My name is Dave, and I’m a community mental health worker and anti-racist organizer in Thunder Bay, Ontario. I was born and raised here. Struggling with the collapse of our forestry industry, we’ve gained some notoriety as one of the hate crime and murder capitals of Canada. But when I was a kid, we were known as the “city with a giant heart.” I don’t know if we ever lived up to the motto — but we could become that city today.
The Leap Manifesto inspired my community to propose a new way forward for Thunder Bay. A group of us sat down with the 15 demands on an overhead and hashed through them, picking out the ones that are key for our city. We saw how Thunder Bay is uniquely placed to lead Canada in building a better future. As a commercial and healthcare hub for many First Nations, we could build relationships that honour and uphold Indigenous rights, confronting our legacy of settler colonialism. We could become a center for green manufacturing, rejuvenating our once-thriving industrial waterfront. We could reclaim our abandoned spaces and buildings. The city with a giant heart could welcome migrants, and commit to ending homelessness.
In our localized version of the manifesto, you’ll find all of these ideas and more. It’s not something we wrote just to feel good about: in the 2018 municipal election, we plan to run a slate of Leap candidates who endorse this vision, and who will work together to make it a reality. In the months ahead, as we engage with and support potential candidates, we’ll be holding a series of community conversations to explore the different planks of the platform.
We think you should do this too. Because in 2018, there’s going to be a Leap Council in Thunder Bay. So it would be great if there were other Leap councils across the country to work with.