Tom Parkin for Parkdale-High Park

Fundamental change — and a green new deal

Parkdale-High Park — my home and an activist community

I’ve lived in Parkdale-High Park — in South Parkdale and Bloor West — since 1991. It’s my life experience. My wife and I are raising our three daughters here, in the public parks, pools and schools. Parkdale-High Park is my home. This is a community.

I’ve learned this community, block-by-block, working on campaigns to elect the excellent NDP representatives. I’ve been a volunteer, riding executive member, riding president, campaign manager. Building a strong local NDP association is essential for strong NDP representation.

This is a community of activists — so many residents participate in residents’ associations, child care co-ops, parent councils and the important anti-poverty and environmental activist groups. People here want representation that speaks for them. If we can get community activist working with us — and earn the backing of our labour allies — we can win Parkdale-High Park, I am very sure of that!

I’m passionate about my work as an activist — addressing workplace safety

Government after government has failed to give workers the power to protect themselves from workplace hazards. And it makes me angry.

In my job as the Managing Director of the Workers Health and Safety Centre, we help workers develop the confidence and skills for workplace activism. In our classrooms we work to create the workers’ ambitions and passions to protect themselves and the people they work with. I can’t say enough about the importance of the WHSC.

But the WHSC can’t stop the precarious and unsafe workplace — or the injuries, illness and deaths they cause. Across our city are vulnerable workers working temporary jobs in dangerous workplaces. They don’t have the power to speak up — or they won’t be asked back. And they have bills and rent to pay. We can dramatically cut the toll of workplace injuries, illness and death — but we need a fundamental shift in power to do it. We need stronger laws giving workers more power over their workplace conditions.

And I’m passionate about writing and social democracy

To me, social democracy isn’t just a liberal democracy with better universal programs, better workers’ rights and higher taxes to stop run-away wealth — as important as they are.

Social democracy is fundamentally different because it embeds power in people — in movements, workers and communities. A social democracy involves people in the heart of the economic and political life of a country. That is what I believe in.

I’ve been fortunate to be able to write 300 or more opinion pieces in major news media on a wide range of topics — and always from my social democratic point of view.



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