Interesting observations from the Spectator's Weekly Pulse over the past ten weeks: people listed their most important priorities for the city and it appears as though the gulf between politicians and citizens is as wide as ever.
Our candidates and politicians constantly tell us that economic development is their number one priority. RTH has written extensively on how to develop a city properly and even on some of the backroom dealings that go on at city hall that would lead to a politician proclaiming "economic development" (i.e. sprawl) as their number one priority.
It seems you and I have different priorities. In fact, economic development was seventh on the list of citizen priorities after taxes, infrastructure, social services, downtown revitalization, environment and public transit.
After Monday's election, we need to hold our politicians accountable in these areas. The past 20 years has seen a focus almost exclusively on "job creation" and "economic development", yet the reality has been a declining city in the midst of Canada's most prosperous region.
In other words, our politicians have no clue how to bring jobs and investment here. I would suggest that they focus on those top six priorities and I'm confident the end result will be more investment and real economic development.
As long as we continue to hold onto this 1950s notion that more pavement, bad health and dirty air are all natural byproducts of "development", we'll continue to be passed over as companies and CEOs choose cities with a high quality of life, urban amenities, transit and cycling options, parks, culture, proper tax levels and re-investment of those taxes into the existing neighbourhoods as their preferred location to open new offices and locations.
We must vote in new politicians who understand 21st Century cities and economies. Otherwise, the downward slide will continue.
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