ParkTales

 

Town Hall meeting challenges mayor Ford's bid

to sell off Toronto's public housing to private control

By Frances Sedgwick
True North Perspective
 
Frances Sedgwick's keen eye and ear for the human condition reveals the heart and soul of Parkdale in southwest Toronto, one of the country's most turbulent urban areas where the best traditions of human kindness prevail against powerful forces that would grind them down. True North Perspective proudly presents a column by writer Frances Sedgwick. Her critical observation combined with a tender sense of humour will provide you with something to think about ... and something to talk about.
 

I attended a Town Hall Meeting this week at the St Lawrence Community Centre on the future of public housing.

The meeting was called in response to Mayor Rob Ford's intentions to privatise public housing. 
 
A lot of the audience were tenants in public housing. 
 
What an inspiring meeting!
 
People spoke out on the need for not less, but more public housing and publicly controlled.
 
One particular young woman caught my attention. 
 
I have written often of my concerns about  people with headphones blaring, and cell phone conversations alienating people.  The fact that so many don't communicate one-to-one anymore. How you can't get into a conversation with anyone about every day issues because they are "off" in a different world on all these electronic gadgets, oblivious of their surroundings.
 
At this meeting the young woman got up and appealed to young people in the audience with such great enthusiasm.
 
Don't get so consumed with that texting, those earphones, your cell phones! Take those earphones out of your ears and communicate with each other live. Talk about saving public housing. Talk to your class mates. "Talk" to your friends. We have to fight back. We have to organize. We have to get involved.
 
I smiled with appreciation as I listened to her. She was so animated and sincere.
 
So many questions and answers came out of that meeting. A meeting where everyone had their say. Isn't that what is important? Isn't that how it should be?
 
When the people have their say there are clear answers.
 
We don't need costly surveys after surveys to find out solutions.
 
"We know because we are the ones affected."
 
The audience emphasised the fact that Canada sits alone among developed countries as the only one that does not have a federal housing strategy. Recognizing that housing is a human right.
 
"We need a Federal Housing Strategy, which would include the establishment of federal-provincial-municipal land banks and real rent controls" one person suggested.
 
Everyone left the meeting inspired and ready to confront candidates in the federal elections about their intentions to provide affordable and public housing.
 
Announcements were made of rallies to fight back.
 
Get involved!
 
My Parkdale

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