Written by: Yiming, Age 16, from Centre for Immigrant and Community Services
Walking down the streets of downtown Toronto and watching people from every social class hurrying by each other to their fulfilled and busy life can be seen as unique and astonishing. The clear blue sky, the fresh green belt, all kinds of fancy cars swarming around the city, and all the benefits of this city can certainly be a dream come true to many people living somewhere else on earth.
All these dreamy features form a perfect cover, like the smooth green skin of a raw apple that you don’t realize is very sour until you taste it. As a 16-year-old living in the GTA region, I experience things adults won’t have, allowing a unique perspective on a lot of things.
Let’s start with an obvious one, public transit. If anyone wants to travel somewhere with public transit, the cheapest price for a round trip is at least $6. I have not been to a lot of other places in the world, but I can say in confidence that Toronto’s public transit is one of the most expensive public transit systems.
How would I fix it? Well, we have a 13% taxes on goods and a ridiculous amount of income tax. I don’t see how that much money isn’t enough to subsidize more of the public transit system to make it cheaper.
Another major problem that’s been affecting Toronto for many years is the health care system. Now, allow me to say that I am very proud of the healthcare system. Free healthcare for everyone is something that not all countries can do.
However, there are many crucial downsides to this healthcare system. Here is a real example; my grandma needed a small surgery for her intestines, but we were told that we might not get one for several months. In the end, we had to fly back to China to do the surgery there because she was suffering from too much pain. If that is not violating our basic rights, I don’t know what is!
Lastly, one major concern that everyone has is the security of the people. When the number of shootings that have happened recently are compared to those that occurred in the past few years, we can all see that the number is skyrocketing. According to global news, the number of shootings went from 26 and 27 in 2014 – 2015 to 41 and 39 in 2016 – 2017. What has our government been doing to combat this?
In order to reduce the number of shootings, I would assign a team to analyze why the shootings have increased, and how can we limit them with preventative measures. Being a mayor can be stressful but it is important to take account of the basic needs and everyday rights of the society and it needs to be dealt with immediately!
The “If I Were Mayor” blog series profiles the ideas of youth and rising leaders from across the GTHA as a way to add their voices to the municipal conversation. Posts have been curated by CivicAction’s Emerging Leaders Network, For Youth Initiative, Laidlaw Foundation, Toronto Youth Cabinet, Citizen Empowerment Project, Young Women’s Leadership Network, and the Centre for Community and Immigration Services. The views contained in this post are the author’s and are not reflective of CivicAction or the CivicAction Leadership Foundation.