Our Basis of Unity describes the core ideas, principles and values that our organization and its members support and agree upon. These ideas give the organization a common direction that will guide us throughout our efforts to build a better, more inclusive and democratic City.
Building power through local community-based organizing:
In order to build power throughout the City, we are committed to developing a strong, grassroots-based community organizing program, inside and outside of electoral cycles, that seeks to deepen connections and politicize our communities. Our organizing strategy is one that seeks to create an environment of inclusivity, solidarity and learning. It is a strategy not necessarily led by any one person but one that builds the skills and capacity of all our members so that they may also be able to lead. We are committed to bridging the apparent divide between urban, suburban, and rural wards by equally representing all wards and by fostering a climate of cooperation between all regions of the city. The construction of a broad regional coalition will allow us to consider diverse perspectives on policy issues, empower progressive minded people and groups across the city, and gain mass support.
Democratizing decision-making at City Hall and beyond:
For a long time, power has been centralizing into the Mayor’s office as well as in the offices of senior level City bureaucrats. Not only this, but there is a large lack of public consultation on multiple projects big and small and developers are not respecting design plans that have been collectively worked on by residents and communities over a number of years. Although there have been some piecemeal democratic reforms, the rich and well-connected still have a strong hold over the leadership at City Hall. We will work to take back our democracy and put transparency back into the decision-making process. We must put the residents of our City at the centre of the process and give them the power to be able to make their own decisions.
Environmentalism and the climate crisis:
With disaster weather events now the norm across our City, there is probably no issue as important as the climate crisis and currently, the leadership at City Hall is not doing nearly enough to deal with it. According to experts around the world, we need to make a rapid transition if we hope to minimize the effects of climate change. This means prioritizing the transition to renewable energy and finding alternate modes of transportation to vastly undercut the use of the car in the City centre and beyond. Every resident deserves to live in a City free from pollution; this is why we vow to put environmentalism at the centre of our organizing efforts also realizing that the people affected most by climate change are often the most marginalized in our communities.
Building a more inclusive City and society:
Everyone deserves to live free of discrimination and the obstacles associated with it regardless of race, religion, age, ability, sex, gender, sexual orientation, language or class. This is why we will work to build and design a City whose structure works for everyone. The principle of inclusion will not only extend to our ideals but also to how we organize and operate as an organization. We can not and will not be able to build the City that we want when large groups of society are systematically excluded from the process. In addition, we will also always support the work of groups leading the fight against all forms of discrimination locally and beyond.
Decolonizing our City:
We recognize and acknowledge that our City and our country is one that is built upon occupied territory, forcibly taken through colonization, war and manipulation. We vow to work in support of and in conjunction with Indigenous communities. It is only through taking leadership from them that we will be able to decolonize our City and work towards true reconciliation.
Towards a better sort of urbanism:
Our urbanism is one that still upholds the main facets of the new urbanist movement namely: increased density, walkability, connectivity, sustainability, a mixed-use and diverse housing stock, green transportation and withstanding urban sprawl. We will push for city development that is inclusive and leaves no one behind. One that allows people of all backgrounds and origins to feel welcomed in every neighborhood and that offers affordable and healthy housing everywhere. Our urbanism is also one that includes a strong social lense seeking to design a City whose structure works for everyone regardless of race, religion, age, ability, sex, gender, sexual orientation, language or class.
Public ownership of municipal services and infrastructure:
From the LRT to Lansdowne, we have seen what can happen when private industry takes majority control of our services and infrastructure projects. They take shortcuts and are mostly concerned with creating profit as opposed to providing necessary, quality public services like housing or public transit. For this reason, we remain dedicated to not only fighting to keep our public spaces and public services public but also to expand public ownership throughout our City so that residents can afford to get the quality services they deserve.
Working with and supporting labour and social movements:
We recognize that including and supporting labour unions and social movements is essential to advancing our organization and creating a truly holistic movement. Our efforts must go beyond the traditional electoral bloc. For this reason, we vow to work alongside and take leadership from these movements so that our organization and our movement can become stronger and more legitimate.