Letter To Mayor Rob Ford and Toronto Councillors
By Rev. Lindsay King
To the Mayor, Rob Ford, City Hall, and Councillors of the Great City of Toronto:
Adam Howell and Tom Beyer, thanks for your courteous attention.
From Montreal, I came to Toronto in 1961. Over a period of 32 years, I served as the minister of two United churches, Londale UC, in Scarborough, and Willowdale UC, in North York. My son, daughter-in-law and three grandchildren live in Don Mills.
Though I retired to Thornhill in 1994, I still feel a close link with Toronto. I have been a life-long student of the political economy.
It is generally agreed by experts and all concerned that it will cost Canadian cities $125 billion or more--money not readily available--over the next few years, to repair the crumbling infrastructure in our cities. In addition--in a time when we need to start new social programs--there are any number of social programs which will be cut if funds are not forthcoming.
What to do?
Understandably, it is easy we keep asking our federal government to please take responsibility for coming up with a modern vision of the nature and function of modern cities in the 21st Century.
But may I suggest: Let us, in Toronto and the GTA not waste our time expecting our federal government to have the vision to help us create our future for us; let us do it for ourselves. The future we will get will be the one we invent.
Of course, I agree with those who say that the time has come for us to stop looking at urban municipalities using lenses we created in the 19th century; that we must find new ways to get around the limitations then imposed and start, once again, thinking outside the box.
OK, I agree. As I mentioned in my recent call to city hall--and thanks for listening attentively: Here are two outside-the-box ideas for your attention:
1.Take a good look at the Toronto Dollar System, which the Family Life Foundation helped get started in 1998.
The Toronto Dollar --a system actually backed by Canadian dollars. The idea, used in the St. Lawrence Market area, had the approval of former mayors Mel Lastman and David Miller. Now is the the time for city-wide action.
2. BUT HERE IS ANOTHER IDEA
Why not think of the GTA as one giant store--already stocked with all kinds of material capital, goods and services, and human capital--people with all kinds of skills ready to be put to work. All we need in order to release this capital is to issue a complementary community currency (CCC)--backed by the power we the people have to tax ourselves--which we can use to trade with one another? Taxing back this money will keep inflation under control.
THE GUERNSEY ISLAND EXPERIMENT
Out of desperate need, the Island of Guernsey did just this in 1816. At the time, Guernsey was in a such a state of dire poverty they could not borrow from the bank of England. Like Toronto today, they had no money to pay for much needed infrastructure.
As an experiment, six hundred pounds of tax-backed States of Guernsey Pounds were issued, by the Council, to pay people, who were more than willing to work, to go to work on the roads and wharves, etc. No sooner was the money earned that is was used it to pay for goods and services available from fellow islanders, who used it to buy what they needed and to pay taxes. The
currency did what currencies are supposed to do; it circulated, with the result that prosperity broke out. Guernsey has never looked back.
Also check out the work of Professor Bernard Lietaer at: http://www.transaction.net
What he says about the nature and function of money is worthy of our prompt attention.
The great economist Hazel Henderson has similar ideas: http://www.hazelhenderson.com
Her POLITICS OF MONEY is especially interesting:
Make no mistake: Toronto-based money would talk with a loud voice. I know of no law which says we are not allowed to create and use it? If there is, I would like to know.
Rev. Lindsay G. King
THE FAMILY LIFE FOUNDATION, 905-764-1125
http://www.flfcanada.com and http://www.lindsayking.ca