Tag

toronto

Browsing

Mayor Tory has the gonads of a lion!

 

This week the Mayor announced a .5% increase in property tax to be dedicated to a City Building Fund. That amounts to an average of $13 a year for each property owner – or the cost of two large lattes. The levy will be dedicated to a fund for affordable housing and transit.

While .5% isn’t a lot to most residents, in the minds of the mentally below average individuals who once filled the halls of Ford nation, it is an affront worse then the scowling face that greets them each morning in the mirror.

Even with a small .5% levy dedicated to housing and much needed transit imperatives, I expect a few idiots on city council to complain. The roosters from the right will crow that a measly $13/year is too much. They’ll accuse the Mayor of running a “tax and spend” government, but with brains the size of chickens and penis’s to match, these dolts of dumbness don’t understand that their idiotic lack of investment in transit, caused the very gridlock their SUVs sit in today. Their refusal to invest in affordable housing decades ago created a shortage of housing and while this may have increased the value of their suburban homes it has done little to ease the cost of living and left an expense on their children that will take decades to pay down.

There will be lunatics from the left – who will claim the poor can’t afford a .5% levy. They will hope that nobody points out that the poor don’t own property so won’t pay it. These champagne socialists, stingy with their pennies will chide the Mayor more because they don’t want to give up two lattes a year, than out of any true desire to help those less fortunate who desperately need the affordable housing and transit services that this levy is dedicated to building.

Chicken brains and lattes swillers aside this .5% property tax levy is a small drop in the bucket of what is needed to fund the capital projects Toronto requires. From the relief subway line, to revitalizing social housing and repairing the Gardiner, Mayor Tory is taking the first step in creating a dedicated City Building Fund.

Lest we Forget: remembering and thinking about the future

Cosmo DeClerq, my grandfather, Canada-Belgian SAS
Cosmo DeClerq, my grandfather, Canada-Belgian SAS

My grandfather was a paratrooper during the Second World War. He never spoke to us about his experiences—and, frankly, we never asked. I was too young to understand what he had gone through. I never really knew he was in the military until he passed away and I met some of his colleagues at the funeral.

That’s why it was refreshing to see so many young faces at this year’s Remembrance Day ceremony.

Queen’s Park was crowded with young students and families with their children. Most were wearing black overcoats and the bright red of their poppy pins could be seen despite the drizzling rain. There were no whispers among this crowd; no snickers or horseplay. It was the most silent and respectful crowd I’ve seen in a while. The exception was the young girl behind me, who was quietly explaining what was happening for three international University of Toronto students who decided to attend the ceremony. Why? They wanted to learn more about Canadian culture and heritage.

These ceremonies are meant to give us time to remember the past—the men and women who served our country both at home and abroad, who died to protect our freedom and our way of life. But, maybe it can do more. Maybe, it can help us look into the future.

I spent a few minutes after the ceremony speaking with groups of students, most of whom weren’t native to this country. They were all fascinated by the ceremony, and all could relate to this idea of “remembrance.” Some came from war-torn countries, others from Europe, South America, or Asia. One young man was from Japan, and he spoke of the atomic bomb. He felt compelled to come to Queen’s Park and listen to the words spoken by our politicians and military leaders.

And really, what better place to learn about what it means to be Canadian? Our military forces—at least our current military forces—are so diverse. There were men, women, and people of various ethnic and religious values, all marching together as one unit. That’s Canada.

When I decided to write a piece about Remembrance Day for Women’s Post, I automatically thought of the women in service. I think Brigadier-General Lowell Thomson, Commander 4th Canadian Division, said it best when he gave homage to his military upbringing. He said his father was a long-time soldier, but then went on to say that he was the son of a woman who had served “during a time when her service wasn’t recognized.” That’s when I noticed there were very few women in uniform sitting in the crowds. About 600 WWII veterans die a day around the world, so this isn’t surprising. Perhaps most of them ventured to Ottawa to partake in their larger ceremony by the War Memorial. I have to admit, I was a little disappointed. As Managing Editor of Women’s Post, I was hoping to speak with them and share their stories.

2015-11-10 16.55.35Instead, looking around the crowds, I noticed the number of young women taking part in the ceremony, specifically a young girl who was leading the cadets through the parade. She was independent, kind, commanding and strong. “If you feel cold, wiggle your toes and fingers. If you feel sick, let me know,” she said slowly while her fellow cadets looked at her nervously. Throughout the ceremony, she addressed her group, told them to stand tall, proud, and smiled when appropriate. She was the prime example of the type of woman younger girls could look up to.

I didn’t understand what Remembrance Day meant until I was a teenager. And even then, I feel like it was my circumstance—the death of a loved one—that suddenly gave me the desire to remember all of those who gave their lives in service. These young people, the cadets, students (international or Canadian native), and children who attended today’s ceremony, are all ahead of the game. I can only hope they truly take away the meaning of remembrance.  Just because the WWII veterans are fading, doesn’t mean their memories should be lost. There will always be war or conflict—it’s the nature of human beings and the sad reality of living in a world where people don’t always agree. But, if we forget where it all began, if we ignore our own history and heritage, there is no way to understand how OUR Canada was shaped. And that understanding is crucial to the future of not only this country, but the world.

And that’s worth a minute of silence, don’t you think?

2015-11-10 18.22.10

 

Spotted: Toronto’s One & Only Cosmic Cab

You may or may not have seen it. The flashy cab that has stopped at numerous red lights for many years now. Whether you’re into the pimped up ride or not, the Cosmic Cab has entertained curious Torontonians ever since it hit the streets more than a decade ago. It’s been featured in the news and even has its own hashtag (which pretty much validates its success).

I’ve lived in Toronto since I was 7 years old. Between then and now, I, like many of you, have taken thousands of cab rides to various places across the city. However, never in a million years did I think I was going to get in a taxi like ‘the Cosmic Cab’. I’ve never even heard of such a thing, despite the cab being a city attraction in itself.

I was on my way to the Aga Khan Museum when I got off the bus, as instructed by Google Maps. When it directed me to walk for another 11 minutes to reach my destination in the scorching heat, I decided to call a cab. As I waited at the nearest gas station, the a Beck Taxi pulled up. This one, however, was a brighter orange than their usual service. Silver fringe hung off the top hood and plastic dolls with blonde hair was taped to the toplight of the cab.

11830174_10156531081160377_1344301608_n

Genuinely embarrassed to climb into it, I ushered the cab to keep driving.

”You called cab? Get in, very good!” the South Asian driver man yelled, whom I later learnt goes by the name Akber.

“This is it. This is how murder stories start.” I thought as I climbed in to what seemed to be a scene from a weird comedy or a Bollywood movie.  Magazines upon magazines were stuffed into the pockets in front of the back seat. There were decorations hanging off every inch of the small parameter of the cab.

I look around, shocked and slightly amused. It looked like an arcade threw up in there. Video screens were placed at behind the headboards for his passengers’ pleasure. Because my ride was so short however, I didn’t experience the vast collection of music he said he offers, including videos of “Sharukh Khan and Kajol” he promised to play for me the next time I called him. (I got his card!)

dsc_0595

He was an incredibly friendly man, Akber Batada. Upon hearing I was on my way to the museum, he told me anything and everything I needed to see during my time there. In a span of just four minutes, he explained his daily routine; which consisted of walks, naps, and serving his community – all with a smile that reminded you of the hospitality of a true Indian.

I asked him to permission before documenting my moments in the cab when he told me about his experience with the media. He’s had more than his 15 minutes of fame. When I told him I would be writing about this myself, he proceeded to give me some solid life advice.

“Keep going!”

I shall, Akber. I shall.

The passion he has for his job oozes out of him. His character is brighter than the strobe lights with the service to match. I would’ve certainly regretted refusing to get into the Cosmic Cab. After all, a little bit of neon  can be all you need to make your day. It just goes to show that, like Akber so effectively demonstrates in his everyday life, sometimes doing something out of the ordinary is what makes you the happiest.

Ever been in the Cosmic Cab? Tell us about it!

Featured Image

Summer Must Have: Jumpsuits

Sometimes it can take hours trying to find the perfect shirt to go with your pants. But don’t worry, the fashion world is here to save you. The jumpsuit, which became popular a few years ago, has come back for another season. Immerse yourself in style and comfort and embrace the onesie-like feel. Because it’s trendy and we like it!

Now you just need a pair of shoes to match.

Lace sleeveless jumper

Romper with Lace Detail / Combishort avec Dentelle

It’s got lace detail, so it’s girly, but it’s polyester, so it’s comfy. Perfect for lazy days when you still want to look pretty.

Available at Jacob.

 

Jumpsuit

This interesting printed number will look great with a pair of bright strappy sandals or wedges. Grab a wide brimmed hat and step out for some fun in the sun- boho style.

Available at H&M.

Zigzag print long jumpsuit

Zigzag print long jumpsuit | MANGO

This is a great summer work outfit. Classy yet cool. Pair with a blazer for a more polished look.

Available at Mango.

 

Crochet playsuit

Okay, the name sounds like a mix of an old lady and a toddler, but the outfit is kicking fun. It would look great at a summer party.

Available at Topshop.

Confessions of A Creative Woman

It’s the top skill discussed in an interview, the ability most highlighted in my resume, and the characteristic I’m most known for by my friends and family. I laugh at my own Instagram captions and marvel at how witty my tweets are. I take an extra 20 minutes to make my meals look presentable only to eat it a few seconds later. The stationary section at Chapters is like my Disneyland and overpriced lattes are my chardonnay.

If I just told your life story, you my friend, are creative. We’re often misunderstood. We’re often ‘self-employed’. But we’re also a lot of other things. So it’s time I sat down and confessed why we are– the way we are.

  1. Our life is an organized chaos

I have a laptop case in my purse without a laptop in it. I have a wallet too, but my debit and credit cards are usually in the side pockets. When I’m hungry, I indulge in the smell of gum wrappers and dig through to find a few tangerines…at least that’s what they used to be.  Give me a ring while my phone is in my bag and I will need at least 3 missed calls before I can pick up. And after a long day of searching and stuffing things in my purse, I like to come home and throw the said purse on my bed, on top of the clothes that I tried on but did not approve of when I got dressed in the morning.

 

You may see a mess, but this space is a reflection of what goes on in my head; an explosion of thoughts and opinions waiting to be organized into smaller, more comprehendible messages. Don’t get me wrong; I put those clothes back in my closet using colour coordinated hangers spaced out to perfection. My credit and debit cards are eventually put in my wallet in each assigned slot. Although we creative people have a hard time keeping organized, we have a process that can’t be interfered with. Picking an outfit, slaying at work, or just getting through the day is all a form of art to us. At the back of our minds, we know that blue tank top is somewhere in the pile of our rejected #ootd. So try to fix our ‘mess’ and we’ll spin out of control.

  1. The snooze button was invented with us in mind.

 

My alarm goes off at 5 a.m. Morning people rejoice at this fact. The birds chirping, the coffee brewing, runners running– it’s a different world, really. However, it’s a world I’m not familiar with. The only reason for my 5 a.m alarm is because it takes me 3 hours to get up in the morning. Creative people can relate to this ‘flaw’ of mine. We are essentially allergic to this part of the day. Why wouldn’t we be? Whether you’re up at night writing your next bestseller, sitting on your floor creating your artistic masterpiece, or just laying in bed thinking about what your next big thing should be, bedtime is no earlier than 2 a.m. Anyone is bound to be a little tired with this type of work ethic. We don’t mind at all, though. Juices flowing, words creating, imaginations wandering– it’s also a very different world. But this time, it’s a world I’m all too familiar with.

  1. Deadlines are impossible to meet.

“Wait, when was that due?” is my catchphrase. Whether I have 3 months, 3 days, or 3 years to finish a project, my prime time to work on it is the night before. The pressure to create something wonderful becomes so significant, it is only at this time when my creative juices start flowing. Missing deadlines is a way of living on the edge. Before this deadline, we almost always ‘lack inspiration’ or have ‘writer’s block.’ As Adam Douglas so accurately said, ”I love deadlines. I love the whooshing noise they make as they go by.” Managers may have a hard time with this life motto of ours, and although we apologize for the inconvenience, we can’t really help it. So the best advice we can give is to embrace the fact that a deadline is really the official date for us to ‘get started.’

  1. We have impeccable fashion sense.

Style. Everyone has one. Yes, fine; sweatpants and hoodies are a form of style as well. If that’s what you feel confident in, then you work those grey palettes! Basically, you have your Britney Spears and you have your Taylor Swifts. Us Swifties (is that what they call themselves?) like red lipstick, dresses, and Pinterest-worthy hair. Our wardrobe is well thought out and requires hours and hours of hard work – and shopping. We think through every little detail, from the colours to the accessories to our shoes. You may not notice, but the neon coloured fringe of my earring matches the tip of my shoes. Unfortunately, we’re often shunned because of the effort we put in into looking good before walking out onto a dirty, smelly sidewalk.

 

Personally, the effort I put into my appearance isn’t because I look forward to strangers asking me where I got my pants from. I don’t want to tell you where I got my pants from. Because that would put me at risk of being unoriginal. Although it is flattering that people are interested in my fashion sense, the clothes I wear, to me, isn’t fashion. It’s a statement. Whether its putting on a maxi dress to showcase my free spirit or toughening up in a leather jacket to show my edgier side, my attire is my personality. I want you to see it. I need you to see it. Creative people don’t have to tell you they’re creative, you know. You’ll figure it out as soon we step out in front of you.

  1. Our friends have deemed us the quirky one.

Sometimes I’m the life of the party. Other times, I’m the girl in the corner, observing what’s going on around me. “She’s in one of her moods.” I often hear my friends say. I find it rather difficult to identify as an extrovert or introvert. But fear not fellow Lost Souls, this is a mere sign that you’re a woman of a creative nature. You see, we don’t have a work-life balance. Our work is our life. Our life is our work.

 

The conversations I have with my mom, that strange encounter I had at the coffee shop, thoughts I have while showering; it all factors in to the work I produce. So the next time we’re hanging out and I seem to be in a daze, it’s because I’m thinking of how to incorporate what just happened into my next story. Or I’m redecorating your living room in my head. Or I’m hungry and wondering why I haven’t been offered food yet. The possibilities are endless.

Creativity. It’s a beautiful thing.

 

Featured Image Source

Andy Byford: Serving The Rocket Through Transformative Change

Whether you’ve seen him on the subway with other fellow passengers, or heard about his five-year corporate plan to modernize the Toronto Transit Commission’s (TTC) operations, it’s evident that Chief Executive Officer, Andy Byford, is bringing significant change to the TTC. However, there is much more about Mr. Byford than meets the eye. In a mere three years, he has managed to overhaul his senior leadership team and has  brought some crucial change to the TTC.Mr. Byford has replaced his Chief Executive Officer (CEO) with Gary Shortt, brought in Mike Palmer as the Deputy CEO for Subway Operations, Chris Upfold as the Deputy CEO, Rick Leary as Chief Service Delivery Officer and Susan Reed Tanaka as the acting Chief of Engineering, Construction and Expansion.

Mr. Byford has not neglected the importance of bringing women into leadership roles. While there are three out women of the 11 member, including Vice-Chair, Maureen Adamson, Councillor Shelly Carroll, and Anju Virmani. The TTC executive team has Chief of Staff, Joan Taylor, Chief People Officer, ‎Gemma Piemontese, and Chief Capital Officer,  Susan Reed Tanaka.

 

unnamed

Service has also improved significantly since Andy Byford became CEO in 2011. Performance measures show that punctuality and device availability are at an impressive 90+%.  Steps were taken to refurbish rundown subway washrooms, step up subway-car cleaning and improve announcements about service disruptions.

Andy Byford’s other efforts to complete expansion projects, improve customer service, and modernize the outdated system cannot be overlooked. In 2013, Byford introduced six, new Group Station Managers (GSMs) as part of his continuing commitment to modernize and transform the TTC. And just last year,  debit and credit machines were introduced to 69 stations, allowing passengers to buy tickets and passes the more convenient way.

Byford’s dedication and expertise has shaped the TTC into a much more efficient transit system. He is slowly changing the culture at the TTC, building confidence in his team, and tackling the thousands of changes needed to create better process at every level.

Mr. Byford is slowly turning the biggest transit system  in Canada around. The cultural transformation he promised is  happening, service has improved significantly, and despite the lack of transit infrastructure  and funding (4 million from this years budget) Byford has managed to keep Toronto moving with equipment that is long overdue for replacement.

His mission is clear; to have a transit system that makes Toronto proud and despite the lack of investment, the barrage of political attacks that come with his position, and the terrible mess he inherited, Byford just may pull this off.  We can only hope the politicians will leave him alone long enough to bring about the transformation the TTC so desperately needs.

Social Media Takes Over FHRITP Hashtag

The derogatory phrase was first stated in 2014. Since then, the FHRITP trend has made its way into news media all across North America. Today, after countless occurrences of female journalists being victimized on live television, a Hydro 1 employee was fired after harassing Shauna Hunt, a reporter for City News.

The incident took place at a Toronto FC Soccer Game. Since losing his job early this afternoon, social media users have taken to Twitter to state their opinions on the matter. FHRITP may be trending on Twitter, but it’s important not to focus on what the phrase stands for, but what standing up against the phrase can do for women in society.

Tune in to CityNews tonight to hear Shauna’s thoughts on what happened. Check out what happened below:

Shauna Hunt fights back after FHRITP confrontation

Serda Evren – team builder extraordinaire

One of the most challenging years in Serda Evren’s life taught her to look hard at herself, find the value in everyone, be open to people, and have fun. It was a very productive eighth grade.

“Leadership is about making decisions and sometimes you have to make tough decisions but you make them full of heart; you make them with emotion but you don’t let your emotions make the decision,” says Evren, who recently added a North American communications mandate to her role as Vice President of Communications and Philanthropy for MasterCard Canada.

When she was 13, Evren’s parents emigrated from Istanbul to Toronto, and suddenly the outgoing and full-of-life teen was the odd girl out. “We moved, leaving home and friends, for this completely new place at this critical age,” she remembers. “English wasn’t my first language, I wasn’t into New Kids on the Block. I was bullied and teased, but I realized you either make it or you don’t, and I decided to make it.”

That experience during her formative years made her realize the importance of seeing people for who they are, and understanding who she is. As she has advanced in her career, she has built on that philosophy to include helping others understand what they are good at. “I thought of myself as a generous, thoughtful, loving person and all they saw was a new kid. I wanted people to see who I really was, and that motivated me to always try to see people for who they truly are.”

Life became better, thanks in part to Evren’s practice of reading the newspaper aloud every day, cover to cover, to practice her English. By grade 10 it was flawless, and she was also a master of current events, which launched her passion for politics.

The University of Toronto was even better. She ran for the student union office, and in third year volunteered for the federal Liberal Party. With two years of volunteer service and a brand new political science degree under her belt the Liberals offered her a paying job. Thus began several years of long hours, lots of travel and sometimes living out of a suitcase. “The biggest gift of politics, other than the opportunity to change the world, is the people you meet. You work long hours in the trenches, you share beliefs, living together, travelling together, not eating or sleeping well. These people are your lifeline, and you form life-long friendships.”

Working in Federal and Provincial politics during the Jean Chretien and Dalton McGuinty administrations and a 14-month stint in Washington, DC, where she interned with Representative Congressman Anthony Weiner (yes, the “sexting” congressman) gave Evren insight into what makes a good leader, and a bad leader. A big part of that is surrounding yourself with the right people. “You can be a genuine, incredible, person, but if you’ve surrounded yourself with the wrong people it’s not going to work.”

Building a good team requires recognizing your own strengths and weaknesses. It requires some thoughtful introspection. “You have to spend time on yourself to be self-aware. You have to really understand yourself… your strengths, weaknesses, motivators, demotivators. If you’re not self-aware how can you possibly build an effective team around you?”

That also means finding your purpose. She advises: figure out the value you bring, what you’re really good at, and harness it. Deliver on it every day. Show up every day to make the team or the organization function better.

One thing Evren’s team – and her bosses – will tell you is that she is fun to work with.
“Let’s have a good time. Let’s build something together we’re proud of, so you feel good about what you’re doing.” She is not a stickler for hierarchy. “It kills spirit and inspiration,” she says. “There have to be lines because you’re not doing the same job and don’t have the same responsibilities but … I’ve seen people who put 100 steps between them and junior staffers and there’s no reason that needs to happen. I’d rather be building the bridges, being collaborative.”

Her goal is to build inspired teams – where everyone has a purpose and a role in making something better, and making a real impact. “It doesn’t have to be something huge, like reinventing PR. It could be that at a moment in time you brought forward an idea that shifted a strategy or changed a perspective.” It also means she doesn’t have to pretend to be good at everything. Leaders who succeed in building teams of people with diverse skills create successful departments or functions.

“I have never had an ‘end goal.’ I believe in letting opportunities find me. Who knows what the future holds but if I help people find and develop the value they bring, that’s something that helps those individuals and the organization for a long time, and I call that success.”

Humility over hubris will fix the TTC

There is a systemic issue that has plagued the TTC for decades.  Historically the TTC has lacked strong leadership, with CEOs being fired every few years,  few of them have had the time or inclination to tackle the managers or hold them accountable for their actions.

Last week a few columnists and politicians hinted that CEO of the TTC, Andy Byford, was to blame for the Spadina extension overruns.   Like the Red Queen from Alice in Wonderland who shouts “off with his head” they wanted a simple solution without understanding the complexity of the problem.  The TTC’s main mandate is to deliver good service efficiently and Mr. Byford has done exceptionally well on that front, despite inheriting an organization with a long history of poor accountability and mismanagement.

Consider the recent auditor’s report that found the TTC had not been monitoring the use and maintenance of its non-revenue fleet going as far back as 2005. Take a closer look at the report and what becomes obvious is the systemic issues that CEO Andy Byford has inherited.   The auditor’s report demonstrated that accountability has not been part of the TTC’s culture for decades. To expect our new CEO to do a complete overhaul of the system in under 5 years is ludicrous.

It’s easy to criticize when it comes to failures, but much harder to understand what caused the failures.  The real challenge facing the TTC is to change the culture of entitlement and unaccountability that fills the management ranks. But Byford has taken action. He’s reviewed the TTC infrastructure department, fired those responsible for the Spadina extension overruns, and admitted that he needs help and that the TTC infrastructure department can’t handle the project. Not only did this take balls, but it took humility – exactly the trait needed to bring real change to the TTC.

Mr. Byford’s firing of the Spadina extension project managers not only tells Toronto he’s taking action but it has sent a huge message to all TTC employees –  that no matter how high ranking someone is, they will be accountable for their actions.  This is a message that many TTC employees, frustrated with the lack of accountability and the attitude of entitlement within TTC management, needed to hear. In Byford, TTC now has a leader with humility, who is determined to give the public the best service possible while at the same time weed out the hubris that will always cause an organization to fail.

Where does the TTC infrastructure department go from here?

The answer is obvious to those who work in the industry — the contractors and engineers — who have worked with the TTC in the past and now refuse to even bid on most TTC projects, to those who have spent the past decade quietly complaining to anyone who would listen, about the ineptitude of the TTC infrastructure department.  The solution the contractors, tradespeople and engineering firms suggest is to turn all the large transit projects that TTC has in their plans over to Metrolinx.

Metrolinx is the provincial transit body responsible for building transit infrastructure – most recently, the Union-Pearson Express (delivered on time and on budget).  Under the leadership of CEO, Bruce McCuaig, Metrolinx has steered its large projects through Infrastructure Ontario which has developed an efficient process (with a 97% success rate) to manage big infrastructure projects.  Add to this the fact that McCuaig has attracted some of the best in the field, and the humility that McCuaig brings to his role as CEO of Metrolinx and it is easy to see why so many in the industry see them as the great solution to Toronto’s infrastructure problems.

A partnership between Metrolinx and the TTC is the best solution for Toronto. It would allow the TTC to focus on delivering excellent service efficiently, while at the same time deliver the expertise that Metrolinx has to all our future transit expansion plans.

Plowing transit funding forward

I have a lapel button with the words “I’ll pay for it” transposed over a subway map. It’s a reminder of all the people I’ve met over the years (while campaigning for dedicated transit funding) who were willing to pay for transit expansion as long as they knew their funds would go directly to it.

Last week Toronto City Council announced it would have to borrow $86 Million to cover cuts the Province made to social housing back in 2013. Mayor Tory had hoped to convince the province to reverse their decision but they wouldn’t, or, to be more accurate, they couldn’t reverse their decision because they too are having revenue issues.

The critics have attacked Mayor Tory on his decision to borrow the funds needed to cover this shortfall to social housing. But we can’t expect Mayor Tory or City Council to address the huge revenue problem Toronto has, when we as a city refuse to support candidates who advocate for more funding.

It’s time to deal in facts, and the very basic fact for Toronto is that there isn’t enough revenue to provide, or expand on, the services the city currently has to fulfill. From housing to transit Toronto doesn’t have the funds we need to provide the services and the anti-tax attitude dominating every issue has limited our ability to keep up with other growing cities. There are two questions we have to ask : Do you want more transit in the city? Do you want to care for those in need? Politicians who even suggest Toronto use dedicated revenue tools common in other cities, get swept aside for those who shout “no tax increases.” Our civic leaders can’t invest in our city because we refuse to give them the support to do it.

It’s time to change. Time to come together as a city and begin the work required to educate our residents on the crisis Toronto will have if we don’t act today.  We have elected someone who may turn out to be one of the best Mayor’s Toronto has ever had, he’s a consensus builder, a centrist not shackled to the far left or right. But we can’t expect Mayor Tory to deliver the services Toronto needs if we don’t provide him the funds to do it.

When it comes to revenue tools there are a number of good ideas that the Board of Trade, Metrolinx and the Transit Alliance have endorsed. Metrolinx suggested a basket of revenue tools that included a 1% sales tax, a 5 cent gas tax, parking levies, and an increase in development charges. Other North American cities have used toll roads, and the Toronto Act gives our city the ability to toll the Gardiner Expressway and Don Valley Parkway, which were downloaded to Toronto over 20 years ago.

It’s time for each one of us to rip away the rigid anti-tax attitude that has settled over Toronto, and held us back from building an effective and vibrant city. The first step is to envision what the city might be like if we invested in transit. Think of the jobs this kind of investment would bring, and of the future we would be building not just for today but for our children. The next step is to work actively to dispel the myth that city hall is rolling in funds with the reality – Toronto has a revenue problem that must be solved. If you would like to help, please join the Transit Alliance campaign for dedicated transit funding – you can become a member, volunteer, and share our posts on your social media wall. Forward. Together.