WiTOpoli Weekly: Friday, September 26

A roundup of some of the latest news in women, Toronto, and/or politics this week. What stories did you read this week? Tell us in the comments.

  • This week, Councillor Kristyn Wong-Tam tweeted a photo of a threatening letter she received containing racist and homophobic slurs. Wong-Tam, who is Toronto Council’s only openly gay member, explained that she shared the letter publicly because “it’s very important for us to name it and try to change it”. A copy has also been sent to the police.
  • In response to a Canada Public Safety Report released this week on the effect of human trafficking on Aboriginal communities, rabble.ca published this opinion piece which provides useful background for the report and suggestions for how such studies can be improved.
  • In a recent Toronto Star column, writer Heather Mallick posed the question “Why can’t Canada build a feminist?“, after attending a reading by British feminist and author Caitlin Moran. The Canadian Twitterverse was critical of Mallick’s suggestion that Canada does not have an active feminist community, while some were disappointed Moran was invited to speak at the Toronto Reference Library, given the transphobic, ableist and racist comments she’s made in the past.
  • In two separate instances, Olivia Chow was confronted by racist comments during this week’s mayoral debates. She was told to go “back to China” by one attendee and referred to as “creeping jihad” by another protestor. Chow said comments such as these “point to bigger issues the city faces, including racial profiling”.
  • After groundbreaking Black female showrunner Shonda Rhimes was called an “angry black woman” in a recent New York Times piece, activist Janet Mock responded with this essay in honour of her favourite TV feminist, Claire Huxtable.
  • In response to Emma Watson’s UN speech on gender equality, some were impressed, some were inspired, and some folks had a few suggestions.
  • Oh, and you might’ve heard we launched a new election resource called the Position Primer, which provides issue-by-issue comparisons of council candidates’ views in each of Toronto’s 44 wards. Read all about it in the Toronto Star and CityNews, and help us spread the word!
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BIG NEWS: The WiTOpoli POSITION PRIMER is here!

We interrupt our regularly scheduled Ask Your Candidate series because we can’t keep this exciting news under wraps anymore…

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Help us empower Toronto voters with the Position Primer!

Today, we are launching a crowdfunding campaign to build the Position Primer, an easy-to-use website that will help Torontonians make informed decisions in the upcoming City Council race. We’re really excited about it!

Toronto voters who visit the Position Primer need only enter their postal codes to access a ward-specific chart that details their Council candidates’ stances on city-wide issues such as transportation, childcare and affordable housing, as well as major concerns that are unique to each ward. Learn more by visiting our crowdfunding page.

By simplifying the decision-making process, Women in Toronto Politics founder Steph Guthrie believes this tool will encourage more Torontonians to get out the vote. Guthrie also argues that the Position Primer “will provide equitable opportunity for all candidates to share their campaign platforms with a wider audience, regardless of the resources at their disposal.”

The Position Primer has already accrued impressive endorsements from supporters like Alison Loat, co-founder of non-partisan democracy think-tank Samara Canada. Loat says the Position Primer will “provide Toronto voters with the trusted, impartial information they need to feel confident about exercising their democratic voice.”

Funds raised from the crowdfunding campaign will support the design, development and promotion of the Position Primer, ensuring that it is user-friendly and reaches as many voters as possible.

Women in Toronto Politics hosts a launch party for the Position Primer crowdfunding campaign on July 29th from 7:00-9:00pm at the Monarch Tavern. We hope to see you there. And in the meantime, please check out the campaign and spread the word!