Working together for our community

I’ve been involved in many issues in the riding over the years, many of which have stemmed from my interest in what the Portlands can be for all of us.

This involvement has included everything from the Naturalization of the Mouth of the Don River, to promoting conservation, energy efficiency and renewable energy and opposing the Portlands Energy Centre as an unnecessary blight to our waterfront.

Most recently, I have been involved in working to the stop the Smart!Centres development at 629 Eastern Avenue. It is with the efforts to prevent this development and protect our Queen Street businesses that the forces of two of our political parties have come together for the community.

The East Toronto Community Coalition (ETCC), chaired by Kelly Carmichael and Randy Buck, was formed by people who live in the area as a non-partisan group to raise awareness of a sustainable and more positive vision for 629 Eastern Ave. They called upon our elected officials at all levels of government to help them in their cause. Our elected officials in Toronto-Danforth are currently from the New Democratic Party. Representatives of the Green Party also came forward to offer help. We definitely don’t agree on everything, but the Greens and the NDP in Toronto-Danforth do agree that 629 Eastern Avenue should not be developed as a big-box shopping mall. Consequently, I have found myself on many occasions working side-by-side with my political opponents.

Here’s just one example of how politicians can and should work together.

ETCC were preparing a mailing to local residents. Jack Layton offered up office space and supplies. I, along with many other residents, spent a great many hours over several days there completing this task. Everyone knew I was the nominated candidate for the Green Party in Toronto-Danforth, but we all were working together, for the good of the community. The participation and help extended by the staff was excellent. The working atmosphere was productive, purposeful and focused.

It was heartening to be sharing a common vision for such an important part of our riding. This is the kind of non-partisan, issue-based approach among parties that the people of Toronto-Danforth expect and deserve.

As a representative of the Green Party, the reception I’ve received door-knocking has been extremely positive. People know that the issues that matter are being talked about by the Greens, that they are the ones speaking up and offering real solutions to concerns that really do matter. Our leader, Elizabeth May, often reiterates that she would be thrilled to have other parties “steal our ideas”. My faith in politics and politicians is constantly reinforced to hear a party leader utter these words.

Politics is having a re-birth and the people will, rightly so, be the main beneficiaries.

Back on the Road to Democracy,
Sharon Howarth

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