A taxing situation
The constant call for cutting taxes that is used to troll for votes on the right -- along with more police and less gay pride -- tends to reverberate well among a number of the better off, especially those who feel victimized by having to contribute to the communal pot. It seems this group will always find and support a simplistic and bombastic candidate for mayor, as long as the mantra of less taxes and less government is first and foremost. It would seem to be the only criteria that counts.
It puzzles me as to why some folks chose to live in Toronto while at the same time actively trying to dismantle what makes this city a worthy address.
What are the benefits of being a city dweller? Step out your door and look around. First and foremost, the diversity of languages, colours, dress and class. I remember old Toronto, having spent a year here in 1968: how terribly white and plain and stuffy and cold after the streets and sights of Montreal. I couldn't wait to leave. Now I can't imagine living anywhere else.
And then there are the summers, the public concerts, the celebrations, the book fairs, the arts, the joy of meeting new people, hearing new music, watching good documentaries. And the food, every possible taste, every exotic spice, if you can afford to eat, you are in the best place in the world to do so.
The different neighbourhoods, the public offerings of individual gardeners, the glorious trees, the relatively clean sidewalks and streets, the parks, big and small, the lake and yes, even the streetcars all enhance our lives.
We put our garbage out on the curb, and a truck comes and takes it away. We bring our children to day care, and there are staff there to welcome them. Restaurants are inspected, our water is monitored, our drive home kept safe by patrol cars, and our lives protected by firefighters. Living in community means sharing, it's pooling and growing our tax dollars so that we have big buying power, to keep our transit running, our garbage collected, our food safe.
We can't go back to having a city in constant turmoil, to having a populist for mayor who appeals to greed and the "I'm alright Jack" mentality of gated communities and gated lives. Toronto deserves better, we all deserve better.
So ask yourself, what's this city worth?
Preserve the gains Toronto has made. Speak up for the city. Speak out for good government, and our need to ensure it has the funds to govern well.