High Park Residents' Association (HPRA)

High Park Residents' Association Provincial Candidates Debate
Held September 19, 2011
The HPRA and neighbouring Sunnyside Community Association sponsored a raucous debate of provincial candidates seeking election in High Park - Parkdale, at Bishop Marrocco Auditorium.

An impressive turnout of over 100 local residents braved cold, wind, and rain to query candidates representing the Green (Justin Trottier), Liberal (Cortney Pasternak), NDP (Cheri Di Novo), PC (Joe Ganatakos), and The People (Thomas Zaugg) parties.
Provincial Candidates Debate

The HPRA's Chris Ganowski (Vice-Chair) kept candidates honest as timekeeper for the evening; Jeff Derksen (Chair) moderated.


Topics ranged from cell phones and mental health to the Municipal Property Assessment Corporation's inaccuracies, from the the lack of civil behaviour amongst attending party supporters to candidate views of Canadian tax rates vis-a-vis those of European countries with higher United Nations-rated livability ratings.


Audience members were most interested in hearing candidates speak to affinity - in the form of questions related to candidate residency in or out of the riding, past involvement in the community, and what each believed to be their single most important priority if they were to be elected ... affordability given the economy's present course and speed - in the form of questions about homelessness, rent subsidies, child care, employee payroll tax relief, and the province's continued downloading of social service and transit costs to Toronto ... and expediency trumping health and lower operational costs - as residents cited the continuing misinformation campaign that has resulted in diesel locomotion being the chosen Day 1 and future of the Airport Rail Link despite much of the public's belief that the province is acting on the Metrolinx recommendation for electrification.


Though the HPRA will not break with its stance as an independent entity, it was truly sad to note that only one candidate standing for election has signed the Clean Train Coalition's Politician's Pledge to seek Day 1 electrification, and the remainder of candidates representing parties with seats in the provincial legislature opposed to doing so, citing their "not having studied the issue".


The evening began with a tribute to Hilary Bell - a long-time resident advocate - whose equitable, reasoned, and tireless work (co-chair of the West Bend Community Association; Friends of Dundas & Bloor) was cited as an example of the value and difference one person can make in the lives of neighbours.  Bell died recently, after fighting an illness diagnosed last fall.

High Park Residents' Association (HPRA)