One of the most important ways that Kingston can lead the way as a 21st century city is by embracing innovation in every sphere of our community. When most people hear the word ‘innovation’, they tend to think of a new technology or some new app for their smartphone, and certainly those are examples. To me, however, innovation is far broader. When I think about innovation, I think of any sort of new approach or tool or method that can add real value to a group of people or to society as a whole. Innovation is about finding creative solutions to everyday problems.
Innovation can be found in many different forms across our community and as mayor I want to share these stories. I want to showcase these exciting new approaches and technologies. Right now in Kingston there are state of the art technologies being produced by local businesses, cutting edge surgical techniques being developed at our post-secondary institutions, and innovative approaches to food security created by local social service agencies. Over the coming months I will be visiting local companies, public sector institutions, city departments and community agencies to learn more about innovation in Kingston.
What’s really exciting is that not only are these innovations making a positive impact here in our city, but they have the potential to spread to other communities. In fact, the impact from the innovation taking place in Kingston is astonishing. That’s what a leading, innovative, 21st century city can do, and I could not be more proud of how Kingston is leading the way. Get ready to follow along with me in the coming weeks as we celebrate the powerful ways innovation is transforming our community.
One of the things I enjoy most as mayor is attending the many cultural events across our city, and celebrating the increasing diversity of ethnic and racial backgrounds in Kingston. I really believe that our city’s future prosperity depends on our ability to attract and welcome immigrants from all over the world. These are the human connections that enrich our community and help us towards our vision of being a leading, globally connected, 21st century city.
But to create that welcoming environment we must also be willing to confront negative words and attitudes as they arise. Last month there was a very disturbing video circulating on social media of a black woman in Kingston being victimized by racial insults. At this week’s City Council meeting, we heard from her sister about the damage and hurt these words have done to her and her family. I was reminded of stories my wife Shyla shared with me about the difficulties she faced as an Indian growing up in a small town where she was one of the only non-white students in her entire school. As a Kingstonian, I don’t want anyone to face those same difficulties here in our city.
As Mayor of Kingston, I want to state emphatically that hatred, discrimination and insults based on a person’s race are absolutely unacceptable in our city. Eliminating racism is a community wide effort and will take all of us working together. Council passed a motion reaffirming the city’s stand against racism but it’s also a call to action for the entire community to speak out when we hear a wrong word, a wrong joke or a judgment based on someone’s race.
We also need greater public awareness and education to combat racism. Towards this effort the city in partnership with several community organizations will launch a survey to collect input on how residents see and experience racism and discrimination. The responses collected will help us design an anti-discrimination and anti-racism awareness campaign for Kingston. I encourage you to visit the city website next Tuesday August 15th at www.cityofkingston.ca/city-hall/get-involved so that together we can build a community that embraces diversity.
Check out the latest version of From the Mayor’s Chair, where I break down the decisions of Council in 2 minutes!
The August 8 Council meeting began with a motion for City Council to reaffirm the city stance against racism in the community. The motion asks staff to review existing policies while at the same time sending a wider statement to the community that hatred, discrimination and insults based on race are unacceptable. Last night Kingston also passed a motion in support of VIA Rail’s proposal to improve and expand rail service in Kingston and the surrounding area. With this motion Council expressed its official support for VIA Rail’s request for funding from the federal government. Finally, Council approved the transfer of land in the east end for Habitat for Humanity to build new affordable housing in that part of the community. It will allow for the construction of four new townhouses.
Watch the August 8 edition of From the Mayor’s Chair HERE