The Honourable David Crombie – “Why the Upcoming Mayoral Race Matters” (Spring Talk # 2 Summary)
This talk today was dedicated by Mr. Crombie to Ksenjia Klinger, a former Academy member, who died at Christmas time. She was a Senior Planner for the Metropolitan Planning Dept.
Throughout his excellent talk David stressed the importance of the up-coming byelection for Mayor of Toronto. He said that people know about the services that the city provides but that we tend to take them for granted. They include such necessary services as Education, Public Health, Libraries, Child Care, Garbage Collection, Safe Water, The TTC, Emergency Services, Long term Care and Entertainment.
So important are these services that David says they are our connective tissue, the glue, of our communities. People who live in the many communities of Toronto know more about them than the experts do. Communities enable newcomers as well as established residents to ask such questions as “Who am I? Where do I belong? and How do I behave?” The answers keep changing as we develop our mental maps for our survival within the community and the city at large.
David maintains that Toronto is a global city and cited “Making a global city : how one Toronto school embraced diversity” by Robert Vipond.
The city should provide opportunity and equity for everyone, he declared. There should be a platform for economic growth and renewal. The services should enhance, and if necessary change, our attitudes to nature, noting that Canada’s flag is only one of two national flags to honour an emblem of nature, We should strive for a sense of social peace.
With respect to the byelection David recommended that we determine from the candidates their positions on the following seven issues:
- Housing, including homelessness, mental health and drugs.
- Improvements to infrastructure, maintenance and repair
- Save the greenbelt. Beware of letting loose the dogs of speculation!
- Rebuild the growth plan; it has stagnated.
- Downtown renewal, understand the role of work, cars, bikes and people.
- Preservation of local democracy,
- Ways of funding our needs, know who does what (the city, the province or the feds?)
The question period was lively, (the Green Belt, Ontario place, role of the mayor, the strong mayor policy, recommended candidates (he did not answer this one!) Rouge Park, cyclists’ safety, climate change, Toronto’s taxes, the Don River, voter influencing from the Ford government and how to get more funding). David thoughtfully answered (almost) all of them with humour and his inimitable insight.
by Linda Tu