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Opinion: Ward 4 candidate says council has a ‘wants’ problem

‘What we need is to do better as a city and as a community. What we need is leadership’
200522_pauline fortin ward 4
Pauline Fortin is seeking the city council seat in Ward 4 in the 2022 municipal election.

Driving past Science North, we encounter our old hospital, bad enough. Continuing along over the Bridge of Nations though, we come to the true tragedy and failure of our community … the Crosses for Change.

How is it even possible we can set aside some $60 million of borrowed money, which we have done, for the Junction project, when a crisis of despair, addiction, homelessness and mental illness rages in our city?

How is it the current council and city elites have strayed so far from what really matters?

On May 2, I filed my nomination papers for Ward 4. On my way through our barren centre square, I encountered homeless souls, the smell of urine and a locked door to our city hall. While filing my papers another citizen entered and yelled his disgust at what he, too, was witnessing. His approach was wrong; his words were true.

Is it not outrageous that the same people who make that very same walk into city hall and into council chambers don’t even bat an eye at what they pass, and then moments later don't even bat the other eye when presented with $90 million for the Junction?

What in the name of God has happened that such a disgraceful misplacement of our priorities is allowed to exist in our community?

Ultimately, we as a society and as individuals are remembered for what we do and not the libraries we visit or the art we pretend to adore. When we are in our rocking chairs sipping our smoothies, we will reflect on the lives we touched, the good we did and the people we loved.

How we look after our aging population and those in need of medical services, how we provide for our children and keep them safe and secure, and what we do for the most vulnerable among us — this is the true yardstick by which we measure our own collective compassion and morality, and we need to wake up because we are failing quite miserably.

Leaders must choose wisely between resources (money), which is scarce, and objectives (things we want), which are infinite. All too often our city council makes foolish choices by ignoring our needs for things they think we want.

What we want is a clean, vibrant downtown free of lost souls, graffiti, broken windows and discarded needles.

What we need is a council and a community that recognizes and prioritizes this rather than fight endlessly over where a new arena needs to go while nothing actually gets built and the costs in the meantime skyrocket.

What we need is a council that recognizes the absurdity of authorizing borrowing for the elitist Junction, the costs of which are closing in on $100 million while homeless encampments persist on the shadow of the very spot it is to be built.

What we need is to do better as a city and as a community. What we need is leadership.

Pauline Fortin has declared her candidacy for the city council seat in Ward 4. Learn more on her website, Fortin4Ward4.ca.