Let’s make the most of the 2010 municipal election
Our Toronto's Vital Signs Report tells us that we're creative, diverse and tolerant, and more prosperous, safer and greener than we've been before.
But it's also true that we are facing many challenges in the city. Our physical and social infrastructure is hurting. From public transit to public spaces we’re nowhere near what we should be. And if you're poor, you’re getting poorer. If you're old, you're more likely to be poor. If you're new to this country, the recession has hit you the hardest, and, if you're young, well, brace yourself for what's ahead.
As the candidates stake out their territory in this year’s municipal election we will be constantly reminded of "the good, the bad, and the ugly" in Toronto, and even worse, the price tag of each. And this is where I respectfully ask the candidates to please “put on the brakes." We’ve had a non-stop chorus about deficits and spending reduction from all three levels of government - we get it. But you don't get a world class city on the cheap either!
Please Mr. and Ms. Candidate, do not let this election be fought over "money" alone - whether it be municipal finance, spending, taxes or public wages - because, if that's what we focus on we miss an enormous opportunity to shape the future of this city. When what we need is a full and open discussion about the vision that will guide the city, we risk getting stuck in the most mundane and reductionist of discussions - what's it going to cost and who's going to pay for it?
Yes, we're coming out of a recession, but we also know that during a period of unprecedented prosperity in Toronto we failed to invest in it, and as a result we have inferior infrastructure and have created a stark city of "haves" and "have nots."
If all we focus on in the 2010 election is how we manage our city’s finances, then let's not complain when we get a world-class manager when what we say we really need is a world-class leader.
This city has what it takes to raise its collective eyes above the horizon and develop a vision for a brighter future for the city, and this election is precisely the time to discuss what that future will look like. If we don't seize the opportunity, well, there goes another election and all we managed to agree on is the "price of everything and the value of nothing."
Let’s innovate. Let’s give the next Mayor a better mandate than that.About Rahul Bhardwaj