Mayor must care about equitable society

Mayor must care about equitable society

There are two fundamental requirements that candidates, policy platforms or political parties must meet if they are to be worthy of being supported by the majority of voters. This is especially relevant in the election for a mayor of Toronto, a contest supposedly not based on party affiliation.

To be worthy of becoming our Chief Magistrate, a candidate must convince us that he/she genuinely cares about the interests of all Torontonians and that he/she is committed to the principle of equitable access, for all of us, to the benefits that our society has to offer.

Negatively put, no candidate should be considered worthy of our support if he/she feels that fiscal discipline is so important that the objective of balancing the budget justifies aggressive cuts that result in reduced social and public services.

Similarly, no candidate should be considered worthy of our support if he/she believes that taxpayer dollars should only be spent to fund fields of post-secondary studies that are in demand in the labor market and hence that are likely to result in a “comfortable” standard of living.

The Caribbean Camera ranks these two requirements as non-negotiable. The Thatcherite philosophy is abhorrently inhumane because it advocates that throwing out the baby with the bathwater is the only way to bring the economy under control. The Reaganite belief system is equally uncaring because it rejects the idea of government’s responsibility to promote equitable access and equal opportunity in the society.

Whatever the contents of their statements and policy platforms, whatever the political forces that are known to support them, none of the five main mayoral candidates would openly declare that he/she either rejects those two requirements or that he/she does not meet them.

It is therefore up to voters to form their own opinions. In that screening process, numerous analyses are being made available in the public domain.

One of the most valuable of these analyses deserves our highest commendation. It concentrates on a shortlist of issues on which our communities of voters should judge and make demands of the municipal politicians: homelessness/substandard housing, disparities in learning outcomes, racial profiling, inequitable access to employment, youth equity strategy and community benefit agreements for the expansion of the transit system.

The Camera is happy to offer its resounding congratulations and deep gratitude to Debbie Douglas, Avvy Go, Margaret Parsons and Deepa Mattoo whose commentary was recently published in the media under the title ‘Toronto election is missing a racial equality perspective’.

Candidates for mayor and city councilor, political advisors and strategists, voters in the GTA be warned. This document is available on the internet and bears quoting:

“As the most diverse city in North America, Toronto desperately needs a leader who can demonstrate true understanding and commitment to the city’s motto, “Diversity our strength”, with a plan to promote respect for equality, including an economic platform that is equitable, inclusive and sustainable.”