The heat is on. The race to the Oct. 27 municipal election is going to be complex, and hit residents where they live – in their wards.
The high-profile race always focuses on who will become the mayor of the City of Toronto. With former councillor and David Miller-era budget chief David Soknacki filing his paper on Monday, the first big name to challenge Rob Ford for the seat is in. Let the sound-bites begin!
However, the mayor is just one vote on council. He or she leads an agenda, but the real races - the races that matter most – will be fought in the individual 44 wards across the city.
In 2014, there are many issues that need addressing across the city – and each ward has its own unique issues, as well as a shared vision for the city.
Knowing the people vying to fill your ward’s council seat – their values and platforms – are extremely important. Knowing that they have their own opinions, and will not be on a ‘ mayoral ticket’, following the lead of those who would be mayor.
It is through these 44 councillors decisions impacting your local parks, streetscapes, safety and business concerns are voiced and brought to the bigger council chamber. Also, one councillor can impact the thinking of others – sometimes from clear across the city. Could a councillor in Ward 2 (Etobicoke North) impact a decision in Ward 36 (Scarborough Southwest) or Ward 27 (Toronto Centre-Rosedale)? Certainly.
Residents should meet, find common ground on important issues such as development – the city isn’t getting any smaller, and development and intensification are but two examples of pressures every resident will feel.
Then there are city-wide issues such as transit, where knowing how your candidate sits on the issue is important for both your ward and the economic viability of the city.
The 2014 municipal election is an opportunity for residents across the city to dig deep into their communities, attend all-candidate debates, and pose questions that need answering. The glamorous nature of the mayor’s race will take on a life of its own, but it’s the grassroots, nuts and bolts races in each ward that truly deserve the attention of each and every Torontonian.