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My Thoughts

The Issues in Toronto Centre - Let me Know What You Think

The None Of The Above Direct Democracy party is about having citizens decide solutions to problems. The "experts" should make recommendations and citizens should apprise themselves of the facts, but at the end of the day Direct Democracy means that the decision is yours. In the meantime, while we wait for a future None Of The Above party in government, I present to you my thoughts on select issues. If I were to be elected, this is what I promise to fight for on your behalf, and this will be further shaped by your feedback.
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  • Issue #1: Having A Roof Over Your Head

    • Having a reasonable place to live must be one of the most fundamental needs of any human. Most governments and wanna-be governments talk and talk about "affordable housing" yet there never seems to be a workable plan to get us there. The problem as I see it is that no official is taking a deep dive into the affordability crisis. The other issue is that responsibility for the lack of affordable housing is in the wheelhouse of all 3 levels of government. This means that it's easy for any one of the levels to blame inaction on someone else. Clearly, the problem DOES NOT have a "one size fits all" solution. There are many reasons for being homeless or under housed, and each has solutions specific to the reason.

    • For people in the most desperate straits - perhaps owing to physical or mental illness or disability - I believe that society needs to provide for those fellow human beings. I'm sure we are talking about much less than 10% of the population in this category, so a rich country like Canada should easily afford the programs to relieve these folks from their suffering, and then work with the segment of that group that might respond to retraining or rehabilitation to allow them to become productive and self-sustaining.

    • For those that are between jobs or underemployed or are otherwise capable of providing for themselves, short term subsidies or loans may be the answer.

    • And, affecting a broad swath of the population, runaway rises in housing prices make getting on the home ownership bandwagon a difficult or impossible prospect. Excessive price appreciation also affects rental rates. I am certainly in favour of restricting single family home purchases to people who intend to live in their real estate. We don't need speculators of any citizenship status buying up stocks of homes that are constructed for home owners to live in them. 

    • Even though capitalism can be a poor driver of affordability, it does have the advantage of working both ways. I believe there will be a housing market crash, and that could flush out the speculators and make it possible for people to buy decent homes again.

    • From my own personal experience beginning in 1979 as one of the original members of The David B. Archer Co-op in our riding, I can say that I'm a big fan of the original premise and strategy of housing co-ops. That premise was to mix people of all income and wealth levels to live as neighbours in a vibrant community. Community or trade union groups could, at that time, apply for mortgage guarantees from government that would allow good quality yet simple construction of mid-size multi-unit residential buildings and communities. It was a great system. Private builders would be guaranteed a decent profit to build the co-op buildings, which would remain owned by the organizing cooperative. Rents were geared to income and wealth. There were target percentages of each income level that would be qualified to rent in these Co-ops. That way, the development would not become a "poor people's ghetto" and the great diversity of backgrounds living side by side meant that much learning and life experience could be gathered in these communities. Pressure from private developers that didn't want to see valuable land used in this way when they could instead build gigantic and hugely profitable high-rise condos on every postage stamp sized lot, lobbied to end new co-op projects. I would say that in the last 20 years Toronto Centre has become infested with boring, low quality, out-of-scale condominium projects. I think every city should have some spectacular high rise condos, but the proliferation of the low grade ones we have now are likely causing more problems than they are solving. When a Co-op group created a development, they insisted on good quality construction because they intended to own the property for decades.

  • My thoughts on more Toronto Centre issues and opportunities coming soon...