OCTOBER 23, 1980
Toronto Mayoralty Candidates
ADDRESSES BY Alderman Arthur Eggleton Mayor John Sewell
CHAIRMAN The President, Reginald Stackhouse
Ladies and gentlemen: Speaking of another city and other challenges to it, the Greek historian, Thucydides, wrote:
Fix your eyes on the greatness of Athens as you have it before you day by day, fall in love with her, and when you feel her greatness, remember that this greatness was won by men with courage, with knowledge of their duty, and with a sense of honour in their actions.
If we change the name from "Athens" to "Toronto," we can find there a message to all who call this city home, and especially to those who aspire to govern and lead it.
It is therefore fitting that the club, being the public forum it is, should devote this meeting to municipal government, and we are privileged to be addressed today by the Mayor of Toronto and the President of the City Council, both of them candidates for mayor in the November civic election.
As in the past, each speaker will be introduced separately, in the order arranged by mutual agreement before the meeting started. Following the second speaker, the thanks of the club will be expressed to both men at the same time. First, Executive Alderman Arthur Eggleton. If one measures the distance, not in miles but in challenge, Cabbagetown can be a long way from City Hall. But Executive Alderman Arthur Eggleton, born in that historic Toronto neighbourhood, travelled that far at an early age when he was first elected to City Council at twenty-six.
An accountant by profession, he has served as alderman for Ward Four since 1969, and for several years has been on the City Council's Executive Committee. Since 1978 he has been President of the Council and Vice-chairman of the Executive. His accounting background has qualified him also as the city's budget chief. For several years, he has also been a member of Metro Council, third vice-president of the CNE, and on the board of the Catholic Children's Aid Society. He is now making his first bid for the mayor's chair.
On behalf of the Empire Club, it is my pleasure to introduce Arthur Eggleton.
Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman. I am delighted to be a guest of the Empire Club today and to have this opportunity to speak with you about the mayoralty campaign.
I have found that in this election effort, in fact, I have had to mount not one but four different campaigns to become the mayor of Toronto.
First of all, there is the "who is this man Eggleton and what does he want" campaign. That's where I tell people my name and say that I want to be mayor of Toronto, and tell them about the eleven years that I have spent on City Council--eight years on the City Executive Committee, four years as President of Council, eight years as budget chief. And I might say that I am very proud of my role as city budget chief. I have been able in those sight years to keep taxes down below the rate of inflation, which is not an easy task when you are trying, at the same time, to maintain the very high level of municipal services that we have come to enjoy in Toronto.
In my eleven years on Council, I have been involved in almost every aspect of municipal government save one--the job that I am now after. Even with all those years of experience, I still get a lot of people who think I'm either related to Al Eagleson or Eglinton Avenue, or something like that. But I tell them I don't really care how they pronounce my name, or how they spell it, as long as they know what I stand for and where to find my name on the ballot.
That leads me to the second campaign, the campaign of differences. That is a new one for a lot of Torontonians, because we have not had a campaign since 1969 where we have had an incumbent, who obviously wants to maintain the office, and a challenger (myself ) who feels that he can provide better leadership and bring better judgment to the mayor's office. That's why I am running.
That set of circumstances puts on me a responsibility, an onus, to talk about the differences between the two of us. There are some very clear differences. People want to know why they should vote for me rather than the incumbent.
Let me give you a few examples. When it comes to the issue of housing, we differ strongly. Mr. Sewell believes that the thrust should be in the public sector, that our City of Toronto non-profit housing scheme should go ahead, run by politicians and in spite of many administrative difficulties. But I believe that we have to clean up our act at City Home. I believe that we need public housing, but I also feel that we need to get the private sector back and involved in the provision of housing. I say that because we have the worst shortage of rental accommodation in this city in two decades. The vacancy rate has all but vanished. It is not sufficient to have just the public sector constructing housing. We need more. We need to get the private sector involved.
I think that the mayor of Toronto, acting as a mayor should, as this city's best advocate, should prepare a case and take it to the federal government and the provincial government and work together to get more housing starts and more rental accommodation in our city. And that is going to involve such things as income tax incentives at the federal government level.
We differ strongly on economic and industrial development. I have been pushing for an economic development strategy at City Council. One was adopted earlier this year. I have also promoted job-stimulating projects like the convention centre. My opponent is a recent convert to the convention centre, and was the lone vote on City Council earlier this year to vote against an economic development strategy for this city.
We differ in our approach to policing in this city. Mr. Sewell's preferred style is confrontation. I feel there can be a role in our society for confrontation when you are an outsider who is trying to get the ear of an insensitive government body. But when you are the government, I think your role should be that of a mediator, to bring the parties together to resolve the problems.
I believe that there can be improvements in policing in our city, and we have been talking about them for several years. But I believe very strongly that they can be accomplished by bringing together the Police Commission, the police force and the people in the community. That is the way that I want to operate, in support of our Metropolitan Toronto Police, which I think is a fine force, a force that we should be supporting to fight rising crime.
We differ in one more area, in how we see the role of the mayor. My opponent is endorsing a slate of candidates in this election, many of whom are running under the NDP banner. The people of Toronto have rejected municipal party politics. I am not making alliances with any particular candidates or any particular group or party. The mayor of the City of Toronto is elected directly by more people than the Prime Minister of Canada or the Premier of Ontario, and I do not think it is a proper role for him to go into a City Council with a pre-set cabinet of aldermen operating in lock step with him. I think a mayor has to make different alliances on different issues as he goes through his term of office, to make sure that all of the people in Toronto are being represented and not just one slice of the spectrum.
Those are some differences, and I ask you to examine those differences in the course of the campaign. And I would ask you to do one other thing, because politicians (myself included) can sound very glib and very reasonable on a platform. Therefore it is important to look at the record, to look at past performance. As David Crombie used to say, it is not sufficient to just talk the talk, you have to walk the walk.
That brings me to the third campaign, the campaign of issues. I have already touched on some of them--housing, economic and industrial development, police. We also need to preserve our neighbourhoods, preserve our ravines, our historic buildings, our many cultures and traditions. I am proud of what we have done in the last ten years in that respect. We must continue that throughout the 1980s.
We also have to do more in the way of housing, recreation and health for senior citizens, because by the year 2000 we will have twice as many senior citizens in Toronto as we had five years ago. We have to plan ahead to provide for them.
We need more day care. We have an objective next year in Metro Council to provide an additional five hundred places. That is an absolute minimum. That is one goal that I very much want to achieve because day care is very much a necessity in this city where, in many cases, both parents in a family have to work just to get the necessities of life, or where, as in many other cases, there is only a single parent.
The fourth campaign is the campaign of commitment. This is the one that I enjoy the most, because it reminds me of why I am running for mayor of Toronto, of what is behind all this effort. I was born and raised in Toronto and I have a great deal of pride in this city. I want to keep this city the safest, cleanest, most livable city in North America. That is the reputation we have had for a number of years. But, you know, other cities have had that reputation and have lost it. I want to make sure we keep this city the way it is. That is my vision of Toronto--a city that we can all be proud to call home. I want to bring forward the kinds of policies that are necessary to meet the challenges that we are going to face in the 1980s to keep Toronto a safe, clean livable city.
To do that, Toronto needs a mayor who is capable of bringing people together in a spirit of co-operation--not driving them apart with confrontation. Toronto needs a mayor who cares very deeply about the traditions of this city, a mayor who listens to all of the people and responds to their needs. We need a mayor who exercises common sense.
I want to be that kind of mayor, and I hope I can have your support. Thank you.
John Sewell was born in the Beaches area of Toronto, he attended city public and high schools, and then studied at the University of Toronto, receiving a Bachelor of Arts and a Bachelor of Laws. He was called to the Bar in Ontario in 1967.
The previous year he had begun working for the Toronto Community Union Project, a group sponsoring community organizers in working class areas. He became a full-time community worker in 1967, serving in such neighbourhoods as Trefann Court and the South of St. James Town area.
In 1969 he was elected alderman for the newly created Ward Seven, and he was re-elected alderman of that ward three times. He has served on Metro Council since 1974, and was elected mayor of the city in 1978.
Through the years, Mayor Sewell has been a frequent and vigorous writer on municipal affairs, and in 1972 he published a book about his political experiences which then he could call Up Against City Hall.
He is now seeking a second term, and it is my pleasure, on behalf of the club, to welcome Mayor John Sewell.
Like most of you, I'm concerned about the slow-down in our economy. Today I'd like to talk about the problem and offer a challenge to both leaders such as yourself and to governments like City Hall.
First, let me provide a snapshot of the present economic situation in Toronto.
First, almost 100,000 people in Metro are unemployed and looking for work. Nevertheless, our urban economy--because it is so diverse--is much more stable than that of other urban areas in southern Ontario. While layoffs have affected many people in Metro, their effect has been much more severe in other cities.
Second, the industrial sector in Toronto is holding steady--at about 80,000 jobs--but it is declining in the rest of Metro. In spite of provincial measures, the industrial sector in southern Ontario as a whole continues to be shaky: plant shutdowns and re-location scares abound.
Third, Toronto is in the midst of a construction boom that began in 1979 and looks likely to continue well into 1982 and possibly beyond. It's clear that developers have a great deal of confidence in an expanded office-space market in downtown Toronto. However, one must note that construction activity in the suburbs of Metro is at a very low level.
Fourth, the population of Metro is shrinking. No longer will we be able to rely on natural growth as a fuel to economic activity.
As I see it, the present situation is somewhat mixed. We aren't growing in a satisfactory manner, but at least we aren't contracting.
What can we do to encourage more economic activity? By we, I mean both those of you in the private sector, and those of us in the public sector. How can we co-operate in regard to policies and their implementation to create more jobs, and more wealth?
For me, as well as others, the best line of attack is to look at industrial policies--since it's industrial activity that spawns many other economic undertakings.
Traditionally, municipalities like Toronto have relied on two industrial strategies: either attempting to attract new companies (particularly from the United States); or relying on provincial initiatives. I suspect that these strategies will become less and less important to Toronto. The province will spend more of its time and energy on municipalities weaker than Toronto--and that's only fair--and as a built-up city we don't have much room for foreign firms to build large plants.
But I believe there are two areas that cities and the private sector in Canada have ignored over the years, areas of industrial strategy that require our joint attention. I'm talking about import replacements, and innovations.
First, import replacements. Every time we manufacture here in Canada an item previously imported, we
create both jobs and economic activity. Replacing imports gives us a healthier economy.
The provincial government now works with the private sector in encouraging import replacements through trade exhibitions where imported articles are displayed.
But we in City Hall can do more. In your own companies, you can encourage your purchasing director to implement a policy of seeking out Canadian goods as a first priority. We in the public sector can do the same, particularly at City Hall, and we can encourage all public and quasi-public bodies to do the same. When you think of the market power of hydro boards, hospitals, and other public bodies, you can understand the real change that a policy of import replacement could make in our economy. And together we can do more: City Hall can help companies interested in pursuing import replacements: we can provide analysis of imports and markets. We can provide contacts in various industrial sectors. In short, we can be as helpful to firms wishing to replace imports as we've been to the film industry during the last year.
But it's not a one-way street. The public sector can be supportive, but when it comes down to it we have to rely on the initiative of the private sector. Together we can be really successful in replacing imports.
There's one area of import replacement that is especially promising: that's energy. The more energy efficient we make our buildings and machines, the less energy we'll have to import. Just think of the extra jobs in construction and manufacturing when we get serious about making buildings more energy efficient. It's a really good example of replacing imports as a way of creating jobs.
Let me turn to the second area: innovations.
In Toronto, people are constantly making inventions and innovations. In fact Canada's greatest research and development institution--the University of Toronto--is right under our own nose.
Unfortunately, few of the useful innovations made here actually get implemented here. Most of them are picked off the shelf and tried out south of the border, where new jobs are created down there from Canadian inventions.
It's interesting to note that one of the first acts of the University of Toronto's new president, James Ham, was to set up the Innovations Foundation--a foundation dedicated to ensure that innovations at the university are used to create jobs here as well as create a financial return to the university. People may want to sit back and talk about the ivory towers of the university, but I think Dr. Ham is at least one step ahead of the rest of us in this area. The public sector and the private sector must get more serious about turning innovations into new products and services that produce real jobs and real wealth. As a city government we've avoided this challenge. It's time that we faced up to it, with the creative thinking that's needed to deal with the risks involved.
City Hall can help. We could hire personnel thoroughly familiar with various particular kinds of industry and with new ideas that are looking for firms. We can encourage firms to explore ideas they might otherwise slough off. We can help make links between the research capacity of the university and the needs of local industry.
In short, City Hall can provide an impetus for a serious approach to innovations. But our activity won't mean anything unless the private sector takes the initiative to transform innovations into real products and services.
Thus I'm throwing out two challenges to city governments and the private sector: let's work together to turn innovations into new products, services and jobs by local Canadian companies; let's work together to encourage public and private schemes to replace imports.
There's the challenge. We should take it up if we really care about the economic health of our city. Thank you very much.
The thanks of the club were expressed to Mr. Eggleton and Mr. Sewell by Sir Arthur Chetwynd, a Past President of The Empire Club of Canada.