Tag Archives: toronto

Why I am running for Toronto City Council

by Peter D’Gama

I am the Socialist Action candidate in the October 22 municipal election in Toronto because I want to bring a Workers’ Agenda to City Hall. For the past decade I have seen inequality grow while corporate profits, particularly those of the financial sector, rise astronomically. Life for workers has become more precarious as we have to settle for jobs paying minimum wage and work long hours just to meet the high cost of housing, both rental and for home ownership. Many workers have been pushed into precarious economic situations, which lands some on the streets.

This situation is made worse by capitalist politicians preaching cuts to social and community services and for privatization of public assets such as mass transit. I ran in 2010 as an independent socialist to protest the militarization of the city during the G20 Summit. Today I am running as a member of Socialist Action — for a Workers’ Agenda that is anti-capitalist, that seeks to take back public space and assets controlled by private interests.

The city, as radical geographer David Harvey famously said, is a site for class struggle. While we are not yet in a revolutionary period reminiscent of the Paris Commune of 1871 or the Russian Revolution of 1917 when workers took control away from bourgeois interests, we do see that socialism is becoming more relevant to young workers seeking to escape the traps of the capitalist mode of production.

I am running to stop landlords and large real estate investment trusts from making huge profits at the expense of renters who face whopping increases and deteriorating living conditions. Housing is a human right, not a privilege. As such we have to prioritize human needs, not private profits, by imposing strong rent controls and by building public housing massively. We need a housing agency that acts as a developer utilizing city owned land and by nationalizing a construction company to facilitate rapid building of affordable housing. Socialist Action aims to stop the sharp decline of investment in public transit and to build Light Rapid Transit and a downtown relief subway line, while at the same demanding free and accessible public transit.

As a long-time paralegal and community organizer in Etobicoke North, I am running not to be another seat holder, but to be a worker/activist who opposes neoliberal policies on council and on the street. I pledge if elected to take only 50% of a Councillor’s salary and spend the rest on community organizing to mobilize workers in Etobicoke North against anti-worker policies such as reduction of minimum wage, cancellation of LRTs and advocate for a just energy transition and the creation of green jobs. That includes putting solar panels on the roofs of city-owned buildings, making sure that green jobs are unionized, and ensuring that projects come under democratic workers’ and community control.

I stand with the theatrical stage workers represented by IATSE Local 58 and against the union-busting antics of Exhibition Place and City Council. Stop contracting-out. End the lock-out. Defend decent jobs. Improve wages, benefits and pensions. Organize the unorganized. Workers make the city run. Workers should run the city.

Socialist challenges Ford-supporter in Ward 1

Dear Friends, Fellow Workers, and Residents of Ward 1,

I begin by acknowledging that the land on which we are standing is the traditional territory of many First Nations, including the Mississaugas of the New Credit, the Anishnabeg, the Chippewa, the Haudenosaunee and the Wendat peoples, and is now home to many diverse Indigenous, Inuit and Metis peoples.

I have lived in Ward 1, in Rexdale, for 9 years.  I work as a paralegal with the suffering people of this area who are struggling to survive.  I have witnessed, over the years, a growing inequality in the ward, and increasingly the same nefarious trend across the City of Toronto.  More and more, the mega-city is becoming a place in which workers are pushed to the margins by economic policies designed to serve the interests of the rich and big corporations, such as banks, land developers and the real estate industry.

Toronto is a city where profit margins have climbed, but the tax rates the rich pay have declined.  This puts a greater onus on workers who have seen their real incomes fall while their taxes go through the roof.

Construction cranes crowd the landscape, erecting tall condos from which a global elite and Real Estate Income Trusts garner huge profits.  Meanwhile, life becomes more precarious for renters who face skyrocketing costs and are pushed to margins of society.  In 2017 the resulting social displacement led to the deaths of over 100 homeless people.

Service cuts, combined with tax giveaways to corporations, have fostered crises in affordable housing, health, transportation, energy, waste management and recreation.  Cuts contribute to growing inequality, low wages and precarious employment. Workers, like those doing three jobs and working for minimum wages have said enough is enough.  Workers have begun to organize against the onslaught of economic measures that deprive us of our rights and a decent income. I am running not to be another seat holder on city council, but to help build and mobilize a movement for a workers’ agenda and put socialism on the table at city hall.

That is why I am the candidate of Socialist Action in Ward 1.  In the absence of a slate of candidates openly representing the labour-based New Democratic Party across Toronto, I ask the voters of Ward 1 to vote Socialist Action, and to press the Toronto and York Region Labour Council, and the NDP, to field a socialist team in the future that will fight boldly and clearly for a Labour City Hall and school board.

Imagine a world beyond the false priorities of the private profit system.  Imagine the liberating potential of a rent freeze, of a mansion tax on properties valued at over $5 million, of a truly progressive property tax system, of a worker and community-controlled affordable housing strategy centered on the use of City property and public land trusts.  Think of the benefit of properly supported health services that would heal the mentally and physically ill and reduce the growing incidence of murderous gun violence.

Imagine what we could accomplish by taxing the rich and giant corporations like banks, land developers and Real Estate Investment Trusts. Such enterprises have seen their share of taxes actually decline since 2005.  I will fight for an increase in big business property tax rates.  I will fight for Free and Accessible Public transit and for a Green Transition that would create jobs with a living wage by retrofitting schools and other properties such as the Toronto Community Housing Corporation.

I invite you to join me and Socialist Action in this movement for a Workers’ Agenda and a Labour City Hall.  We are committed to advance an alternative agenda to that of the Doug Ford PC government, and the assortment of thinly-disguised Liberals and Tories, including Mayor John Tory, who run City Hall for the vested interests.

The policy that I advocate puts the needs of workers and our communities before private profit.   Please join this movement by volunteering your time, donating funds, endorsing the platform, and by pledging your support at: www.votepeterdgama.ca

For more information, please call me at: 437-333-7247.

Socialist Action walks in solidarity with striking Pearson International Airport workers

Teamsters Local 419 represents 700 workers employed by Swissport, a multinational company subcontracted to handle baggage for several airlines at Toronto’s Pearson International Airport (YYZ). The workers have been on strike since July 27. Their demands are:  wage increases that will be only slightly above the proposed increases to the Ontario minimum wage, and keeping benefits for part-time workers.

The workers have overwhelmingly voted down two proposed deals because the employer insists upon concessions. In the second vote, it was 98 per cent NO.  The protracted strike will soon create greater problems for the Greater Toronto Airport Authority (GTAA).  The strike has implications for airport industrial relations and its 50,000 workers.

Socialist Action is proud to express its solidarity for workers on strike, especially for the members of Local 419 who demonstrate the courage to stand up to the bosses’ demands for concessions, and fight back for gains.

¡Heather Heyer, presente!

On Sunday August 13, Socialist Action members gathered in solemn solidarity with about 200 like-minded people outside of the United States Consulate to participate in a "Vigil for Charlottesville Anti-Fascists". The event was hosted by the Toronto International Workers of the World General Defence Committee. The group listened to a few short speeches and sang "The Red Flag" and "Solidarity Forever" before marching off to City Hall while angrily chanting "Whose Streets – Our Streets", "Refugees In, Fascist Out", and "Nazi Scum Off Our Streets".

The event was a memorial for Heather Heyer, the young woman who was murdered by an ultra-right terrorist, who drove his car into a crowd of anti-fascist protesters during an August 12 counter-demonstration against the “Unite the Right” rally. In addition to Heather being fatally run-down, more than 30 anti-racist protesters also sustained serious injuries during the course of the day. This attack was preceded by an August 11 torchlight march on the campus of the University of Virginia. The white supremacists and fascists chanted: “White Lives Matter,” “You Will Not Replace Us,” “Jews Will Not Replace Us,” and “Blood and Soil.” The fascists also attacked a smaller group of counter-protesters,using the torches, sticks, pipes, and brass knuckles, while police stood by and just watched.

This terrorist violence and murder is the latest in a series of violent acts from the far-right. In cities across North America, Nazis, white supremacists, and fascists have been going on a violent offensive to attack Muslims, Jews, African-Americans, queer and trans people, as well as left-wing militants. These attacks have been emboldened by the hateful rhetoric spewed by President Donald Trump. All the while our own Prime Minister Trudeau just watches quietly on the sidelines. Enough is enough!

We say:

  • Fascism is not to be debated – it is to be smashed!
  • Build a United Front to stop and defeat the fascists!
  • Solidarity with the brave fighters in Charlottesville and all the victims of fascism!
  • An injury to one is an injury to all.

Heather Hayer, rest in power!

Supplementary items:

Reading recommendation: Socialist Action USA article by Steve Xavier.


On August 14, Socialist Action members attended an anti-fascist rally of about 60 people on University Avenue, across from the U.S. Consulate in Toronto. Many carried signs or wore T-shirts with slogans; and they chanted:

  • Hey, hey, ho, ho, Donald Trump has got to go.
  • Nazi scum off our streets.
  • Smash racism.
  • No Platform for Fascists.