Toronto – (November 7, 2000)
The Gomberg for Mayor platform plank on Women
Women hold up half the sky.
Around the world women are on the front lines battling the devastating effects of government cutbacks. Massive cuts to services affect the whole community, and put a greater burden on women struggling to meet the needs of their families. Women on social assistance are the worst affected as benefits do not come close to meeting the spiraling costs of housing and basic food needs.
More that one-third of the children in Toronto are poor. Fees for recreation and after-school programs leave many children out of these activities. Provision of quality child care is still an elusive thing for many families, who are forced to place their children in unlicensed care or go without.
Car drivers continue to benefit from subsidies that favour driving, leaving many children and the elderly gasping for breath. While funding for police goes up every year, funding for women’s services for survivors of violence has been frozen. Women are still waiting for the recommendations arising from the Jane Doe case to be implemented.
We need a new vision of city governance
We need to shift from short-term thinking that envisions a narrow role for city government. We can do beffer than just taking the garbage to a dump, and building more roads. We can shift to meeting human needs first. We can focus on building safe and healthy communities where everyone’s basic needs are met and where the long-term health of the environment — our air and water — are major concerns. This is a feminist vision for the city, and one which I support.
As Mayor I will work for a city where:
– all women and children have access to affordable housing
– nutrition programs in schools are securely funded
– streets are traffic calmed, with pedestrian and cyclists’ safety first
– kids can walk or cycle safely to school
– user fees are eliminated in City recreational facilities
– funding for counseling and support services for women survivors is increased
– spending for subsidized child care spaces in regulated centres is increased
– the city advocates strongly with all levels of government for new housing programs, livable social assistance benefits, and for a national child care program
– workfare is eliminated
– workers, especially parents with young children, be allowed more flexibility with regard to shorter work days or work weeks, flex time and more allowable sick days
– where no one goes hungry