Dear Friends and Neighbours,
This past Monday, I participated in an all-candidates debate on tenant issues. The first question we were asked was “What can you, as a councillor, do to change the affordable housing situation in the City of Toronto?”
This is an important question since it’s one of the top issues facing our city today. I was only given 2 minutes to respond during the debate, and affordable housing deserves a much deeper level of discussion – but I do want to share with you my list of priority strategies that I will be working on in the next term of council.
My Top 10 Actions for Affordable Housing
1. Repair and maintain Toronto Community Housing’s 65,000 units so that all existing units can remain operational
2. Develop the already-approved laneway housing program as a dedicated pathway to creating affordable units
3. Legalize home-sharing models (granny suites, secondary units) to make better use of existing housing
4. Provide rent supplements for families that are having trouble balancing the books. Nobody should have to make a choice between feeding the kids and paying the rent.
5. Provide shelter to the homeless at a rate that meets the 90% occupancy standard, then provide an accessible and immediate pathway to permanent housing
6. Advocate to the Province to establish true rent control, including an end to renovictions
7. Explore every opportunity to build affordable units on City-owned lands (Wychwood Barns is a great example of this locally)
8. Partner with faith communities, co-ops, not-for-profits, and other orders of government to build new housing
9. Implement inclusionary zoning as soon as possible to take advantage of new development opportunities
10. Dedicate funding to create transitional housing for women, girls, and families; and fund supportive housing for people living with mental illness or other special needs
This is a close race, and I appreciate all the thought and care that residents have put into their decision. Lots of folks are still making up their minds, and that’s why I’m out knocking on doors every single day, talking about the issues that matter.
Lots of you have already made up your minds that you’re with me – thank you for your support! It’s not just the votes that count, it’s all those conversations you are having with friends, family, and neighbours. There’s nothing quite like community engagement.
Already voted? Join me on Election Day – help get out the vote!
for your engagement and support!
It’s a beautiful weekend for a stroll – to the advance polls! Voting in advance is a great way to avoid the long Election Day lines and to give yourself a time cushion just in case your best laid plans don’t pan out. But Sunday is the last day to vote in advance!
My family and I cast our ballots on Thursday morning, along with a group of supporters eager to participate in local democracy. It was quick, easy, and fun – plus, we took the streetcar there and back on just one fare thanks to the 2-hour transfer!
Still doing your research? Come to the all-candidates debate this Monday, October 15 where I will be speaking to tenant issues posed by the Toronto St. Paul’s Tenants’ Associations Network. This is a great opportunity to learn more about the people who are asking for your vote in St. Paul’s, including trustee candidates. I look forward to meeting and speaking with residents about the many ways we can work together to make our community more livable, whether you rent or own your home.
What: Ward 12 All-Candidates’ Debate
Where: Timothy Eaton Memorial Church (view map)
When: Monday, Oct. 15, 7-9 pm
I am honoured and humbled to have received support from a wide array of people, including local residents, city-builders, and advocates for many important issues. On Friday, John Tory announced he is endorsing me as well, and I appreciate his vote of confidence.
One thing that my endorsers have in common is that, at some point, we have come together around an issue and worked out a solution. We don’t always start from the same perspective, but we work from a place of respect to find our common ground. In this way, together we have made our neighbourhoods, our city, and our world a little better.
Being a city councillor means getting good things done for your community and your city. With only 25 councillors, collaboration, communication, and creativity will be prerequisite dispositions to implementing poverty reduction measures, improving public transit, building affordable housing, and so much more. You can count on me to stay true to my values and to lead by example by pushing the boundaries of what’s possible. That’s how, together, we will make Toronto a better place to live.
This is the work I love to do, and hope to continue doing, with you in the new term of Council.
How beautifying our neighbourhood builds community
My philosophy on art is that it is a powerful tool to create culture and to bring people together. For that reason, I have always looked for opportunities to make art as accessible as possible to the community by providing public spaces for canvasses and finding ways to bring and keep artists into this community with smart planning.
Bright, creative elements that draw the eye make us more aware of the public spaces we move through every day. Luckily, it’s not difficult to inject life into utilitarian infrastructure. With a little imagination and an abundance of community spirit, we can introduce accessible art and encourage mindfulness of our shared spaces.
Some recent examples of public art projects I’ve supported in my ward include:
Back in 1998, together with City staff, Artscape, architect Joe Lobko, Peter MacKendrick, and many others, I helped the St. Clair community reimagine how the rundown streetcar barns at Benson and Wychwood could become a new neighbourhood fixture. The conversation captured the imagination of the neighbourhood, and after nearly a decade of work, we welcomed the transformed Artscape Wychwood Barns into our lives.
The Barns is a space to support the arts and artists; it is a gathering place for local residents; it is a bastion of environmental leadership, food security and social inclusion. The range of topics up for exploration at the Barns is, to me, a perfect example of how we can foster the arts as a community, for all ages, skills, and interests.
I have been a champion of the performing arts as well, including Tarragon Theatre, Theatre Direct and now Solar Stage at the Wychwood Barns. I support the Hillcrest Village BIA in bringing Salsa on St. Clair to the community, and we have recently celebrated the 14th year of the festival. I am proud to be the City Council liaison to Toronto Caribbean Carnival for over 20 years. Sharing and celebrating the diversity of this city is one of the great joys of my job as a councillor.