Op-Ed: A Tale of Two Torontos
This is an opinion article provided by Mitzie Hunter.
It’s a tale of two cities. A tale of two Torontos.
A Toronto that looks to the past, led by one of the same faces from the same places. A city becoming more congested, and less affordable. A Toronto that no longer works for anyone.
Or a Toronto where we meet the challenges of today and becomes the city we want in the future. A Toronto that works for everyone.
That is what is at stake. Will we lose the moment, or seize the day?
Olivia Chow was on council for most of the 1990s. When she resigned in 2005, Twitter had not yet been invented. Neither had the iPhone. She ran for mayor for the first time in 2014 when iPhone 6 came out.
Now Olivia is running for mayor again. When asked how much she will raise taxes, she won’t answer. No one can predict the future, she says. Reversing TTC cuts? No plan and no budget. When asked about affordable housing, she admits her proposal is a “drop in the bucket” and “better than nothing” (her words). Toronto’s multi-billion-dollar operating budget hole? Don’t worry, the city budget is always balanced, and somehow her years as an opposition MP mean she can compel the federal government to provide a bailout.
But it is not just Olivia. Most of the other main candidates are either on council, or used to be on council, or worked for council.
Same faces, from the same places. That’s not how change happens.
Change will never come from inside city hall. Change will only come from outside city hall.
I’m from Scarborough. I am by definition from the outside.
And the outside wants in because everyone on the outside needs change. Everyone outside of city hall, that is. The city hall insiders prefer things to stay the same.
I am the only candidate with a fully-costed and fully-funded plan that spells out exactly what I will do as mayor. It is a 70-page document found on my website. Or you can hear about in on my podcast series.
It is called Fix the Six and it has six main priorities. More affordable housing for buyers and renters alike. Getting Toronto moving again with more affordable transit. Seniors and Wheels Trans users ride free on the TTC. Increasing TTC safety and helping people experiencing homelessness. More parks. Better city services.
Most importantly, I spell out exactly how I will pay for it. It’s my “Three & Six” plan, a general property tax increase of six per cent for 2024. On an average Toronto property, that means an annual increase of $216. To protect low- to moderate-income households, there is a rebate for all households with incomes below $80,000. It means half of the tax increase is refunded – reducing it to three per cent. This is below Canada’s projected inflation rate of 3.5 per cent for this year. More than half of all seniors have a household income below $80,000 and they will have no out-of-pocket tax increase at all. No other candidate offers as much support to seniors on fixed incomes. Small businesses will also have no increase.
Toronto is at a turning point, and we must not allow it to become a breaking point. We are on the brink, but there is a way back from the edge. I am blazing that trail.
Together we can create the city we want. A Toronto that works for everyone.
Join me and let’s Fix the Six together.
Mitzie Hunter is the former MPP for Scarborough-Guildwood and formerly Minister of Education and Associate Minister of Finance. She was formerly a small business owner, the CAO of Toronto Community Housing and CEO of CivicAction. She holds an MBA degree from the University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Management.