Public schools must also teach kids real life skills

chris1Chris Moise —

As we race into the finishing gate for the municipal election on Oct. 27 candidates continue to dwindle.

First to go was Karen Stintz in August, then David Soknacki in the first week in September and now the incumbent Rob Ford has withdrawn because of health issues.

But Ford withdrew to focus on his health and has been replaced by his bellicose and belligerent brother, Doug Ford.

We need to remember this a man views everything as a battle. Do we want another four more years of the political circus that is the Ford brothers or is it time for change? Instead of electing another Ford, we need to return to the business of governance. Politics needs to focus on political issues rather than Ford entitlement and narcissism.

The two remaining candidates John Tory and Olivia Chow offer political platforms that focus on issues rather than themselves. Throughout the race for the mayor’s chair they have emphasized politics rather than personalities.

While transit has been an important issue in this campaign Olivia Chow’s platform includes attention to education and children.

She promises “Real Progress Now” and includes a plan that would expand after-school programs for children aged 6-12. Building on work she began when she was a city councillor for the City of Toronto between 1991 and 2005, before leaving for Ottawa as a member of Parliament for the federal NDP, Chow’s plan pays attention to the problem of childcare and education.

Because Chow is returning back to her municipal roots she already has support among city councillors. Her progressive policies are well known, focusing on children, families, education and transit. Attention to these social issues is much needed as over the past four years the Ford style of governance was glad-handing rather than equality for all.

Toronto as a city, continues to grow in ways that are not always expected. We have seen phenomenal growth over the past 10 years across the city as condominiums rise on almost every corner.

While new housing is much needed, the city is unable to manage the growth with development and planning decisions made by the Ontario Municipal Board (OMB) which does not consider density and the need for infrastructure.

As condos rise new housing means more people in the same space without attendant infrastructure growth. Chow’s political experience both at the municipal and the federal level recognizes the importance of infrastructure support and promises to use municipal resources to address the problems raised by ongoing development. Her progressive policies address affordable housing, daycare, inequality and public transit.

Chow has shown in the past her ability to not only to address important social issues but also that she can work with others to affect change. We need politicians who can work together as a council to make the city a better place.

Too often in the past four years the political style of the Ford brothers has been about strife, hostility and division rather than co-operation among councillors. In order for municipal politics to work we need politicians who know how to work together. The mayor of a city sets the tone for the council. We need a mayor with a vision who brings council together in order to bring Torontonians together, making us proud rather than embarrassed.

While the mayoral race has taken centre stage the municipal election will also see races for seats on city council and for school trustees. In every ward the best thing  voters can do is to educate themselves about the candidates and the issues. Knowing who is running and what they represent helps voters on election day cast their ballot.

In Ward 27, Toronto Centre-Rosedale, Kristyn Wong-Tam is running as incumbent for the city council.

Like Olivia Chow she has runs a platform of progressive policies that privilege cooperation with other councillors in city hall.

chrisShe speaks for everyone in her community ensuring that all citizens have a voice at city hall. She has always advocated for strong neighbourhoods giving communities the tools to build better relationships with City Hall. Wong-Tam and Pam McConnell, councillor for neighbouring Ward 28 want to work with other councillors to develop progressive policies that help Toronto become a better place to live. They also would like to have progressive school trustees that they could partner with at the TDSB to make schools and education part of the solution rather than a problem.

Remember democracy depends on you exercising your right to vote. On Oct. 27 get out and vote. Mark your ballot for mayor, city councillor and school trustee and make your vote count.