Toronto isn’t the only place with an election
Battle over Bill 5 has stolen the headlines now we need to catch up 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