A Message From Mark

Over the past many decades the cry of virtually every candidate has never failed to amaze me with each election that has come and gone whether at the municipal, provincial or federal level. You’ve heard them all before, those rote, robotic statements of “We need change NOW”; “Vote for change”; “I’m the voice of change”; “Change, change, change!” Not only are they to a T decidedly unoriginal, when you delve deeply into their plans to “change,” it seems every candidate who has ever run for an elected office has the answer to every woe, yet few if any ever do.

I call this the “Change Game.” Politicians love to play it. Since I am no politician—my stripes run along deeply-rooted entrepreneurial lines—I wouldn’t have a clue how to play that game.

My game, as it is, is driven by a results-based philosophy combined with an understanding that some problems are so acutely complex they are best solved in an ancillary manner; fix one problem and the benefits gleaned ripple through the system and gradually start to reshape other problems in a positive way. I guess people call that “the ripple effect.” In the business world we simply call that “smart.”

I fervently believe this “smart,” common-sense approach will begin to reshape Toronto within my first year after taking Office. I fervently believe in equal measure after my three-plus-year tenure is complete, compared to today Toronto will be unrecognizable in nothing but a positive way. First and foremost, vehicle traffic will move freely around the City. Naturally when vehicle traffic moves, people move. When people move freely about, their mental health improves. When mental health improves, we feel better about ourselves and those around us. When we feel better about ourselves and those around us, well, the sky’s the limit when it comes to that “smart,” common sense approach I mentioned—or “ripple effect” if you must—two of those benefits being crime reduction and more jobs.

You’re probably thinking, “This guy Mark is a certifiable lunatic if he believes getting Toronto moving will help reduce crime.” While I’m not going to defend my mental acuity here, and perhaps this is a bit of a stretch, but I believe in people and I think most would agree when we feel better about ourselves, we become better people. And when we become better, we tend to be better, our self-esteem and confidence elevates, and that translates into a kinder, happier and therefore much safer community. It may not be the answer to crime, but it is one small piece in the crime-reduction puzzle. You know that saying, “I got your back”? Well in a kinder, happier Toronto, to a degree we will have “each other’s back.”

And more jobs? Yes, more jobs. Because the fact is, even with the new hybrid work model revolution we are witnessing now, who wants to locate their businesses in Toronto when their employees can’t even get to the office two or three days a week, at least “unscathed” anyhow. And what about those existing retailers such as food service establishments, clothing stores, furniture shops, hair salons etc. in downtown Toronto begging for business and the additional staff they would need to service more customers? I’m sure I am not alone when I state I enjoy a nice dinner out at a restaurant as much as the next guy, but if I’m honest, the thought of venturing into downtown Toronto and all that traffic congestion on a Friday or Saturday night is about as appetizing as green eggs and burnt ham.

And it doesn’t stop there. I am no less committed to getting people moving safely and more productively on the TTC, while at the same time getting Toronto’s finances moving—for a change—in the right, positive direction with some significant and much-needed budgetary restraint.

It’s as simple as this: Since the late 19th century we’ve been known as Toronto the Good, so why not up our game and become Toronto the Great and the greatest city in the world? We can do it. We have the potential. To get there, though, we need to take those first steps down that road and it starts when we Get Toronto Moving.

- Mark LeLiever

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