Thursday, December 29, 2011

RE: On Leadership

Dear Fellow New Democrats,


First, a bit about my perspective; I grew up in Sussex, New Brunswick, a resource town of less than 5000 people. I moved to Ottawa and completed a Bachelor of Arts from Carleton University and have returned after finishing the coursework for a Master of Arts in Social Justice & Equity Studies from Brock University in Ontario’s Niagara region. After working on Malcolm Allen’s Welland re-election campaign in May 2011, I joined the New Democratic Party of Canada thereby cancelling the Green Party of Canada membership I’d held since 2006. Though I Share traditional NDP enthusiasm for social democracy, I find NDP environmental policy, upon critical review, is not a practical response to Canada’s crises of energy, environment, and, inequality. At present, the NDP are the progressive party best situated govern Canada and end the corruption, secrecy, and authoritarianism Harper has overseen. Harper continues to act on the interests of big business and wealthy owners; with disregard disadvantaged and for low-income Canadians, the Harper government has emaciated the middle class and prioritized prisons, fighter jets, corporate tax cuts and deregulation of environmentally damaging industries.

If the NDP is to form government, they need to present a pragmatic and compassionate policy vision that will create a business and social environment for equality, health, and success. With this challenge ahead, my opinion as a newcomer is partly representative of the audience the NDP will need to target in the next election. How will the party appeal to educated voters who actively chose to vote Green or Liberal last election? The NDP strategy needs to be about good people and good policy.

In May, Jack Layton led the NDP to the height of their electoral success and then was taken too soon from a Canada in need. Journalists have said the NDP’s May campaign was fuelled solely on the charisma of the Jack Layton. That energy has left the party at a loss to define itself as the party-in-waiting to form government. The Liberals and Conservatives are understood as the natural governing parties, and the Green Party have one of Canada’s best-spoken women, Elizabeth May, guaranteed in the next election’s televised debates. Liberals also have the advantage of choosing their leader after the in response to who the NDP elect. The left of the Canadian political spectrum is a crowded forum, and the NDP must choose a leader that will be able to create confidence that the party can win a 2015 election. Below, I will outline my thoughts on the 8 remaining candidates in the 2012 NDP leadership race.

On Brian Topp, I fall into the “anyone but Brian” camp. I think it’s an unwise choice to elect a leader without a seat in the House of Commons, let alone one who has never stood as a candidate for public office. While Jack was not an MP when elected leader, he had years of elected experience with the Toronto City Council. The rush of high profile endorsements doesn’t really convince me of anything either. He carries very little name recognition, has no geographically defined region of support, and only performed adequately at best in the first broadcasted leadership debate in Ottawa. His credentials as party president aren’t that impressive either; candidate Peggy Nash held that same position accompanied by years of elected experience. By the many of the same points, I also can’t support Martin Singh as legitimate replacement for Jack Layton.

Peggy Nash and Paul Dewar share a few critiques as well. Both are accomplished MPs with reasonable French-language skills and strong union ties from urban Ontario ridings. These 2 candidates are in my opinion the ‘old school’ of the NDP. As the son of New Democrat and former Ottawa mayor, Marion Dewar, and a CAW labour official Dewar and Nash embody the traditional appeal of the NDP. The 2 are also comparably educated with Nash holding a University of Toronto degree in French, and Dewar a Carleton political science degree and a Bachelor of Education from Queens. Potential Liberal leaders Marc Garneau, Bob Rae, Dalton McGuinty, and Justin Trudeau boast higher educational credentials, which may appeal to progressive well-educated voters, especially those critical of NDP environmental policy.  The embattled Liberals survived the last election with 34 seats. They have 4 years to rebuild their party and prepare for the character assignation Conservative ads sink to. It’s unlikely the NDP will win many seats currently held by Liberals. Where the NDP can pick up enough seats to form government are ridings where vote splitting elected Conservatives. Largely, these seats are in the Canadian west and lesser urbanized ridings. Electing Nash from Toronto or Dewar from Ottawa allows for the criticism that the Conservatives best represent those not considered ‘urban elites’. I wouldn’t have any real issue with either of these Candidates, but I doubt either has the appeal to lead the NDP to government in 2015.

I prefer Paul Dewar to Peggy Nash for 2 reasons. Peggy Nash falls into the same demographic as Green Party Leader Elizabeth May, and, objectively, Ms. May is much stronger presence in debate or interview. There’s also that awkward moment when Peggy Nash lost her seat to failed Liberal leadership candidate Gerard Kennedy in 2008, despite outspending him by $10, 000.

It should now be evident that my ballot’s top 4 are Thomas Mucair, Nathan Cullen, Romeo Saganash, and Niki Ashton.

4th on my ballot will be Thomas Mulcair. I personally disagree with Mr. Mucair’s policy proposal for cap and trade as a method to reach carbon reduction targets. I would explain why extensively, but this video does perfectly in 10 minutes. (It’s worth a watch; this reasoning is largely why I voted Green instead of NDP for years)


I also think his attempt to bulk export Quebec’s water during his time as provincial Environment Minister is a resume blip that should raise a red flag to progressives. That said, Mulcair is the 'stay the course' candidate; he’s popular in Quebec and will easily be able to chew into the traditional Liberal base. A Montreal lawyer who speaks eloquently in French and English, Mulcair has potential to form an NDP government. My only fear is that Mulcair’s Quebec ties will not facilitate the party’s expansion into western Canada as easily as other Candidates. Mulcair could be Prime Minister, but I think he’d only form a minority.

On the topic of keeping the orange wave riding high in Quebec, Romeo Saganash is also a formidable candidate from the rural Northern Quebec riding of Abitibi—Baie-James—Nunavik—Eeyou. A talented trilingual candidate with extensive and unique experience as a lawyer, community organizer, and negotiator, Saganash is the first aboriginal to run for the leadership of a major Canadian political party. Rural perspective and strong roots in Quebec’s NDP caucus make Saganash a worthy competitor for leading the party to victory in Conservative-held ridings and place him third on my leadership ballot.

My second choice is British Columbia’s Nathan Cullen. Prior to the leadership I was oblivious to Cullen’s politics, but Cullen continues to prove himself as the ‘personality’ candidate. If the NDP’s rise to Official Opposition was because of Jack’s personality, they may well rise to government with Cullen as their media darling. Cullen also brings experience as a businessman from the rural Northern BC riding of Skeena—Bulkley Valley. With a strong provincial NDP and many Conservative MPs, appeal to British Columbians will be necessary to win a majority government. Cullen also appeals to party members like me, who may have recently flipped from the Greens or Liberals by being the only leader to talk about cooperating with other parties to ensure Canada gets the progressive compassionate government they deserve.

The only candidate to best Cullen on my ballot is Niki Ashton, the 29 year old MP for Churchill, Manitoba. This woman is an accomplished academic, activist, and linguist: a Ph.D candidate who speaks 5 languages. Niki Ashton is the candidate of progress and possibility. While she may not immediately seem like the Prime Minister in waiting, Niki Ashton is the candidate with the most potential for growth. With 4 years of experience as leader of opposition, Ashton will emerge as a confident and competent young professional.  After strong performances in Ottawa and Vancouver, New Democrats are seriously considering her as a candidate with unparalleled appeal to a dormant youth voter base and support from western and rural Canadians. Ashton’s “New Politics” is a blueprint to address the inequality crisis in Canada. Niki Ashton has demonstrated her dedication to social and economic justice as the chair of the Standing Committee on the Status of Women, an ardent voice for prairie farmers, and a dedicated advocate for accessible education. Manitoba also presents a similar strategic nature to BC, characterized by a strong provincial NDP and many federal Conservatives. Niki Ashton is the strategic choice in the race for NDP leader; she is the best candidate to use the next 4 years to grow the party and guide policy toward a winning campaign in 2015. 

I will be voting for the candidates I think can run to form a government; Ashton, Cullen, and Saganash are the only candidates with enough appeal to lead the NDP to a majority win in 2015.


Join the party. Get educated. Vote.


D$$

Update: Since originally posting this, I have been overwhelmingly impressed with Nathan Cullen's debate performances and policy releases. He has undoubtedly risen to my top choice. I remain very supportive of other candidates and thankful for their service to the NDP.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

RE: Movember

To Who It May Concern,


Movember. A time of year when judging people from a distance gets a lot easier. October was breast-cancer awareness month, and we saw an array of products switch to pink packaging with proceeds supporting breast cancer research (See video below). So that was yesterday, today men are shaving down their upper lips for a month-long moustache growing challenge to raise funds and awareness for prostate cancer. The differences in fundraising strategies between the two months are very telling of our society.

The goals of each of the cancer fundraisers are twofold: outreach and fundraising.  Movember’s revenue model is primarily based on sponsorship of participation in November-long moustache growth.  October, or Pinktober, as it has come to be marketed conforms its revenue model to tightly consumerism, in addition to sponsored-participant events (like the CIBC Run for the Cure).

From a critical perspective, I have to ask why we need these charities to exist. If we live in a country that guarantees health rights, why are cancer research and support programs not part of our public investments? If this approach was taken, the administrative costs associated with fundraising and logistics of large charity projects could be avoided. Instead, we turn to market solutions for much of our health charity funding, leaving medical progress vulnerable to recession, scandal, and inefficiency. 

Whipped to market forces, medical charities are forced into creating broad-reaching and innovative fundraising schemes. Here, charities, like businesses, have turned to the mobilization of identity politics to create profit. Because it is understood that femininity is largely based in consumerism and appearance, and acknowledging that women hold the vast majority of purchasing power in North America, Pinktober is an obvious marketing campaign.

Conversely, the growth of a moustache is symbolic of much less severe social regulation placed on men’s bodies.  Movember’s month-long pledge also seems obvious; create a visible presence among men for an awareness campaign and collect pledges. So, a (primarily) women’s cancer is approached through methods designed to profit from the continued mantra that a woman’s happiness and beauty are but a few purchases away. Meanwhile, Movember flaunts how men can grow unruly and often unattractive facial hair for an entire month in the name of charity.

A suitable comparison would be an initiative for women to stop shaving their arm pits for the month of October. (There would be outrage) This would actually make sense, because often enough lymph nodes from the arm pit have to be removed alongside a mastectomy. While women’s armpits are much less visible than men’s upper lips, they are much more regulated. 

I’m not saying it’s wrong to donate to charities, or participate in events, (lord knows I've done my share) but I am saying it’s important to think about the role these institutions play in (re)creating our social relations.



Sunday, October 16, 2011

RE: Omnibus Crime Bill and "Occupy" Actions


Dear Ministers Flaherty, Finance, and Nicholson, Justice, 
cc: Paul Dewar, MP Ottawa Centre,

I am writing the ministers of Finance and Justice as a concerned Canadian living in Ottawa; the recent actions of the Canadian government have created tension as staunchly ideological policies have been put forth by the majority Conservative government. Specifically, the omnibus crime Bill C-10 introduces sweeping policies that would see the incarcerated population rise dramatically at a great cost to the taxpayer. At the same time, Conservative fiscal policies are trimming away preventative social services budgets. This bill creates a trap for disadvantaged people.

The omnibus crime bill is exemplary of neoliberal policies geared to criminalize poverty and restrict freedom along an ideological basis. While our justice ministry prepares to incarcerate those who never had a hand up, let alone hand-out, our fiscal policies have seen income inequality rise in Canada faster than in the US. University and college tuition has risen much more sharply than inflation due to government clawbacks; inaccessible skills-training further disenfranchises disadvantaged groups and allows wealth rather than merit to facilitate meaningful, productive, and well paid work.

These very real issues have been the reason many Canadians have joined the “Occupy” demonstrations coast to coast.  Minister Flaherty, your comments to the media that Canadians have little to demonstrate over illustrates your ignorance on several levels. Firstly, the concept of a grassroots movement is that there is no pre-eminent organizing issue; each participant arrives with their own priorities but unites for change toward a more just and sustainable future.  Because Canada could be worse, is not a reason to become complacent. The sitting government is dramatically overrepresented by the majority Conservatives, who were elected by less than 40% of voters.Whereas many Canadians’ voices are not appropriately represented by the sitting parliament, there came an impetus to create new democratic space to express opposition to a Conservative ideological shift in Canadian politics.

There is a simple message here; the “Occupy” protests are largely in favour of a decoupling of public policies from neoliberal profit-fetishizing ideas. As long as the policies the majority Conservative government pursues are inconsistent with the creation of a Canada that is safer, more environmentally conscious, and equitable, the “Occupy” protests are relevant here. Further, I personally implore you to defeat the omnibus crime bill for its juxtaposition with social justice, and I encourage you to interpret the entire “Occupy” movement as resistance to its passing.

Sincerely, 

D$$


Monday, June 27, 2011

RE: CUPW Strike

(This is an editorial I sent into the Times & Transcript in Moncton, NB. It's over 3x the suggested length of 250 words..it probably won't get published.)

You’ve got mail. The Canadian Union of Postal Workers’ strike ended after an epic overnight debate on back to work legislation introduced and voted through by Harper’s majority Conservative government. The NDP endlessly filibustered the bill in effort to create time for Canada Post and CUPW to reach a mutually beneficial agreement. Negotiating parties unable to achieve resolution, the Harper Conservatives crafted prescriptive legislation for binding arbitration. Included in this bill, was a pay increase less than what Canada Post had most recently offered.

This intervention into collective bargaining is exemplary of an ideological conflict that has come to define the Canadian politic. Harper’s Conservatives claim to have acted on behalf of ‘ordinary Canadians’, small business, and charities by ending a disruptive strike. They also lay claim to the economic moral high ground suggesting that the wage their legislation prescribed was fair given the austere economic climate and comparable to other government negotiations.

Illustrated here is the ideologically motivated policy direction of the Harper Conservatives. Govern on behalf of the economy; govern on behalf of the rich. Unions are important mechanisms that facilitate surplus value of labour being more evenly distributed between workers and capital owners. While I approach unions with mild ambivalence, I acknowledge how they perform in important ways. The existence of unionized workplaces that may offer better benefits, wages, and schedules creates competition for a limited talent pool. To remain competitive with unionized workplaces, non-unionized workplaces must accordingly offer competitive compensations. Unions help create a strong middle class.

Harper’s Conservatives are governing in a style that will emaciate the middle class and increase income inequality in Canada. The wage imposed onto CUPW workers is a clear demonstration of Harper’s misunderstanding of the needs of Canadians. Austerity measures that see services cut, wages frozen or reduced, and smaller infrastructure spending foot ordinary Canadians with the bill of an economic downturn caused by some of the world’s wealthiest corporations and financiers.

A low-cost business environment is the goal of the Harper Conservatives’ initiative to create jobs. Complicit with this goal is providing a pool of cheap labour and low-taxes. This American style of governance is unsuitable for the realities of the Canadian economy. Our economy and population are minute in comparison to the US; further, we are primarily a resource country. Canada is in no way able to contend with the competitive advantages of US technology or developing world labour costs. A successful management of the Canadian economy needs to realize an alternative economic model that recognizes our separate identity from the US. The economic shift toward the service and knowledge economies needs to be embraced by our social planning. While one model of job creation is to create a latent pool of labour, a more suitable model for Canada is to create a latent pool of talent.

The transient and disconnected nature of well paid high-tech and creative jobs, such as design and writing, suggests that good jobs can exist wherever there is a pool of talent large enough to attract them. This concept operates in the reverse of the classic idea that people relocate to where jobs are available. Simply put, the task becomes to make Canada an attractive place for talented people who will in turn attract industry. Robust social services, health programs, and educational initiatives are factors that attract international talent to Canada and encourage our brightest to pursue their careers at home. Austerity measures forthcoming from the Harper Conservatives will reduce Canada’s competitive advantage in the competition for talent and steer us toward an economic model of an annexed US state.

Alternative to Harper’s policy direction, there are two systemic barriers holding the economy back from integration into the knowledge economy: education and unemployment. While the Harper Conservatives siphon social services and public wages away, ever fewer people are financially capable of retiring at the age of 65 (or younger). At the same time, some of the most promising students are unable to develop their skills because of the costs of post-secondary education. Canada could make a smooth transition to a knowledge economy by increasing seniors’ benefits to move them out of the workforce and create jobs; meanwhile, we can be creating a more accessible system of post-secondary training options to give Canada a competitive edge for talent.

So did the NDP fall out of public favour for supporting the CUPW? I don’t think so, I think they realized Canada has two choices for the economy, and they chose to support ordinary Canadians instead of representing the interests of corporations and banks. The difficulties the Harper Conservative direction for Canada will have on the middle class are largely unnecessary. The federal NDP and Liberal Premier of Ontario, Dalton McGuinty, have found common ground in calling for the abolition of the unelected senate. Perhaps new ways of taxing should be investigated; British Columbia and Ontario have recently harmonized their sales taxes, and Nova Scotia even raised their HST and has managed to not devolve into chaos. With 60% of Canadians voting against Harper’s Conservatives, the ideological economic reforms pursuant will be unrepresentative of the Canadian will and identity.

If we’ve learned from the CUPW strike, it is that the Harper Conservative vision of austerity is prepared to subsidize a tax cut for the wealthy with lost wages and services from ‘ordinary Canadians’.


 

Saturday, June 4, 2011

RE: Per-Vote Subsidy


Dear Rick Dykstra, Member of Parliament, St. Catharines,

My letter today is written out of concern for the budget bill to be introduced on June the 6th, 2011. Specifically, I would like to articulate my opposition to the ideologically motivated removal of per-vote subsidies awarded to federal parties netting over 2% of the national vote. While the fiscal deficit must be addressed, it cannot simply be substituted for democratic deficit. It is a disappointing characteristic of Stephen Harper’s governance that parliamentary measures are used to stifle democracy and keep information from the public. The per-vote subsidy is an important way of representing Canadians and their differing ideas that are often underrepresented in parliament due to the vote loss of our First-Past-The-Post voting system. Defunding mainstream political parties from stable consistent revenue severely disadvantages non-governing parties.

The cost of the per-vote subsidy is argued as unnecessary, unproductive, and enabling posturing of political parties to be in constant election mode under minority governments. I personally do not understand the Harper Government’s blatant disregard to free and open discussion and collaborative decision making. When details of detainees in Afghanistan arose, the Harper Government prorogued parliament for months.  When Harper formed government he promised electoral reform for the senate, and he proceeded to stack the senate with Conservatives so that they could kill a climate bill passed by a majority of MPs.  As a majority governing party, the Conservatives will be in a greater position to offer private contracts to conservative friendly areas as was done with the stimulus funding. Accumulating selected public favour and defunding opposition parties are dramatic insulations of power that are inappropriate for a politically diverse Canada.

This concentration of power is antithetical to the mandate Canadians delivered on May 2nd; 60% of Canadians voted against a Harper majority. It’s clear; Canadians are not settled on an electoral system or a party that best represents them. One conclusion that can be drawn is that the Canadian people did not vote for the Harper Conservatives’ power in parliament to translate into a chokehold on dissent. What Canada needs now is cooperation from all political parties elected and policies that acknowledge that the Conservative ideology is the minority in Canada.

Mr. Dykstra, as a citizen of St. Catharines I urge you to bring these concerns to your caucus. Further, I urge you to lobby for the maintenance of the per-vote subsidy, to lobby for the maintenance of decency and democracy in Canada, and if necessary, I urge you to speak and vote against the budget if such concessions are refused. 

I hope my concerns resonate with you and your caucus and appropriate action to save the per-vote subsidy are taken.

Sincerely, 


D$$ 





Tuesday, May 10, 2011

RE: Respect for Life Day

Dear Mayor Watson

I am writing as a concerned citizen. The issue that I wish to draw to your attention is the declaration of an Ottawa “Respect for Life Day” that coincides with the largest annual Canadian anti-choice action, the Ottawa March for Life, happening Thursday May 12th. At this juncture, I would like to remind you that under Canadian law women have the right to autonomy over their bodies and their choice to employ a range of reproductive management strategies including abortion. I in no way am accusing you or your office of taking a political stance on the issue, but I do have concern for the type of message your declaration will send.

Declaring a “Respect for Life Day” continues to frame the debate on the terms of those who advocate the criminalization of abortion. By naming the debate pro-life vs. pro-choice, the debate is misrepresented. Pro-life is a personal choice that only pregnant women can make. When moral systems of belief are imposed on others in attempt to limit or influence the choices pregnant women make, the debate is no longer about respecting life and is more accurately described as anti-choice. Further demonstrating the failure of the pro-life rhetoric is that there are initiatives and people who are characterized by both pro-choice and pro-life. For example, a woman may be pro-life, but dedicated to creating better social services so that women with unintentional pregnancies may be prepared to bear and raise a child. The woman in this case would have respect for another woman’s choice but still be dedicated to creating circumstances where more women can choose to carry out unintended pregnancies.

The actions organized for the May 12 March for Life are not pro-life, they are definitively anti-choice. They invoke imagery of murder and genocide to arouse feelings guilt and shame among those who do not share their ideology.  This march is not established out of genuine concern for struggling pregnant mothers and speaking to their needs; it pushes a conservative and criminalizing political agenda that undermines women’s equality.  The declaration of a “Respect for Life Day” privileges the rhetoric of those who seek inequality and a recession of the feminist movement.

Mayor Watson, you are in an office that creates public discourse for Ottawa, our nation’s capital and one of our largest urban centres.  It is inappropriate that such an office would pander to the inaccurate and nefarious rhetoric of respect for life.  I strongly encourage you to retract May 12th’s designation as “Respect for Life Day”, and equally I invite you to join the pro-choice presence at the March for Life; this presence is dedicated to sex and body positive feminist action toward equality.  For more information please see http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=199837716721022&ref=ts or feel free to contact me personally, and I will ensure you are directed to the right place.

I hope you take appropriate action on this matter and resolution is reached quickly.

Sincerely, 


D$$ 

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

RE: Let Elizabeth May Debate


Dear Members of the Canadian Broadcast Consortium, 

I am writing out of astonishment and disappointment at your recent decision to exclude Elizabeth May of the Green Party of Canada from the televised debates. Ms. May lead the Green Party to accumulate almost 1 million votes in the last Canadian election. Despite the party’s failure to obtain a seat, the Greens demonstrated a massive amount of support for their political priorities. 

The decision to allow a leader to participate in the televised debated based on the pretext of a sitting Member of Parliament is unreflective of Canadian values. Both British Colombia and Ontario have run referenda asking their constituents if the current first-past-the-post (FPP) voting system was working for them. The Green Party and the New Democratic Party advocate for electoral reform incorporating some form of proportional representation (PR); debate on Canada’s electoral system is ongoing. Why does your consortium believe it has the right to firmly support the ancient electoral system our British colonizers imposed on us, when Canadians have not come to a consensus on the issue?

The debate between FPP and PR is one that pits geographic representation against ideological representation. Because Canada operates on FPP the national vote percentage sees the seats in parliament unequal to the national vote share. This relationship has seen the Green Party shut out of parliament, despite garnering 1 million votes. FPP electoral systems privilege geography, but for the televised debates to exclude the Green Party is an unjust silencing of many Canadians.

To be more reflective of the Canadian values of provision of equal opportunity, the criteria on which you allow leaders to participate in the televised debates should coincide with the minimum % of national vote share necessary to receive federal funding, 2%.  Under such conditions the current 5 largest parties in Canada would be invited to debate the issues that matter most to Canadians. 

I strongly encourage that you let Elizabeth May debate and to re-align your policies so that they may be better representative of Canadian values. As Canadian media sources, you are responsible for much of our nation building, and our nation is not built on unjust exclusion. 

Sincerely,

D$$



Tuesday, January 11, 2011

RE: Transit Planning

Dear Mayor and Councillors,

I am writing as a concerned constituent. I have lived in St. Catharines since September, moving here for graduate work at Brock University. Coming from Ottawa, I must confess that the city’s transit infrastructure has been a grave disappointment.

Transit is the lifeblood of a thriving city. Effective means to move your citizens about the city is a sustainable way to see business thrive and the city attract new people, business, and services. Organizing St. Catharines around personal automobile ownership represents many disservices to your constituents. Consider those, who for reasons of economic restraint, environmental conscious, disability, or age, are excluded from planning efforts and thus full participation in the city’s economy.

Accessible and effective transit strategies achieve many ends that I hope you aspire to. Effective transit, where those with the means to own and operate a car choose transit because of its quality, translates fewer cars on the road. This reduces the impact on the roads themselves and will save repair costs. Further, the reduction in air pollution yields better respiratory health and savings on provincial health expenditures. The reduction of automobile use also solves many issues of traffic congestion while making the city safer for pedestrians and cyclists, especially senior citizens and young children. Finally, reliable and effective public transit is a powerful disincentive for impaired driving.

Ideally, I would like to see transit services increased in hours of operation and frequency, but I acknowledge I am just one citizen.  The subject of transit and city planning is one that all citizens should be able to contribute to. As elected representatives, I implore you to engage the community and ask what would make the St. Catharines Transit Commission work for them. I also ask that you compare St. Catharines’ transit model to cities that have been celebrated for their transit planning efforts such as Ottawa, Toronto, Calgary, Edmonton, Vancouver, and Montreal.

Planning for growth and health should be high priorities; transit infrastructure is a means to a prosperous and equitable end. I hope you agree that it’s time to plan the city around the child and their future instead of the car.

Sincerely,