I had the pleasure to join my fellow candidates at the Bloor West Village Residents’ Association candidates’ debate. We covered a lot of ground, from improving transit affordability by re-uploading TTC expenses back from the city, to each party’s Green Energy vision, to our perspective on attack ads, taxation and wireless radiation.
I was happy to hear so many questions that show the Green platform really addresses some key areas that aren’t clearly articulated by the other parties, in particular Food security. Only the Greens are calling for a Food and Farming Strategy to break down the monopoly we have between big agribusinesses and just a handful of food purchasing middlemen, providing tax breaks to farmers who donate to food security agencies, and prioritizing food banks as well as school-based healthy snack programs and education in nutrition.
Another area that got considerable attention was the need to immediately electrify the Pearson Air Rail Link, instead of undertaking a costly and time consuming unnecessary step of first building diesel trains, which the McGuinty government favours. This is to say nothing of having the noise and pollution from diesel engines in our backyards.
Finally, I enjoyed a question about the role of the arts, history and preserving the heritage buildings in Toronto. As a big fan of the Revue Roncesvalles Art Gallery and an Egyptian history buff myself, I know how history, culture and the arts serve as important creative outlets. Ironically, when I returned home from the debate, I heard news that The Canadian Air and Space Museum, a little known hangar near Downsview Airport that preserves the proud legacy of Canada’s aerospace industry, and where I’ve helped build Toronto’s only exhibit celebrating and providing youth education regarding Canada’s small but significant space program (best known by the Canadarm) faces eviction to make way for a “four-pad ice complex”. Sadly, I think I understand the question even better now, as well as the importance of preserving these often overlooked spaces, especially for those who have never had the opportunity to stumble into them.