Thursday, August 16, 2018

An open letter to progressive councilors

As a follow-up to my previous post on resistance to the provincial conservatives' agenda for our city, and the most effective way to resist it, I am posting an open letter to progressive councilor in the City of Toronto. This letter goes out to both those serving and those community members who aspire to serve.

Dear Progressive candidate/councilor:

I write this to you with honest regret.  I would have happily supported you in the coming election. I hope, as I have no doubt you do as well, the courts will uphold the democratic right of the people of this city to full and effective representation. I also know the laws are stacked against us.

For this reason, I am reluctantly asking you to have a discussion with the other incumbent and aspiring councilors in the expanded ward the province has decreed for us. The provincial politicians who have imposed this change on us, and their supporters in the city, have made no secret of their hopes: they want to see progressives in this city thrown into disarray and routed. One way this could happen is for multiple progressive incumbents and candiates to stake claims to a place in the diminished council,and to engage in a bitter fight for the seat. In such a situation, a lone conservative might prevail, and if enough conservatives succeed at City Council, we might face a term with a deeply conservative council who could do harm to the fabric of this city beyond the capacity of  engaged citizens to remediate.

So I am asking you to do the most effective thing you can do to resist this political sabotage: talk with the other progressive candidates. I am making the difficult request to enter these discussions with a willingness to step down if some other candidate makes a case for their right to represent this ward that convinces you. I know what I am asking. I know it is hard. I have not always been willing to step down from leadership positions. But I am asking, for the good of the city, that you consider this, if only as one very effective act of resistance against the provincial assault on our city.

With genuine gratitude for your willingness to serve, and for what you have done for the people of this city,

Best regards

John Spragge

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