Now we’ll see what promises mean

Chris Moise –

chris1With the municipal election finally over it is time for the elected politicians to take up their positions and make good on their election promises.

We need to remind them that they are elected as our representatives and not our leaders.

This distinction is sometimes forgotten by career politicians who focus on the next vote and the next election rather than larger ideological goals and policies that will make Toronto a better place for all.

Political offices are not prizes to be handed down as fiefdoms in family dynasties.

They are an important component of the democratic system and need to be respected by those who occupy them.

Politicians holding office should adopt an attitude that reflects these values.

They need to respect the office, their position in the community and the community that elected them, while not denigrating those who with whom they disagree.

After all politics has always been the art of the possible.

It is too easy in this day and age to run an election, using negative ideas and platforms rather than platforms that encourage hope and respect. Politicians are elected to affect change and to make our communities stronger and better places to live. We need our elected officials to work together building bridges rather than divisions to make the city a better place for all and not for a select few.

Elections bring out the best and the worst in all of us. Caught up in electioneering it is too easy to focus on personalities rather than policies; on people rather than ideology.

Sadly, we witnessed this in the race for mayor with the main candidates attacking each other rather than their policies. We also saw racist, sexist and discriminatory attacks on those running for office.

This happened to Olivia Chow in the mayoral race and candidates running for city council and school board.

We must send a clear message to those who use such language and divisive attacks that there is no place in a city as diverse as Toronto for such ideas.

We need our elected officials to condemn such outbursts and to work together to build communities where racism, sexism, homophobia and discrimination are not tolerated.

This will help build a stronger community for all.

We can disagree without resorting to sexist, racist, homophobic or discriminatory language. The worst thing we can do as citizens is to silence anyone who lives in our community.

We need to listen to each other, to make our city a better place to live. By listening to each other we can build bridges across borders that separate us from one another. This involves working together ensuring that diversity is celebrated rather than denigrated. Democracy requires constant vigilance and attention and only grows stronger through diversity.

Elections give us the chance to think about our city and our roles as citizens in the political arena.

chrisWe can ask ourselves what kind of community we want to live in. Do we want a community that represents only our views or one that is inclusive to all?

This includes addressing issues of poverty, discrimination, access, transparency, transportation, education and communication. Only by discussing these issues with all who are involved is it possible to make the city a better place for all.

It is important to remember to act as good citizens.

Let us move forward remembering to privilege hope over despair and  work together to make Toronto a better place.