Many people are suggesting that Toronto is too full of itself and that we are making too much of Mayor Ford’s appalling behaviour. I ask those who live in other places to consider the following:
- The drug trade has attracted consistently recurring gun violence in the city. Recently, at a drop-in centre where I routinely hold office hours, a young man who was very high put a gun on my desk when he emptied his backpack. The crisis was resolved without police but the incidence is symptomatic of the proliferation of weapons.
- About three million people live in Toronto. This is about one million more people than in all the Maritime provinces added together.
- Toronto continues to have a higher incidence of low income than the rest of Canada, Ontario and the rest of the Greater Toronto and Hamilton areas. Statistics Canada estimated that in 2010, 20% of the population had incomes below the national poverty line.
- Toronto is a deeply segregated city. Although the first language of the majority of Torontonians is neither English or French, it is race, rather than immigrant status, that more closely correlates to poverty.
- In some north Toronto public schools, in poor racialized neighbourhoods, the drop out rates are as high as 40 to 60% of the school’s total student body.
- About 164,000 people live in municipally-owned housing that currently needs at least $2 billion in repairs.
- Over 3,000 people sleep every night in public shelters with an estimated additional 2000 to 3000 sleeping outside, even in winter.
…and the list goes on.
The municipal government is essential to the real lives of millions of people. How much money is spent on public space, what kinds of new programs are undertaken in different neighbourhoods and how many people directly depend on the municipal government for their basic existence, are all life and death questions.
At a bare minimum, the Mayor’s association with violent, predatory thugs tacitly endorses their violence. His addictions impair the ability of the city to get anything done. This is why it matters.
– Sarah Shartal
Photo by Miria Ioannou
I wanted you to know how thoughtful I found this recent post about Toronto. People thinking through and articulating exactly what Rob Ford has done and will do to our great city. It really made me think about responding in a similar way similar. Opposite to the kind of reports we are use to reading. It made me think of the many countries I visited and proudly wore my Canadian pin on my backpack. Hate to think of the conversations that would conjure up these days.
Posted on my Facebook page as a result of your blog that we shouldn’t forget that Harper, Flaherty and Mike Harris along with the Conservative campaign team helped get Ford elected. Something we shouldn’t forget.
Cheryl Kryzaniwsky, Port Elgin, Ontario
This is great stuff….good on you all for putting in out there!
Joe Mihevc, Toronto