Toronto isn’t the only place with an elec­tion

Bat­tle over Bill 5 has stolen the head­lines now we need to catch up

Richmond Hill Post - - News - by Ron John­son

When Premier Doug Ford put for­ward Bill 5 to change up the forth­com­ing mu­nic­i­pal elec­tion half­way through, it put the city of Toronto back in the news day after day after day.

Sure, York Re­gion will not get its head hon­cho ap­pointed by the prov­ince, but other than that, towns such as Markham were not im­pacted by Bill 5.

But with Doug Ford firmly en­sconced in Queen’s Park, the en­tire re­gion is faced with a very im­por­tant elec­tion on Oct. 22.

Gen­er­ally, we tend to favour a sys­tem of checks and bal­ances, whether we re­al­ize it or not. When the prime min­is­ter is, say, a Lib­eral like Justin Trudeau, vot­ers tend to nat­u­rally look for ways to vote more con­ser­va­tively at the pro­vin­cial level, hence the rise of the On­tario PCs. And when Stephen Harper was in charge, we had 14 years of the On­tario Lib­eral Party.

What we do know about the cur­rent pro­vin­cial gov­ern­ment is that they move quickly and don’t tend to hem and haw over is­sues. The next four years will be tricky to nav­i­gate for any mu­nic­i­pal rep­re­sen­ta­tive whether mayor or coun­cil­lor or school board trustee.

And as vot­ers, it is im­por­tant that we don’t get dis­tracted by events that are hap­pen­ing beyond our con­trol.

We need to en­sure that we are vot­ing for peo­ple who rep­re­sent our in­ter­ests, not a po­lit­i­cal party; we are vot­ing for peo­ple who will vote on how many po­lice of­fi­cers we hire, our re­cy­cling pro­grams and bike lanes, rapid tran­sit, af­ford­able hous­ing pro­grams, com­mu­nity cen­tres, hockey rinks and much more.

Our mu­nic­i­pal gov­ern­ment takes care of the day to day and en­sures our qual­ity of life in our own back­yards.

The other side of that coin is that our rep­re­sen­ta­tives should be able to work well with other lev­els of gov­ern­ment. And cur­rently, those two lev­els are di­a­met­ri­cally op­posed. So, a charmer would be an as­set to say the least. We do have press­ing is­sues. York Re­gion mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties have ac­tively been cam­paign­ing for an ex­ten­sion of Toronto’s Yonge sub­way line north of Finch sta­tion in the 905. Premier Ford has made a com­mit­ment to ad­vanc­ing sub­way projects.

There were also over­tures, although de­nied, that in­di­cated the On­tario Green­belt could be opened up for some de­vel­op­ment projects. There was a storm of protest when the news leaked, and any plans were quickly quashed. But still, some might be more com­fort­able vot­ing for some­one who is strongly in favour of not only pre­serv­ing, but strength­en­ing the Green­belt and who will fight for it.

Our re­gion is grow­ing quickly, and de­vel­op­ment is always an is­sue. But there is more to it now. There is also grow­ing poverty and the need for en­hanced so­cial ser­vices. Who would be the best can­di­date to pro­tect the so­cial safety net?

What­ever you de­cide, on Oct. 22 please get out and vote.

Premier Doug Ford


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