Thank You, Toronto

City of Toronto, thank you.

In 2018, I made a decision to run for office. For an instant, I had a moment where I was scared. Scared of the unknown, and scared for the fact that I, Gladys Larbie, wanted to build a movement and empower as many people with my story, vision of Toronto, and bring hope and change to the city.

That moment of declaration, the yes, I am here for this, I stopped being scared and realized that the moment that I enter, it’s no longer about me. It’s everything for my community while educating and inspiring future generations to do the same.

I entered the municipal elections in ward 21. I had envisioned overseeing 20,000 people and the positive difference that I was going to make for my community. I canvassed and reached out to a lot of residents in the area. Ward 21 is so diverse and I was so pumped and eager to just reach and help as many people as I can. I wanted to show Ward 21, that I want to improve the lives of the community and that I am here for them.

The province announced a proposed ward and council number change to city council hours before the city council election nomination deadline. Immediately, I responded to the announcement and agreed with the ward changes, because as a reminder to myself, that it’s not about me, it’s for the ward, and for my city.

My purpose to run and to become an official for City Council, is to provide good government with respect to matters within its jurisdiction. Also as an official to the city, my job will be to support the Province of Ontario, and endorse the principle that it is in the best interests of the Province and the City. The province and the city to work together in a relationship based on mutual respect, consultation and cooperation.

I am eager and willing to serve 20,000 constituents or 120,000 or more. I signed up with the intent to better my community and to empower others to do the same. I don’t see the increase as a setback or an inconvenience as other councillors and candidates who have made a decision to sue the province. I see it as an opportunity to widen the network, to effectively address residents on their issues, and to create a smarter and more effective ways to improving the city. I have heard a lot of people comment that it is a lot of work for a City Council member to oversee.  I have heard the response from councillors that are for the change, and say that they can make it work when you have the right people working for you.

In an agreement with that response, and for people who would like to know about new councillor candidates who are for the change, I would encourage people to look at my website, social media platforms, flyers, and any campaign materials for the election. Whether you agree with my platform or not, I encourage you to look at the work that has been created, the process and hours put into the creation of the content and then reach out to me and ask me how many people did I have on my team to put all of it together.

I am committed to serving the community and my city and I go out to the ward as much as possible, to hear from the community.
I listen to my community and my city and we are upset.
This year, Toronto has faced a surge in gun violence. As a result, the city and the province pledged to increase funding for police presence in our streets as well as local programs for the youth.

So far, the response I heard from my community while canvassing has been, “Well I hope that the funding goes to helping out our streets rather than just locking them up and not having proper programs for reintegration and adaptation to society. Cause buying new cruisers and locking them up is not the solution to the problem”I hear more community members are getting upset over safe injection sites.
“Yellow bins are popping up more and more like McDonalds around here. It’s getting out of control!”.

“A drug user will hop on the Queen Streetcar without paying, ask for change because they’re hungry and homeless. Get off at the next stop and then buy drugs from inside the bus shelter. Why haven’t the police been able to detain the users and dealers?”

“Moss Park is littered with needles that I can’t walk my dog or parents can’t send their children to play in the park. The safe injection sites are tooting about how many lives that they have saved, but I see it as enabling the habit. A user can get as high as they like without fear of dying ‘cause they have access to life saving treatment. And now the safe injection site operators are looking for more funding and permanent place to help them? Where’s the logic?”

Streetcars along King and Queen:
“Streetcar services on Queen and King where a person doesn’t have to present fare as soon as they go on? I can see the frustration from TTC drivers and even riders who can guess who clearly hasn’t paid”

“King streetcar pilot? Not everyone got the message about the new placement of bus stops and cars are still creating blockage on the road because the streetcar doesn’t stop before the traffic lights anymore. It just looks messy”

We need politicians that listen and fight for change that will benefit the community and the city. I continue to knock on doors and listen to residents and hear the frustration over many issues, lack of support, and tired of their voices not being heard. Not only have I listened and continue to listen to the community, I encourage the residents of Toronto to speak up to their councillors and candidates. I will continue to meet residents and encourage residents to reach out to me so we can all work together to build a Toronto Centre that we can all feel safe, grow, and prosper.