Bill O'Reilly was on Oprah the other day, asking the question, What kind of country do Americans want? And that got me thinking: What kind of city do I want? What kind of Toronto do I want to live in? If I can answer that question in a conscious way, rather than a hodge podge feeling way, then I will know how to assess the candidates in my ward as well as the Mayoralty candidates. Ultimately, we all want someone to lead us who has a similar vision to our own of our city. This is my vision:
Toronto is a city that fosters growth in her citizens. She enriches our work lives, by growing workplaces and industries that will meet the needs of Canadians and ultimately all the Earth's denizens. She will encourage innovation and foster creativity, whether it's research and development in such areas as energy-production technologies that will remove our dependence on finite resources or whether it's creating Canadian movies and television shows that entertain us, inform us, or challenge us wherever we may live, in whichever country. She enriches our leisure lives, by growing our Canadian culture from fringe theatres to commercial theatres, from foreign Broadway hits to Canadian plays that become hits, from painters to musicians to composers who can present their works in galleries and concert halls, from writers to poets who represent our changing Canadian landscape whether urban or rural. She enriches our health, by growing places to walk and run and play team sports, by creating and maintaining spaces for our children to learn how to swim or to have a place to play safely, by enhancing areas that provide peaceful, quiet havens, by pursuing energetically clean air and clean water and clean soil not only in the Toronto area, but also throughout Canada by showing them the possibilities of what we can do. And finally Toronto makes life easier, less stressed, for all of us. People come to the city to find work, to have a night life that's exciting (not necessarily nightclub exciting, but including that too), to carve out a social network, and to be able to live independently through a robust public transit system, healthy infrastructure, and good social services. Toronto needs to remember that.
That's my vision. I hope in the coming days to compare that to the candidates to see who best meets it...or at least comes closest.