In support of term limits for City Council

I support term limits for City Councillors and Mayors because I believe in change. Change challenges us, opens up our minds to new possibilities and helps us grow.

I promised to bring this challenging idea to City Hall. This past week at city council, I made good on that promise and brought a motion (seconded by Councillor Jaye Robinson) to ask that Toronto City Council explore the potential benefits of term limits in our city.

Our motion will be heard at the next meeting of the Executive Committee on March 20. If you, like me, believe in change, I encourage you to come to City Hall that day and give a five minute deputation to explain why you would like to see Toronto politicians subject to term limits.

Serving as a Toronto City Councillor or as Mayor is a public service, not a career. My goal is to represent the residents of Ward 32 to the best of my ability and to improve our neighbourhood and City. I believe I can make a difference in eight years and then give someone else a turn.

The 2010 municipal election sent 14 new councillors to City Hall. They brought with them energy, new ideas, and a keen willingness to work together.  The new found interest and passion we see in municipal politics is directly related to this infusion of new ideas and personalities.  I think we, as a city, would be well served to have this kind of healthy turnover in future elections to ensure a more functional city council.

I have a great deal of respect and admiration for the experienced councillors I work with. They understand how the city works, and how to negotiate difficult issues through the municipal process. I think we need a mix of experienced and new politicians working together to combine fresh ideas and institutional knowledge. Term limits ensure that there will always be a good crop of both representing the public.

I know firsthand how incredibly difficult it is to unseat a veteran councillor. Incumbency provides a candidate with name recognition, knowledge of neighbourhood groups, relationships with community leaders, awareness of ward-wide issues, etc. I believe that we should level the playing field periodically by restricting politicians from using their position to get elected over and over again.

Adopting term limits would create a more equitable electoral outcome in our city. Change is good. Change is healthy. I look forward to watching a great group of new candidates bring their names forward to the ballot!

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