Back when my campaign began, on May 1st, one thing we thought we would have to work on, was educating voters on the new Ward boundaries. We had literature printed with a handy map, so they could see what portion of the old Ward 28 (one of 44 wards), our new Ward, 23 (the 47-ward model), comprised.
All was going well. People still weren’t really well-informed about the change. Then, BOOM!, Bill 5 happened. The Provincial government decided to force a 25-ward map on Toronto.
As I've been door-knocking around the Ward, many people have expressed annoyance and outrage at the idea that a higher order of government would interfere in the midst of an ongoing election. Let's set aside the argument about the right number of Wards, for the moment, and focus simply on what this means for you, the Voter, and for a new Candidate, like me. Since we were already changing the Ward Boundaries for the first time, many of you asked for clarification on the Ward boundaries. I even made a handy map on some of my earliest door-knocking lit. Scratch that. Even if the court challenges prevail, our City Clerk has been presented with the unenviable task of producing a 25-ward election. It's illegal for her to go ahead with the 47-ward election as planned.
You know if you've met me already, that even with our smaller Ward in the 47-ward format, people were telling me City Council often seemed to them to be unresponsive or unreachable. They had a tough time getting their concerns heard. The smaller Ward 23 should have improved that. Even at that size, we are a very complex area - with wealthier, single-family neighbourhoods rubbing shoulders with mixed-income developments, bright glass towers sitting right next door to red-brick Victorian heritage properties.
"Less government" are the words we're hearing, but really, what we're talking about is less representation. Consider the map in my earlier link, and now let's consider what the new Ward will look like...Read more
Thanks to all of you for your calls and contacts over the past couple of weeks. What a roller coaster ride! From the team and from me, we truly appreciate your support.
So where are we now? First, legislation has still not passed to change the election - so far. The NDP opposition has done their level best to slow things down; we can continue to hope that the window becomes too small for this change to be implemented in time for the October 22nd election date. New polls suggest two thirds of Torontonians want Council left alone, or at least, that the Province leave this change until after the current election. The City Council will meet on the 20th to decide whether to pursue an injunction. The injunction could potentially stall this action until after the election date, if successful. Since the law is currently unchanged, we will continue to press forward, campaigning as usual (although with some much more interesting conversations at the door!).
I appreciate all the encouragement to go on, even if the ward boundaries change. The team and I need this feedback from you. To triple our objective would mean needing triple the campaign contributions, and triple the volunteers. Although this article quotes me as saying that if the law passes, "we're done", strong signals from you say the opposite: that as your Candidate, I still have something to offer that matches with what you want. So please do volunteer or donate today. We're going to take the lemons we've been handed and make lemonade. Join us!
How else can you help?
Thanks for all your calls, emails, or conversation on the street. "What's happening with the campaign?", you're asking.
At this point the news is the same as last week - the team and I have our eyes on the future, and we are very much "open for business"!
Here is the situation, for those of you who haven't kept up on the latest news:
I am continuing to meet you at the door and in neighbourhoods all over the Ward. Like many of you, I consider the alteration of electoral boundaries in the middle of an election to be undemocratic and reckless. It is a move that destabilizes the operation of not only our election, but of our City.
Unfortunately, we are operating on very limited and speculative information. I have repeatedly fought for open, fair and transparent consultation with residents. I stand by that principle. We aren't sure yet what the Premier will do or say next. Until he does, in the Willson for Ward 23 camp, it is business as usual. We are, truly, open for business. So please continue to subscribe to follow updates, volunteer to help us bring progressive, consultative policies to city government, and donate, so we can continue our work.
What am I sure of?
Welcome to the weekend! Some of you will see me at the door today and tomorrow, and I'm grateful to all the opportunities I've had to meet with you out in the community over the past week. Gatherings and festivals (and food!) abound, like Taste of Regent Park...delicious treats and great company.
I'm also especially thankful for those of you who welcomed me at your doorstep or into your living rooms this week, to talk about your concerns, ideas, and aspirations. We discussed everything from traffic and pedestrian safety, to the environment, guns, and youth opportunities. You shared possible solutions and ideas for how to generate revenue. You asked good questions about City government and how it works. That level of engagement, in a time of low voter turnout, gives me hope.
This week we've crisscrossed Ward 23, meeting voters where they live - in Regent Park, St. James Town, and Cabbagetown. from Shuter to Bloor, and Jarvis to the Don River. Some of you have met me right at your door, and I appreciate all your feedback. Since I registered as the first Candidate for Ward 23 City Council on May 1st, I've been meeting with residents all over the Ward. I'm listening. And I'll continue to listen so we can turn ideas into action.
The idea that "born and raised" is a necessity for success in Toronto is a fallacy. I've heard this often from politicians across the city, but it doesn't reflect our city. Many of us in Ward 23 were born and raised somewhere else, and yet are making a difference and building a future here. There's room for everyone in our Ward.
Here's what you told me...Read more