Within our city we have people who believe deeply and passionately about incredibly differing viewpoints, writes Alex Bishop.
Let our city heal.
In many ways, the City of Hamilton and the issues it faces are a reflection of the issues our country faces. Yet the way Hamilton tackles issues is similar to that of a family. Within our families and within our city we have people who believe deeply and passionately about incredibly differing viewpoints.
I know many of the most recent candidates from across almost all parties, personally. Some even call me a friend. What I hope Hamiltonians remember is that just like after a raucous family dispute there is that moment after everyone’s energies are so completely spent on fighting, that a moment emerges where all sides can come together and find the things that unite us.
Our city is united behind a sense of togetherness. There is a uniqueness in a Hamiltonian. Though we fight, it’s not the fight that makes us unique, it is our ability to take the hit and keep on moving forward.
Despite what you may think after an election with very different platforms. There are 10 things all Hamiltonians can agree on:
We need better safeguards for our citizens to prevent issues such as the Chedoke Creek Spill, the needless deaths of seniors in long-term care, the Red Hill Valley Parkway deaths.
An issue that everyone can agree needs intervention is housing affordability in Hamilton. With our city being the third-least affordable in the country, what we’re doing isn’t working. This is an issue that needs all parties to work together to help fix.
Our city, much like many other municipalities, needs to have a better and more permanent solution to homelessness. Shelter usage has doubled in recent years. Even more concerning is that 22 per cent of renters spend more than half their income to keep a roof over their head, which puts them at an extreme risk of homelessness.
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We are losing too many of our young people to drug-related deaths. Our city lost dozens of people last year due to drug-related problems, and drug-related deaths are preventable. We need to find a better and more efficient way to help people who consume drugs.
It should be a priority of all Hamiltonians to improve conditions for Indigenous citizens. The housing and mental-health challenges have disproportionately affected Indigenous people.
Eliminating sexual and gender-based violence is essential to ensure the safety of our citizens and to help future generations thrive.
Vulnerable folks require the help and support of organizations in our community like Interval House of Hamilton. We must ensure that there is shelter space for everyone facing violence and work together to fund and support programs aimed at preventing violence.
Reducing gender-based violence should be a priority for anyone looking to improve the quality of life and organizations that work tirelessly to do this should not have funding concerns.
To keep our economy strong we need to work together to provide economic opportunities for newcomers and young Hamiltonians.
While Hamiltonians have all suffered during the economic crisis related to COVID-19, newcomers have three times higher employment loss and young adults aged 15-24 were as high as a 33 per cent unemployment rate during the peak of the pandemic.
Furthermore, we should work together to create better access to capital for small businesses. While our leaders talk about how small business is the backbone of Hamilton, those same small businesses are significantly disadvantaged in accessing grants, loans and investment compared to large businesses. I don’t know of a single Hamiltonian who wouldn’t support our small business owners having a level playing field.
Hamilton has yet to reach its true potential. When I talk about this city and why it’s important to me I can see in the faces of people that we want more, we need more, and we should demand more from and for our city, our Hamilton.
And perhaps, most importantly, the Ticats will forever be our team.
Alex Bishop is a father to two, owns a couple of companies, occasionally does some on-air work and is a Hamiltonian who is ready to work for our city.