The city we love is at stake, and one wonders if our city ever dreamed we would arrive at such a critically defining moment.
We are often referred to as the most multicultural open city in the world where the opportunity to make ones dream a reality is in fact possible. A place where people come to work together and create magic. To lead a better life. And those of us who have been born here feel very lucky.
And while all of us do indeed have the right to dream and the right to see that dream come true in this city we call Toronto, the last four years have taken the wind out of many of our sails.
I am someone who, on paper, is living what some would call the Toronto Dream. A life filled with possibilities unique to someone living in our city. We are often the envy of the world, and for good reason.
I remember being young and playing in the sandbox with my friends, dressing up as a person we wanted to be. The world was ours for the taking.
That was then.
As we look back over the last four years, we need to ask hard questions. Have the conditions been in place for this Toronto Dream to be achievable for ALL of us? Have the best leaders been in power to make this happen?
We look at the current young population and how eager they are. How much promise they have. How wide eyed and ready they are to take on the world. To make their mark. Yet the youth unemployment rate remains at such a staggering high rate. What does their future look like?
Four years ago, we were asked to put our faith in an administration and movement that said it would serve our long term growth.
Have they done this? Did they help us achieve our dreams?
Many, many, many citizens would say no. Both those who live in our amalgamated city and around the world.
In the category of "contributions to the city," most of us have memories of things like Ford Fest, $20 handouts, and one-off murals that had an impact on handful of kids and...well the list can go on.
Frankly, we need to see this for what it us.
Fellow citizens, this is and has been tokenism at its best. These are Band-Aid tactics to capture our attention and in the short term make us feel like we matter and someone has our back.
But then what? As the sun sets on the past mayoral administration and all that came with it, how are we a better city where opportunity is plentiful to us all?
And how have they brought all of us together?
We have all been told of this urban/suburban divide, the downtown elite, and how it's really "us against them" defining the city.
Yet, the Ford administration and the followers who propagate this sentiment have not put forth any effort to enable all of Toronto to cross this chasm together.
One wonders, has it been their plan from the beginning to divide and conquer and keep it that way?
It's frightening to think that this movement goes into neighbourhoods and positions themselves as change makers, as people that want to give someone a better life. But do they really? Have the lives in these wards actually improved for the long term?
Furthermore, where are the success stories that showcase that the Toronto Dream is in fact possible in these areas specifically? Where is the transformative change that was promised?
And for goodness sake, why do we still hear about "the little guy"? If they were doing such a good job, wouldn't there be fewer little guys four years later? (One of the most condescending references I ever have heard of for the record.)
There is a pattern of consistent habitual behaviour here we all must look at of the Ford key players. There is a reality check we all must take.
Simply, no one changes. And four more years will see the same patterns.
This movement is that is characterized by a self-serving scheme that has no long term plan to make our lives better, and especially for the citizens in the marginal areas of this city.
Frankly, it has no place in a 21st century Toronto.
Our ability to achieve a better life for ourselves, our families, and our friends has not AND will not be possible under an administration enabling this movement, or the movement enabling this administration.
They are selling empty dreams. No free burger is going to fix the lives that need assistance the most.
On October 27, please consider all of this. Who can enable you to be who you want to be? Like, really want to be. Who can galvanize and unify us under a set of goals that benefit all? For real.
The Toronto Dream can be alive for all of us. No matter what age, race, religion or sexual persuasion. There is a viable place in our city for everyone.
We need an approachable guide who has the ability to create conditions to make it so. Someone who in their heart believes in the power of unification. Someone who believes that no one is "little." Someone who actually will put long term plans in place to make life better. Someone who has the benefit of being an insider but legitimately and genuinely cares about all of us. No matter where we are from or where we live. Someone who has the ability to work with everyone, no matter what level of government, union, or community group.
We don't need a celebrity for a Mayor. We need a "make it happen" consensus builder with a track record for helping people's dreams come true. We need a "statesperson." We need someone who will represent us with dignity for the world to see.
This election will not only affect our lives. It will affect the lives of generations to come.
Dare to dream of a better Toronto. It is ours for the taking. And you can help make it happen. On Monday, please make the time to vote, not just for yourself and everyone around you, but for all of us.
Make a statement history books will write about.