviours and habits that are hard to break. We look at all the people who make resolutions to rid an addiction or improve themselves. Why does a change from one day to another give us motivation to evaluate our lives and attempt to make it better? Why do we have to wait for arbitrary moments to make ourselves better? We can attempt to alter our habits at any point we choose; choose 2015 to begin to make a difference.
I was asked: what next? I didn't know after the election what it all meant. At first it all felt like a dream that was over. I had the ability to wake up, to not have a schedule of what the day would look like and the tasks that needed to be done. There was a sense of loneliness and of failure for a short time after the election. A dream of epic length that showed all the steps of the longest job interview I've ever seen; only to be rejected and discarded as irrelevant as before. Did any of it matter?
What is next? I am not completely sure.
In 2015 there will be a federal election which may help cities across Canada partner together along with the Provinces to protect the various foundations of municipal infrastructure. Transit, roads, parks, electricity, water & everything in between. My role for the federal election is not set but there are several opportunities to help make a difference.
There are plenty of opportunities to make a difference within our city by sitting on many of the boards councillors are appointed to. By CLICKING HERE - WILL DIRECT YOU TO PUBLIC APPOINTMENTS. Follow the process and hopefully you could be a part of the solution in moving policy forward. I am unsure if I will apply to any committees or rather if I do, what committees I would like to participate on. Life has many twists and turns in the upcoming year.
The last question I have been fielding is "are you going to run again?" I've gone back and forth with this question since the end of the election. I want to say yes because I will be better prepared, have a good sense of my policy positions and hope to have a great team for support. I want to say no because the chances of running and beating Stephen Holyday is already a monumental task without the added pressure of fighting name recognition & incumbency. As we saw this election, incumbents have such a stranglehold on their seats, it would seem impossible to knock them off.
The best answer is: I don't know. It is too far in the future to know for sure. The next few years may prove to be best preparing for non-political events that may take precedence over political aspirations. 2018 may find that although a majority of councillors seem unable to be removed, there may be wards that have great candidates that the entire city can stand behind to help change the shape and direction of Toronto City Council.
The future is unknown. I think I like it best that way.
Thank you for all your support and taking the time to read my thoughts. I will eventually writing on a regular basis on all topics. Topics from Toronto politics to sports and entertainment to issues in the news. Everyone has an opinion and I am no different.
I'm glad 2014 is over and look forward to what 2015 has to offer.