In my parent's shop, I met people from all walks of life. Good people with amazing stories about their connection to Toronto. Tales of sacrifice, hard work, and the trials and tribulations of starting a new life in Toronto were common. Equally common were the stories of those who were 2nd and 3rd generation Torontonians, and their pleasant experiences of growing up in the city. Regardless of their challenges, people always smiled. There was never talk of being on the "left" or on the "right." Whoever you were, you were first and foremost "Torontonian" and fiercely proud of it. We were widely known as "Toronto the Good."
Going back to 1993, who can forget the bottom of the ninth inning during that memorable "Game 6," when Joe Carter calmly stepped up to the plate, took a swing, and hit a three-home run crowning the Toronto Blue jays the 1993 World Series champions. I couldn't explain the euphoria that came over me that day and how profoundly proud I was of the city of my birth.
As long as I can remember, I've always had a deep passion for politics. On the first day of my "Introduction to Political Science" course at York University, Professor Harold Kaplan's words inspired me to pursue my passion for the rest of my life. A passion that always drove me to do whatever I could to ensure the right people were elected to public office.
Throughout my career as an assistant to a Member of Parliament, as a chief of staff to a great Mayor and as CEO of an independent public affairs practice, I had the privilege of working with outstanding elected officials. Great leaders who inspired excellence and set outstanding examples for others to follow. They knew that the office they held was bigger than themselves and they had a duty to leave it in better shape than when they first occupied it. And, they clearly knew their obligation to unite their people; to represent all their constituents and not just elites and special interests.
Last night, I attended the kick-off of John Tory's campaign to be the next Mayor of Toronto. The Polish Combatant's Hall on Beverley Street was packed with people from all walks of life including a large contingent of young and old. His message "TOgether, we can get things done" was perfect. He spoke eloquently, confidently and with the spirit of leader, a uniter, and a city builder. Humble and with a great sense of humour and purpose, he spoke the words, "I am not perfect, but, unlike some others, I am not content with that." Right on.
And then came the message I wanted to hear, "Toronto needs a move. Not a move to the left or to the right, but forward." Boom!
John Tory's vision for a the city is credible and clear: A more liveable, more affordable and a more functional Toronto.
The people of Toronto have a clear choice this October 27th. Continue to be the laughing stock of the world, return to reckless tax increases, waste and "entitled" special interests, or move Toronto forward together as the liveable, affordable and functional world-class city that it deserves to be. John Tory is the only one who can deliver that vision. TOgether, lets make it happen!
Photo by Steve Paikan @spaikan