Praxis Theatre is currently on hiatus! Please find co-founders Aislinn Rose and Michael Wheeler at The Theatre Centre and SpiderWebShow, respectively.
September 23, 2010, by

One Toronto launches movement to get positive about the T Dot


by Michael Wheeler

This city is envy of the world and we’re acting like it’s falling apart.”

Filmmaker Atom Egoyan speaking as an observer at the launch of the non-partisan One Toronto movement to reduce the prevailing negativity of the mayoral campaign, and to encourage those Torontonians who support inclusive values to become engaged and involved.

I wonder if representatives from The Canadian Federation of Students (CFS), The United Way, and Luminato have ever sat at the same table before?

The broad-based support for this campaign impacted me more than the rhetoric for cameras at the One Toronto media launch. Certainly all the right things were said: There was a call for thoughtful non-partisan dialogue, respect for inclusive values, and a Toronto where anyone can succeed. This was expected. What was unexpected is how varied the groups backing this initiative are.

Look let’s be honest here: Luminato is more of a centrist Ontario Undergraduate Student Association (OUSA) kind of organization than a natural CFS ally – and the CFS has more of a Fringe Festival vibe than a Luminato one. Yet this is not the time for what become trivialities in the face of an almost unthinkable municipal administration that would decimate both culture and students with little regard for these distinctions.

Clearly it is time to make some new friends and work together. The distinct possibility of political apocalypse makes for strange bedfellows and a strikingly broad base of support that cuts across traditional fault lines in civil society.

One Toronto organizers are proposing Torontonians ask candidates what they would do specifically (no platitiudes) about three core issues that SHOULD be dominating the debate, but are being lost in sea of angry populist disaster porn: 1) Climate Change, 2) Inclusiveness and Equality, 3) Services and Programs. This is pretty wide ranging stuff you would think is a no-brainer, but is getting absolutely no play in the race right now.

toronto one your choiceThis election will be decided by a ballot question that has not yet been set. Currently the question is: “Do you want Rob Ford to dismantle City Hall?” If that remains the question, he almost certainly will win. If the question becomes something else, something positive that addresses all of the ways municipal government can engage with and improve our lives as Torontonians, his chances of winning decrease significantly.

As we have seen from the discussion still going on in the comments to Monday’s post, strategy and picking a single mayoral candidate will play a big role in how this all plays out. Just as important as WHO people vote for is WHY they vote for someone though. This is an area we have a lot to work on in a short period of time. Fortunately a week is a lifetime in politics, which means we have five lifetimes to change the tone and topics of this debate.

One Toronto has called an upbeat, completely positive, Emergency Community Meeting for Monday September 27th from 7:30pm to 9:30pm at The Church of The Holy Trinity (Behind the Eaton Centre).

Facebook page here. Facebook event here. See you there.

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  1. Michael says:

    Since this is a a culture focused website, it should be noted that Luminato CEO Janice Price spoke very well on the behalf of the arts as part of this coalition. She emphasized the social and economic benefits of the arts to our community, before skillfully avoiding being sucked in to making anti-Rob Ford statements by a relentless representative from SUN Media.

  2. matt white says:

    Thanks for this Michael. Hopefully this movement and overall philosophy can last beyond the election.

  3. Make the dismantling of Toronto performance art, and film it as a conceptual depiction of current reality in an urban setting. Add some appropriate music. All the world’s a stage, no?

  4. Megan says:

    There so many smart, imaginative and inclusive people trying to make the city a better place. (You included).

  5. Michael says:

    Thanks Megan!

    Michael – Your comment reminds me of the documentary about Miller’s successful run in 2003 “Campaign: The Making of a Candidate”.

    At the key point where he takes the lead, campaign manager John Laschinger (currently Pantalone’s guy) encourages Miller to just “act like he’s the mayor”.

    ACT like he’s the mayor. First you ACT like you’re the mayor. Then you become the mayor. All the world….