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CouncilWatch-September 14 2007


In this edition:


1. Urgent Letter from the Executive Director: Please Tell your Councillor to Build a Green and Healthy Toronto!
2. TEA Opposes TTC Fare Hike
3. TEA Joins “Fair Deal For Our City" Coalition, Calls on Members to Take Action
4. Help Put a Face to the 1,700 Annual Smog Deaths in Toronto!
5. New Faces at TEA.


Dear TEA Member,

The financial crisis facing Toronto has put us at a crossroad. City Council
will decide in the next few weeks which Toronto we will live in. Today,
we’re asking you to call your City Councillor to let them know you want
to live in a healthy, green Toronto. To make that happen, we need City
Council to adopt the new revenue tools that will provide City Hall with
the funds required to build a prosperous Toronto.

Here’s why: adopting the revenue tools will allow City Council to build the kind of
city TEA has been advocating for over 17 years. Toronto will have
breathable air and be a leader in stopping global warming, thanks to
expanded and affordable transit, an extensive bicycle network, energy
efficient buildings and green power production in our neighbourhoods.
Torontonians will be exposed to far fewer toxics, thanks to communities
and businesses working together to identify and eliminate toxic

If the new revenue tools aren’t adopted by City
Council, we will not be able to build this healthy and green Toronto.
Rather, things will just get increasingly worse: rising smog-related
deaths from the current 1,700 a year; worsening energy practices adding
to global warming; more road congestion, a TTC that doesn’t work; and
toxic emissions from companies across the city.

For over 18
years you have helped TEA defend our health and environment. But if
City Council votes against adopting the new revenue tools, our many
successes at City Hall –including the city’s comprehensive smog and
climate change plan, building the Transit City, and commitment to
introduce a Community Right to Know Bylaw- will be undermined.

why I am asking you and every other TEA member to call your local
Councillor and tell them you support the new revenue tools to help
build a healthy and green Toronto.

For more information about the City’s new revenue tools, and to email your councillor, click here.

members have a deep commitment towards bettering Toronto’s environment.
It’s time to once again show Toronto City Council how deep this
commitment is. Thank you for your efforts.

Franz Hartmann
Executive Director

2. TEA Opposes TTC Fare Hike

September 12th, the Toronto Transit Commission hiked fares once again.
The move translates to a 15 cent increase in tokens and $9.25 more for
a monthly pass. It is the third fare increase in as many years, and if
alternative funding arrangements aren’t found for the TTC, we’re likely
to see another fare increase early next year.

The TTC is
chronically under funded. The province, which used to pay for 50% of
the net operating cost of the system, now pays less than 20%. The
cash-strapped city has been unwilling to make up the difference with
tax hikes. The result is an overcrowded transit system with the highest
fares among comparable cities in North America. Our monthly pass is now
$29 higher than the next highest monthly pass and our tickets are $.30
to $.60 higher. Riders are burdened with 75% of the TTC’s bill, while
in other cities they only pay for 50%, with the other 50% coming from
various forms of tax revenue.

Where do continued fare increases
get us? The TTC’s own survey indicates that 1 in 4 riders would
consider switching to car travel if fares go up. That is a horrible
blow for a City Council and a Mayor who has committed to reducing smog
and combating climate change, and is now calling on the public to do
likewise. Those with fixed or low-incomes and no access to a car will
be left making tough choices with the little money they have.

Toronto needs a sustainable funding strategy for the TTC. Fare increases are not the answer.

What you can do:

  • Please let your Councillor know that you oppose TTC fare increases.
  • Up to October 10, ask your provincial candidates what they will do to make TTC fare increases a thing of the past.

3. TEA Joins “Fair Deal For Our City" Coalition, Calls on Members to Take Action
year, billions in taxes go from Toronto to Queen's Park and Ottawa. Yet
to deliver all its services, the City only gets six cents of every tax
dollar Torontonians pay to deliver all of its services. The provincial
government has still not restored fair funding for public transit, and
continues to download social service costs onto property taxpayers. In
fact, Ontario is the only province in Canada where property taxes pay
for social programs.

Why does this matter? Because until the
province pays its fair share, Torontonians will be unable to build the
healthy and green Toronto TEA and our members have spent over 18 years
fighting for. As it stands, Toronto doesn’t have the money it needs to
implement its aggressive smog and climate change plan nor to help
neighbourhoods eliminate toxics. This is not acceptable.

why TEA has joined a strong, new coalition of community, environmental,
labour and social justice groups to fight for a fair deal for Toronto
and its residents. Between now and October 10th, the coalition will be
demanding that every candidate for provincial election commit to
immediately resolving this unjust and unsustainable reality. After
October 10th, we will continue to pressure the newly elected provincial
government to provide a fair deal for Toronto, as well as calling on
the federal government to invest in cities.

Up until October 10,
Torontonians should be demanding that every candidate for provincial
election commit to immediately resolving this unjust situation.

  • Send an e-mail to the candidate in your riding now using our online form
  • Go to an all-candidates meeting and demand a straight answer
  • Phone the candidates’ offices and tell them you want their party to fix the problem instead of stalling
  • Check to see if you are registered to vote (click on 'registered' for link).

Be sure to vote on October 10th for a fair deal for our City.

For more information about the coalition, please visit the Fair Deal For Our City website click here for a link:

4. Help Put a Face to the 1,700 Annual Smog Deaths in Toronto!

the TEA and the David Suzuki Foundation for the Toronto Smog Hike on
Sunday September 23rd. To find out how you can help, click here

5. New Faces at TEA

We’d like to welcome two new people to our TEA Team!

Dave Meslin joined
the TEA Team in early August. He’ll be collaborating with TEA staff to
work on a number of projects that will help green Toronto. As many
Council Watch readers will know, Dave has already made a huge
contribution to engaging Torontonians in making a greener and more
democratic Toronto. We look forward to incorporating his innovative,
committed and successful campaigning into TEA’s activities.

Heather Marshall
joined us in late August as our new Community Educator. She’ll be
working with community partners on a project to reduce home energy
consumption. Heather brings with her a degree in Environmental Science
with a specialist in International Development studies. As part of her
studies she completed a ten month co-op term in Cambodia where she
studied urban infrastructure and community-based development. Welcome