First, let me apologize to all my readers outside Toronto: Today’s post is veering way off-course because recently I had the opportunity to have Toronto Mayoral candidate, John Tory, to my home and I’d like to introduce him to you!
Remember last week when I was scurrying around like the white rabbit from Alice and Wonderland getting ready for a party, but I wouldn’t tell you who the guest of honor was, and I was having my awesome new Phantom screen door installed (you can see that post here)?
Well, THIS was the party I was preparing for!
If you’re not familiar with John Tory, let me give you a quick run down on who he is:
First, and arguably most important, since he’s running for Mayor of Toronto, John was recently awarded Order of Ontario for being a “consummate champion for the Greater Toronto Region”.
- a lawyer
- was President and CEO of one of Canada’s largest media and publishing companies
- was the Commissioner of the Canadian Football League
- was the founding member and Chair of Civic Action
- was a broadcaster
- has served in public office as an MPP, Leader of the Ontario PC party, and Leader of the Official Opposition at Queen’s Park,
- has demonstrated values of tolerance and compassion during many years as a charitable volunteer, fundraiser and community activist
His civic pride and business skills have been proven, he knows how government works and how to get things done.
What John Tory Believes and Stands For
For the last few years, my husband Steve & I, and virtually everyone we know, have been watching our beloved city of Toronto crumble before our very eyes, with gridlock on the streets and in the council chambers at city hall. Everyone has been angry, and our current mayor, Rob Ford has made enemies everywhere and at every level of government. His belligerence and bullying has everyone fighting each other rather than working together to improve and run this city.
We’ve been paying attention to what the candidates are saying, what they stand for, and their values, and it became increasingly clear to us that finally, in John Tory, there is an example of the type of leader we believe this city needs and deserves.
Someone who will not embarrass us.
A man who will be a respected ambassador for our city, not a late night, talk-show party trick.
A candidate who believes in bringing people from all walks of life together to the table to discuss the issues at hand and find a solution.
And get this!!
John Tory has published a CODE OF CONDUCT by which he pledges to abide! When was the last time you saw someone do THAT who was running for political office??
That alone would be a risk most people would not be willing to take. Everyone knows if you stick your neck out like that, the media and opponents will fall on you like a pack of piranhas and eat you alive if you don’t live up to it. But John Tory has already demonstrated his integrity in years of public life.
Besides, he knows he’d better live up to those values, or he’ll have to answer to his mother and wife!
So I called up the campaign office to find out how we could help. One of their suggestions was to host a gathering of at least 40 friends and acquaintances who would like to meet John and hear about his plans directly from him, away from the media hoopla and city hall circus. So that’s what we did. And what he told us made a lot of sense to us. The video below encapsulates what he told us at the party.
Managing the budget
Toronto’s annual budget is 10 billion dollars. Yes, billion with a “B”. Managing this city is like running a HUGE corporation with hundreds of departments and thousands of employees who all need to be given a clear structure and direction to enable them to do their best work, with a leader they can trust and respect. They need to work together, cooperatively, to get anything done. Having a mayor who divides people, pits them against each other and makes enemies, creates an atmosphere of bad feeling and friction. No matter what the job is, what an awful feeling it must be to have to work in that environment.
That’s what we have now. That’s what needs to be fixed.
In my mind, it only stands to reason, that to manage this large an entity, to get the best value for tax payer’s money, you need someone who has a successful track-record running this kind of complex organization. The only candidate who has that experience and understanding coupled with socially supportive views which makes him fair-minded and eager to work with all people — gay and straight, rich and poor, black and white, young and old, immigrant and native Torontonian — not just some people, is John Tory.
Outside investors wanted
John recognizes that to be able to provide social services for those in the city who need them, you have to have a city that is attractive to outside investment by companies who want to bring their businesses to Toronto and spend money here, which creates employment opportunity, prosperity and tax revenue. To attract that kind of investment, you have to have a leader who has integrity and who will be a positive ambassador for the city.
For responsible development
John Tory knows that Toronto needs development to continue to grow and prosper, but not at the expense of making the city functional and livable. He knows we have done a terrible job of managing that development. We have allowed huge condominium developments to be built without insisting that there be an infrastructure to support the communities these condos create: public transportation, schools, parks, retail businesses, parking and community involvement. Clear rules have to be developed so the city grows in a manageable way.
John also knows that while Toronto likes to call itself a world-class city, our transportation system is completely inadequate and we can’t even move visitors — who spend money supporting our local businesses — from the airport to downtown by train because it doesn’t exist. Council has spent years squabbling and tearing up city streets to install a trolley system that is an 18th century solution to a 21st century problem (and which has to be replaced every 30 years), further snarling traffic.
John is advocating the SmartTrack plan, which will add 22 stops within 7 years and is mainly a retrofit of two existing GO lines operated by Metrolinx. Approximately 90% of its length will be on existing GO tracks. It will not displace any existing roadway. You can see the whole plan here. There is a sound financing plan in place and John is the only candidate who can get on the phone with both the Ontario Premier and Prime Minister of Canada and have them take his call and be receptive to his ideas. We need that kind of co-operation to get the job done.. You can find out more about the financing here.
Fighting Road Gridlock
Toronto needs to seek clever, innovative solutions to tackle the horrendous road congestion in the city.
John Tory believes we must include the following:
- Innovation and signal system priority to fight congestion;
- Innovation and technology in transit vehicles;
- Parking enforcement in rush hours with zero tolerance on major arteries
- Better construction staging that doesn’t take up traffic lanes for years
- Express buses
John is currently formulating his policy on bike lanes, but he is in favor of bike lanes where they make sense and fit in with the city’s overall transportation network. Last week he met with the head of Cycle Toronto’s board to become more familiar with their issues. He will be sitting down with the rest of the board of Cycle Toronto this week to continue the discussion.
These improvements can all help to address the City’s dire congestion problem while limiting the burden on the taxpayer. For example, it is a proven fact that transit signal priority systems can dramatically improve commute times, in some cases by as much as 20% (U.S. TriMet Study) with the added benefit of not spending additional capital on larger fleets.
You can read more on the Fighting Gridlock Initiative here
Making the city livable and affordable
You can read about some of the other initiatives John Tory will champion by clicking the links below:
- protecting the tree canopy by planting more trees which is essential for our communities, making them more livable by providing environmental benefits. It also helps make our city more affordable by helping to save on energy costs.
- supporting music growth in Toronto which would have the benefit of increasing music tourism, employment opportunities for local musicians, identifying opportunities for new events or partnerships, and cross-sector collaboration
- tackling youth unemployment by being an ambassador for new business in Toronto creating employment opportunities, doubling the number of companies in PAYE – Partnership to Advance Youth Employment in 2015, and coordinating and consolidating youth employment services.
How you can get involved
To donate to the Tory campaign, click here
To be an ambassador for John Tory and sign up 10 of your friends to be on the supporter list, click here
To submit a “John Tory Story” testimonial as to why you will vote for John Tory, click here
To see an overview of John’s policies, click here
To volunteer for the campaign, click here
To receive campaign updates, click here
For questions about the campaign or John’s policies and platform, or to host your own party where John will make an appearance, call 416-916-8679
I hope all of this has convinced you to join Steve and me by supporting John Tory for Mayor of Toronto. Go, John, go!
Thanks for coming to our party!