RaBIT’s Candidate Pledge Campaign Has Launched!
As you have likely noticed, Toronto's municipal election campaign is well underway. While municipal elections are always important, this year’s vote is especially so. Not only will the mayor and council that we elect on October 22nd lead our municipal government for the next four years, they will also decide whether Toronto’s democracy takes an important step forward by switching to ranked ballots for the 2022 election. In other words, if we don’t elect enough pro-ranked ballot candidates in October, we’ll be stuck with the first-past-the-post voting system until at least 2026.
Because this election is so important, RaBIT is launching a special Candidate Pledge campaign. The purpose of this campaign is to provide voters who care about democratic reform with the information they need to vote for candidates committed to making the switch to ranked ballots for the 2022 election.
To do this, RaBIT is contacting candidates for mayor and councillor. We want to make sure that they all understand the many benefits of ranked ballots and we’re asking them to take the following pledge:
As a candidate in the 2018 Toronto election, I pledge that, if elected, I will support, advance, and vote in favour of those actions required for ranked ballots to be used in the 2022 Toronto elections.
We’re asking candidates to take this pledge because we think it’s critical that voters know who they can count on to fight for improved democracy in Toronto. We’ll be sharing candidates’ responses through our social media accounts (if you aren’t following us on Twitter or Facebook yet, we encourage you to do so) and on our website. If you already are, thank you! Please keep spreading the news.
In fact, to make things easy, we’re putting together a webpage for each and every race in this election. That’s right, the race for mayor and every council seat will each have their own dedicated page. Every voter will be able to see which candidates support ranked ballots and which don’t. For the incumbent mayor and incumbent councillors, we’ll also be including information about their voting records on ranked ballots from the past term.
Who can voters count on?
While we’re still waiting on responses from a few mayoral candidates, a number have already taken the Candidate Pledge. You can see who by clicking here. (If you are one of the candidates we haven’t heard from yet, please get in touch with us at info[at]rabit.ca.)
Since the number of council seats that will actually be elected are still being argued over in court, the ward-specific pages for city council candidates aren’t available quite yet. Nonetheless, we’ve already started sharing the names of candidates for city council who have taken the Candidate Pledge through our social media accounts. We’ll update this blog post (and publish each ward-specific page) as soon as council’s future size becomes a little clearer. (If you’re a candidate for council who we haven’t heard from yet, please get in touch with us at info[at]rabit.ca.)
You can also learn more about the details of our Candidate Pledge campaign by visiting this page.
A Critical Election for Toronto
We believe that this is a critical election for Toronto. However many councillors we end up electing on October 22nd, Toronto’s new city council will be responsible for taking numerous important decisions over the next four years on difficult issues ranging from housing to policing, transit, our city’s affordability, climate change and many more.
Indeed, if city council is shrunk to 25 seats as seems likely, the increased concentration of power that this would entail will only make improving the methods by which our councillors are elected even more important.
Ultimately, council needs to decide if Toronto has the foresight and vision to join the growing number of jurisdictions that have recognized that our current voting system is no longer good enough. We believe that this decision will be a critical one, and because we know that most Torontonians support switching to ranked ballots, we want to make sure that voters can see which candidates understand this so that they can support them.
We hope you’ll take a look and that this information is helpful as you make your decision.