The Toronto municipal election is happening next month and this coming Monday there will be a debate between mayoral candidates regarding support for arts and culture. Hosted by ArtsVote at the TIFF Lightbox, the candidates will answer questions from culture leaders in the city. Each candidate will be able to discuss their plan for the future of culture in the city.
The best part is that the moderator is Damian Abraham from the band Fucked Up!
Date:Â Monday, September 29
Time:Â 12:00 â€“ 2:00 PM
Location:Â Cinema One, TIFF Bell Lightbox, 350 King Street West (map)
Tickets:Â free general admission seating. Box office opens at 10:00 AM. Doors at 11:30 AM.
Progress is easy when weâ€™re all working together toward something we all believe in. The ArtsVote community cares about mobilizing our collective talents, ideas, and passions for the benefit of Torontonians â€“ and itâ€™s not hard to see how much energy and enthusiasm the people of Toronto have for arts and culture. You can see, hear, taste, touch, smell, and feel it in parks, schools, churches, community centres, alleyways, markets, sidewalks, and all kinds of other spaces around our city. So where do our municipal candidates fit into this picture? Do they believe they have a role to play in growing audiences for the arts, and encouraging cultural participation?
This year Toronto is witnessing a mayoral race between the worst mayor the city has ever seen and a few people who want his job. Not one candidate has come out to support bicycle based transportation (instead they debate how to better get cars through the city and not people). This isn’t a good thing. Last year in Toronto roughly 40 people were killed by car drivers, more than murdered by non-car homicides.
Local online press, Torontoist, has reacted to this by calling for people in the city to bring back “the war on the car”. People in Toronto ought to join this growing chorus of people demanding an end to car-dominiated culture and crack-smoking mayors.
The hard lesson from New York and dozens of progressive European cities is that you canâ€™t make gains for cyclists, pedestrians, and the life of the city as a whole without restricting car useâ€”removing lanes, widening sidewalks, lowering speed limits, and redesigning intersections. And as JSK and others have proven, that is not a politics for wimps: we need warriors.
At a time when many Canadians are disheartened with municipal politics and local candidates, Calgary, long viewed as one of Canada’s most conservative cities, has elected a progressive visionary as their new mayor. Naheed Nenshi was elected with 40% of the popular vote in an election where approximately 50% of residents cast a ballot.
The prospect of Mr. Nenshi as mayor signalled a shift in the province, observers said. â€œCalgary is often misperceived. It’s no longer a ranching and oil community only. Itâ€™s young, itâ€™s vibrant, itâ€™s cosmopolitan and global,â€ said David Taras, a veteran political observer in the city and the Ralph Klein Chair in Media Studies at Mount Royal University.
â€œIt’s almost a movement, which is incredible.â€
â€œYou know, the Purple Army [Nenshi’s campaign team] was never about winning an election â€“ it’s a good thing. It was about revitalizing the level of conversation in the city. It was about talking to the person next to you on the bus, it was about taking an extra minute with the cashier at Safeway, and now it is about doing the work to build a better Calgary that we all dream of,â€ Mr. Nenshi told his supporters Monday night.
With municipal elections coming up on Monday October 25th in Ontario, one can hope that voters and candidates alike can draw inspiration from Mr. Nenshi’s unlikely ascent to the highest political office in the city of Calgary.
For election coverage in your area, visit your city’s website, read local newspapers, and talk to people around you. For more on the Calgary election, check out this article at the Globe and Mail.