Mayor John Tory was reelected on October 22 along with candidates he endorsed, including Mark Grimes and Brad Bradford. Some good and bad counselors have been swept away but there is almost no new blood because incumbents had a big advantage in the shortened smaller council race (25 councillor seats instead of 47).
Survivor voters mattered more than ever because voter turnout was down from 60% to 41%; therefore, our votes were a bigger percentage of the total. To make sure the candidates knew this, Sound Times hosted two leading candidates for question and answer sessions. Members shared their needs, rights and expertise to establish a relationship for future advocacy. But it is just a start for advocacy…
From the Toronto Star: Meet the new Toronto Council, same as the old Toronto Council
Even though it was entirely predictable, Monday night’s election results were still dreary. From Etobicoke Creek to Rouge River, from Steeles Avenue to Lake Ontario, the vast majority of the city’s 25 council seats were won by old familiar faces.
…Council remains extremely male, extremely white and extremely middle-aged-to-old, seemingly the exact opposite of the public it’s tasked with representing – and that it’s been doing an unimpressive job representing for decades. They’re still driving the ship toward a “fiscal iceberg” – about $30-billion in costs over the next decade are without a funding plan – even as corporations and developers reap the riches that are clearly here, just reserved for a chosen few.
There are ways we could fix this: different balloting systems, term limits, making better provisions for cities in Canada’s constitution. Maybe a sustained, real effort to increase voter turnout; this year, as always, a sizeable number of candidates won with much less than 50 per cent of the vote.
The results of the election now set the team that will be working with the Doug Ford and the Provincial Government. The province funds (mental) health service providers and they have the money. Toronto has the day-to-day contact with folks dealing with mental health difficulties at shelters, emergency services, housing and more. Survivors need to advocate on each level.
As discussed in a previous edition of the Bulletin, Mayor Tory committed to mental health being a priority in Toronto. However, the details were not that clear. Are there things that you think he should focus on?
Accessibility and inclusion in city services.
Shelter provisions and food.
Affordable housing that is accessible to people living on ODSP.
Training for the police, emergency services to provide appropriate, respectful and effective services.
The city needs to move past the old anti-stigma campaigns and consultations. The mental health system is complicated but the consumer survivor experts + city focus on inclusion / accessibility can lead to big changes. The City has the obligation to make services accessible for people who face barriers arising from mental health and substance use. We have the opportunity to make sure this happens.