I’m running to be our NDP MP to bring Parkdale-High Park communities together with labour and environmental movements into a Green New Deal — one that can reverse the growing disrepair of our schools.
After decades of cuts, Toronto’s public buildings, like schools and social housing, have billion-dollar repair backlogs. They don’t have the energy efficiency we need to reduce carbon emissions.
Last Saturday I was knocking on members’ doors along Runnymede Road and passed Runnymede Public School. It’s a place I know well — my wife and I spent many hours at the parent nights and packed school concerts. We’d race there from work to pick up our kids when they were sick or hurt. I looked across the road and saw a powerful symbol of our situation.
Runnymede Public School is a strong community hub. It’s also an powerful symbol of how we’ve failed to invest.
The original building has high ceilings and big windows. Later there was an addition — in that modern 1960s style, like there was in so much of Ontario, when colleges and universities, transit and social housing were built.
But in recent decades, politicians and business leaders have told us to settle for portables dropped onto kids’ play spaces. At Runnymede PS, portables have been on-site for decades. And next, Doug Ford will have students learning in isolation at home with on-line classes.
While millionaires have become billionaires and corporate tax cuts have reduced public investment, our schools and other public spaces have suffered.
We need a fundamental shift in power — from corporate lobbyists to people — to restore our ambitions. And we need to roll-out a Green New Deal to make our ambitions real.
I hope you are with me. Fundamental change and a Green New Deal are urgent. It’s not about one of us — it’s about all of us coming together.