Chris Tolley, Green Party candidate for Toronto-Danforth, answers four questions from Beach Metro Community News regarding this month’s federal election.
(EDITOR’S NOTE: candidates were instructed to keep their answers to approximately 150 words, and some of the responses have been edited to keep them as close as possible to the agreed word count.)
QUESTION 1: Please tell our readers a little bit about yourself and why you decided to run in this election?
I decided to run in this election so my kids can grow up in a world where they can afford housing, live in a just and fair society, and live on a planet that hasn’t been ravaged by the climate crisis.
I’m tired of the same old broken political promises that do nothing to put out our “house on fire.”
Toronto-Danforth is our home. I worked to help my community in small ways like sponsoring local youth soccer teams, and larger ways like holding local, non-partisan town hall meetings, and supporting the fight against the Toronto Island airport expansion.
I’m an award-winning writer, director and broadcaster, and the co-producer and on-air-host of CBC’s PlayME, Canada’s national audio drama program. I’m also the Co-Artistic Director of EXPECT, a theatre company that brings the arts to Toronto’s marginalized neighbourhoods.
QUESTION 2: Are you in favour of a national ban on semi-automatic assault rifles and handguns? Why or why not?
I am absolutely in favour of a ban on semi-automatic assault rifles and handguns. As such, Greens support the launch a confidential buyback program for assault weapons and handguns to get guns off of our streets.
It’s important to note that the handgun used in the tragic shooting on the Danforth in the summer of last year was traced to the United States. We have to do more than banning handguns. I will push to redirect border services to focus more on weapon smuggling and less on people who are law-abiding but living in Canada without official status. That means making gun smuggling a serious criminal offence, rather than a customs violation.
QUESTION 3: What do you think is the issue in your riding that you can have the most impact on if you are elected MP?
Climate crisis issues aren’t just global – they are local too. Extreme weather events, rising heating and cooling costs, power outages, floods, and rising costs of insurance will affect Toronto-Danforth residence as much as the rest of Canada and the world. I strongly believe I can bring real climate action at the local level as your Green MP because climate issues have no borders or riding boundaries.
Then there’s the opioid and fentanyl crisis. A young man died in my neighborhood from an overdose. This is happening everywhere, regardless of where you live or how much you earn. We need to address the opioid crisis as a health-care issue, not a criminal issue, by declaring a national health emergency. Drug possession should be decriminalized, ensuring people have access to a screened supply and the medical support they need to combat their addictions.
QUESTION 4: What do you think are the two most important national issues in this election, and why are you and your party the best ones to deal with these issues?
First, the climate crisis. Greens have by far the strongest climate action plan backed by the best science available, including stronger carbon pricing because it works, and a just transition for fossil fuel workers so that we can keep people employed.
Then, affordable housing. Many Canadians may never be able to afford a home – and barely make rent – just because they were born a decade after me, yet they work just as hard. Other parties like the NDP and Conservatives want short-term solutions which will inflate the market even further and pile on personal debt. Greens will build new social housing and co-operative housing. We’ll help 125,000 households with rent assistance and build 25,000 new units, and rehabilitate 15,000 affordable housing units annually for the next 10 years. It’s more humane and less expensive to keep people housed than in poverty or debt.