In the lead up to the 2022 Toronto municipal election, CJRU is reaching out to all candidates in the downtown wards.
Lifelong Torontonian Alison Pang said she is running for Ward 11 University-Rosedale to help create a vision for a better Toronto through “affordability, livability and community.”
Pang said she is a longtime Ward 11 community member both as a resident and student. Her education background in justice and equity were also motivators for her intention to run.
“We need engagement in the community with city hall,” she said.
Pang cites low voter turnout in past elections as an example of disengagment between constituents and their representatives.
“I want to be the voice for those who don’t necessarily engage [politically].”
For affordability, Pang said “housing is central.”
She believes there needs to be a transformative vision on how the city treats housing. She said housing affordability and shelter need to be viewed as human rights, rather than commodities in the open market.
One of her proposed plans is shared ownership, where 50 per cent is owned by the corporation of this program, and the other half by the homeowner living in the unit. Pang said this can help residents who cannot afford multi-million dollar homes to enter the housing market in the downtown core.
Further, Pang said a multi-pronged approach is necessary to achieve affordable housing. She said the city needs to examine how rents can be more affordable, how more units can be bulit and how tenants can be protected.
To address the city’s shelter system, Pang said it will take more resouces and assessments to make it supportive enough for everyone who needs it. She said tent encampments across the downtown core should not be criminalized, and that they are “a sympton for a larger issue” regarding affordability.
For livability, Pang said it is about “making life a little easier.” This includes improving public transit, more protective bike lanes and ensuring collective community safety. Her livability plans include more community involvement in voicing the needs of the wards as well.
“I envision a Toronto where we have strong neighbourhood organizations that are engaged with community politics or can represent interests to their representatives at city hall.”
For climate action, Pang said, “we need to act with the urgency that climate change demands.”
She agrees with the goals of TransformTO, but not with its deadlines that are “decades away.”
“It [TransformTO] talks about offsetting, and I think what we should be talking about is reduction,” she said.
Rather than focus solely on Toronto’s one goal of beoming a net zero emission city by 2040, Pang said on the grassroots level people and businesses should be incentized to reduce their carbon footprints.
As the election campaign enters its final weeks, Pang is encouraging residents to exercise their right to vote.
“Based on my platform, I will look to be transformative, I will look to be engaging,” she said. “And if that is something that inspires or appeals to you, think about checking my name on the ballot.”
“I’m very excited for the next city council,” said Pang. “I’m very excited to see the results and hope the council will made of forward thinking actors.”
More information on Alison Pang’s platform can be found here.
Toronto’s election is scheduled for Oct.24.
Listen to Alison Pang’s full interview: