Daily Archives: January 21, 2011

Toronto budget public input

Residents, business people have their say on 2011 budget
Opinions vary widely on priorities
Kris Scheuer
(Written for Town Crier Jan. 21)

Margaret Watson advocates to sub-budget committee to not increase user fees for recreation. Photo by Kris Scheuer/Town Crier.

Councillors got an earful from residents, businesses and community groups who came out to speak on the city’s budget at North York Civic Centre.
New councillor Doug Ford, brother to Mayor Rob Ford, chaired the meeting at times with occasionally humourous results.
He mistakenly introduced Margaret Watson from the Canadian Pensioners’ Concern as a deputant about prisoners’ issues. He made a joke of it by saying he needed glasses and playfully referred to former budget chief Councillor Shelley Carroll as “the warden”.
For her part, Watson gave a feisty presentation about preserving services.
“Many seniors are tenants who receive pressure from landlords. We are disappointed you have cut $100,000 from the tenant defence fund,” she said at the Jan. 19 public meeting. “We hope council doesn’t want to put more tenants at risk of homelessness.”

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Advocating for change at city hall

How to impact change in Toronto
(Column written for Town Crier Dec. 22)

“You say you want a revolution,” the Beatles sang. “Well, you know, we all want to change the world.”
Even if it’s not a revolutionary change you are seeking, here are some tips on preserving a cherished service or advocating for a new policy at city hall.
As I wrote in a previous column, you can achieve small changes by calling 311, your municipal councillor, or by making a deputation at city hall.
But if you are seeking larger policy changes or want to protect services from being slashed, you’ll need a stronger game plan.
Do your research
Councillor Gord Perks is no stranger to activism, dating back to 1987 when he was involved with Pollution Probe, Greenpeace Canada and Toronto Environmental Alliance — all before he entered politics.
“You will have opponents so your information has to be as good or better,” he said.
So know your facts: why does it make economic, social and political sense for policymakers to agree with you? Continue reading