(A double dose of our City Hall holiday questions-and-answers today. Up now, Councillor Janet Davis, Ward 31 Beaches-East York!)
1) The Gift of Councilling: What is the one moment in 2012 that struck you as the best example of why it was you became a councillor.
Despite reductions in provincial funding and a recommendation from KPMG against it, Council agreed to reinstate the Hardship Fund and Medical Benefits in 2013. This means thousands of Torontonians struggling to survive will get help with things like prosthetics, wheel chairs and other medical devices. The vote was almost unanimous. Restoring some dignity to the lives of our most marginalized residents helped restore some dignity to City Hall. It also restoreth my soul (and sharpeneth my focus.)
2) Going Forward: In 2013, what is the one aspect you would like to see happen that would help develop better civic discourse going forward?
Council has to change the way it considers and approves “The Budget.” Residents – and Councillors – need more time and better ways to become informed if they are to participate in a meaningful way. The capital and operating budgets need to be separated. The process should start in the new year when we have better information on revenues and surpluses. Standing Committees should be involved again to set policy and budget priorities. We need year-round education and outreach combined with real decision-making for local communities. Torontonians need to follow the money – budgets turn principles into reality and promises into action. Budgets count.
— still seasonally submitted by Councillor Janet Davis