Strengthening Our Democracy

Published on August 31, 2018

Reflection on Democracy and Ideas Whose Time Have Come.

The 2018 Toronto Municipal Election is already one for the history books. It’ll certainly be remembered as the election cycle when, with candidates already out of the gates, the provincial government decided to reduce the number of Wards from 47 to 25.

Torontonians all have equally valid positions on the merits of this action. I’ve been clear about my own view that imposing this change in the middle of the election without proper consultation was not the appropriate course of action. I’ve also expressed the opinion that any change to elections is cause for reflection on the importance of democracy. This election cycle has and will continue to teach us that we all have a stake in ensuring that our democratic process is both healthy and strengthened. With this in mind, I’m committed to championing the following causes at City Hall:

Ranked Ballots. Ranked ballots are especially important in crowded races like municipal elections where several candidates might share majority support and a small minority faction, concentrating around one candidate, wins. If we want to ensure that our elected representatives have the majority support of those they represent, ranked ballots can help to achieve this outcome. Doing so might even attract those who have become disillusioned with first-past-the-post back to exercising the franchise. Ranked ballots are a way of strengthening representation, strengthening mandates, and strengthening democracy. Count me in.

Term Limits. Should I be so fortunate to be elected not once, but twice, by the people of Beaches-East York, that’ll be the end of the road for me: I commit to only serving two terms at City Hall. I believe that we can either promote and encourage new talent and new ideas or we can suffocate and intimidate them with incumbency. I support a two-term limit for city councillors and will hold myself to that standard even if the rules are not changed.

Ideas not Political Parties. Campaigns should be built around ideas, not partisanship. Too often we hear “experience” thrown around when politicians actually mean “political affiliation”. Municipal politics are about local issues affecting real people of all political stripes. At the local level, I believe that democracy is best served by keeping political parties at bay. Instead of political dogma, we should maximize space for ideas whose time have come. I commit to keeping partisan politics out of City Hall.