A gigantic THANK YOU to wonderful Ward 32 for re-electing me as city councillor again! I am honoured. I am humbled. I am appreciative.
I look forward to four more years of community and city building – this time with less fanfare!
Elections are a time for renewal. They are a chance for new ideas and new leadership to flourish. To ensure that the best ideas rise to the top I am championing several democratic reforms that I believe Toronto needs to enact.
Strategic voting often means that we end up supporting a candidate that isn’t really our first choice, out of fear. A ranked ballot, also known as a run-off system, would allow voters to prioritize who they would like to see as their representative. Toronto city council asked the province to enact ranked ballots and hopefully this system will be in place for the next municipal election in 2018.
As many of you know I support a limit on the number of times any councillor or mayor may run for re-election. I plan to reintroduce this idea soon and ask for a robust public consultation process so that all Torontonians can comment on this proposal.
Encouraging Youth Voting
Many post-secondary students studying outside of Toronto were unable to vote in this election. The proxy voting system was overly complicated and the advanced polls were not scheduled for Thanksgiving weekend when most students are home! We need to encourage our young people to vote by making it easier for them to do so.
Election Day Hours
While the turnout was high in this election, why not make it easier and work toward 100 per cent participation? During this election the polling stations opened at 10 a.m. when most people had already dropped their children off at school or gone to work. Many Torontonians would have preferred to be able to vote earlier in the day.
The length of municipal campaigns is far too long. It needs to be shortened from 10 months to about four months, allowing enough time for rookie candidates to canvass their ward.
Improve Political Literacy
The TDSB curriculum stipulates civics be taught in Grades 5 and 10. Why not every grade? I had endless kids asking me thoughtful questions throughout the campaign! My fondest experience was a Grade 5 Bowmore student reeling off a stream of questions to me while out door-knocking. He ended by saying he plans to be Prime Minister of India one day. He just might be!
Improving our understanding of local elections is not just for kids. Everyone should have the opportunity to learn about the people running for office. This year some great websites consolidated this information to make it more digestible. In future we must find ways to more widely publicize the dates for all candidates’ debates, the information for each candidate, and the fact that you actually vote for three political positions (many forget or are unaware of school board trustees) on the same ballot.
Once again thank you for your support and I look forward to four great years building community with all of you.