Tom Parkin for Parkdale-High Park

People are counting on us to win — and fight for them

Fundamental change is about taking power from Ottawa lobbyists and putting it closer to people. To me, that’s what building a social democracy is all about.

Right now, Doug Ford’s cuts and centralization are taking power away from people — but two key ideas from Jack Layton might show a path for how we beat him.

Governments in Ottawa and Queen’s Park are failing us on infrastructure. Toronto schools are in disrepair. Neighbourhood public housing has a massive repair backlog. Our transit is frustratingly slow.

Toronto’s people need public infrastructure investment to make life more energy efficient – and better.

Traditionally, Ottawa works with provinces to build infrastructure. But now, Queen’s Park Conservatives centralize power to inflict austerity, blocking federal infrastructure money by refusing to match it. And the Ottawa Liberals throw up their hands, happily pinning political blame on Ford.

But that doesn’t help people. Instead of games, NDP candidates can offer a fundamental change that puts power closer to people — by building on some ideas Jack Layton proposed over 10 years ago.

Way back in 2006, Jack Layton proposed the green new deal concept – his Climate Change Accountability Act. And around the same time, Jack Layton – from his experience as Toronto city councillor and president of the Federation of Canadian Municipalities – promoted an idea of a new deal for cities, pushing for federal funds that flow directly to municipalities, not through provinces.

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Jack Layton fought to give municipalities a portion of gas tax, setting a new relationship between Ottawa and municipalities. It’s also an idea David Miller pushed when he way Toronto Mayor.

This election, federal NDP candidates in Toronto can fight against Ford and fight for our city by combining Jack’s two ideas — and offering fundamental change with a Green New Deal for Cities.

Toronto NDP candidates can offer to end-run Doug Ford and directly partner with school boards and municipalities. We can offer a New Green Deal for Cities that undermines Ford’s centralizing power to fix our schools, non-profit housing and transit.

We can make a vote for a Toronto NDP candidate a vote against Ford and for the investments we need to make our city more energy efficient and livable. Let’s let Arif Virani explain why it can’t be done.

I’ve lived in Parkdale-High Park for over 25 years, working on every NDP election, knocking on thousands of doors. I’ve learned how we win here — by talking to people about what matters to them.

And without doubt, making a fundamental change by shoving Doug Ford to the side and making investments in transit, housing and schools matters deeply to people in Parkdale-High Park.

I want to propose to our party that we create a Green New Deal for Cities to help us win in Toronto and get done what matters to people.

 

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