Tobi's Articles | Articles écrit par Tobi
Along with legends, fairy tales and fables, myths are a great way to teach and learn values. But the other kind of myths – beliefs not grounded in fact – can be politically treacherous, especially when widely held by many or deeply felt by a vocal few. Yet dispelling myths that frustrate the public interest is a necessary aspect of political leadership, which is about to be tested by two proposals coming soon to City Hall.
The words “budget” and “public consultation” may evoke suppressed memories of uncomfortable folding chairs, stale muffins and cold coffee. More worrisome, however, is the fact that for many, those words are synonymous with being talked at, not listened to.
The naked man opened his door partway to tell me that he was sorry he couldn’t speak but that he had no clothes on. I immediately threw up my hands to indicate my full appreciation for his predicament and quickly moved to carry on to his neighbour’s apartment.
Living in a country in which rehab, fraud and corruption have dominated news coverage of municipal politics, it’s hard to imagine that elsewhere, a mayor’s campaign promise to lower speed limits could be considered, well, rather exciting.
The tipping point for cities likely went unnoticed. It could have been a baby born in a large hospital in Lagos. It might have been a Chinese farmer moving to Shanghai. Or perhaps it was the quiet passing of a grandparent in the Amazon.
Whatever it was, the result was dramatic. In 2009 and for the first time in history, more people lived inside urban areas than outside of them. Where are we five years later? With the World Urban Forum taking place this week in Medellin, Columbia, it’s a good time to ask.
There is much cynicism about politics and politicians these days. Some of it is deserved, some of it is misplaced. But the consequence is that voter participation has been trending down and confidence in our democratic institutions is low. Changing our approach to campaign financing in municipal elections provides an opportunity to increase civic engagement and trust.
As hard as it might be these days to believe that the City of Ottawa can draw inspiration from Toronto City Hall, it is indeed the case. Beneath the rancour of the media-frenzied politics, Toronto has quietly undertaken an important step in municipal leadership that ought to serve as an example to the nation’s capital.
When a fire broke out in the local hardware store in 2011, burning almost an entire block of cherished retail space to the ground, it is safe to say that Beechwood Avenue reached its nadir. To that point, a slow but steady decline had seen the exodus of numerous small businesses after the departure of the Mountain Equipment Co-op in 2000. Elsewhere, a strip of vacant and dilapidated buildings was left untended by its owners. The street seemed more deserted; infrastructure was aging; sidewalks were crumbling.