If Nothing Changes… Nothing Changes
By Nicki Ward
MP Candidate, York South–Weston, Green Party of Canada
As a “Blue-Green” I believe that our economic and political environment is directly connected to our natural environment. In other words we must address employment and economic development as part of our clean up.
I also have a background as a technical, scientific and medical writer – So I’m not a catastrophist. I’m a centrist who believes in evidence-based problem solving and that means tackling the things we can actually change. (One of which is who represents our interests in Ottawa)
With this in mind, let’s take a look at how York South–Weston has evolved from a beautiful collection of vibrant and self-sustaining communities to its current state.
Over the past 50 years, this area has been expropriated, annexed, absorbed and re-absorbed multiple times by neighbouring towns and cities. Some might argue that this is a normal part of growth and city living. However what is not normal is the speed and brutality with which this has occurred.
In addition to this, politicians have continuously and cynically manipulated our electoral boundaries. There are many examples, but one of the biggest Federal examples was in 1976 (and 1987, and 1996, and 2003) where they shoe-horned the distinct communities of York South, York West, Davenport, High Park–Humber Valley, and Etobicoke into a single voting block.
Gerrymandering is nothing new. But what is different is the speed and frequency with which this happens in York South–Weston. Each electoral shake up is disruptive and means that the newly created communities struggle to find their own voice and push back against political, financial and development pressure.
A cynic might suggest that since this so clearly favours incumbency that this is deliberate.
I’ve had several hundred conversations and met many wonderful individuals who continue to fight vigorously for the rights of their fellow constituents.
But this changes nothing if our pleas fall on deaf ears. If our elected politicians can only keep their job by obeying their boss in Ottawa, by being “whipped” to the party line, by being forced to vote against their conscience and their constituents…
…then York South–Weston loses…yet again.
It’s tempting to think of extinction events as singular dramatic moments like a meteorite hitting the earth. But most extinction events are slow, steady states of decay and are only visible when you look back over time.
Sadly, I think that there are signs that this is what is happening to Weston. Decades of mismanagement and misgovernment that have brought us to this point and that are pushing us further down the same dark path.
As to evidence? The long-term environmental symptoms are everywhere and the trend is all in the wrong direction.
Social issues like violence, mental health and addiction abound.
Institutional and multi-generational poverty continues to increase
Economic development (other than knocking down food stores to build condos) is absent.
Local water management allows massive quantities of sewage and other pathogens to enter our streets, basements and rivers.
Local air quality is dangerous, proven to be carcinogenic and potentially lethal. Air quality hotspots include: Weston Road, Jane Street, Keele Street, Black Creek Drive, Highway 401, Lawrence Avenue West, Eglinton Avenue West, St. Clair Avenue West and Rogers Road.
Overwhelming evidence that York South–Weston is in serious, serious trouble.
Can this tide be turned?
To be frank…If nothing changes… nothing changes.
However, you can vote for change.
With new representation and an active plan for political, economic, social and environmental solutions … then yes, we can turn this tide.
MP Candidate, York South–Weston
Green Party of Canada
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