Sometimes the student life of unstable and often-changing housing makes it hard to vote, but I was able to do so easily in today’s Toronto mayoral by-election using my student co-op short-term residency agreement and health card.
The results — left-leaning in the urban core, right-leaning in the suburbs — fit into a major and long-running electoral pattern. In the Toronto case particularly, I will confess to having little sympathy who are willing to let infrastructure and city services decay for the sake of low taxes. It is the dynamism of Toronto that attracts people to all those endless suburbs, and they are killing the golden goose by allowing the city to fall into decay for the sake of lower taxes. If you want ultra-low taxes and no services, go start a subsistence farm in a rural area. If you just want a giant rural-style house from which to drive your SUV to your job at the bank downtown, you need to pay taxes at a level that keeps the city going. You might feel like a capitalist superman who shouldn’t be weighed down by funding parasites, but all that money you’re making comes from the economic dynamism of a place where individual prosperity normally relies upon good underlying social conditions. Things have clearly been badly eroded by the psychological harm of the pandemic, and it will take investments in areas like social services to the unhoused and mental health supports to get Toronto back to where it was pre-2020.
It’s an open question how an ideological sandwich of municipal, provincial, and federal governments will work for Toronto, but at least we don’t have another low-tax ideologue as mayor.