2014 City Council Election: Ward 26 – Don Valley West

The Incumbent:

John Parker

The Race

In 2010, John Parker slid to victory with just under 500 votes more than his top opponent. The 2014 Ward 26 candidates that participated in our survey have very different views on almost all of the topics discussed in our survey. A few thoughtful and “outside the box” ideas were presented by candidates in this Ward.

Candidates Who Did Not Participate: Jon Burnside, Wasim Vania

The Breakdown

  • Candidate Response
    Parker, John Will consider
    Popov, Dimitre Yes
    Sparrow, David No
    Velshi, Ishrath Yes


  • Candidate Response
    Parker, John Police, Fire, EMS.
    Popov, Dimitre Reduce number of City employees, Police budget, Negotiations with the unions, proper and open bidding process and making decisions that serve taxpayers' interests rather than special interests.
    Sparrow, David No specifics provided
    Velshi, Ishrath Rationalization of common functions such as IT, Human Resources, Real Estate and fleet management.


  • Candidate Response
    Parker, John Would consider restructuring of Council.
    Popov, Dimitre Will consider.
    Sparrow, David No
    Velshi, Ishrath No


  • Candidate Response
    Parker, John No – will consider other areas.
    Popov, Dimitre Yes – will consider other areas.
    Sparrow, David No
    Velshi, Ishrath Yes – with conditions.


  • Candidate Response
    Parker, John No
    Popov, Dimitre Yes – eliminate.
    Sparrow, David Will consider.
    Velshi, Ishrath No


  • Candidate Response
    Parker, John Seek ways to do better with less, root out unnecessary costs, shift the property tax burden off business taxpayers, build a more attractive, vibrant, livable city that attracts and retains businesses and workers, address gridlock, improve/expand  transit and other forms of transportation; shift the property tax burden away from employers, get serious about promoting the GTA as an economic entity, improve collaboration/cooperation with surrounding municipalities as we market our region and develop business growth strategies, protect employment lands so that there will be places for the jobs of the future when population has grown, reduce red tape and bureaucracy, and keep regulation limited and reasonable.
    Popov, Dimitre I will invite the public to send ideas they believe would create job growth in Toronto. I would ask the members of the Council to zero in on that issue, to have thereafter a meeting to discuss it, and to outline possible measures. Offer incentive to companies for any job opening in addition to the number of jobs it has.
    Sparrow, David Clean, Green, creative sector jobs are the future. All three levels of government must work to make this happen. I would also consider reducing taxes on small and midsize business, if we could ensure the savings would be put toward making those businesses stronger and creating more better paid jobs.
    Velshi, Ishrath Work with Province to lower business tax rates, invite creative sources such as communications companies, IT companies, entertainment and film companies amongst many industries to develop relationships with Toronto.  The main thing is that we create an environment which invites companies to locate businesses in Toronto, by maintaining and continually improving the infrastructure and facilitiies available to businesses in Toronto such as our highways, access to the US and upgrades to our transportation infrastructure.


  • Candidate Response
    Parker, John Stable, predictable capital funding is a must – transit projects should not be sprung by surprise in each provincial budget. Transit expansion policy must be developed in conjunction with transportation policy and with city planning policy generally.
    Popov, Dimitre I would fund new transit projects from the savings.  Before answering the second question, I need to delve into the issue.
    Sparrow, David I'm 52. My parent's generation should having been building planned transit. My generation should have been building efficient transit. We should have had a vision for the future, for what today would bring. We and our children and our grandchildren deserve an accessible, connected, comprehensive, planned, efficient and affordable transit system. Subways, LRTs, Streetcars, Buses, all of it.
    Velshi, Ishrath Transit needs to be funded by all three levels of govenement.It makes no sense for each candidate to come up with their own plan. It indicates no faith in consultants who have developed plans that address the long-term needs of the city.


  • Candidate Response
    Parker, John We have an outstanding labour relations team at the city. The unions must know that the City is prepared to privatize functions if the unions push too hard, and to take a strike if necessary.
    Popov, Dimitre Try to accomplish the best deal for taxpayers if you’d like to receive incentives and be part of the negotiating team. We are watching you.
    Sparrow, David Recognize that employees (labour) are taxpayers.  Good faith negotiations are never one-sided.
    Velshi, Ishrath The parameters given to the negotiating team need to be discussed by Council, with input from all 44 members including the Mayor.  This is an inclusive process and can not be determined by any one member.


  • Candidate Response
    Parker, John Big projects are good candidates for P3’s. We effectively did one with the Leaside arena expansion project. We could readily set up Toronto Water or Toronto Hydro to undertake capital projects by way of P3, or move toward privatizing them altogether.
    Popov, Dimitre In contracting out garbage collection and I quite sure that there are more opportunities.
    Sparrow, David I think that where majority ownership can remain with the city and where there is a real public benefit, P3s have their place.
    Velshi, Ishrath Yes, I do see opportunities for public-private partnerships in areas such as Economic Development, social services through Community Development and in the area of Parks and the Environment.


  • Candidate Response
    Parker, John Change. Change means redevelopment of land, heavy traffic, and gridlock. I will continue to do what I have always done: face change forthrightly, speak honestly to my residents as to the practical options, and seek outcomes that produce the best achievable results for the communities I represent.
    Popov, Dimitre Culture at City Hall, accountability, taxes, employment, public transit, development, environmental, nose pollution, water infrastructure, …. The list of actions I would take is long and would be updated based on the circumstances.
    Sparrow, David Traffic infiltration and pedestrian safety are very important, especially given the recent tragic death of a 7 year old girl at Millwood and McRae. Other concerns are jobs for young people, landlord tenant concerns, rental building maintenance, TCHC repair backlogs, jobs for newcomers, Seniors housing, homecare, local school capacity, OMB rulings, development issues, petty crime. We need a representative who will stand with the community and defend the services we require to be an active, healthier and happier community in a dynamic city that works.
    Velshi, Ishrath Issues include quality of life issues, poor rental accomodation, traffic concerns, development issues, safety and security, unemployment, lack of services and programs for the youth and for seniors, flooding issues and a lack of collaboration between the elected representative and the community. My approach would be to develop a strategic plan for each area in collaboration with the stakeholders with the full force of the resources of the City behind me.

 

The full responses

  • 1. Do you support a property tax cap ensuring future hikes are no greater than the rate of inflation?

    I favour a policy guideline to that effect. I do not think a hard cap year-by year is practical, however.

    2. Where, specifically, do you advocate finding savings in the current city budget?

    Police, Fire, EMS. Those are big budgets and there is a lot of room for improvement in each.

    3. Do you support reducing the size of Toronto City Council?

    I favour looking at restructuring council to have local councils with authority over traffic, parking, etc. on local roadways, and an upper tier with authority over more general metropolitan/budgetary matters. The lower tier could have riding by riding representation; the upper tier could be elected district by district. Overall numbers could be reduced but the functions and accountabilities would be altered.

    4. Will you support contracting out garbage collection east of Yonge Street?

    We should privatize where merited and keep work in house where it makes sense. The current balance in garbage collection between half outsourced and half insourced works well and keeps all parties on their toes.

    We should always look at alternative modes of service delivery in all areas of activity.

    5. What are your thoughts on the Municipal Land Transfer Tax – will you support reducing it or eliminating it?

    The value of each piece of land in Toronto is primarily a reflection of the benefit that comes from its location vis-a vis the lands around it. That is to say, the mere fact that land in Toronto is surrounded by other Toronto land enhances its value. It is only fair that the taxpayers capture some of the benefit of that value when parcels of land are traded. So the land transfer tax is in that sense fair. Further, we face enormous capital repair and upgrade costs as we look to the future. We need the revenue that the municipal land transfer tax brings, and we are only fooling ourselves if we pretend otherwise. Realistically, municipal land transfer tax is here to stay for a long time. I certainly do not foresee eliminating it, and I do not foresee reducing it until (a) our capital pressures are addressed, (b) we have other sources of revenue to cover the needs, and/or (c) the cost of land rises so high that we can afford to reduce the rate of tax required to generate the needed revenue.

    6. Toronto’s unemployment rate is much higher than the provincial rate. What are your ideas to create job growth in Toronto?

    (a)    Continue the hard work of seeking ways to do better with less;

    (b)    Continue to root out unnecessary costs;

    (c)    Continue the program of shifting the property tax burden off business taxpayers

    (d)    Build a more attractive, vibrant, livable city that attracts and retains businesses and workers;

    (e)    Which means, inter alia, address gridlock;

    (f)     Which means, inter alia, improve/expand  transit and other forms of transportation;

    (g)    Which means improving coordination of planning/transportation services/transit functions.

    (h)    Continue the program of shifting the property tax burden away from employers;

    (i)      Get serious about promoting the GTA as an economic entity;

    (j)      Which means improving collaboration/cooperation with surrounding municipalities as we market our region and develop business growth strategies;

    (k)    Protect employment lands so that there will be places for the jobs of the future when population has grown;

    (l)      Reduce red tape and bureaucracy; keep regulation limited and reasonable;

    (m)  Improve service levels where citizens and businesses come face-to-face with the City – start by making a point of always treating the people at the counter as customers. Help trouble shoot the problems that arise; don’t just stand in the way.

    (n)    A good mayor can be a salesperson for the city – helping to market the City in business capitals worldwide – but the city bureaucracy must follow up by welcoming the resulting enquiries from potential investors.

    7. It seems City Council has been debating public transit forever with little results to show. How would you fund new transit projects to ease congestion for everyone? Do you feel we need to change the current transit planning process?

    Stable, predictable capital funding is a must – transit projects should not be sprung by surprise in each provincial budget.

    Transit expansion policy must be developed in conjunction with transportation policy and with city planning policy generally. We are talking about billion dollar investments that determine the shape of the city for centuries to come. We can’t keep  doing it by the seat of our pants. Greater coordination/collaboration is needed. We need to settle on a transit growth strategy that fits with our urban planning goals so that policy in each area supports a comprehensive responsible vision. We talk about these things; we need to do a better job of acting on them. The London idea of an overarching transportation planning and administrative authority is not a bad approach to look into.

    8. Labour negotiations will be a big part of the next council term. What advice do you have for the city’s negotiating team to get the best deal for taxpayers?

    We have an outstanding labour relations team at the city. They already have the respect of the union leadership. They need the full support of council as they approach negotiations relating to disputes and new contracts. The unions must know that the City is prepared to privatize functions if the unions push too hard, and to take a strike if necessary.

    9. Do you see opportunities for public-private partnerships (P3s) involving the City of Toronto? Where, specifically?

    Big projects are good candidates for P3’s. We effectively did one with the Leaside arena expansion project. We could readily set up Toronto Water or Toronto Hydro to undertake capital projects by way of P3, or move toward privatizing them altogether.

    10. What is the top issue of concern for residents in your ward? What will you do as Councillor to address the issue?

    The biggest single issue is change. Change means redevelopment of land, heavy traffic, and gridlock. It calls on us to improve transportation choices, protect existing communities, and direct the forces of change towards desirable results. I will continue to do what I have always done: face change forthrightly, speak honestly to my residents as to the practical options, and seek outcomes that produce the best achievable results for the communities I represent. We must be prudent with our tax dollars and we must be realistic about our goals. We must make change work for us by directing it towards making improvements in our city wherever possible, and minimize the adverse effects. A growing city cannot avoid encountering challenges; it is important that we never lose sight of the importance of making each challenge serve as an opportunity to make something good happen; we must resist the impulse to turn each challenge into a quixotic battle to protect the status quo.

  • 1. Do you support a property tax cap ensuring future hikes are no greater than the rate of inflation?

    Absolutely YES.

    2. Where, specifically, do you advocate finding savings in the current city budget?

    a)   Cutting out the deadwood. For the past 7 years, the former mayor has hired nearly 10,000 employees.  If the cost of an employee is $60,000 per year, the total taxpayers pay for 10,000 employees is $600 million annually – expenses that do not seem to justify the value taxpayers receive in exchange.

    b)    Police budget.

    c)    In negotiations with the unions.

    d)    Proper and open bidding process in selecting a third-party contractor.

    e)     Making decisions that serve taxpayers’ interests rather than special interests.

    3. Do you support reducing the size of Toronto City Council?

    a)     I would support such reduction only if that would improve the operations of the Council.  I believe, however, that electing people who are capable of making wise decisions and who are hardworking and whose priority is taxpayers and the City of Toronto is of paramount importance.

    b)    I am going to work very hard for changes in the applicable regulation that would give voters opportunity to remove their councillor from office at any time if the councilor loses the support of the 55 per cent who voted him/her in.

    4. Will you support contracting out garbage collection east of Yonge Street?

    YES, and I would support any contracting out which would be in the interest of taxpayers.

    5. What are your thoughts on the Municipal Land Transfer Tax – will you support reducing it or eliminating it?

    It should be eliminated. The Municipal Land Transfer Tax is in addition to the Province’s Land Transfer Tax.

    6. Toronto’s unemployment rate is much higher than the provincial rate. What are your ideas to create job growth in Toronto?

    a)    Through my website, I will invite the public to send ideas they believe would create job growth in Toronto.

    b)    I would ask the members of the Council to zero in on that issue, to have thereafter a meeting to discuss it, and to outline possible measures.

    c)    Offer incentive to companies for any job opening in addition to the number of jobs it has.

    d)       After thorough preparation, I would seek face-to-face meeting with the Premier, discus the issue and urge her with compelling arguments to devote resources and efforts so we can accomplish that goal.

    7. It seems City Council has been debating public transit forever with little results to show. How would you fund new transit projects to ease congestion for everyone? Do you feel we need to change the current transit planning process?

    I would fund new transit projects from the savings.  Before answering the second question, I need to delve into the issue.

    8. Labour negotiations will be a big part of the next council term. What advice do you have for the city’s negotiating team to get the best deal for taxpayers?

    Try to accomplish the best deal for taxpayers if you’d like to receive incentives and be part of the negotiating team. We are watching you.

    9. Do you see opportunities for public-private partnerships (P3s) involving the City of Toronto? Where, specifically?

    In contracting out garbage collection and I quite sure that there are more opportunities.

    10. What is the top issue of concern for residents in your ward? What will you do as Councillor to address the issue?

    Culture at City Hall, accountability, taxes, employment, public transit, development, environmental, nose pollution, water infrastructure, …. The list of actions I would take is long and would be updated based on the circumstances.

  • 1. Do you support a property tax cap ensuring future hikes are no greater than the rate of inflation?

    I support good fiscal governance, strong oversight and accountability. I support the right of residents to receive quality, consistent, reliable public services. I support the maintenance of our infrastructure and the funding to build the City that future generations will expect from us. I support taxes that reflect the actual cost of providing those services. I support taxes that are applied directly to certain important initiatives and don’t end up in general revenues, leaving important work underfunded. I believe that every level of government should be supporting strong cities. A national housing strategy and transit initiatives would be a great place to start. It irks me that other governments can “balance” their budget by downloading huge files onto municipalities and then crow about a surplus while the same tax payers that support them struggle with daily living. Note: – I do not generally support user fees and other sneaky ways of taking money from our pockets by saying taxes are frozen while our water and hydro rates and other fees go up substantially every year.  (Water 9% each year!)

    2. Where, specifically, do you advocate finding savings in the current city budget?

    I’m not sure we should be looking at the grass roots municipal level of government to tighten its belt. Cities are where the rubber meets the road. We live here. This is where government and tax dollars (from every level) can have most direct effect. We rely on the transit schedule and the garbage pick-up and the police and fire. We rely on our fellow residents to earn an income that will support local business and keep us employed. I want to see better transit, stronger services, more good paying jobs and excellent cultural events that will attract tourism. This will make Toronto a stronger city and a healthier and happier place to live.

    3. Do you support reducing the size of Toronto City Council?

    I did not support amalgamation. I believe in local democracy and local voices. A smaller council will just amalgamate us further. Right now the average City Councillor is representing over 60,000 people – development concerns, traffic & public safety, landlord/tenant issues, school concerns, neighbourhood character and much more – Reducing the size of council will just reduce access to advocates & decision makers. We deserve excellent representation. At a time when the Federal government, virtually uninvolved in local community daily living issues, is expanding the number of ridings in the GTA, why would we consder reducing our local voices at council?

    4. Will you support contracting out garbage collection east of Yonge Street?

    Estimates on the savings generated from contracting out garbage collection West of Yonge range, from what I have heard, from $11M to $25M. This is not in fact a huge savings on a $9B budget. Reports on the standard of care exercised by the private supplier are mixed. So, on the backs of the people who do the work, who live in an expensive city like Toronto, we have gained little and provided a profit to a private collection company. Mr Ford has suggested we’ll never see another garbage strike. Strikes happen at private companies all the time – when workers become dissatisfied with their safety, compensation or working conditions. We have already reduced the employee count to one person operating an automated truck… how much further should we go? As to other services, I’m not sure how service levels can be maintained and/or improved on by building a shareholder or executive profit line into a reduced budget by moving a service from public to private. Something has to give.

    5. What are your thoughts on the Municipal Land Transfer Tax – will you support reducing it or eliminating it?

    First I don’t mind paying taxes. However, I dislike property taxes; they’re unfair… especially to small businesses. (They’re also not equal across the city.) AND, I hate the regressive nature of the land transfer tax. So, If the Province gives the city other revenue tools with which to fund vital public services and infrastructure maintenance and visionary development, then we won’t need our portion of the land transfer tax and we can get rid of it. Toronto has a larger population and tax base than many provinces. It may be time to go to an income tax model for the city. I would be willing to pay my fare share.

    6. Toronto’s unemployment rate is much higher than the provincial rate. What are your ideas to create job growth in Toronto?

    As the President of the Alliance of Canadian Cinema, Television and Radio Artists (ACTRA Toronto) representing 13,000 audiovisual performers here in the city, we have seen Film and TV production rise to $1.15B in 2013 and become the number 2 employer in the city next only to financial services, creating close to 30,000 FTE jobs. Clean, Green, creative sector jobs are the future. We must begin to “Think outside the BIG-box.” and away from the thought that service sector jobs paying $12 or $14/hour are sustainable careers in an expensive city. Newcomers with academic and foreign experience credentials must be given the opportunity to serve our community with their skills and expertise. All three levels of government must work to make this happen. I would also consider reducing taxes on small and midsize business, if we could ensure the savings would be put toward making those businesses stronger and creating more better paid jobs.

    7. It seems City Council has been debating public transit forever with little results to show. How would you fund new transit projects to ease congestion for everyone? Do you feel we need to change the current transit planning process?

    I’m 52. My parent’s generation should having been building planned transit. My generation should have been building efficient transit. We should have had a vision for the future, for what today would bring. We and our children and our grandchildren deserve an accessible, connected, comprehensive, planned, efficient and affordable transit system. Subways, LRTs, Streetcars, Buses, all of it – You should be able to board at any station and go in either direction to get where you’re going. We must stop changing our minds on the whims of one or two individuals. The planning and Environmental Assessment dollars have already been spent. Let’s get on with the building! It’s not too late. All levels of government must make transit a priority and build it now.

    8. Labour negotiations will be a big part of the next council term. What advice do you have for the city’s negotiating team to get the best deal for taxpayers?

    Recognize that employees (labour) are taxpayers. They have families; they buy products; they support businesses; they send their children to school; they rely on the same services as everyone else. Recognize that just because the media spins unions as being greedy and threatening strikes, 95%+ of union contracts are settled without a strike. Most strikes do not take place over money, but instead respect and safety issues and the threat of large cutbacks by the employer in staffing, wages or benefits. Good faith negotiations are never one-sided.

    9. Do you see opportunities for public-private partnerships (P3s) involving the City of Toronto? Where, specifically?

    I think that where majority ownership can remain with the city and where there is a real public benefit, P3s have their place. I feel it would become silly, however, to have privately sponsored subway stations or such other public venues, especially if the private company can sell its naming rights to someone else and so initiate complicated changes. Skydome, named by the people of Toronto, will always be Skydome to me. Sorry Rogers.

    10. What is the top issue of concern for residents in your ward? What will you do as Councillor to address the issue?

    Traffic infiltration and pedestrian safety are very important, especially given the recent tragic death of a 7 year old girl at Millwood and McRae. We need to better enforce the driving laws we have… no rolling stops, pushing yellow and red lights, cutting through parking lots to avoid traffic line-ups. We need better signage and restricted (to local residents only) turns, especially during rush hours. The BIG-box we have now is here to stay, but we need to say “No more!” to BIG-box, one stop shopping and the 10s of 1000s of cars it brings to our neighbourhoods each week.

    Further… jobs for young people, landlord tenant concerns, rental building maintenance, TCHC repair backlogs, jobs for newcomers, Seniors housing, homecare, local school capacity, OMB rulings, development issues, petty crime… there is a lot going on in Ward 26 – Bennington, Flemingdon, Leaside, Thorncliffe & Wynford – It’s a diverse palce culturally, residentially and economically. Some residents have steeper hills to climb than others. There is a lot to do. We need a representative who will stand with the community and defend the services we require to be an active, healthier and happier community in a dynamic city that works.

  • 1. Do you support a property tax cap ensuring future hikes are no greater than the rate of inflation?

    Yes

    2. Where, specifically, do you advocate finding savings in the current city budget?

    The rationalization of common functions such as IT, Human Resources, Real Estate and fleet management.

    3. Do you support reducing the size of Toronto City Council?

    I don’t support reducing reducing the size of City Council, nor do I support increasing the size of City Council. However,  the enhancement of the 311 service will further support the conerns and issues faced by Toronto residents.  The 311 service should be charged with the responsibility of addressing many of the day to day issues facing residents so that Councillors can focus more on the larger issues which require time and attention to detail.

    4. Will you support contracting out garbage collection east of Yonge Street?

    Yes, I will support contracting out garbage provided that savings do not affect the delivery of service and the savings are a positive value added to the city.  It is up to the city’s senior management to make this case.

    Fleet services may be an area to look at.

    5. What are your thoughts on the Municipal Land Transfer Tax – will you support reducing it or eliminating it?

    Not at this time. Eliminating this source of revenue will require another source to replace it.

    6. Toronto’s unemployment rate is much higher than the provincial rate. What are your ideas to create job growth in Toronto?

    Work with the Province to lower business tax rates, invite creative sources such as communications companies, IT companies, entertainment and film companies amongst many industries to develop relationships with Toronto.  The main thing is that we create an environment which invites companies to locate businesses in Toronto, by maintaining and continually improving the infrastructure and facilitiies available to businesses in Toronto such as our highways, access to the US and upgrades to our transportation infrastructure.

    Toronto is a highly diversified city with a highly educated work force.  What is lacking is an aggressive marketing plan to attract new businesses. We may be the best kept economic secret.  If necessary, we should consider offering tax breaks in partnership with the Province.

    7. It seems City Council has been debating public transit forever with little results to show. How would you fund new transit projects to ease congestion for everyone? Do you feel we need to change the current transit planning process?

    Transit needs to be funded by all three levels of govenement.

    Toronto is the economic engine of Canada.  To sustain it, and to make it more efficient we need to address transit issues and it should be a priority of all three levels of government as is the case with London, England and Paris, France.

    It makes no sense for each candidate to come up with their own plan. It indicates no faith in consultants who have developed plans that address the long-term needs of the city.  Rather than stick with it, it is being turned into election rhetoric

    8. Labour negotiations will be a big part of the next council term. What advice do you have for the city’s negotiating team to get the best deal for taxpayers?

    The parameters given to the negotiating team need to be discussed by Council, with input from all 44 members including the Mayor.  This is an inclusive process and can not be determined by any one member.

    9. Do you see opportunities for public-private partnerships (P3s) involving the City of Toronto? Where, specifically?

    Yes, I do see opportunities for public-private partnerships in areas such as Economic Development, social services through Community Development and in the area of Parks and the Environment.  These include partnerships in the cultural and entertainment industries, social service and health institutions and with grass-roots organizations that operate programming at the local level.

    10. What is the top issue of concern for residents in your ward? What will you do as Councillor to address the issue?

    Ward 26 is a highly diverse ward.  There are distinct issues in each of the five areas of the Ward.  They include quality of life issues, poor rental accomodation, traffic concerns, development issues, safety and security, unemployment, lack of services and programs for the youth and for seniors, flooding issues and a lack of collaboration between the elected representative and the community.

    Having dealt with many of these issues over the past 5 years as staff,  the need for a collaborative approach has been sadly lacking. My approach would be to develop a strategic plan for each area in collaboration with the stakeholders with the full force of the resources of the City behind me.

2014 City Council Election: Ward 25 – Don Valley West

The Incumbent:

Jaye Robinson

The Race

It was a tight win for Jaye Robinson who won with just over 500 votes more than her top opponent in 2010. Overall, the 2014 Ward 25 candidates have the will to control property taxes, contract out garbage collection east of Yonge Street, and consider Public-Private partnerships. Two candidates identified development and intensification as the top concern of Ward 25 residents.

Candidates Who Did Not Participate: Kim Diep

The Breakdown

  • Candidate Response
    Friedman, Richard Yes
    Hostler, Tanya Yes
    Robinson, Jaye Yes
    Streker, Nikola Yes


  • Candidate Response
    Friedman, Richard Freeze wages in TTC and Police Services.
    Hostler, Tanya Cap salary increases to inflation also, particularly in senior management positions.
    Robinson, Jaye Deliver services more efficiently and effectively (like Toronto EMS) and serious and sustained approach to partnerships with the business and community sectors.
    Streker, Nikola Decrease bureaucracy.


  • Candidate Response
    Friedman, Richard No
    Hostler, Tanya No
    Robinson, Jaye Will consider
    Streker, Nikola Yes


  • Candidate Response
    Friedman, Richard Yes
    Hostler, Tanya Will consider
    Robinson, Jaye Yes
    Streker, Nikola Yes


  • Candidate Response
    Friedman, Richard Yes – reduce
    Hostler, Tanya No
    Robinson, Jaye No
    Streker, Nikola Yes – eliminate


  • Candidate Response
    Friedman, Richard Offer tax incentives and be open for businesses to move to Toronto.
    Hostler, Tanya Reform Toronto Employment & Social Services  to move to a more results based job placement system. Also, government should make a more concerted effort to reduce promoting the entrenched senior staff and let qualified unemployed people get their foot in the door, perhaps with job sharing programs or part-time placements.
    Robinson, Jaye Drive innovation, harness new technologies and build partnerships with the private and community sectors.
    Streker, Nikola Work with Provincial and Federal Governments.


  • Candidate Response
    Friedman, Richard Assistance from all three levels of government to fund new projects for the TTC. Add .01 -.02 cent tax per litre of gas, raise the HST .01 cent, reach out to businesses who want to market their brands or products to TTC riders.
    Hostler, Tanya Funding from Province. Portion of fares or a surcharge of some sort might be created for areas benefitting from the new transit.
    Robinson, Jaye Need transit planning based on expert evidence, international best practices and solid, realistic financial plans.
    Streker, Nikola City Income Rebate plan that Mayoral Candidate Michael Nicula has proposed. More details about the proposal can be found at this link: http://www.mayor4.to/city-income-rebate.html "


  • Candidate Response
    Friedman, Richard Make sure that both parties, walk away from the negotiation table feeling that they received the best deal and that they were happy with the end result. You want to be fair, because they will be providing a valuable service to the citizens of Toronto and you might be negotiating with them again in the near future.
    Hostler, Tanya Tie wage increases to inflation.
    Robinson, Jaye I served on the Employee and Labour Relations Committee during the last round of successful negotiations and know that it takes strength and resolve.
    Streker, Nikola  A realistic budget limit has to be set and then defended as much as possible.


  • Candidate Response
    Friedman, Richard Yes
    Hostler, Tanya Yes
    Robinson, Jaye Will consider
    Streker, Nikola Yes – infrastructure and transit


  • Candidate Response
    Friedman, Richard Value for money, poor road conditions, and better representation.
    Hostler, Tanya  Development and intensification.
    Robinson, Jaye Development and intensification.  A big part of the solution is to shift power to neighbourhoods over planning and development decisions, from rethinking and rebuilding the Committee of Adjustment to moving forward with a Local Appeal Body to creating opportunities for local input and engagement at each and every turn.
    Streker, Nikola Poverty and affordable housing. New units have to be built, existing units have to be maintained and renovated, and all three levels of government should help to finance this type of housing strategy in order to combat the rising poverty levels in the city.

 

The full responses

  • 1. Do you support a property tax cap ensuring future hikes are no greater than the rate of inflation?

    Yes, I would support a property tax cap ensuring future hikes are no greater than the rate of inflation. I would even go further regarding property tax issue. I would have a four year plan outlining the property tax minimum and maximum amount, so the people of Toronto and Ward 25 would be able to see the cost for the next four years.

    2. Where, specifically, do you advocate finding savings in the current city budget?

    The City of Toronto is the 4th largest city in North America. It takes a lot of money to run a city efficiently. I would look into saving some money by freezing wages in the TTC and Police.

    3. Do you support reducing the size of Toronto City Council?

    No I don’t. There is close to 60,000 people in Ward 25, Don Valley West. In order to provide great service to the residents and the City of Toronto, you need to be available for everyone. I don’t think it would improve city council, but I will let you know in a few months.

    4. Will you support contracting out garbage collection east of Yonge Street?

    Yes I would, only if it would provide a better service and value for the residents.
    Residents understand that everyone pays taxes, they just want to make sure that they are getting good service and value for their money.

    5. What are your thoughts on the Municipal Land Transfer Tax – will you support reducing it or eliminating it?

    I support reducing it, but not eliminating it. The Municipal Land Transfer Tax generates important revenue for the city. I would look into reducing the tax for first time home owners. The prices for purchasing a home in the GTA have gone up substantially over the past 10 years. Toronto needs the tax base. I would look into reducing the tax so young families can find a home in the GTA area.

    6. Toronto’s unemployment rate is much higher than the provincial rate. What are your ideas to create job growth in Toronto?

    To stimulate job growth in Toronto, you need to make Toronto more attractive to business. We need to offer tax incentives and be open to for businesses to move to Toronto. People who live in Toronto believe Toronto is a world class city. Toronto needs to prove to the world that we are open for business and to business.

    7. It seems City Council has been debating public transit forever with little results to show. How would you fund new transit projects to ease congestion for everyone? Do you feel we need to change the current transit planning process?

    You would need assistance from all three levels of government to fund new projects for the TTC. Riders are fed up paying more and more money for less service. A large portion of the capital cost should come from the Federal and Provincial governments. I would suggest adding .01 -.02 cent tax per litre of gas to help fund the cost of TTC projects. Also I would suggest raising the HST .01 cent to help fund the cost of TTC projects. I would also be more aggressive to reach out to businesses who want to market their brands or products to TTC riders.

    8. Labour negotiations will be a big part of the next council term. What advice do you have for the city’s negotiating team to get the best deal for taxpayers?

    My advice would be to make sure that both parties, walk away from the negotiation table feeling that they received the best deal and that they were happy with the end result. You want to be fair, because they will be providing a valuable service to the citizens of Toronto and you might be negotiating with them again in the near future.

    9. Do you see opportunities for public-private partnerships (P3s) involving the City of Toronto? Where, specifically?

    Yes! 100%. The city should be open to improving business relationships with current partners and try to reach out to new business to create greater awareness and revenue for the city. The City of Toronto has many properties and venues to partner with big business.

    10. What is the top issue of concern for residents in your ward? What will you do as Councillor to address the issue?

    The residents in Ward 25, Don Valley West are not getting the services that they should be getting from paying their taxes. Taxes go up and service goes down. They are not getting any value and they are upset. Also the roads conditions and road congestion in the area is brutal. The poor or no communication in the area when some roads are slowly being repaired, is horrible. People want good service. I think people are really upset at the passive representation and the poor communication. They want their new representative to have a strong voice at city hall and provide great service.

  • 1. Do you support a property tax cap ensuring future hikes are no greater than the rate of inflation?

    2. Where, specifically, do you advocate finding savings in the current city budget?

    It’s difficult to follow the previous administration’s cuts. FIR data shows property taxes & PILs have decreased overall in 2013. Perhaps we should cap salary increases to inflation also, particularly in senior management positions.

    3. Do you support reducing the size of Toronto City Council?

    No. Amalgamation was sufficient in streamlining the 6 previous municipal entities. Regardless of provincial and federal electoral ridings being twice as large as municipal Wards, local government requires more attention to detail and personal interface with the constituents.

    4. Will you support contracting out garbage collection east of Yonge Street?

    Any contracting out of services would have to be supported by studies showing what savings could be achieved at what cost. I would consider contracting out garbage delivery, but I would not commit to do so at this point in time. I would consider contracting out other non-emergency services but would not commit to do so at this point in time.

    5. What are your thoughts on the Municipal Land Transfer Tax – will you support reducing it or eliminating it?

    I don’t like it, but I think we need to keep it for the foreseeable future. Toronto’s financial situation is not currently strong enough to do away with the Land Transfer Tax. Property values are soaring and prohibitive. I’m not a communist but sometimes you have to impose taxes on those who can afford to pay them if you are realistic about building and maintaining adequate infrastructure.

    6. Toronto’s unemployment rate is much higher than the provincial rate. What are your ideas to create job growth in Toronto?

    Reforming Toronto Employment & Social Services wold be a good place to start. They need to move to a more results based job placement system, rather than just telling qualified candidates to omit their education and experience from their resume and take a 100% commission job just to get a clothing & transit bonus. 100% commission telemarketing jobs are not jobs – they are a form of slavery that preys upon the most vulnerable people in our society.

    If TESS did more to find innovative partnerships with employers to create paid internships, and training that actually pertained to employable skills, and tried to place people in jobs and give them a hand up rather than a hand out, maybe we would see some improvement.

    Also, government should make a more concerted effort to reduce promoting the entrenched senior staff and let qualified unemployed people get their foot in the door, perhaps with job sharing programs or part-time placements. Unions would have to give concessions for this, but maybe they should consider it.

    7. It seems City Council has been debating public transit forever with little results to show. How would you fund new transit projects to ease congestion for everyone? Do you feel we need to change the current transit planning process?

    Obviously, the Province plays a key role in funding any transit capital project, whether it is SmartTrack, LRT or subways. If transit fares came close to covering operating costs, I would suggest issuing bonds against transit revenues. Since fares do not cover operating costs, perhaps a portion of fares or a surcharge of some sort might be created for areas benefitting from the new transit. The transit planning process appears to be in chaos with a million voices and no conductor. We need to do something to improve this process, but I am not sure if creating Metrolinx has done that effectively.

    8. Labour negotiations will be a big part of the next council term. What advice do you have for the city’s negotiating team to get the best deal for taxpayers?

    If we tie property taxes to inflation, we should tie wage increases to inflation. When I worked in the Province the labour unions were always trying to get long-term above-inflation cost of living increases in their collective agreements. That just causes inflationary pressures on everyone else.

    9. Do you see opportunities for public-private partnerships (P3s) involving the City of Toronto? Where, specifically?

    Yes. Even the McGuinty Liberals used P3s after they criticized the Conservatives for doing the same. Non-emergency services are a good place to start with any contracting out – whether operational or capital projects. A comprehensive service delivery review could assist in identifying areas that might be suitable for P3s.

    10. What is the top issue of concern for residents in your ward? What will you do as Councillor to address the issue?

    Ward 25 has the top issue of keeping any new development appropriate to the community. The Ward consists mainly of luxury homes, large public parks and premium private recreation facilities. Homeowners care about maintaining their property values and the character of their neighbourhood. Development and intensification surrounds us on all sides and is creeping in around Yonge & Eglinton, Yonge & Strathgowan, Sheppard subway, Lesmill / Upjohn, and now Celestica in Ward 26. While many people enjoy the Shops @ Don Mills, we were all pretty worried about how it would turn out and what comes next!

  • 1. Do you support a property tax cap ensuring future hikes are no greater than the rate of inflation?

    Property tax increases need to be kept in check to ensure our city’s ongoing success and competitiveness. Keeping property tax increases at or below the rate of inflation is one of my priorities.

    2. Where, specifically, do you advocate finding savings in the current city budget?

    Toronto’s Emergency Medical Services has set the standard for harnessing new and innovative technology to deliver services more efficiently and effectively. A similar approach across all of our city’s first responders – which I have and will continue to champion – would result in significant savings.

    The city could also reduce costs by taking a more serious and sustained approach to partnerships with the business and community sectors.

    Before running for office, I worked in economic development and I understand the power of partnerships first hand – it’s something the city needs to harness moving forward.

    3. Do you support reducing the size of Toronto City Council?

    Anything that would increase the efficiency and effectiveness of city government is worth exploring.

    4. Will you support contracting out garbage collection east of Yonge Street?

    Yes. The city should continue to look for innovative ways to deliver services efficiently and effectively.

    5. What are your thoughts on the Municipal Land Transfer Tax – will you support reducing it or eliminating it?

    I’m committed to the fiscal agenda and any opportunities to keep our city competitive are worth exploring.

    6. Toronto’s unemployment rate is much higher than the provincial rate. What are your ideas to create job growth in Toronto?

    We need to keep our city competitive by driving innovation, harnessing new technologies and building partnerships with the private and community sectors.

    7. It seems City Council has been debating public transit forever with little results to show. How would you fund new transit projects to ease congestion for everyone? Do you feel we need to change the current transit planning process?

    We need transit planning based on expert evidence, international best practices and solid, realistic financial plans. It’s what I’ve advocated for through each and every transit debate at City Hall, and its absence is one of the key reasons we’ve lost ground over the past term.

    8. Labour negotiations will be a big part of the next council term. What advice do you have for the city’s negotiating team to get the best deal for taxpayers?

    I served on the Employee and Labour Relations Committee during the last round of successful negotiations and know that it takes strength and resolve.

    9. Do you see opportunities for public-private partnerships (P3s) involving the City of Toronto? Where, specifically?

    There are significant opportunities for P3s and, more broadly, for partnerships with both the private and community sectors.

    We need to change the way Toronto approaches partnerships at the municipal level – it’s something we need to think about in the context of each and every decision the city makes.

    10. What is the top issue of concern for residents in your ward? What will you do as Councillor to address the issue?

    Development is a significant issue across Ward 25. Our unique neighbourhoods are some of the best in the city, which in turn attracts incredible intensification pressure. Development also has significant impacts on traffic, congestion and green space.

    The city actually has limited control over development – which means it can be a real challenge to protect neighbourhoods’ character and quality of life.

    A big part of the solution is to shift power to neighbourhoods over planning and development decisions, from rethinking and rebuilding the Committee of Adjustment to moving forward with a Local Appeal Body to creating opportunities for local input and engagement at each and every turn.

  • 1. Do you support a property tax cap ensuring future hikes are no greater than the rate of inflation?

    2. Where, specifically, do you advocate finding savings in the current city budget?

    Besides decreasing the bureaucracy itself there isn’t many other places savings can be found in the city budget. The city services are already underfunded.

    3. Do you support reducing the size of Toronto City Council?

    I do support reducing the size but not by a large number. I think 40 Councillors is more than enough. Ward boundaries should be reviewed and changed to accommodate this decrease. I am sure that this would increase focus and decisiveness to some degree.

    4. Will you support contracting out garbage collection east of Yonge Street?

    I support contracting out services if it gives taxpayers a better deal.

    5. What are your thoughts on the Municipal Land Transfer Tax – will you support reducing it or eliminating it?

    I support the elimination of the Municipal Land Transfer Tax.

    6. Toronto’s unemployment rate is much higher than the provincial rate. What are your ideas to create job growth in Toronto?

    This is a massive problem that needs to be addressed by working with provincial and federal governments.

    7. It seems City Council has been debating public transit forever with little results to show. How would you fund new transit projects to ease congestion for everyone? Do you feel we need to change the current transit planning process?

    I support the City Income Rebate plan that Mayoral Candidate Michael Nicula has proposed. The issue of taxes needs to be approached from a different angle and this plan offers a fresh angle. The solution is not to raise taxes. Taxes are already high enough. The real problem is that the cities get the smallest percentage of all the taxes we pay. The federal government and provincial get 89% while the City gets only 11%. The money that Toronto needs to solve its Public Transit and Aging Infrastructure problems is already there but billions of dollars are being mismanaged by the Federal Government. It is our money and as citizens of Toronto we should be able to get it back to our city in order to solve our local problems. More details about the proposal can be found at this link: http://www.mayor4.to/city-income-rebate.html

    8. Labour negotiations will be a big part of the next council term. What advice do you have for the city’s negotiating team to get the best deal for taxpayers?

    A realistic budget limit has to be set and then defended as much as possible.

    9. Do you see opportunities for public-private partnerships (P3s) involving the City of Toronto? Where, specifically?

    There are opportunities in the infrastructure sector. The city’s roads, pipes, and wires are decaying and these are some of the problems that could be addressed by P3s. Public transit is another opportunity where a partnership could work great as evidenced by the Viva Rapid Transit.

    10. What is the top issue of concern for residents in your ward? What will you do as Councillor to address the issue?

    Poverty is an issue in Ward 25 as it is in many other parts of Toronto. The most predominant issues that residents have been dealing with for decades is that of housing. There is a lack of affordable and quality housing for many residents. New units have to be built, existing units have to be maintained and renovated, and all three levels of government should help to finance this type of housing strategy in order to combat the rising poverty levels in the city.

2014 City Council Election: Ward 23 – Willowdale

The Incumbent:

John Filion

The Race

Incumbent Councillor John Filion sailed to victory in the past couple of municipal elections. Recent votes on City Council and a growing community presents new challenges this year. One of Filion’s opponents took the opportunity to answer our survey and we see some welcome contrasts of opinion in contracting out garbage collection and public-private partnerships for city services.

Candidates Who Did Not Participate: Carmen Kedzior, Kun-Won Park, Chris Penny, Scott Werle.

The Breakdown

  • Candidate Response
    Filion, John Will consider based on budgets
    Mousavi, David Will consider based on investments


  • Candidate Response
    Filion, John Re-organize bureaucratic structure to eliminate duplication and lack of accountability.
    Mousavi, David Use new technologies for construction and services that would make city operations more efficient. For example, solar powered compacting garbage bins.


  • Candidate Response
    Filion, John Will consider
    Mousavi, David Will consider


  • Candidate Response
    Filion, John No
    Mousavi, David Yes, and is in favour of reviewing all city services to find similar results


  • Candidate Response
    Filion, John Yes to phasing out, and for modifying for families upsizing or downsizing.
    Mousavi, David Yes to reducing and eliminating if possible


  • Candidate Response
    Filion, John Protect employment lands. Require more commercial development as part of residential projects.
    Mousavi, David Reduce red tape and unnecessary regulations on small business. For example, more free parking. Seek foreign direct investment through Invest Toronto. Work with federal government and local ethno-cultural communities to reduce trade barriers between countries.


  • Candidate Response
    Filion, John Stable, long-term sources of funding: investment from federal and provincial governments, gas tax, HST, and development charges.
    Mousavi, David City should borrow against future property tax revenues based on projected intensification. Residents are open to this if they are engaged in planning and decision-making process.


  • Candidate Response
    Filion, John Smart bargaining
    Mousavi, David Mutual recognition of labour and City's needs. Service quality should be high criterion in negotiation process.


  • Candidate Response
    Filion, John Did not mention public-private partnerships
    Mousavi, David Yes, in the TCHC existing housing stock for repairs and to revitalize TCHC communities. For example, Regent Park.


  • Candidate Response
    Filion, John Traffic congestion and the Yonge/401 interchange.
    Mousavi, David Traffic management including a new Sheppard West subway and smart technology traffic lights, the latter of which is developed in the city and will help Toronto become a leader and standard-setter in this regard.

 

The full responses

  • 1. Do you support a property tax cap ensuring future hikes are no greater than the rate of inflation?

    That’s a good target. But budget decisions need to be made annually, taking many things into account. Sometimes you can go below inflations, sometimes at and sometimes above.

    2. Where, specifically, do you advocate finding savings in the current city budget?

    Completely re-organize the bureaucratic structure. The biggest waste in the system is caused by lack of accountability and lack of clear responsibilities, especially on issues which cover several departments or different areas within the same department.

    3. Do you support reducing the size of Toronto City Council?

    could argue either side on this. Fewer councillors would make Council meetings go faster but would also mean less accountability to public as more decision-making delegated to the bureaucracy because fewer politicians to handle the oversight.

    4. Will you support contracting out garbage collection east of Yonge Street?

    I do not think the entire city should have privatized garbage collection – better to keep the competitive tension between public and private. There isn’t much I would privatize – only areas that do not relate to the public where there’s no reason to have the public sector involved – e.g. printing.

    5. What are your thoughts on the Municipal Land Transfer Tax – will you support reducing it or eliminating it?

    I think it should be phased out for those moving within Toronto for a primary residence. Families upsizing or downsizing should not be taxed.

    6. Toronto’s unemployment rate is much higher than the provincial rate. What are your ideas to create job growth in Toronto?

    Protect employment lands. Require more commercial development as part of residential projects.

    7. It seems City Council has been debating public transit forever with little results to show. How would you fund new transit projects to ease congestion for everyone? Do you feel we need to change the current transit planning process?

    Transit needs  stable long-term  sources of funding: infrastructure investment from federal and provincial levels, gas tax, HST, development charges. We just need the right leaders.

    8. Labour negotiations will be a big part of the next council term. What advice do you have for the city’s negotiating team to get the best deal for taxpayers?

    Smart bargaining.

    9. Do you see opportunities for public-private partnerships (P3s) involving the City of Toronto? Where, specifically?

    I am more interested in public/citizen partnerships in such areas as parks and recreation. In many cases, community groups can operate programs more effectively and less expensively than the government. The city has been losing touch with many of these organizations.

    10. What is the top issue of concern for residents in your ward? What will you do as Councillor to address the issue?

    Traffic congestion. The most urgent fix is the Yonge/401 interchange.

  • 1. Do you support a property tax cap ensuring future hikes are no greater than the rate of inflation?

    Assuming we are only raising taxes to maintain current operational activities and levels, then yes. However, if we are to invest in more subways, similar to Scarborough, then it may be the case taxpayers are willing to pay extra. In my discussions with constituents, they have shown they are willing to pay more taxes if they can be assured those extra taxes will be spent on needed infrastructural investments.  Taxpayers want accountability more than anything else, and therefore our governments should always be striving for greater accountability.

    2. Where, specifically, do you advocate finding savings in the current city budget?

    I believe the city needs to consider new ways of carrying out its operations, such as using prefabricated bridges and ramps in developing its infrastructure.  Other jurisdictions are employing such techniques with positive results in the form of reduced construction times and costs. Technology can also make our city’s operations more efficient. An example includes solar powered compacting garbage bins, currently used in Philadelphia and other cities.  These solar powered garbage bins reduce the frequency by which city staff must replace garbage bags through compacting, thereby reducing employee costs and allowing those employees to be reoriented to other tasks.

    3. Do you support reducing the size of Toronto City Council?

    There has been some discussion, including from my incumbent councilor/competitor, that 44 councillors has made it difficult to build consensus and make decisions. My inclination would be to say yes only if the service level constituents receive from their city councillors were not diminished beyond acceptable levels.

    4. Will you support contracting out garbage collection east of Yonge Street?

    Yes, I do support it. I am also in favour of a review of all city services to find similar results as those with garbage outsourcing.

    5. What are your thoughts on the Municipal Land Transfer Tax – will you support reducing it or eliminating it?

    The Municipal Land Transfer Tax (MLTT), although a great stream of revenue for the city, is simply bad taxation policy as it does not promote a culture of governance, transparency, and accountability at City Halll. the MLTT impacts young adults, newcomers, and seniors considerably more than other groups in the city, which illustrates the inequity in the tax policy.  Taxpayers expect to know how and where their tax dollars are spent, but they are not unreasonable about the fact that taxes are required for critical investments, such as infrastructure for the city.  I would support gradually reducing it and eliminating it if possible, but as a new councillor entering council, I want to ensure long-term budgeting for the city can be sustainable without the MLTT that the city now relies on.

    6. Toronto’s unemployment rate is much higher than the provincial rate. What are your ideas to create job growth in Toronto?

    Toronto desperately needs to become more business friendly by reducing red tape.  The A la Carte food cart program is a prime example of a good idea gone wrong because of a lack of understanding for business issues.  We need leaders that can empathize and work with businesses, not make them go bankrupt with excessive, unnecessary, or redundant regulations.  In my Ward 23, businesses have complained of a lack of patio space and free parking, both of which can assist with boosting customers and sales. As Councillor, I will work towards solutions to these specific issues in my ward.   From a broader perspective, Toronto is the 6th largest government in Canada, with powers that allow it to seek out foreign direct investment to create jobs through agencies such as Invest Toronto.  My objective is to work with the Federal government, which is reducing trade barriers between our country and Chile, Korea, China, etc, and our local ethno-cultural communities to attract businesses to the city that will in turn create job opportunities.

    7. It seems City Council has been debating public transit forever with little results to show. How would you fund new transit projects to ease congestion for everyone? Do you feel we need to change the current transit planning process?

    There are powers for the city to borrow against future property tax revenues based on projected intensification. P3 opportunities also need to be better explored. Ultimately, what led to Transit City’s failure was a lack of engagement of residents in the planning and decision process along with an honest and intelligent debate about how to fund public transit that includes all options. Most residents are secure with paying additional property taxes for the Scarborough subway, and that has to be respected and appreciated when considering how to fund future public transit investments.

    8. Labour negotiations will be a big part of the next council term. What advice do you have for the city’s negotiating team to get the best deal for taxpayers?

    The discussion between labour and the city’s negotiating team will have to be begin with a mutual recognition of the difficulties families are having to make ends meet along with the city’s need to buoy its finances during fragile economic times.  Labour has reaffirmed its commitment to remaining competitive with the private sector and similarly the city should maintain service quality as a high criterion during various competitor analyses and negotiations.

    9. Do you see opportunities for public-private partnerships (P3s) involving the City of Toronto? Where, specifically?

    The greatest opportunity for P3s exist with Toronto’s TCHC housing stock, which is in dire need of repairs.  P3 arrangements have been instrumental in the revitalization of some TCHC communities, such as Regent Park, and this model should be used to build integrated, healthy, functional communities.

    10. What is the top issue of concern for residents in your ward? What will you do as Councillor to address the issue?

    Traffic management is the most cited issue and my traffic plan includes advocating for an extension of the Sheppard subway westwards towards Downsview Station, and the implementation of smart technology traffic lights. The Sheppard West subway would significantly reduce traffic on streets north of Highway 401 and dissipate TTC riders among both the Yonge and University subway lines while the smart technology (MARLIN System) will reduce traffic gridlock significantly. The MARLIN system is developed right here in Toronto, allowing for Toronto to become a leader and standard setter for smart technology improvements that can help cities around the world operate more effectively and efficiently.

2014 City Council Election: Ward 24 – Willowdale

The Incumbent:

David Shiner

The Race

We would have preferred to weigh Councillor David Shiner’s response against his opponents but unfortunately the incumbent did not respond to our questions. Two of his challengers agree on the need to cap property tax at the rate of inflation and the need to find savings in the City budget. Views vary on reducing the Land Transfer Tax and public-private partnerships. The incumbent won handily in 2010. Will it happen again?

Candidates Who Did Not Participate: Councillor David Shiner, Randy Ai, Dan Fox.

The Breakdown

  • Candidate Response
    Acerra, Daniela Yes
    Galea, Michael Yes

  • Candidate Response
    Acerra, Daniela Contracting, operating budget, and recreation
    Galea, Michael In the execution of major capital projects. For example, cost over-run at Union Station could have been avoided.


  • Candidate Response
    Acerra, Daniela No
    Galea, Michael No


  • Candidate Response
    Acerra, Daniela Will consider with evaluation of private tender proposals
    Galea, Michael No, but supports proposals to contract out Toronto Parking Authority services.


  • Candidate Response
    Acerra, Daniela Yes to reducing
    Galea, Michael No to both reducing and elimination


  • Candidate Response
    Acerra, Daniela Focus on changing work trends. Many jobs can be created from condo construction. More promotions and events to stimulate economy.
    Galea, Michael Set targets for creation of employment spaces. Develop more building ownership options for small business. Establish Business Improvement Area in ward. Streamline Site Plan Application process.


  • Candidate Response
    Acerra, Daniela Provincial and federal governments need to commit funding. Advertisement on TTC properties could generate revenues.
    Galea, Michael Dedicate portion of land transfer tax revenue to transit fund. Road tolls from 905 commuters. Refine Toronto Parking Authority to generate positive income.


  • Candidate Response
    Acerra, Daniela Need balance between quality and responsible expenditure within parameters of budget.
    Galea, Michael Introduce performance-based pay in negotiations.


  • Candidate Response
    Acerra, Daniela Did not provide specifics.
    Galea, Michael Yes for delivery of infrastructure projects that are too large for the City to handle.


  • Candidate Response
    Acerra, Daniela Integrating immigrants in society faster for a more productive city.
    Galea, Michael Inappropriate land development. Must mediate between all stakeholders.

 

The full responses

  • 1. Do you support a property tax cap ensuring future hikes are no greater than the rate of inflation?

    Yes a do support a property tax cap that does reflect not greater than the rate of inflation and i support to find areas that would keep the property taxes even lower than the rate of inflation.

    2. Where, specifically, do you advocate finding savings in the current city budget?

    Contracting , operating budget ,recreation are all  other area that can be improved in savings and efficiency

    3. Do you support reducing the size of Toronto City Council?

    Toronto deserve the best Representation : the number of Representations is directly related by the needs of the residents and the City Budget.I believe into proper Representation :not under Represented ,not overly. Pros and Cons should be considered ,presented and decided on the bargaining table and all under an efficient and responsible budget.

    4. Will you support contracting out garbage collection east of Yonge Street?

    best value for the dollar without sacrificing the quality of services .Consideration should be given to the success of garbage privatization on the West side of Young St. Evaluation of private tender proposals and public Proposals should be careful examineted and best valued for the taxpayer interests e quality assurance

    5. What are your thoughts on the Municipal Land Transfer Tax – will you support reducing it or eliminating it?

    Double Land Transfer tax in Toronto have driven families to purchase affordable housing outside the City.Reduction would be a great idea or rebates for First Home Buyers .I do not believe in Complete Land Transfer Tax Elimination as it brings in great Revenues.We want attract working families back into the City and we want to keep the City Competitive.

    6. Toronto’s unemployment rate is much higher than the provincial rate. What are your ideas to create job growth in Toronto?

    Creating jobs is a key element for a prosperous City. Work fairs ,directing workers towards needed area ,updating skills,focusing work changing trands ,are some of the areas to create jobs . A typical example is taking a look at the over 200 Condo construction in Toronto : that requires engineers ,construction workers ,contractors ,condo managers and condo management Companies ,cleaning contractors , Elevators Contractors ,snow removals and landscaping contractors ,fire Inspectors ,pool inspectors and so forth. Those new condos will require furniture : from sales ,to administration ,to cabinet making ,delivery,furniture making….:the list is endless.

    The other is studying demographic and baby boomers needs  .Also believe in attracting  Companies in Toronto .Stimulate the private sector and promote it . Create Promotions and events in Toronto that would stimulate the economy like the successful Black Friday or The TIFF. This is just to mention a few.

    7. It seems City Council has been debating public transit forever with little results to show. How would you fund new transit projects to ease congestion for everyone? Do you feel we need to change the current transit planning process?

    The Toronto Transit System has been the key element of the debates of all 3 Levels of Government ,in which all of them have committed to funding aids .Assuring that both the Provincial and the Federal Government live up to their Commitment is a fundamental . And before looking at any taxation i would look at Revenues like for example advertisement on TTC properties and maximize those revenues

    8. Labour negotiations will be a big part of the next council term. What advice do you have for the city’s negotiating team to get the best deal for taxpayers?

    Quality jobs mean quality life for families in Toronto and money reinvested into the City .A balance between quality and responsible expenditure is always necessary …always within the parameters of the proper assigned budget.

    9. Do you see opportunities for public-private partnerships (P3s) involving the City of Toronto? Where, specifically?

    Yes private sector and public sector can work together hand to hand .The garbage collection can be an example so far .Workers like options ,the City likes options fit within the budget.

    10. What is the top issue of concern for residents in your ward? What will you do as Councillor to address the issue?

    One of the issues in the Ward is the integration in Society of immigrants and language barrier in the East Side of the Ward . By organizing volunteers and increasing Esl and Co-op programs we can integrate residents faster and be part of a productive Toronto.

  • 1. Do you support a property tax cap ensuring future hikes are no greater than the rate of inflation?

    YES, after the current property tax increase associated with funding the Scarborough Subway is implemented and maintained in a fund dedicated to transit expansion. Toronto’s residential property tax rate is the lowest in the golden horseshoe yet we face some of the most costly challenges. Our competitive edge must be maintained but we must also face the up to our responsibilities.

    2. Where, specifically, do you advocate finding savings in the current city budget?

    In the execution of major capital projects. The projected budget over-run at Union Station alone is equal to nearly 4% of the entire 2013 City budget. We never should have taken responsibility for a major construction project that included a heritage building of this scope. We need to realize when a project is beyond our abilities and seek outside help that can be held accountable for their budget.

    3. Do you support reducing the size of Toronto City Council?

    Absolutely not. Currently, each Toronto Councillor represents more constituents than any other major city in Ontario. We must ensure fair representation for all of our citizens.

    4. Will you support contracting out garbage collection east of Yonge Street?

    Contracting out half of the City’s garbage collection has had an interesting result. Complaints are down and savings are being realized across the entire City thanks to competition between the public and private sector. Given the length of the contract, allowing either control over the entire system puts us at their mercy and could compromise the benefits realized. I’m in favour of maintaining the current split.

    In terms of contracting out other services, I would like to see private sector proposals for services pertaining to the Toronto Parking Authority. As I understand it the current system is revenue neutral. If the system could be refined to offer positive revenues that could be put into transit without added cost to citizens, I am all for it.

    5. What are your thoughts on the Municipal Land Transfer Tax – will you support reducing it or eliminating it?

    Even after you factor in the revenues from the land transfer tax our residential tax rate is still lower than any other city in the Golden Horseshoe. I would keep it in place for the following reasons:

    A/ I believe that it serves as a minor disincentive helping to keep Toronto’s real estate market from overheating in the same way many others have, preserving most people largest investment.

    B/  Funding infrastructure improvements pays significant dividends to citizens by creating opportunities. We need the capital to invest in these improvements.

    C/ It allows us to defer payment of the taxes needed to raise the capital mentioned in B/ reducing our annual tax burden without compromising the growth of our City.

    6. Toronto’s unemployment rate is much higher than the provincial rate. What are your ideas to create job growth in Toronto?

    A/ Use our planning policies to set real targets for the creation of a diverse range of employment spaces throughout the City. Current construction within the City has been too focused on condominiums and retail spaces. They are necessary part of any community but alone they do not meet our employment needs.

    B/ Encourage the development of more ownership options in the buildings that house our small businesses so they can pay into an asset rather than rent. Building asset value will give small businesses the leverage to expand more efficiently when they are ready.

    C/ Establish the first Business Improvement Area in my Ward. We need to take a proactive approach maintaining and improving the quality of our commercial areas before they become an issue.

    D/ Streamline the Site Plan Application process for non-contentious applications. Given Toronto’s new cost recovery program there really should be no need for an applicant to wait up to 120 days before a property even gets looked at.

    7. It seems City Council has been debating public transit forever with little results to show. How would you fund new transit projects to ease congestion for everyone? Do you feel we need to change the current transit planning process?

    Funding Transit

    A/ Allocating a portion of the land transfer tax and the funding tool established for the Scarborough Subway to a dedicated transit expansion fund.

    B/ I am open to a modest road toll on the commuters from the 905 (only if necessary) provided Toronto residents are exempt and measures are taken to address “toll dodgers” who may further congest City streets.

    C/ Refining the Toronto Parking Authority to generate positive income.

    8. Labour negotiations will be a big part of the next council term. What advice do you have for the city’s negotiating team to get the best deal for taxpayers?

    I really do like the outcome of partially contracting garbage collection mentioned in my answer to question 4. We need to keep standard wage increases at inflation to be fare but then empower City employees to take control of their future through performance based pay. I find that people produce the best results when they know their efforts will not go unnoticed.

    9. Do you see opportunities for public-private partnerships (P3s) involving the City of Toronto? Where, specifically?

    Yes. I see potential for P3s in the delivery of infrastructure projects that are out of the City’s scope of expertise like the construction of complex buildings PROVIDED the outcomes are dictated by the City, payment is not made until substantial completion, payment for maintenance is based on performance and the relationship is subject to regular review by the Auditor General. Too often have we failed to recognize our limitations resulting in ballooning budgets. We can’t offer value to citizens if we do not fully grasp the scope of work.

    10. What is the top issue of concern for residents in your ward? What will you do as Councillor to address the issue?

    Simply put, inappropriate land development. I will use my 17 years of experience mediating between developers and communities to negotiate solutions that offer a net benefit to ALL stakeholders. Too often do we neglect to explore our options and miss opportunities by standing in stark opposition to change.

2014 City Council Election: Ward 20 – Trinity-Spadina

The Incumbent:

Ceta Ramkhalawansingh (appointed)

The Race

Former Councillor, and current MP, Adam Vaughan left City Hall. Now, Ward 20 can elect a fresh, new, fiscally responsible voice for this ever-growing community. Not surprisingly, traffic congestion and condo development is top of mind for the slate of candidates running and there are various proposals to deal with density, retaining jobs, and funding transit expansion. We’re pleased to see a couple of candidates support the Billy Bishop Airport expansion – Ward 20 residents, choose wisely!

Candidates Who Did Not Participate: Terri Chu, Akeem Fasasi, Sam Goldstein, Leanne Hicks, Anshul Kapoor, Albert Koehl

The Breakdown

  • Candidate Response
    Andreae, Mike Yes
    Carty-Kegel, Stephanie Yes
    Christoff, Daryl Yes
    Cressy, Joe Yes
    Hollings, Graham Yes
    Kargiannakis, Stella Yes
    Louie, Tonny Yes
    MacDonald, Charles Yes
    Monaghan, Michael No
    Morrison, Philip Yes
    Novak, Sam No
    Shermack, Kat No
    Thomson, Sarah Yes
    Tsai, Susan Yes
    Wright, Nick Will consider
    Yen, Mike Yes


  • Candidate Response
    Andreae, Mike Going back and forth on Council decisions, reneging on contracts, and re-doing environmental assessments due to Council indecision.
    Carty-Kegel, Stephanie Council must stick to targeted spending limits. Privatize garbage collection east of Yonge St.
    Christoff, Daryl The new Council should begin with an audit to determine efficiencies.
    Cressy, Joe Believes we have gone as far as we can to find savings without impacts on service.
    Hollings, Graham Stick to transit plans such as Scarborough LRT to avoid wasting money. Reducing police services budget.
    Kargiannakis, Stella Administrative costs, reduce/eliminate Waterfront Toronto and Invest Toronto, stop funding big business through the guise of arts funding, upload planning and development process to provincial government.
    Louie, Tonny Duplication of roles and responsibilities
    MacDonald, Charles Open to reviewing all sides of the budget for savings, as an independent candidate with no ties to special interests.
    Monaghan, Michael Operations and procurement budget efficiencies
    Morrison, Philip Cut the size of City Council and privatize more services.
    Novak, Sam Adopt shift models used in other cities to prevent overlap. Incentives to replace officers with new recruits. Digitize certain paper processes. End paid duty police at construction sites, TCHC security, and TTC.
    Shermack, Kat It is not a priority.
    Thomson, Sarah Change the culture and processes at City Hall. There's 1000 small adjustments/upgrades in every department.
    Tsai, Susan Savings can be found through attrition and eliminating positions that are duplicated. Leaner management.
    Wright, Nick Savings in Police Services and in Municipal Licensing and Standards budget.
    Yen, Mike Eliminate Council General Expense budget, improve management to staff ratio, contract garbage collection east of Yonge St.


  • Candidate Response
    Andreae, Mike Did not answer specifically
    Carty-Kegel, Stephanie Will consider
    Christoff, Daryl No
    Cressy, Joe No
    Hollings, Graham No
    Kargiannakis, Stella Yes
    Louie, Tonny No
    MacDonald, Charles Will consider
    Monaghan, Michael No
    Morrison, Philip Yes
    Novak, Sam No
    Shermack, Kat No
    Thomson, Sarah Yes
    Tsai, Susan Will consider
    Wright, Nick Will consider
    Yen, Mike Yes


  • Candidate Response
    Andreae, Mike Yes
    Carty-Kegel, Stephanie Yes
    Christoff, Daryl Yes
    Cressy, Joe No
    Hollings, Graham No
    Kargiannakis, Stella No
    Louie, Tonny Will consider
    MacDonald, Charles Yes
    Monaghan, Michael Yes
    Morrison, Philip Yes
    Novak, Sam Yes
    Shermack, Kat No
    Thomson, Sarah No
    Tsai, Susan Yes
    Wright, Nick Will consider
    Yen, Mike Yes


  • Candidate Response
    Andreae, Mike Yes to elimination if there is a plan for new revenue
    Carty-Kegel, Stephanie Yes to reducing or elimination if there is a plan for new revenue
    Christoff, Daryl No
    Cressy, Joe Will consider only if there is a plan for new revenue
    Hollings, Graham Overall, no
    Kargiannakis, Stella No
    Louie, Tonny Will consider only if there is a plan for new revenue
    MacDonald, Charles Will consider modifying for a more fairer approach
    Monaghan, Michael No
    Morrison, Philip Yes to reducing
    Novak, Sam No
    Shermack, Kat No
    Thomson, Sarah No without road tolls on 905 residents
    Tsai, Susan Will consider once reviewing expenditures and all revenue
    Wright, Nick Will consider
    Yen, Mike Yes to elimination


  • Candidate Response
    Andreae, Mike Fix infrastructure and transit so that Toronto is a desirable place to work. Open to the expansion of the Toronto Island Airport because it brings business to Toronto.
    Carty-Kegel, Stephanie An efficient transit system and affordable housing are necessary conditions for job growth.
    Christoff, Daryl Support innovation and collaborate with all levels of government.
    Cressy, Joe Leverage our spending to include requirements for local hiring and procurement.
    Hollings, Graham Encourage mixed-use residential and office development. Has spillover effect for job creation.
    Kargiannakis, Stella Depends on zoning, infrastructure, and inventory of real estate. Expand work day hours.
    Louie, Tonny Better tax structure. Bridging program and placement for youth into the workforce.
    MacDonald, Charles Develop and maintain an effective transit system. Expanding the Island Airport will bring more business and tourism in the ward.
    Monaghan, Michael Invest in infrastructure to move goods and services. Target technology to be competitive on world stage.
    Morrison, Philip Mentorship program between professionals and young future entrepreneurs.
    Novak, Sam Gentrify areas with too much unused commercial space. Develop mobile search app to centralize job opportunities. Build partnerships with private employers for training and mentorship.
    Shermack, Kat Rally all innovation that exists in the city from start-ups to entrepreneurs to small businesses.
    Thomson, Sarah Invest in urban farms, Social Impact Bonds for non-profits, and hire local youth to beautify the city.
    Tsai, Susan City should assist residents accessing job programs. Job development programs in departments on a temporary basis. Organizations that do business with the City should be required to hire.
    Wright, Nick Minimize construction inconveniences, responsible development, and promote walkable communities.
    Yen, Mike Keep business taxes low, reduce red tape, invest in infrastructure.


  • Candidate Response
    Andreae, Mike We must look at the greater picture and the current divisive arguments that lead to nowhere. Ask provincial and federal governments for transit funding.
    Carty-Kegel, Stephanie Fully commit to plans recommended by professionals. More funding from provincial and federal governments.
    Christoff, Daryl Re-introduce partnerships with senior levels of government.
    Cressy, Joe Transit planning must be guided by experts and research and not slogans.
    Hollings, Graham Metrolinx has a good strategy and suggested revenue tools. Toronto needs to speed up the planning process. Environmental Assessments can be done faster.
    Kargiannakis, Stella Provincial and federal governments need to put in their fair share of funding.
    Louie, Tonny Better utilize technology for traffic. Make certain streets downtown one-way.
    MacDonald, Charles Listen to experts and develop a long-term plan that doesn't change when a new Council is elected.
    Monaghan, Michael Vehicle Registration Tax should not have been repealed. Could have helped pay for Downtown Relief Line.
    Morrison, Philip Tax revenues from condos should fund transit changes and build subways.
    Novak, Sam Build an LRT network except for Downtown Relief subway. Can be funded by conventional debt and minor property tax increases.
    Shermack, Kat Council must listen to the advice of experts and stop making political decisions.
    Thomson, Sarah Road tolls on 905 commuters using the DVP and a congestion charge on 905 commuters. This could allow us to build more transit and fix backlog of repairs at TCHC.
    Tsai, Susan Greater commitment from federal and provincial governments.
    Wright, Nick Speed up environmental assessments. More funding from provincial government. Consider additional revenue tools.
    Yen, Mike More funding from upper levels of government. Explore possibility of uploading the TTC to the province. Regional coordinating by Metrolinx should be better coordinated with the TTC.


  • Candidate Response
    Andreae, Mike Listen to all sides and work to find a solution that works for everyone. Must be willing to compromise and listen to each other.
    Carty-Kegel, Stephanie Work towards a target to meet the City budget.
    Christoff, Daryl Introduce a system of one-term city contracts.
    Cressy, Joe Pay City employees a fair, competitive, and equitable wage.
    Hollings, Graham The best deal doesn't mean the cheapest deal.
    Kargiannakis, Stella Councillors must have information and know the numbers to assess a deal.
    Louie, Tonny Unions should be dealt with according to labour laws and financial status of the city.
    MacDonald, Charles As an independent candidate with no ties to special interests, will seek a balanced goal.
    Monaghan, Michael Best value based on current market indicators
    Morrison, Philip Get a handle on what real people earn and try to be as resourceful as possible.
    Novak, Sam Concentrate on a results-based approach that gets the best deal for taxpayers.
    Shermack, Kat Council must come to the table with respect and appreciation for workers.
    Thomson, Sarah A thoughtful approach much before the contract deadline.
    Tsai, Susan City negotiating team has to stand up for the rights of taxpayers.
    Wright, Nick Provide value to taxpayers and fair, livable wages.
    Yen, Mike Do not agree to rates higher than the rate of inflation.


  • Candidate Response
    Andreae, Mike Will consider
    Carty-Kegel, Stephanie Will consider P3s, particularly, in transportation and waste water management.
    Christoff, Daryl Yes
    Cressy, Joe No
    Hollings, Graham Will consider depending on city control and local contracts
    Kargiannakis, Stella No
    Louie, Tonny Yes, for example, waste management
    MacDonald, Charles Yes, for example, the Island Airport
    Monaghan, Michael Will consider
    Morrison, Philip Could not answer
    Novak, Sam Yes, for example, for complex infrastructure and for the Waterfront.
    Shermack, Kat Will consider under the right circumstances.
    Thomson, Sarah No
    Tsai, Susan Will consider for areas of infrastructure.
    Wright, Nick Will consider on an individual basis
    Yen, Mike Yes, to revitalize green space and provide amenities to a community.


  • Candidate Response
    Andreae, Mike Transportation and movability of the ward.
    Carty-Kegel, Stephanie Transit congestion for all of drivers, public transit, cyclists, and pedestrians.
    Christoff, Daryl Green space and sustainable development.
    Cressy, Joe Balancing new development and density with strengthening and preserving neighbourhoods. Must keep eye towards future transit infrastructure needs, livability, and services.
    Hollings, Graham Livability including parks, transit, and good infrastructure.
    Kargiannakis, Stella Status quo on Billy Bishop, use surplus lands for affordable rental housing, playgrounds and green spaces, no increase in taxes for property owners.
    Louie, Tonny Traffic congestion, affordable housing, infrastructure, child-care, and support for community-based programs.
    MacDonald, Charles Public transit, traffic congestion, and pedestrian safety
    Monaghan, Michael Transportation, safety, homelessness, investment in infrastructure, and not selling assets.
    Morrison, Philip Traffic congestion. Residents support Jets at the Island Airport.
    Novak, Sam Attracting and retaining young professionals and new families. Greater oversight of condo development and planning. Get Toronto moving by reducing congestion.
    Shermack, Kat Affordable housing and a guaranteed number of affordable housing units in every condo.
    Thomson, Sarah Gridlock and transit expansion. Building the Downtown Relief Line.
    Tsai, Susan Transit and road congestion.
    Wright, Nick New grid of bike lanes. Expand library and community centre hours.
    Yen, Mike Traffic congestion – it costs the economy money, takes time away from families, and polluting the environment.

 

The full responses

  • 1. Do you support a property tax cap ensuring future hikes are no greater than the rate of inflation?

    I believe that there should be a property tax cap that links future hikes to the rate of inflation. I believe that the people of Toronto should not be expected to pay astronomical amounts to live in our City. We are a city that welcomes people and that embraces diversity. Ward 20 is a perfect picture of that – many different and diverse communities make up the ward that I am proud to call my home.

    2. Where, specifically, do you advocate finding savings in the current city budget?

    The cost of going back and forth on council decisions is often overlooked but can be huge. Useless, unfruitful, and long debates suck up salary dollars and keep council busy thus delaying important decisions. Even worse are the real hard costs in reneging on contracts and re doing environmental assessments.  Indecision in city council has already cost taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars when the city switched from light rail to subways and now they are considering switching back, at even greater cost to the taxpayer.  If elected, I’m interested in making efficient effective decisions and sticking with them.

    3. Do you support reducing the size of Toronto City Council?

    I think that there have been many obvious issues with the current Toronto City Council. This council has been confronted with unusual issues and circumstances, things that both Councillors and Torontonians never thought would happen. I think that these circumstances have led to a large part of the issues regarding how City Council operates.  Far too many members of Council have made what is to be a non-partisan space to deal with municipal issues a partisan battleground. If I am elected, I will work to achieve what the residents of Ward 20 want and believe to be the solutions for the issues facing our ward. I will not get caught up in childish, partisan games. I believe that a change to the leadership in City Hall will improve how council operates. When there is a cohesive group of people who want to work together to improve our city and we have a strong leader, City Council can get back to working for the needs of Torontonians.

    4. Will you support contracting out garbage collection east of Yonge Street?

    Yes I support contracting out garbage east of Yonge. Having said that I do support unions because they provide quality, meaningful work and are contributing taxpayers.  However I can see that in this case contracting has maintained quality jobs and quality service.  Anything that provides quality job and services at a fair price I’m in favour of.

    5. What are your thoughts on the Municipal Land Transfer Tax – will you support reducing it or eliminating it?

    I support the elimination of the Municipal Land Transfer Tax, provided that there is an alternate revenue stream to compensate for the shortfall cancelling the Land Transfer Tax would create. The Municipal Land Transfer Tax has created undue punishment for people looking to purchase a home in Toronto; 69% of Torontonians are against the tax as it creates undue pressure on those looking to move and buy a home in the city. I do not believe that anyone looking to live in our city should be punished with this taxß.

    6. Toronto’s unemployment rate is much higher than the provincial rate. What are your ideas to create job growth in Toronto?

    To create job growth in Toronto, we need a city that is movable and desirable to businesses. We have an outdated public transportation system, roads and highways that are highly congested, and no real coherent connections between various transportation routes and systems. We need to fix these issues with the infrastructure in Toronto to show businesses that Toronto is a desirable place to work, to live and to start a business.  In Ward 20, there has been a lot of debate on these points, especially the proposed expansion of the Island Airport. While expanding the airport would make flights into the downtown core much easier and would likely encourage more film companies to bring their productions to Toronto by having an airport near where they want to film instead of having to fly into Pearson and then commute downtown, we don’t know that the expansion is environmentally feasible.  If elected, I am committed to exploring the feasibility of an expansion and also looking into all other ideas and avenues to making the city of Toronto as desirable to all types of businesses as possible.

    7. It seems City Council has been debating public transit forever with little results to show. How would you fund new transit projects to ease congestion for everyone? Do you feel we need to change the current transit planning process?

    I think that, looking at the current City Council; people see that the discussions about transit have become a joke. Nobody on council agrees consistently on what they want, and every decision that has been made has created much debate, little agreement and no progress towards getting the transit we need. We need to improve at speaking cohesively, representing the needs of our constituents and learn to work effectively with our federal and provincial partners to ensure that Toronto has the help that it needs from the other levels of government to improve our transit. Instead of having constant arguments over changing the plan, yet again, and throwing insults and accusations at other councilors, we need to look at the greater picture and begin to treat the needs of all residents equally. There is no less need for transit in any corner of the city, and the current divisive arguments have gotten us nowhere.

    8. Labour negotiations will be a big part of the next council term. What advice do you have for the city’s negotiating team to get the best deal for taxpayers?

    I think the most important advice that I could give to the negotiating team to get the best deal for taxpayers is to listen to all sides, and to work together to find a solution and to find the best deal for everyone. Often, negotiations turn hostile because one side is unwilling to compromise or actually listen to the other. We need to keep in mind the most important aspect of these negotiations – the needs of the people. I want to ensure that residents of Ward 20 have a representative that they can trust and that will respect them and their diverse needs. I believe that I am that person.

    9. Do you see opportunities for public-private partnerships (P3s) involving the City of Toronto? Where, specifically?

    I feel that public-private partnerships have had a patchy reception in the past. The building and selling of Highway 407 is a decision that is still unpopular, as people see how much money could be coming into the city. At the same time, a private-public partnership was used to build the VIVA transit system, which has been more successful. If I am elected as the Councillor of Ward 20, I think the best path to take concerning public-private partnerships is seeing what opportunities present themselves and what the residents of Ward 20 think about these partnerships. I believe that representing my community and being their voice at City Hall is the most basic responsibility of a Councillor, and I respect that any and all decisions have to reflect their thoughts, wants and needs.

    10. What is the top issue of concern for residents in your ward? What will you do as Councillor to address the issue?

    One of the biggest issues in Ward 20 is transportation and the movability of the ward.  We are a large ward with diverse needs, and finding a balance to best fit all of those needs is a difficult task. We need to have public transit that is effective and actually takes you where you need to go, we need to have spaces for cyclists to safely bike across our ward and city, and we need to have roads that are not so congested that it is almost impossible to get from point A to point B in a reasonable amount of time. If I am elected Councillor, I want to work with the residents of Ward 20 to ensure that everyone’s needs are met. I want to hear what people think will fix the problems, and I want to bring the recommendations of the Ward 20 residents to Toronto City Council. Our residents are the ones who know the issues we face the best, and I believe that their ideas should be the basis for the solutions moving forward.

  • 1. Do you support a property tax cap ensuring future hikes are no greater than the rate of inflation?

    Yes. I strongly support a property tax cap ensuring that future hikes are definitely not greater than the rate of inflation.

    2. Where, specifically, do you advocate finding savings in the current city budget?

    I am a firm believer in staying on/under budget. Council needs to be accountable to its targeted spending limits. I will also advocate to investigate cost savings in garbage collection, East of Yonge Street.

    3. Do you support reducing the size of Toronto City Council?

    I support reviewing the size of Council. Fewer Councillors may contribute to more efficient decision making but we also need to ensure that the needs of the constituents are met (especially if there is a high value for service). If the number of Councillors is reduced, I may support an additional staffer allocated to Wards that exceed a certain work flow threshold. There are currently public consultations in the works and I look forward to reviewing the final report, and hearing from the constituents.

    4. Will you support contracting out garbage collection east of Yonge Street?

    I support contracting out garbage east of Yonge Street, provided that there is reasonable cost savings to tax payers. Before making the decision to contract out other services, I would like to see the multi-year impact on garbage collection (East & West of Yonge Street). If a high level of service is achieved for the contracted garbage and the cost is stable, than I would be happy to investigate other services.

    5. What are your thoughts on the Municipal Land Transfer Tax – will you support reducing it or eliminating it?

    I support reducing or eliminating the Municipal Land Transfer Tax provided that we can find ways to generate revenue/achieve cost savings in other areas of the budget.

    6. Toronto’s unemployment rate is much higher than the provincial rate. What are your ideas to create job growth in Toronto?

    One way to create job growth in Toronto is to have an efficient transit system, an effective Council and prioritize Affordable Housing. Efficient transit will allow constituents to expand their geographic job search and allow them to travel efficiently to their place of work (allowing them to spend more time at home with their families). An efficient City will allow barriers to be minimal. Lastly, we must continue to make Affordable Housing a priority and in turn it will create jobs and foster local economic growth.

    7. It seems City Council has been debating public transit forever with little results to show. How would you fund new transit projects to ease congestion for everyone? Do you feel we need to change the current transit planning process?

    It is inevitable that we will require the support of the provincial and federal governments to fund new transit projects to ease congestion for everyone. We need a Council that will address the need for efficient transit, fully commit to plans recommended by the professionals (that will sustain the infrastructure and liveability of the downtown core). Lastly, the plans need to be executed without re-opening the debates.

    8. Labour negotiations will be a big part of the next council term. What advice do you have for the city’s negotiating team to get the best deal for taxpayers?

    My advice to the negotiating team is to work towards a target so that the City can meet its budget. Our target should strike a balance between our public sector workers and tax payers.

    9. Do you see opportunities for public-private partnerships (P3s) involving the City of Toronto? Where, specifically?

    There are several opportunities for using P3s in areas such as public transportation and water/waste water management.  However, now more than ever, the City of Toronto needs to be accountable for all of its spending.  While P3s can help share costs and risks, it will also prolong decision making and give the City less control over planning and potential profit.  This may not be the best idea during these times that require timely decisions and financial reliability.  Having said that, I am willing to discuss any proposal set forth as long as the private partnership is fully aware and respectful of the City’s proposed timelines and spending budget.

    10. What is the top issue of concern for residents in your ward? What will you do as Councillor to address the issue?

    In Ward 20, we need to ensure that we address transit and congestion (public transit, vehicle, bike & pedestrian). As a resident who lives in Ward 20, I know first-hand the effects of construction and road closures on the flow of traffic within my ward and to neighbouring communities.  While upgrades and repairs are necessary, I believe the timing and length of these construction projects can be analyzed and adjusted to better accommodate the traffic needs of the city. When elected to City Council, I will advocate to address the issues, fully commit to plans, execute them efficiently and commit to prioritizing transit investment so that we can achieve a Better Toronto Today!

  • 1. Do you support a property tax cap ensuring future hikes are no greater than the rate of inflation?

    In Principle, I NEVER want to see increases exceeding the rate of inflation.

    2. Where, specifically, do you advocate finding savings in the current city budget?

    In the New City Council, we should begin with an Audit to determine efficiencies.

    3. Do you support reducing the size of Toronto City Council?

    No, I do not support this.

    4. Will you support contracting out garbage collection east of Yonge Street?

    Yes, if savings are realized and services are not sacrificed. Regarding other services, this would require further study.

    5. What are your thoughts on the Municipal Land Transfer Tax – will you support reducing it or eliminating it?

    No to either option.

    6. Toronto’s unemployment rate is much higher than the provincial rate. What are your ideas to create job growth in Toronto?

    Support innovation and advocate collaboration with all levels of government to grow the new economy.

    7. It seems City Council has been debating public transit forever with little results to show. How would you fund new transit projects to ease congestion for everyone? Do you feel we need to change the current transit planning process?

    It’s simple . Re- Introduce partnerships with senior levels of government such as other world class citirs.eg. New York

    8. Labour negotiations will be a big part of the next council term. What advice do you have for the city’s negotiating team to get the best deal for taxpayers?

    Start by introducing a system of 1 year term city service contracts. If there are problems with service, then the city puts out new terms to deficiencies.

    9. Do you see opportunities for public-private partnerships (P3s) involving the City of Toronto? Where, specifically?

    Yes.Building a successful Toronto is about bringing the 3P’s to the Table and discussing ideas and directions.

    10. What is the top issue of concern for residents in your ward? What will you do as Councillor to address the issue?

    Green Space and Development. As a Councillor for Ward 20 , I will work to create more Green Spaces and advocate sustainable development that benefits All members of my Community.

  • 1. Do you support a property tax cap ensuring future hikes are no greater than the rate of inflation?

    I support a general goal of keeping tax increases to the rate of inflation but I believe that the tax rate should ultimately be set at a rate that ensures the efficient delivery of public services.

    2. Where, specifically, do you advocate finding savings in the current city budget?

    I believe we always must be vigilant when managing the City’s budget but I believe we have gone as far as we can with budget cuts and reductions before we see major impacts on public services.

    3. Do you support reducing the size of Toronto City Council?

    No. I believe a smaller Council would result in poor service to our residents and make Councillors less available to their constituents.

    4. Will you support contracting out garbage collection east of Yonge Street?

    I do not believe contacting out public services nets the gains its proponents claim. I do not believe Torontonians get a better deal by seeking arrangements to underpay their fellow Torontonians.

    5. What are your thoughts on the Municipal Land Transfer Tax – will you support reducing it or eliminating it?

    The Municipal Land Transfer Tax has become an important tool that funds public services. Any attempt to reduce or eliminate it must be accompanied by a sound fiscal plan. Toronto has a revenue problem, not a spending problem. Any attempt to eliminate revenue sources must be balanced with a plan for new revenue.

    6. Toronto’s unemployment rate is much higher than the provincial rate. What are your ideas to create job growth in Toronto?

    I believe we can help create jobs as a City by leveraging our spending to include requirements for local hiring and local procurement.

    7. It seems City Council has been debating public transit forever with little results to show. How would you fund new transit projects to ease congestion for everyone? Do you feel we need to change the current transit planning process?

    It is time to be guided by experts and research, not political slogans, when it comes to getting our city moving again. Moving people quickly and affordably is good for our quality of life, it’s good for the environment and it’s good for our economy.

    8. Labour negotiations will be a big part of the next council term. What advice do you have for the city’s negotiating team to get the best deal for taxpayers?

    I feel the premise of this question assumes an adversarial relationship between the City’s work force and their employers. I believe the best deal for the taxpayers of Toronto is to ensure we are paying City employees a fair, competitive, and equitable wage.

    9. Do you see opportunities for public-private partnerships (P3s) involving the City of Toronto? Where, specifically?

    I believe adherence to a belief that P3s are the superior ways to fund and carry out work is flawed.

    10. What is the top issue of concern for residents in your ward? What will you do as Councillor to address the issue?

    The biggest issue affecting Ward 20 is balancing new development with strengthening and preserving neighbourhoods. We must at all times make sure that we’re building neighbourhoods, not just adding density.

    Making sure that we do developments right is essential to building a great city and a liveable downtown core. That means working with neighbourhoods with an eye towards the present and future infrastructure needs like transit; it means protecting and creating parks and public spaces; it means including community services and facilities like childcare, libraries, recreation facilities, and schools.  And we must make sure that families can continue to live downtown by building family-sized units, repairing our existing supportive housing stock, and ensuring there is new affordable housing.

  • 1. Do you support a property tax cap ensuring future hikes are no greater than the rate of inflation?

    Holding property taxes to the rate of inflation would be a good thing. And I would work to ensure that property tax increases do not hit vulnerable individuals – e.g. low-income seniors on fixed incomes.  Property taxes, like other forms of tax revenue, are needed to pay for vital city services and infrastructure. And Toronto seriously needs to invest in core infrastructure such as road repairs and transit expansion. So it’s a difficult issue.

    2. Where, specifically, do you advocate finding savings in the current city budget?

    (a)         Transit:  The City should stick to a plan.  The City has already invested over $1billion in the Scarborough LRT project (consultations, contracts, etc). Cancelling the Scarborough LRT will cost the City hundreds of millions.  In 2011 the City lost tens of millions of dollars when Mayor Ford cancelled Transit City. Big costly mistakes.  And LRTs are cheaper to build, so we get more bang for our buck.

    (b)         Police: Per capita policing costs in Toronto are much higher ($376 in 2012) compared with other cities in Ontario (median of $290). We need to get this under control so that money isn’t taken away from other vital community services.

    3. Do you support reducing the size of Toronto City Council?

    It’s vital that residents and business owners are able to reach their local councillor, and that councillors consult regularly with their constituents.  This is already challenging.  Reducing the number of City Councillors would not improve things.

    4. Will you support contracting out garbage collection east of Yonge Street?

    The city as a whole benefits when people – and that includes municipal employees – are paid living wages and are thus able to contribute, by spending their wages, to our economy.  Driving down wages is not “a better deal” for anyone. And when people say privatized garbage collection is cheaper, they are omitting “hidden” costs: garbage collectors are injured more than other municipal workers. When they’re injured and end up not being able to work, we all pay the cost through our taxes. So is it really cheaper?

    5. What are your thoughts on the Municipal Land Transfer Tax – will you support reducing it or eliminating it?

    Faced with a choice between reducing/eliminating the Land Transfer Tax and paying higher property taxes (every year), I think most Torontonians would prefer the status quo.  Nevertheless, the Land Transfer Tax needs adjusting: charging 2% for homes sold at $400,000 or more seems unfair.  Why not a straight 1% across the board?  But if a straight 1% means increasing annual residential property taxes, I think many residents would say no, no, no.

    6. Toronto’s unemployment rate is much higher than the provincial rate. What are your ideas to create job growth in Toronto?

    We should continue to encourage development, particularly mixed-use development. Toronto is growing at a rapid pace, especially downtown, and it’s both residential and office development: Large companies (e.g. Coca Cola, Telus, Deloitte) are choosing to locate in the core and more people are moving into the city.  This is good for the economy:  It creates jobs in construction. And when we’re building offices and commercial projects, it provides jobs in banking, research, high tech, etc.

    7. It seems City Council has been debating public transit forever with little results to show. How would you fund new transit projects to ease congestion for everyone? Do you feel we need to change the current transit planning process?

    Metrolinx has come up with a good strategy to fund transit expansion: It uses a variety of revenue-generating tools (HST increase, gas tax, parking levies, road tolls). Toronto needs to get serious about transit expansion, to shorten commute times and reduce congestion.  We need to speed up the planning process: Environmental Assessments are important but can be done faster.

    8. Labour negotiations will be a big part of the next council term. What advice do you have for the city’s negotiating team to get the best deal for taxpayers?

    I’m not sure what “the best deal” means.  The best deal does not necessarily mean the cheapest deal.  We all want strong City services (libraries, parks, transit, etc) and, within reason, we need to fund them. But people need to make living wages and that’s good for the city as a whole. Tax fairly, spend wisely.

    9. Do you see opportunities for public-private partnerships (P3s) involving the City of Toronto? Where, specifically?

    Metrolinx is using a version of P3s (“Alternative Financing and Procurement”) to build the Eglinton LRT.  The project raises some questions: Why are they bundling contracts and, in the process, making it impossible for many Canadian companies to bid on contracts? Why would we entertain the possibility of local transit being operated by non-local companies? If and when the City is thinking about being involved in a P3, it should first ask: Will this help, or hinder, local job creation?  Will local companies be getting the contracts?  Will the City control the project – and fares – once the project is up and running?

    10. What is the top issue of concern for residents in your ward? What will you do as Councillor to address the issue?

    Liveability.  Toronto was recently (again) ranked 4th most liveable city in the world by The Economist magazine. People choose to live downtown, and in Ward 20, because it’s liveable: We have good infrastructure (parks, libraries, transit, etc) but, with rapid growth, we need to work together to ensure our neighbourhoods, and our city, remain liveable.   Our parks could be maintained better and, with rapid population growth, we need to protect and increase green space. We need to expand transit and should promote active transportation (walking and cycling) – which will, in turn, take some of the burden off roads and transit – through streetscaping and improvements to cycling infrastructure. And we do not need an expanded island airport: it will worsen traffic congestion and noise/air pollution, adjacent to lakefront neighbourhoods and parks.  Ward 20 Trinity-Spadina is currently in the middle of some important studies, with the active participation of residents, e.g. the recently completed Dupont Study, the ongoing College Street Study, a Spadina Study coming soon, and others.  These are great opportunities for us to collectively improve our built environment…and our day-to-day lives.

  • 1. Do you support a property tax cap ensuring future hikes are no greater than the rate of inflation?

    I prefer a FREEZE on existing property taxes.  Additional revenues should come from the elimination or reduction of tax exemptions.  The City must ensure that everyone is contributing his fair share in supporting municipal services.

    2. Where, specifically, do you advocate finding savings in the current city budget?

    • Eliminate the duplication of administrative costs.
    • Eliminate or reduce funding for Waterfront Toronto, Build Toronto, Invest Toronto, etc.
    • Stop funding big business and large institutions under the guise of arts funding.
    • Where provincial and municipal objectives clash and where the OMB ignores local preferences with respect to development applications, up-load the planning and development department to the provincial government.

    3. Do you support reducing the size of Toronto City Council?

    I was looking forward to a decision by the OMB on this matter.

    You should tell us why the president of the Toronto Taxpayers Coalition, Matthew McGuire, withdrew the application to the OMB.

    If our provincial and federal ridings incorporate two municipal wards per riding, there is no reason why municipal council would not be able to operate just as effectively.

    4. Will you support contracting out garbage collection east of Yonge Street?

    I remind you that the employees of the company collecting garbage west of Yonge St are unionised.  Contracting out garbage collection would not reduce the incidence of labour disruptions in the future.

    Short-term savings will turn into unreasonable costs for taxpayers as private operations budget larger profits into their contracts over the long-term.  Contracting out garbage means: a duplication of administrative costs; the loss of flexibility to make changes; added costs for changes that the City may require from time to time; loss of ownership and use of garbage.  As the technology for the conversion of garbage into energy becomes more feasible, garbage will become very valuable.

    Contracting out garbage or other services is not the solution.  If the intent is to address the City’s long-term liabilities for workers’ benefits and pensions, other alternatives should be considered.

    5. What are your thoughts on the Municipal Land Transfer Tax – will you support reducing it or eliminating it?

    The Land Transfer Tax appears not to have had any negative impact on the real estate market in Toronto.  The hot real estate market is partially fuelled by foreign buyers and by speculators who are flipping homes.  I would be prepared to provide a full rebate to those who are Canadian citizens and Toronto residents and who purchase and stay put for five years.

    6. Toronto’s unemployment rate is much higher than the provincial rate. What are your ideas to create job growth in Toronto?

    Employment is dependent upon zoning, taxes, infrastructure, and the inventory of freehold real estate that one can have ownership and control over as well as some control over occupancy costs over the long-term.

    Also, employment is dependent upon the visions and determination of leaders to seek out and secure new business and to connect desirable business with appropriate sites.

    In addition, we can expand employment by expanding the official workday.  A 9 to 5 workday no longer meets our needs.  Retailers, including banks, have recognised the advantages of longer operating hours.  Thus, we have had an increase in retail-service jobs.  The same strategy must be applied across all industries, beginning with government administration.

    7. It seems City Council has been debating public transit forever with little results to show. How would you fund new transit projects to ease congestion for everyone? Do you feel we need to change the current transit planning process?

    We need to change transit funding.  While we have much duplication of transit planning among the different levels of government and government agencies, senior levels of government do not contribute their fair share to public transit funding.

    Torontonians are not the sole beneficiaries of the City’s public transit system.    Residents of other municipalities and the provincial institutions and federally-mandated organisations which they frequent in the City of Toronto also benefit from our municipal transit service.  Yet, our net receipts from other levels of government are, effectively, “zero”.  While approximately one-quarter of City revenues comes from provincial and federal governments (about $3-billion/yr), the City pays out $2-billion a year in education taxes collected on property taxes.  In addition, the City is losing an increasing proportion of its tax base and potential property tax revenues as a result of exemptions granted under provincial legislation and international agreements signed by the federal government.  It’s time to assess who is actually funding whom.

    8. Labour negotiations will be a big part of the next council term. What advice do you have for the city’s negotiating team to get the best deal for taxpayers?

    To get the best deal in negotiations, councillors must have information.  They must know the numbers. They must understand the numbers.  They must understand the needs and the financial limitations of Toronto residents – those who the councillors have been elected to represent.

    9. Do you see opportunities for public-private partnerships (P3s) involving the City of Toronto? Where, specifically?

    From the perspective of the City of Toronto – NO.

    I remind you that the City does not incorporate profit into its budgets.  If the City were to include private profit in its budget, residents would face higher taxes.

    P3s are designed to be attractive for the public partner only in the short-term.  In the long-term, however, the private partner benefits from the guaranteed stream of revenue and a locked-in customer that can be milked dry.

    If you are a business in the private sector, P3s are very attractive for long-term revenue security and a guaranteed market share.  P3s are an ingenious form of corporate welfare.

    The City cannot afford to enter into P3s.

    10. What is the top issue of concern for residents in your ward? What will you do as Councillor to address the issue?

    There is a tremendous amount of diversity in Ward-20.          Issues vary by geographic location, residents’ age, and family structure.  Residents living in the south end are concerned about Billy Bishop Airport.  Those who live around Central Tech are concerned about the sports field and the proposal to install artificial turf and a seasonal dome.  The younger voter is concerned about affordable housing and jobs. The older voter is concerned about taxes and fiscal responsibility. Families with young children are concerned about the location of schools, crosswalks, and playgrounds. Transportation is, also, a major issue among all residents.  Greater investment in transportation infrastructure is desired by those who do not walk to work.  At the top of the transportation wish list is better public transit.  Bike lanes rank second. Well-maintained roads with less congestion are desired by those who work outside the City or in neighbourhoods not well-served by transit.

    Briefly, my responses are:

    • Status quo on Billy Bishop Airport as there is an agreement in place stating no jets and no runway extensions. Airport business expansion has a more feasible alternative;
    • Contamination of Central Tech field will not be remedied by artificial turf and a seasonal dome which would be an eyesore at Bathurst and Harbord;
    • City land – many well-located sites have been declared surplus – could be made available for the development of affordable rental housing. Provincial and federal governments have allocated funds for new housing projects;
    • It is unfortunate that many businesses have re-located their operations outside the City.  We have a few select locations that could accommodate businesses provided that we maintain existing road infrastructure.  No part of the Gardiner Expressway should be demolished.  Remember that roads move products as well as people;
    • I will not be supporting any increase in taxes for those property owners and tenants of private property currently paying property taxes.  Those who wish to contribute more money to the City and specific City programs may do so using the donation form enclosed in their property tax bill. I prefer to maximise revenues and to ensure fairness, accountability and transparency by reducing the number of assessed properties that are currently tax exempt;
    • Playgrounds and green spaces should be an integral part of neighbourhoods;
    • Pedestrians, particularly where children are involved, should be accommodated by signalised intersections or crosswalks;
    • We must build subways that have been in the plans for decades;
    • The TTC’s existing real estate assets could be better utilised to provide an additional revenue stream for operations.  This would NOT involve a sale of assets;
    • I have examined bike lanes (the existing illusion of bike lanes and viable and safe alternatives that would give cyclists exclusive use of part of the road) and conclude that the City could implement a network of bike lanes with an amendment to the Highway Traffic Act.

  • 1. Do you support a property tax cap ensuring future hikes are no greater than the rate of inflation?

    Yes, if possible, concur to the situation at the time.  But people’s livelihood should be priority.

    2. Where, specifically, do you advocate finding savings in the current city budget?

    We will begin by looking at duplication of roles and responsibilities, as well as better management.

    3. Do you support reducing the size of Toronto City Council?

    This issue shouldn’t be discussed lightly without a thorough inquiry, but I believe the current council is already at its maximum workload.

    4. Will you support contracting out garbage collection east of Yonge Street?

    I support and select the service that would minimize the cost yet maintaining same level, if not better services – a thorough inquiry should be conducted.

    5. What are your thoughts on the Municipal Land Transfer Tax – will you support reducing it or eliminating it?

    I believe this is an unfair and hurtful tax to Torontorians, but at the same time, the city needs its revenue tools to maintain and improve infrastructure, so I believe other revenue sources should be looked at to replace or reduce the Municipal Land Transfer Tax eventually.

    6. Toronto’s unemployment rate is much higher than the provincial rate. What are your ideas to create job growth in Toronto?

    First, I believe small business is the backbone of the city, and better tax structure needs to be given to aid the creation of jobs.   Second, young people have a lot to offer and currently does not have an efficient enough path to enter the workforce, I believe we need better bridging program and placement to get them into the workforce.

    7. It seems City Council has been debating public transit forever with little results to show. How would you fund new transit projects to ease congestion for everyone? Do you feel we need to change the current transit planning process?

    In terms of the planning process, protocol should be placed, outlining the procedure and timeline of debates, and the steps should not be reverted without good reasons.  In terms of easing congestion, I believe we need to review the efficiency of the roads, for example, making certain streets downtown, such as Queen and King Street, one way to keep the traffic moving.  Also, we should utilize better technology and provide up-to-date traffic report.

    8. Labour negotiations will be a big part of the next council term. What advice do you have for the city’s negotiating team to get the best deal for taxpayers?

    Unions should be dealt with according to labour laws and the financial status of the city at the time.

    9. Do you see opportunities for public-private partnerships (P3s) involving the City of Toronto? Where, specifically?

    Yes, there are opportunities for public-private partnerships., e.g.,  waste management…

    10. What is the top issue of concern for residents in your ward? What will you do as Councillor to address the issue?

    Traffic congestion, affordable housing, infrastructure, childcare, and support for community-based programs.  ​

  • 1. Do you support a property tax cap ensuring future hikes are no greater than the rate of inflation?

    Yes. Though property tax revenues are necessary measures to help meet budgetary requirements, too often home owners are the first to be burdened with hikes to meet those needs. I believe in looking at all potential sources of revenue when additional resources are needed to ensure fair taxation for all residents and business owners in Toronto.

    2. Where, specifically, do you advocate finding savings in the current city budget?

    My experience working in government and in the private sector has taught me the value of delivering service on time and on budget. Once elected, I plan to thoroughly review the current budget and determine where the city can achieve savings. As an independent candidate with no ties to special interests, I’m open to reviewing all aspects of our city budget for savings. On the revenue side, I support investing in transit, safer streets, and the expansion of Billy Bishop Airport, in order to promote efficiency, safety, and economic stimulus.

    3. Do you support reducing the size of Toronto City Council?

    The first way to improve the way Council operates is to cut through the partisan politics that has historically made City Hall ineffective. As the only Ward 20 candidate with experience both in government and in opposition, and in ministries and the constituent’s office, I’ve worked constructively with multiple
    stakeholders to build consensus and get things moving. Additionally, there is currently a Ward Boundary Review being conducted by Canadian Urban Institute, and I’d like to wait for the results of that study before making a decision on the size of Toronto City Council.

    4. Will you support contracting out garbage collection east of Yonge Street?

    Yes. There are plenty of condos in Ward 20 that have been serviced by the private sector at no cost to the City and I would support expanding this throughout the City where possible.

    5. What are your thoughts on the Municipal Land Transfer Tax – will you support reducing it or eliminating it?

    At this point, this tax is one of the only funding mechanisms available to the City of Toronto. The city only collects 8 cents out of every tax dollar, while being responsible for delivering the services citizens depend on the most. As such, I do not believe in eliminating the tax entirely, but rather support a fairer approach of splitting the tax evenly between the property’s buyer and seller.

    6. Toronto’s unemployment rate is much higher than the provincial rate. What are your ideas to create job growth in Toronto?

    Developing and maintaining an effective transit system will mean that people have access to places of employment and can get to work easily. Expanding the Billy Bishop island airport will bring more business and tourism right into the heart of our Ward, fueling Toronto’s overall economy and promoting expansion that will foster entrepreneurship, business, and employment.

    7. It seems City Council has been debating public transit forever with little results to show. How would you fund new transit projects to ease congestion for everyone? Do you feel we need to change the current transit planning process?

    The current transit planning process definitely needs an overhaul. I believe we need to listen to the experts and develop both a long-term plan and an immediate strategy to relieve congestion. Then we need to stick to it. We cannot keep revisiting the plan every time a new City Council is elected.

    8. Labour negotiations will be a big part of the next council term. What advice do you have for the city’s negotiating team to get the best deal for taxpayers?

    As an independent candidate with no ties to political parties or special interests, you can be confident that I will be able to best represent Torontonians in making sure everyone gets a fair deal in these negotiations. I do not believe that these negotiations need to be a zero sum game. I will pursue a balanced goal that secures the best deal for Torontonians but also supports our dedicated public servants.

    9. Do you see opportunities for public-private partnerships (P3s) involving the City of Toronto? Where, specifically?

    The Billy Bishop Island Airport expansion is a perfect example where all three levels of government and the private sector can work together to have a direct beneficial impact on the lives of Torontonians.

    10. What is the top issue of concern for residents in your ward? What will you do as Councillor to address the issue?

    Public transit and traffic congestion. CityPlace, where I live, experiences some of the worst traffic congestion in the whole City, especially during rush hour. We need reliable public transit that gets people out of their cars, and roadways without bottlenecks that allow people to get to work on time and without
    hassle – a frazzled driver is a dangerous driver. Another huge issue is pedestrian safety. Some of the roads in our Ward, such as the Lakeshore and Spadina, are wider than most and the walk signals aren’t long enough to safely get across the street. Improvements will help make our City more livable and cost little for taxpayers.

  • 1. Do you support a property tax cap ensuring future hikes are no greater than the rate of inflation?

    A target tax cap based on predetermined assumptions within a measurement range for goal-setting. A hard cap may sound good but not realistic.

    2. Where, specifically, do you advocate finding savings in the current city budget?

    Savings will come from operations and procurement budget efficiencies. Further, refined by examining and extrapolating meaningful data to analyze the flow of processes by department, as well as, department crossover flows to derive efficiencies and maximize productivity.

    3. Do you support reducing the size of Toronto City Council?

    I do not think reducing Council improves how Council operates. The access to more information allows for a more balanced result overall when dealing with general issues.

    4. Will you support contracting out garbage collection east of Yonge Street?

    Contracting out services is an important tool to get best value for the taxpayer.

    5. What are your thoughts on the Municipal Land Transfer Tax – will you support reducing it or eliminating it?

    The City needs the Municipal Land Transfer Tax. How the City taxes is the issue. System needs an overhaul and restructured in a more meaningful and transparent way.

    6. Toronto’s unemployment rate is much higher than the provincial rate. What are your ideas to create job growth in Toronto?

    Infrastructure investing is most important. Goods and Services need to move much quicker in order to increase GDP. Need to get more money in the pocket of business and allow them the confidence to invest in people. Also, need to equally target technology in order to be competitive on the world stage and increase quality of life for residents.

    7. It seems City Council has been debating public transit forever with little results to show. How would you fund new transit projects to ease congestion for everyone? Do you feel we need to change the current transit planning process?

    The Vehicle Registration Tax should never have been repealed. A DRL could have been started with the funds from this tax and the previously agreed to LRT that was fully paid for should have moved forward to ease gridlock as quickly as possible. Thereafter a more long term strategy could evolve.

    8. Labour negotiations will be a big part of the next council term. What advice do you have for the city’s negotiating team to get the best deal for taxpayers?

    Labour negotiations need to be fair and balanced. It’s about getting the best value overall qualitatively based on current and real market indicators.

    9. Do you see opportunities for public-private partnerships (P3s) involving the City of Toronto? Where, specifically?

    There are always opportunities for P3’s. Where, you ask? The question should be how can we create them? Requires a more focused group or committee designated to create value added P3’s that reports to council quarterly.

    10. What is the top issue of concern for residents in your ward? What will you do as Councillor to address the issue?

    Transportation, Safety, Homelessness: Investing in infrastructure and Not selling assets. Community policing by integration on a micro level and being more involved within each community. TCHC needs a complete makeover as well as Social Services (OW, shelters, etc.,) in order to redefine how progressive the City can be tackling the homeless and mental health issues.

  • 1. Do you support a property tax cap ensuring future hikes are no greater than the rate of inflation?

    Yes.  As a property owner I feel the pressure of tax rate increases.

    2. Where, specifically, do you advocate finding savings in the current city budget?

    1. Cut the size of city council 2. Privatize more services so people that are working can’t hide behind a government job.

    3. Do you support reducing the size of Toronto City Council?

    I do support cutting the size of council.  It’s expensive to pay everybody and the support staff that follows,  and there’s too many people arguing and adding points to each issue therefore creating a state of indecision.  It takes too long to get things done when too many people have a say in every little thing.

    4. Will you support contracting out garbage collection east of Yonge Street?

    I feel that contracting out garbage is more efficient to the city and in the end less costly.  Some other services I would like to look into include snow removal and maintenance projects.

    5. What are your thoughts on the Municipal Land Transfer Tax – will you support reducing it or eliminating it?

    I do support reducing the land transfer tax.  I don’t know how the average working person will ever be able to afford to own a home with the high prices and the huge land transfer bill that comes with it.  Many houses are over a million dollars these days and the transfer tax can get up to $40k.  That’s a lot of money when you are already extending yourself to buy something.

    6. Toronto’s unemployment rate is much higher than the provincial rate. What are your ideas to create job growth in Toronto?

    I would like to start a non government run mentorship program between self employed business people and young people looking to start a career.  I think the future of youth lies in self employment.  I started my first business at 17 and have been self employed ever since.  Not only have i employed myself I have created dozens of jobs and regular hire the services of many other entrepreneurs.

    7. It seems City Council has been debating public transit forever with little results to show. How would you fund new transit projects to ease congestion for everyone? Do you feel we need to change the current transit planning process?

    I think with the amount of new tax revenue due to condos should fund the transit changes.  If it wasn’t for the mass development we wouldn’t need to upgrade the system in the first place.  The planning process needs to be focused on the future not a quick fix for now.  In my opinion subways like New York city are required for the amount of growth in this city.

    8. Labour negotiations will be a big part of the next council term. What advice do you have for the city’s negotiating team to get the best deal for taxpayers?

    Get a handle on what real working people earn and try to be as resourceful as possible.  The city has a reputation for wasting money.  When you constantly have a tax revenue to dip into, one can lose touch with the true value of a dollar, because that dollar isn’t hard earned

    9. Do you see opportunities for public-private partnerships (P3s) involving the City of Toronto? Where, specifically?

    I’m not prepared to speak to this issue at the moment

    10. What is the top issue of concern for residents in your ward? What will you do as Councillor to address the issue?

    The top issues I’m getting feedback on are Jets at Porter Airlines and transportation and traffic congestion.  I am discovering people are for jets at Billy Bishop airport, and so am I.  I will support having Jets at the airport.  As far as transportation and traffic congestion is concerned I recommend a freeze on Condo building permits until the infrastructure is upgraded.   There are simply too many people living in the downtown core and not enough public transit or wide enough roads to handle it.

  • 1. Do you support a property tax cap ensuring future hikes are no greater than the rate of inflation?

    The Bank of Canada estimates that inflation will be 1.5% in 2015 and 2.0% in 2016. I would support a property taxes increase in 2015 higher than inflation (2.5%), and in-line with inflation (2.0%) in 2016.

    2. Where, specifically, do you advocate finding savings in the current city budget?

    Between 2001 and 2012 the City of Toronto paid landlords $367m in tax rebates for vacant properties. I would support the elimination of the tax rebate, which would save the City approximately $30m annually.

    Additionally, I would advocate for police budget savings as detailed by David Socknaki. These initiatives, with the amount of savings it would bring in brackets, would include:

    • Adopting shift models used in other major cities to prevent staff overlap ($25m);
    • Incentives to replace light duty and retirement-eligible officers with new recruits ($25m);
    • Limited use of one-officer car patrols, in line with other Canadian cities ($15m);
    • Automate and digitize certain paper-based processes ($2.5m); and
    • End paid duty for police. Train security-level units organized by TPS to handle construction sites, TCHC security, and TTC patrol.

    3. Do you support reducing the size of Toronto City Council?

    There are options available for improving how City Council operates without reducing its size. Toronto is a diverse city made up of dozens of different neighbourhoods and communities, each with its own identity, needs, and interests. In particular, since the creation of the MegaCity, it is important that all of Toronto’s residents have their interests properly represented by their elected officials. Addressing the complex issues Toronto faces requires a full picture of how different groups are affected by the City’s policies and decisions. Moreover, increasing the constituent-to-councillor ratio would make elected officials less available and accessible to local residents.

    To improve how City Council operates, what we need is not fewer councillors, but a greater commitment to governance based on cooperation, sound policy, and decision-making based on evidence, rather than what is politically expedient. What Council has lacked for the past 4 years is a leader committed to these principles and who refused to recognize the diverse needs of Torontonians.

    4. Will you support contracting out garbage collection east of Yonge Street?

    A switch to private garbage pickup in an area west of Yonge Street has saved the City $11.9 million. There is no reason these savings should not be extended to the rest of the City.

    5. What are your thoughts on the Municipal Land Transfer Tax – will you support reducing it or eliminating it?

    Property taxes in Toronto are relatively low compared to surrounding municipalities. For this reason, we need to maintain a municipal land transfer tax to support city services.

    6. Toronto’s unemployment rate is much higher than the provincial rate. What are your ideas to create job growth in Toronto?

    There are several innovative ways Toronto can tackle unemployment, often at little or no cost to taxpayers. One way is to use targeted initiatives to gentrify areas with too many vacant commercial spaces. Unused space is not only an eyesore for residents, but it hurts other local businesses. This can result in lost opportunities for economic growth and employment. Other cities around the world have taken creative approaches to this problem that have proven hugely successful.

    For example, in 2009, a residents association in the city of Newcastle, Australia called Renew Newcastle began an initiative that convinced the owners of vacant properties to donate their unused space for one month. Volunteer groups cleaned the space and maintained it as short-term tenants, such as galleries, artisan stores, and other pop-up shops   moved in. In a matter of weeks, the vacant spaces became attractive and the property enjoyed increased exposure and pedestrian traffic. This convinced more long-term tenants to move in, all at no cost to taxpayers, and targeted parts of the city enjoyed a revival.

    At an 18% unemployment rate, the issue of unemployment is most serious among Toronto’s youth. Not-for-profit organizations such as Civic Action have proposed creative, affordable ways to address this problem that the City could help accomplish. This includes developing a mobile search app that centralizes job opportunities, creating community mentorship programs to connect youth with role models, and building partnerships with private employers to encourage training and internship programs.

    7. It seems City Council has been debating public transit forever with little results to show. How would you fund new transit projects to ease congestion for everyone? Do you feel we need to change the current transit planning process?

    Transit expansion figures prominently in this election. However, to quote Eric Miller, of the University of Toronto’s Transportation Research Institute,  “There is a real a danger that one could end up locking into a bad idea because its won the day. Clearly there is a political element because we are spending public money, but, there has to be a more technical evaluation of why it makes sense, and an election campaign isn’t the place to do that.”

    The reality is that transit development comes at a cost and so we must be wary where we commit taxpayer money. I believe we should take full advantage of approved, provincially funded LRT plans to expand transit and not build subway extensions where the ridership does not justify it. To relieve congestion on the Yonge subway, I would support the development of a downtown relief line project, to be funded by conventional debt and minor property tax increases. I would also support exploring other funding options, such as a commuter tax on those who work in Toronto but live in the 905 region.

    The biggest impediment to our transit strategy has been the in-fighting in City Council. The best way to create a world-class transit plan is to elect a Council with long-term vision and a commitment to sound transit policy based on expert advice.

    8. Labour negotiations will be a big part of the next council term. What advice do you have for the city’s negotiating team to get the best deal for taxpayers?

    I would advise the negotiating team that the aim of negotiations is to arrive at an agreement that leaves both parties satisfied. In the recent past, union negotiations have been far too politicized and become a wedge issue among Toronto councillors and residents. The City’s team should concentrate on a results-based approach which accelerates progress in negotiations and gets the best deal for taxpayers.

    9. Do you see opportunities for public-private partnerships (P3s) involving the City of Toronto? Where, specifically?

    P3s present a great opportunity for the City to leverage design and engineering expertise in the private sector that could help address complex infrastructure issues. Vancouver’s Canada Line proved to be a successful example of this type of partnership, and I would consider these types of development options for Toronto. In particular, I could see this playing a big role in how we develop the waterfront, with the City providing the vision and planning for a community, and developers bringing their design and engineering experience.

    10. What is the top issue of concern for residents in your ward? What will you do as Councillor to address the issue?

    I believe our City’s future success will come from continuing to develop the unique and vibrant neighborhoods that have made Toronto great. Going forward, Ward 20 must focus on attracting and retaining young professionals and new families and continue building our community in a responsible way. Unfortunately, an inadequate supply of affordable family housing in Ward 20, the lack of control Council has over new development, and downtown congestion all pose serious challenges to the future of our Ward. I would address this in the following ways:

    The unchecked condo boom of the last decade has resulted in high-rise residential towers being built before Council could consider how they will shape Toronto in the long-term. The City must take greater control of development and planning in order to build communities and neighborhoods, and prevent poorly planned and constructed condominiums. The difference can be easily seen when comparing projects like Concord Pacific Place in Vancouver and Concord CityPlace in Toronto’s Ward 20. With vision and planning provided by the City of Vancouver, Pacific Place has become a vibrant community for families and young professionals, complete with green space, schools, and a community centre. In contrast, CityPlace has few family-sized units, no public schools, and is relatively isolated from the rest of downtown. We must work with the provincial government to redefine the Ontario Municipal Board’s relationship with the City of Toronto, and allow us to control the planning and oversight that so greatly impacts the communities in Ward 20. Additionally, we need to lobby the provincial government to close the loophole that allows uncontrolled rent increases in buildings built after 1991.

    Lastly, congestion and crowded transit make living in Ward 20 much less attractive. I would support a number of projects to get Toronto moving. This would include: support for a downtown relief line, a safer bicycle grid with more dedicated lanes, phasing out on-street parking on Bathurst and Bloor, developing multi-level Green P parking on existing lots, and creating time-based transfers throughout the TTC to make travel within Toronto more convenient.

    People are key to building communities, and so we must be creative in the ways we can attract young professionals and new families to make Ward 20 their home.

  • 1. Do you support a property tax cap ensuring future hikes are no greater than the rate of inflation?

    I do not support a property tax cap ensuring hikes are no greater than the rate of inflation.

    2. Where, specifically, do you advocate finding savings in the current city budget?

    I do not think finding savings in the city budget is a priority. After four years of making cuts, city council’s priority should be finding ways to invest.

    3. Do you support reducing the size of Toronto City Council?

    I do not support reducing the size of Toronto City Council. Toronto is a large city that is growing every day. Our extremely diverse population demands enough councillors to represent everyone. The way to improve how council operates is to have councillors who are willing to work with each other and cooperate

    4. Will you support contracting out garbage collection east of Yonge Street?

    I do not support contracting out garbage collection east of Yonge, or any other service.

    5. What are your thoughts on the Municipal Land Transfer Tax – will you support reducing it or eliminating it?

    The Municipal Land Transfer Tax is an important source of revenue. I do not support reducing or eliminating it.

    6. Toronto’s unemployment rate is much higher than the provincial rate. What are your ideas to create job growth in Toronto?

    This is the most difficult question to answer, and as a recent grad and young person, I’ve experienced this job shortage first hand. In order to create job growth, we need to rally all the innovation that already exists in this city. Start-ups, entrepreneurs, and small businesses need more of our support in order to create the jobs that are inherent within them. More partnerships with these kinds of innovators will allow them to increase their contribution to Toronto’s economy, reduce our rate of unemployment, and help create a more prosperous city.

    7. It seems City Council has been debating public transit forever with little results to show. How would you fund new transit projects to ease congestion for everyone? Do you feel we need to change the current transit planning process?

    In order to change the current transit planning process, our councillors need to start listening to the advice of experts, and stop making decisions based on what’s best politically.

    8. Labour negotiations will be a big part of the next council term. What advice do you have for the city’s negotiating team to get the best deal for taxpayers?

    In order to get the best deal for taxpayers, Toronto City Council must consistently come to the table with respect and appreciation for workers. If we demonstrate that we are willing to negotiate and treat all workers with the dignity they deserve, I feel certain we will be treated in kind.

    9. Do you see opportunities for public-private partnerships (P3s) involving the City of Toronto? Where, specifically?

    Public-private partnerships can certainly have benefits for the taxpayer. However, in the end, the government is trusting private organizations, who have no obligation to Toronto’s voters and taxpayers, with public infrastructure. Although these partnerships are intended to result in savings and faster completion of projects, this rarely ends up being the case. Under the right circumstances, P3s have the potential to benefit taxpayers, but Toronto City Council should exercise a great deal of caution when entering these partnerships.

    10. What is the top issue of concern for residents in your ward? What will you do as Councillor to address the issue?

    The biggest issue Ward 20 faces is affordable housing. As a student, I struggled a great deal to find somewhere to live, and I know there are thousands more who face the same struggle. When I see expensive condos being built in my neighbourhood where affordable housing could just as easily go, I feel not only frustrated, but disappointed in the councillors that are supposed to represent me. The worst part of the affordable housing crisis is that a practical solution is already at our fingertips, but our current city council has failed to put it into practice. As a councillor, I would fight for a guaranteed number of affordable units in every new condo development. Doing this in addition to directing more funding towards maintaining the affordable housing that already exists are two practical ways we can make Toronto a more equitable city.

  • 1. Do you support a property tax cap ensuring future hikes are no greater than the rate of inflation?

    YES – With 344,000 commuters coming into our city every morning, we should be capturing a congestions charge or toll to help us cover costs.

    2. Where, specifically, do you advocate finding savings in the current city budget?

    Savings can come if the new city manager is able to change the culture, allow ideas from the front lines and upgrade the processes at city hall. I don’t believe there is any one area to find the savings but 1000 small adjustments/upgrades in every department.

    3. Do you support reducing the size of Toronto City Council?

    Yes I do support reducing the size of city council. Like any board it is much harder to get things accomplished with more members.

    4. Will you support contracting out garbage collection east of Yonge Street?

    I don’t support contracting out garbage east of Yonge Street at this time. the city owns the equipment and the financial loss at this stage would not be efficient. I do not believe bigger contracts are always better, because they push small businesses out of competing, and increase the overall cost. I would wait to ensure that there is healthy competition in the garbage collection field to before giving the entire city over to one or two large companies who we might then be at the mercy of.

    5. What are your thoughts on the Municipal Land Transfer Tax – will you support reducing it or eliminating it?

    Unless Toronto is willing to implement tolls on a congestion fee on 905 residents there is no way we can afford to eliminate the Land Transfer tax.

    6. Toronto’s unemployment rate is much higher than the provincial rate. What are your ideas to create job growth in Toronto?

    - Investment in urban farms, verticla and roof top gardens

    - Social Impact Bonds to provide investment in  nonprofits that provide social services to the city.

    - Beautify the city program to hire local youth to help plan design and create beautiful communities.

    7. It seems City Council has been debating public transit forever with little results to show. How would you fund new transit projects to ease congestion for everyone? Do you feel we need to change the current transit planning process?

    NO FREE RIDE FOR THE 905 – Tolls are inevitable, I am simply saying it’s time.  I have called for tolls on 905 commuters using the Don Valley Parkway and DVP as well as a Congestion Charge on 905 commuters. With 344,000 coming into Toronto every morning between 6-9am and using our roads, water and services Toronto can’t afford to invest in transit. A toll and Congestion Charge would allo us to build more transit and fix the backlog of repairs needed at TCHC.

    8. Labour negotiations will be a big part of the next council term. What advice do you have for the city’s negotiating team to get the best deal for taxpayers?

    Thoughtful balanced approach months before contract deadlines.

    9. Do you see opportunities for public-private partnerships (P3s) involving the City of Toronto? Where, specifically?

    I believe we have to be careful about p3s. I think we should try to keep jobs $ in Toronto and worry the large companies involved in them take profits out of our city and leave little for our local contractors.

    10. What is the top issue of concern for residents in your ward? What will you do as Councillor to address the issue?

    In Ward 20 the top issue is gridlock and transit expansion. I have succeeded in getting the downtown relief line on the plans for TTC and will continue to push until it is built. I am calling for tolls on the 905 to be dedicated entirely to building the downtown relief line.

  • 1. Do you support a property tax cap ensuring future hikes are no greater than the rate of inflation?

    I promise to support a property tax cap that is no greater than inflation and in fact find it desirable to keep property taxes below the rate of inflation.  There is a need to make improvements in infrastructure but it is necessary to get provincial and federal support and use other revenue generating tools without putting 100% of costs on the burden of property taxes.

    2. Where, specifically, do you advocate finding savings in the current city budget?

    There are many ways to find savings in the current budget.  Savings can be found through attrition and elimination of positions that are being duplicated.  City departments can be leaner in management head count.  Finally, overspending needs to stop across all departments and at city council.  It is very useful to followup on reports and strategies for cost savings.  I also want to be mindful that I am by no means interested in simply eliminating jobs simply to save money because the unemloyment rate in Toronto is persistently at about 7%.  Until the private sector plays a dominate role in our prosperity, I caution about what measures City Hall can take to save money.

    3. Do you support reducing the size of Toronto City Council?

    I am open to reducing the size of Toronto City Council but serious investigation as to the advantages and disadvantages must be analyzed.  Alot of time and money has been spent discussing this proposal in July 2013 where it did not pass but I am willing to re-open this issue for investigation and discussion.

    4. Will you support contracting out garbage collection east of Yonge Street?

    Yes, I support contracting out garbage collection east of Yonge Street as it was successful west of Yonge.   There may be other services that contracting out would give taxpayers a better deal such as snow removal, street repair and ground maintenance, street sweeping, public relations, IT support, parks and environment and infrastructure projects.

    5. What are your thoughts on the Municipal Land Transfer Tax – will you support reducing it or eliminating it?

    I am interested in reducing municipal land transfer tax although it may be difficult to achieve as there are so many programs and services that depend on this funding.  I would carefully listen to everyone concerned and review all expenditures and revenues to see if there is any possibility of reducing municipal land transfer tax.

    6. Toronto’s unemployment rate is much higher than the provincial rate. What are your ideas to create job growth in Toronto?

    In an age where the GDP growth is predicted at 2.5% in 2014, unemployment in Toronto is currently at 8.1%, many people do not see quality of life improving and more and more people are drawn to Toronto believing that job prospects are better than elsewhere in Ontario, the City of Toronto has to address creating jobs.  There are limits to the ability of the city to stimulate job growth as both the province and federal bodies have more tools readily available.  The City of Toronto can assist residents to access job programs.  There should be concrete numbers as to the number of residents that have utilized City’s resources to gain access to job creation programs funded by the province and federal  government.  In addition, job development programs can be put in place in various departments that are not lifelong commitments but positions that develop employee skills.  After a set period of time the employee are encouraged to look beyond the city and into the private or non profit sector.  The city can be a champion to entrepreneurs wanting to do business in the City.   Finally, City should be encouraging the private sector to have development programs or create jobs especially companies that do business with the City.  Finally, organizations that do business with city hall such has construction companies should be obligated to hire so overtime becomes unnecessary.

    7. It seems City Council has been debating public transit forever with little results to show. How would you fund new transit projects to ease congestion for everyone? Do you feel we need to change the current transit planning process?

    I agree that council has been debating public transit forever with little results because any increases in services require funding and council cannot seem to find money to pay for services without passing the costs to users or tax payers.  There have been improvements which can be provided in detail on the TTC website.  I want to see a greater commitment from the federal and provincial governments in improving public transit.  This would assure money to deal with congestions.  Until the other levels of government views Toronto transit a priority then debates will continue.

    8. Labour negotiations will be a big part of the next council term. What advice do you have for the city’s negotiating team to get the best deal for taxpayers?

    The City’s negotiating team has to be able to stand up for the rights of taxpayers and bargain for the best possible contract.  It requires the team to strategize and plan way in advance.  The city finances are cash strapped and taxpayers cannot afford big property tax increases.  It is a troubling situation as everyone is finding that a larger portion of incomes goes to basic essentials such as housing, food and transportation and most recently a report from the Fraser Institute states families spend more on taxes than food and shelter.

    9. Do you see opportunities for public-private partnerships (P3s) involving the City of Toronto? Where, specifically?

    I can see opportunities where public-private partnerships (P3s) involving the City of Toronto may be utilized.  It would be an idea to utilize P3s in the building of infrastructure such as the expansion of parts of public transit.  Whereas contracting of garbage has resulted in tax savings for the taxpayer and therefore has been touted as a success, I believe council should consider P3s for infrastructure so that cost overruns do not fall back to the City.  It may require further studies and feedback from consultants to support such endeavors which has been utilized in other cities.

    10. What is the top issue of concern for residents in your ward? What will you do as Councillor to address the issue?

    The current top issue of concern for resident has to be transit and road congestion.  A Councillor  evaluates proposals put forth from the Toronto Transit Commission and as part of council approves priorities put forward and decide how to fund it.

  • 1. Do you support a property tax cap ensuring future hikes are no greater than the rate of inflation?

    I believe that Torontonians deserve fair taxation and good services. Any property tax increase must be justified by the services that it brings to our city.

    2. Where, specifically, do you advocate finding savings in the current city budget?

    Some agencies, like the Toronto Police Service, have rapidly growing budgets which I support reducing. Other budgets, like Municipal Licencing and Standards, have spending such as $800,000 for “Corporate Leadership” which could be better spent in more needed areas.

    3. Do you support reducing the size of Toronto City Council?

    I believe that we should have enough councillors to ensure that residents can have their concerns heard by their representatives in a timely manner. Any proposed reductions would need to be studied with that in mind.

    4. Will you support contracting out garbage collection east of Yonge Street?

    Toronto needs services that are fair to those that provide them, and fair to the taxpayers who fund them. I believe that we should entertain offers from groups that offer a fair wage to their employees and that we should pick the most cost effective option, whether that be public or private.

    5. What are your thoughts on the Municipal Land Transfer Tax – will you support reducing it or eliminating it?

    I do not support cuts that result in a loss of integral community services. If there was a proposal that outlined a method of removing or eliminating the MLTT without any such loss, we would entertain it.

    6. Toronto’s unemployment rate is much higher than the provincial rate. What are your ideas to create job growth in Toronto?

    Ward 20 thrives thanks to its many small businesses. I want to work with residents to ensure that there are conditions for local business to thrive such as minimizing construction inconveniences, responsible development, and promoting walkable communities.

    7. It seems City Council has been debating public transit forever with little results to show. How would you fund new transit projects to ease congestion for everyone? Do you feel we need to change the current transit planning process?

    I believe we should look to speed up necessary and forego unnecessary environmental assessments for many projects, especially transit and cycling initiatives. Funding transit projects will require help from other partners like the provincial government. For Toronto’s part, we have to look at responsible use of existing revenue tools, and consider additional ones if required.

    8. Labour negotiations will be a big part of the next council term. What advice do you have for the city’s negotiating team to get the best deal for taxpayers?

    The best deal for Toronto is one that provides value to taxpayers while providing fair, liveable wages. With these conditions in mind we must select the most cost effective options.

    9. Do you see opportunities for public-private partnerships (P3s) involving the City of Toronto? Where, specifically?

    I believe these opportunities are best assessed on an individual basis, and would support those that are cost effective and fair to all parties involved.

    10. What is the top issue of concern for residents in your ward? What will you do as Councillor to address the issue?

    We must work to implement a grid of bike lanes that allows cyclists to get around the city safely. We must work with community groups and developers to ensure that new development projects improve our communities, and we must expand library and community centre hours and offerings to promote literacy, employment and vibrant neighbourhoods.

  • 1. Do you support a property tax cap ensuring future hikes are no greater than the rate of inflation?

    Yes

    2. Where, specifically, do you advocate finding savings in the current city budget?

    Eliminating the Council General Expense Budget. Improving the management to staff ratio. Contracting garbage collection East of Yonge Street. Reduce size of government. Maintaining and/or reducing budgets for each department.

    3. Do you support reducing the size of Toronto City Council?

    Yes. A realignment based on population could reduce the number of councillors.  City services can be improved to make them more efficient and responsive to residents: In this way councillors could represent a larger population.

    4. Will you support contracting out garbage collection east of Yonge Street?

    Yes. All services need to be reviewed to find possible savings which may include “contracting out”.

    5. What are your thoughts on the Municipal Land Transfer Tax – will you support reducing it or eliminating it?

    I support the removal of the Land Transfer Tax.

    6. Toronto’s unemployment rate is much higher than the provincial rate. What are your ideas to create job growth in Toronto?

    By creating an attractive environment for private enterprise we will encourage companies to set up/relocate their office in Toronto. Keeping business taxes low, investing in infrastructure, reducing red tape.

    7. It seems City Council has been debating public transit forever with little results to show. How would you fund new transit projects to ease congestion for everyone? Do you feel we need to change the current transit planning process?

    Finding efficiencies in gov’t and reducing the size of gov’t will help fund transit but pressure must be given to both the federal and provincials levels of gov’t for them to dedicate funding for transit expansion in Toronto. Regional planning by Metrolinx must be coordinated better with the TTC. We should explore the possibility of uploading the TCC to the province.

    8. Labour negotiations will be a big part of the next council term. What advice do you have for the city’s negotiating team to get the best deal for taxpayers?

    Advice: Do not agree to rates higher than the rate of inflation. Do not be afraid to walk away from the table and explore outsourcing options.

    9. Do you see opportunities for public-private partnerships (P3s) involving the City of Toronto? Where, specifically?

    There are always opportunities for P3s. The Dome at Central Tech is a good example. P3s can revitalized unused or unusable public green space in order to provide amenities to the community.

    10. What is the top issue of concern for residents in your ward? What will you do as Councillor to address the issue?

    A top issue in Ward 20 is traffic congestion. The best solution for relief is to invest in more transit. Be it subways, rail or busses, it needs to be built and it needs to be built without delay. We are losing time stuck in traffic that could be better spent with family. Congestion is costing the economy and it’s polluting our environment. Congestion affects the entire GTA, not just one part of Toronto vs another. I will work with all of council from across the city to build transit.

2014 City Council Election: Ward 19 – Trinity-Spadina

The Incumbent:

Mike Layton

The Race

Councillor Mike Layton is up for re-election this year. As a rookie Councillor, Layton emerged as a progressive, and respectful, voice on City Council but rarely advocated to decrease the burden on taxpayers. He faces a few opponents who are open to basic measures to accomplish this such as capping property taxes and exploring public-private partnerships. Transit is a dominating issue in an ever-growing Ward 19.

Candidates Who Did Not Participate: Albina Burello

The Breakdown

  • Candidate Response
    Bowman, Scott Yes
    Layton, Mike Yes, conditional on operating budget pressures
    Sawision, George Yes


  • Candidate Response
    Bowman, Scott In the police budget and breaking down the silos between city departments.
    Layton, Mike Look for streamlining the delivery of services when it does not impact services themselves.
    Sawision, George Police, fire, and housing budgets. Departments with a top heavy management structure.


  • Candidate Response
    Bowman, Scott No
    Layton, Mike No
    Sawision, George Yes


  • Candidate Response
    Bowman, Scott Yes
    Layton, Mike No
    Sawision, George Yes


  • Candidate Response
    Bowman, Scott Will consider reducing
    Layton, Mike No
    Sawision, George Yes to elimination


  • Candidate Response
    Bowman, Scott City should partner with organizations to encourage entrepreneurship especially for youth. Use organizations and educational facilities to re-train adults for new careers.
    Layton, Mike Leverage city spending to include requirements for local hiring and local procurement. A home energy retrofit strategy could create thousands of jobs at no cost.
    Sawision, George Decrease business taxes and give businesses incentives.


  • Candidate Response
    Bowman, Scott Revenue tools to be considered include Tax Increment Financing and working with the provincial government for transit funds.
    Layton, Mike Use progressive taxation to build transit infrastructure.
    Sawision, George Add a tax on new developments to the funding formula. Planning should be long-term and innovative.


  • Candidate Response
    Bowman, Scott Keep in mind a slow-growth economy and already strained property tax base.
    Layton, Mike Pay City employees a fair, competitive, and equitable wage.
    Sawision, George Give unions parity with private sector


  • Candidate Response
    Bowman, Scott City should partner with non-city operated organizations to assist at-risk, young, and displaced workers. Also, for re-development and training opportunities.
    Layton, Mike No
    Sawision, George Yes, for policing, fire services, and municipal housing.


  • Candidate Response
    Bowman, Scott Transit – new streetcars on 504 King route and a rapid bus line between Liberty Village and Union Station.
    Layton, Mike Protect quality of life and preserve the unique character of local neighbourhoods. Protect and improve public services that people depend on.
    Sawision, George Transit and cycling infrastructure in Liberty Village. New condominiums fitting within local neighbourhoods.

 

The full responses

  • 1. Do you support a property tax cap ensuring future hikes are no greater than the rate of inflation?

    Keeping property tax increases to no more than the rate of inflation is a benchmark that Council should work hard to realize, and is definitely my goal.

    2. Where, specifically, do you advocate finding savings in the current city budget?

    While I support the Police Service, I think that the Police services budget – specifically around paid duty needs addressing. Council has moved some motions to look into this, and I think that this is a good thing to look at. Also, too often city departments seemingly work in silos- causing infrastructure work to be torn up and redone after completion- because another departments’ infrastructure work was due to start later-  thus we paid twice for the same work.

    3. Do you support reducing the size of Toronto City Council?

    Reducing the size of Council doesn’t necessarily lead to a reduction in costs of operating the city. The issue really is about electing good Councillors who will serve the public, work to resolve issues and oversee the delivery of services by city staff – ensuring citizens get fair treatment and service. With that said, I also don’t support increasing the size of Council.

    4. Will you support contracting out garbage collection east of Yonge Street?

    I think that the contracting out of garbage collection West of Yonge Street has been successful. I think that if the issue was brought to Council, and an agreement similar to the agreement made for west-end collection was made, I would support that.

    5. What are your thoughts on the Municipal Land Transfer Tax – will you support reducing it or eliminating it?

    I am open to looking at a reduction of this tax – but I would want to see what the impact on services such as fire and rescue, employment and social services, and infrastructure projects would be due to the revenue loss, before making a final decision.  We have to ensure front-line services that the residents of Toronto depend on are maintained and improved wherever we can.

    6. Toronto’s unemployment rate is much higher than the provincial rate. What are your ideas to create job growth in Toronto?

    I believe in supporting measures to assist young people launch their own entrepreneurial ventures right here in the city.  I would work to ensure that the city services partner with community and not-for-profit organizations, post-secondary institutions and other levels of government to get start-up capital as well as other entrepreneurial training and assistance to our young people.  I also would work to find ways to work with organizations, other levels of government as well as our educational facilities to help older citizens re-train for new careers.

    7. It seems City Council has been debating public transit forever with little results to show. How would you fund new transit projects to ease congestion for everyone? Do you feel we need to change the current transit planning process?

    I think that looking at Tax Increment Financing (TIF) to help us upgrade our transit and infrastructure is one tool in our toolbox. This TIF works by dedicating future tax revenues generated from new development to pay for current infrastructure projects. As well, we should work with our Provincial government partner to tap into infrastructure/transit funds to build up our transit systems.

     As for the planning process, I think that we should be focusing on reducing the burden on overcapacity lines first – and introducing newer transit vehicles there, then moving to other lines.

    8. Labour negotiations will be a big part of the next council term. What advice do you have for the city’s negotiating team to get the best deal for taxpayers?

     I believe that we should bargain in good faith in the collective bargaining process. We should keep in mind a slow growth economy, higher than the average unemployment rate, as well as an already strained property tax base, means that we should work very hard to contain costs.

    9. Do you see opportunities for public-private partnerships (P3s) involving the City of Toronto? Where, specifically?

    I believe that a great opportunity is in the building of a more robust entrepreneurial community here in the city.  The city has services and access to various funding mechanisms, and has initiatives to promote Toronto as a place to do business.  There are also a number of non-city operated organizations that are delivering similar services, or can enhance the city’s services to assist the at-risk, the young and the displaced worker.  I would encourage the city to tap into the resources these groups offer – to assist our citizens to learn, develop, re-train and find opportunity.

    10. What is the top issue of concern for residents in your ward? What will you do as Councillor to address the issue?

    The top issue is transit – and ensuring that we can move around our city – to get to work on time, to bring people downtown to enjoy our waterfront, sporting events, tourist attractions and our world class entertainment and restaurants.  We need to move people more effectively. For example, I would fight to get the new streetcars onto the 504 King Street line at least 1 year sooner – as the line is beyond capacity now. It cannot wait a full 2 years or more for the replacement vehicles.  As well, I would push the TTC for a rapid bus line between Liberty Village and Union Station. I would bring the TTC, myself, and our MPP to the table to find ways to make it happen.

  • 1. Do you support a property tax cap ensuring future hikes are no greater than the rate of inflation?

    I support the general goal of keeping property tax increases to the rate of inflation but I believe that the property tax rate should ultimately be set at a level that ensures the efficient delivery of public services. Provincial downloading of services will also put additional pressures on our operating budget that may need to be addressed by property taxes.

    2. Where, specifically, do you advocate finding savings in the current city budget?

    I believe we always must be vigilant when managing the City’s budget and look for efficiency and the streamlining of the delivery of services when it does not impact services themselves. Over the past decade Council has found better and more efficient ways of administering and delivering services, we should always be pursuing these options.

    3. Do you support reducing the size of Toronto City Council?

    No. I believe a smaller Council would lead to poor service to our residents and make Councillors less available to their constituents. As one of 44 councillors, I typically work upwards of 60 hours a week and attend public meetings 5-6 evenings weekly. Unlike our federal and provincial counterparts, there is much more hands on work on the municipal level and residents deserve the best possible service.

    4. Will you support contracting out garbage collection east of Yonge Street?

    No. I voted against contracting out waste collection and I do not believe contacting out public services nets the gains its proponents claim. I do not believe Torontonians get a better deal by seeking arrangements to underpay their fellow Torontonians.

    Even the General Manager of Solid Waste Management Services supports managed competition.  If we give up our ability to collect solid waste, we will be put in a vulnerable position and costs will no doubt increase while service suffers.

    5. What are your thoughts on the Municipal Land Transfer Tax – will you support reducing it or eliminating it?

    The Municipal Land Transfer Tax has become an important tool that funds public services. Any attempt to reduce or eliminate it must be accompanied by a sound fiscal plan rather than rhetoric.  We need to increase our revenue tools to improve public services for all. We cannot retract revenues tools without a reduction in service levels to everyone.

    6. Toronto’s unemployment rate is much higher than the provincial rate. What are your ideas to create job growth in Toronto?

    I believe we can help create jobs as a City by leveraging our spending to include requirements for local hiring and local procurement.  I championed a home energy retrofit strategy that could create thousands of jobs at NO cost to the City.  I initiated a process to support the music industry sector so that it flourishes like our film sector. I fought to replace employment areas during rezoning applications.

    7. It seems City Council has been debating public transit forever with little results to show. How would you fund new transit projects to ease congestion for everyone? Do you feel we need to change the current transit planning process?

    I believe it is crucial that we fund public transit with public dollars. Utilizing progressive taxation has been the way we have build the infrastructure we enjoy today and it is the method we should use to build the public transit system we need. The only solution to addressing Toronto’s traffic woes are improvements to public transit.

    8. Labour negotiations will be a big part of the next council term. What advice do you have for the city’s negotiating team to get the best deal for taxpayers?

    This question assumes an adversarial relationship between the City’s work force and their employers. I believe the best deal for the citizens of Toronto is to ensure we are paying City employees a fair, competitive, and equitable wage.

    9. Do you see opportunities for public-private partnerships (P3s) involving the City of Toronto? Where, specifically?

    I believe adherence to a belief that P3s are the superior ways to fund and carry out work is flawed.  The private sector depends on private profits, which means public money being given to private individuals and companies instead of the delivery of public services.  Taxes should be spent on services not private gain.

    10. What is the top issue of concern for residents in your ward? What will you do as Councillor to address the issue?

    As Councillor, I have fought to protect residents’ quality of life and to preserve the unique, diverse character of the city’s neighbourhoods. I lead the fight against a mega-casino in our neighbourhood and a Wal-Mart next to Kensington Market. I have been a strong voice for residents on Council by fighting to protect and improve public services that people depend on including protecting affordable housing and preventing homelessness, maintaining and enhancing transportation and parks infrastructure, protecting investments in arts and culture, supporting local businesses, and improving public safety.

  • 1. Do you support a property tax cap ensuring future hikes are no greater than the rate of inflation?

    A tax cap is essential and should be pegged to the rate of inflation.

    2. Where, specifically, do you advocate finding savings in the current city budget?

    There are savings that can be made in the biggest portion of the budget.  The police, fire, and housing budgets have not realized all the possible efficiencies and should be scrupulously investigated. A look at departments with a top heavy management structure is essential.

    3. Do you support reducing the size of Toronto City Council?

    A 22 member council would reflect the federal and provincial riding representation. Much of the councillors work load has already been reduced with the 311 phone assistance program. Meetings and debates in council need to be streamlined to be more productive.

    4. Will you support contracting out garbage collection east of Yonge Street?

    I protested against the last garbage strike which left the city with stinky memories!  Private contracting in Etobicoke and west of Yonge St. has proven that it is an effect and efficient way of managing our garbage. Yes, I would extend the service where it makes sense.

    5. What are your thoughts on the Municipal Land Transfer Tax – will you support reducing it or eliminating it?

    This is an unfair tax and should be eliminated.

    6. Toronto’s unemployment rate is much higher than the provincial rate. What are your ideas to create job growth in Toronto?

    Small business has always been a leader in providing employment; however, with the burden of high taxes many are barely surviving. Decrease the business tax and give businesses incentives.

    7. It seems City Council has been debating public transit forever with little results to show. How would you fund new transit projects to ease congestion for everyone? Do you feel we need to change the current transit planning process?

    Process is meaningless if you don’t have a long term plan. Innovative ideas, such as my Greenlinx project, and effective use of local transit programs would enable long term affordable transit. Funding formulas do not need to change.  A tax on new construction developments would add to this fund.

    8. Labour negotiations will be a big part of the next council term. What advice do you have for the city’s negotiating team to get the best deal for taxpayers?

    The private sector has been trimming costs. Why not incorporate their strategies and give unions parity with the private sector.

    9. Do you see opportunities for public-private partnerships (P3s) involving the City of Toronto? Where, specifically?

    P3s can be very effective, but a well trained city team working on local projects can also be effective.  Police, fire, and municipal housing can find efficiencies with P3s.  We can’t ignore the opportunity.

    10. What is the top issue of concern for residents in your ward? What will you do as Councillor to address the issue?

    Transit and cycling infrastructure in Liberty Village are on the minds of residences I have spoken with.  I have extensive plans for both.  There isn’t enough room here to explain.

    In the north part of the ward, condo intensification requires location and design planning to ensure that future projects fit into the neighbourhood and not overpower the landscape.

2014 City Council Election: Ward 2 – Etobicoke North

The Incumbent:

Doug Ford

The Race

This is one of the most watched races in the City with Rob Ford attempting to reclaim his pre-2010 position as Ward 2 Councillor after dropping out of the Mayoral race. Transit and employment seem to be key issues in Ward 2. One interesting idea proposed  by a candidate is to create a “business development zone” with reduced taxes for small and medium sized businesses in order to spur growth. There are varying ideas from Ward 2 candidates on funding transit including P3′s, road tolls, development charges and appealing to the Provincial and Federal Governments.

Candidates Who Did Not Participate: Munira Abukar, Ranjeet Chahal, Rob Ford, Michelle Garcia, Ataul Malick

The Breakdown

  • Candidate Response
    Adeoba, Benn Yes
    Bueno-Bradley, Edmund Will consider
    Caravaggio, David Yes
    Cronkite, Doug Yes plus small increase directed to transit
    Domise, Andray No
    Lagakos, Theo Yes
    LaRocque, Luke No
    Paterson, Gary Yes
    Singh, George Yes


  • Candidate Response
    Adeoba, Benn Work hard to find savings in service efficiencies. Minor and/or major cuts to services not rendered core or essential should be conducted only based on input from core service review.
    Bueno-Bradley, Edmund Savings come from assistance from the upper levels of government, primarily the federal government. But investments in maintaining a modern and forward looking tech integrated city hall will reveal inefficiencies faster than in the traditionally murky bureaucracy.
    Caravaggio, David Make TTC more efficient.
    Cronkite, Doug Savings in police budget, mainly personnel.
    Domise, Andray Toronto Police Services operating budget
    Lagakos, Theo Toronto Police Services. Review contracts with private companies to ensure there is no overspending.
    LaRocque, Luke Focus on deferred maintenance of infrastructure before cutting.
    Paterson, Gary Wants to do more research.
    Singh, George Better decision making required when making spending decisions.


  • Candidate Response
    Adeoba, Benn I reserve my recommendation pending review of professional research.
    Bueno-Bradley, Edmund No
    Caravaggio, David No
    Cronkite, Doug Yes
    Domise, Andray No
    Lagakos, Theo No
    LaRocque, Luke Will consider
    Paterson, Gary Yes
    Singh, George Yes


  • Candidate Response
    Adeoba, Benn As long as efficiencies and cost savings could be realized.
    Bueno-Bradley, Edmund Yes
    Caravaggio, David Yes plus bus routes
    Cronkite, Doug Yes. Would consider contracting out other services.
    Domise, Andray Will consider with conditions.
    Lagakos, Theo Yes with conditions.
    LaRocque, Luke Will consider
    Paterson, Gary Will consider
    Singh, George Yes plus TTC and parks maintenance.


  • Candidate Response
    Adeoba, Benn Yes – reduce.
    Bueno-Bradley, Edmund Yes – reduce.
    Caravaggio, David Yes – reduce or eliminate.
    Cronkite, Doug Will consider
    Domise, Andray Will consider
    Lagakos, Theo Yes – reduce or eliminate.
    LaRocque, Luke Will consider
    Paterson, Gary Yes – reduce or eliminate.
    Singh, George Yes – eliminate.


  • Candidate Response
    Adeoba, Benn Sustain a world-class status city through safety, cleanliness and livability to attracts investors and investments. Ensure that we address youth unemployment by supporting entrepreneurship and innovation through small business and start-up incentives and programs.
    Bueno-Bradley, Edmund Create innovative tax zones, (businesses pay a lot of money in taxes to the municipality). Creation of business development zones with 3-5 year reduced tax rates for small and medium sized businesses, in areas of substantial commercial and manufacturing lands.
    Caravaggio, David Must work in coalition with the province to promote and attract industry to Toronto. City council must act as a sales force and represent the great City of Toronto as one of the most important cities of the world.
    Cronkite, Doug I would be in support of a tax break for small business owners in their first year or two in order to give them a chance to become established.
    Domise, Andray I propose the development of an Innovation Hub in Ward 2 that partners with local businesses and public services (specifically Toronto Public Library) to develop a computer programming and coding program for youth. Further, I support revisiting the Woodbine entertainment complex proposal (formerly known as Woodbine Live) that the current mayoralty and Ward 2 councillor failed to secure.
    Lagakos, Theo More training and co-op opportunities for students and those who wish to upgrade their skills. The City should work with Employers to help indentify the skill sets needed for the future workforce.
    LaRocque, Luke Improving transit infrastructure to reduce road congestion and ensuring proper zoning in the outer neighbourhoods to encourage more dense business development and liveable communities is key to attracting both well-trained residents and highquality employment.
    Paterson, Gary Changes to existing policies. This will entail licensing and building department policies and very likely zoning as well.
    Singh, George Need to lengthen the runway at the Island Airport so that it is convenient for business people to access the city. Need to reduce the taxes for businesses  that are operating in the city which will allow them to stay competitive and in addition attract new businesses.


  • Candidate Response
    Adeoba, Benn Support from the federal and provincial level.
    Bueno-Bradley, Edmund Road tolls and small scale car registration fee.
    Caravaggio, David Public-Private Partnerships to fund new transit projects.
    Cronkite, Doug All three levels of government, the private sector, and users of the infrastructure all have a role to play in funding transit. Decisions have to be made very soon and steps taken to start building the infrastructure soon after.
    Domise, Andray Province of Ontario and the Government of Canada need to pay their fair share of the costs of transit expansion in Toronto, as Toronto is the economic engine for the country.  Toronto needs to have a serious conversation about the fair implementation of revenue tools.
    Lagakos, Theo It is the developers of high-rises that should pay an additional level to the city in order to fund mass transit. I don’t believe LRTs are the long term solution for Toronto, the only real long term solution are more subway lines.
    LaRocque, Luke Transit planning shouldn’t be affected by the personal agendas of particular Councillors, but should be based on well researched proposals that take into account travel and growth patterns, cost, and longevity. Certain steps we can take that are both immediate and within the budget, like increasing the frequency and hours of bus service.
    Paterson, Gary Subways are the way of the future. World class cities have built and are continuing to build subway systems. Light rail transit is at best a temporary endeavor. Streetcars are a blockage on the roads and a last century technology. Public / private sector coalition will be the most cost effective strategy to fund transit projects.
    Singh, George Funding for new transit projects needs to come from  (1)The Federal government  (2)The Provincial government  (3) A modest increase in fares combined with a more streamlined and efficient TTC organisation.


  • Candidate Response
    Adeoba, Benn Must ensure both public and private sectors equally share in the restoration of a stronger economy.
    Bueno-Bradley, Edmund If you treat the opposing side as an enemy you will not succeed at getting a good deal done for the city. Successful negotiation comes from a place of understanding the restricted budget, economic factors at play in the city and each other.
    Caravaggio, David There are a number of cities in North America that have gone bankrupt. We can learn from other’s mistakes.
    Cronkite, Doug Come in with a very matter of fact, firm position. Fair but firm. The union would then know that the city was serious about keeping wage increases to a minimum and that there was no possibility of upward movement.
    Domise, Andray Need to be clear that labour negotiations aren't just about getting a good deal for taxpayers.  City's workforce is not a commodity that we should be buying for the lowest possible price. Most important advice I have for negotiating teams, both City and Union, is that we're on the same side.
    Lagakos, Theo Need an approach where everyone realizes we share this city and there is no use in taking extreme positions, there is only so much money to go around and we need both sides to work together. I advocate a balanced approach in both Labour negotiations and in City Hall.
    LaRocque, Luke Bargaining in good faith is the best way for the City to avoid labour disruptions while also making sure that we’re living within our means.
    Paterson, Gary In labour negotiations I would believe an honest and straightforward approach would be the best.
    Singh, George Three words, Privatisation, Privatisation, Privatisation.


  • Candidate Response
    Adeoba, Benn  Yes – tourism and entertainment industry.
    Bueno-Bradley, Edmund  Will consider.
    Caravaggio, David  Yes – transit.
    Cronkite, Doug Yes – transit, infrastructure, Toronto Hydro, school breakfast programs.
    Domise, Andray Yes – Innovation Hub and family-friendly infrastructure in Ward 2.
    Lagakos, Theo Will consider but no monopolies.
    LaRocque, Luke Will consider.
    Paterson, Gary Yes – infrastructure maintenance.
    Singh, George Will consider.


  • Candidate Response
    Adeoba, Benn Maintaining low taxes, affordable social housing, building efficient and faster transit system. I look forward to working with MetroLinx, the Council, and TTC in providing a quick short and long term resolution to ensure faster commute time to downtown Toronto.
    Bueno-Bradley, Edmund Commute times and access to work. I have proposed an increase in North/South bus frequency to and from the Bloor line in peak hours and an express bus on Islington(37) with an extension of the hours of the Royal York(73) line later into the evening.
    Caravaggio, David Job growth. Ward 2 has many industrial neighborhoods, we must attract businesses for job growth. I will promote business opportunities in Ward 2 Etobicoke.
    Cronkite, Doug Transit. Would quickly address concerns with planners at the TTC. Would support the Finch LRT line.
    Domise, Andray Lack of development. By development, I mean interconnected neighbourhoods, with access to local amenities, and a thriving employment market. Additionally, lack of access to transit and lack of recreation facilities and healthy nutritional options. I will work with Council, with the residents and communities in Ward 2, and with developers to build a Ward that is attractive to businesses and the residents they will serve, and is sustainable for long-term community viability.
    Lagakos, Theo Transit and unemployment. I will work with business in the area to reduce any red tape at City Hall. I will advocate for more training centres and co-op programs for students trying to enter the workplace. Need to increase bus services, in particular at night for the many in the ward that work the later night shifts.
    LaRocque, Luke Good jobs and good roads and sidewalks. By making northEtobicoke a more attractive place to live and spend time, we can attract diverse,high-paying industries. This includes investments in transit, parks, and roads, but also building relationships with schools and training centres like the University of Guelph-Humber to connect local residents to both a good education and local jobs.
    Singh, George Residents of my ward have felt a bit left out in the cold over the last few years. I will ensure that they are fully represented in council and that their concerns are addressed on a regular basis.

 

The full responses

  • 1. Do you support a property tax cap ensuring future hikes are no greater than the rate of inflation?

    A property tax cap is a reassuring fact that residents (taxpayers) won’t be charged beyond the rate of inflation. I strongly support this initiative

    2. Where, specifically, do you advocate finding savings in the current city budget?

    With over 90% of the services considered “core” and “essential” to the quality of life, we must continue to work hard to find savings in service efficiencies. Minor and/or major cuts to services not rendered core or essential should be conducted only based on input from core service review that highlights no major threat to quality of life.

    3. Do you support reducing the size of Toronto City Council?

    With rising population in Toronto, reducing the size of council and amalgamating two or three wards under the supervision of one councillor would result in representation overload–creating some neigbourhoods to be underserved and underrepresented. I reserve my recommendation pending review of professional research.

    4. Will you support contracting out garbage collection east of Yonge Street?

    If the pros (cost savings) outweighs the cons (rising costs) of contracting out the garbage collection, I would strongly recommend and support as long as efficiencies and cost savings could be realized.

    5. What are your thoughts on the Municipal Land Transfer Tax – will you support reducing it or eliminating it?

    The Municipal Land Transfer Tax represents extra burden on home ownership in the City of Toronto, which deters sales volume and potential revenue to the city. According to recent survey, 89% of potential buyers in the next two years are more likely to purchase outside of Toronto to avoid the tax. This shows that the city isn’t realizing its potential sales and revenue. Phasing out the tax would attract more sales, thus generating equal or more revenue to the city budget. I strongly support reducing the tax over the period of time.

    6. Toronto’s unemployment rate is much higher than the provincial rate. What are your ideas to create job growth in Toronto?

    Our focus, as a government, should be to sustain a world-class status city through safety, cleanliness and livability to attracts investors and investments that will create job. We must also ensure that we address youth unemployment by supporting entrepreneurship and innovation through small business and start-up incentives and programs to transform our youth from job seekers to job creators.

    7. It seems City Council has been debating public transit forever with little results to show. How would you fund new transit projects to ease congestion for everyone? Do you feel we need to change the current transit planning process?

    The City of Toronto contributes a large of portion of the nation’s revenue. Therefore, the preservation of the city’s transit infrastructure to keep pace with the high level of growth should be a collective effort–with support from the federal and provincial level.

    8. Labour negotiations will be a big part of the next council term. What advice do you have for the city’s negotiating team to get the best deal for taxpayers?

    With the nation under the threat of financial crisis, we must ensure both public and private sectors equally share in the restoration of a stronger economy.

    9. Do you see opportunities for public-private partnerships (P3s) involving the City of Toronto? Where, specifically?

    The benefits of public-private partnerships extend not only to The City of Toronto and its residents, but also to tourists. For example, a partnership in the entertainment industry allows the city to build attractions and infrastructure that residents and tourists would benefit from at minimal or no cost to the taxpayers.

    10. What is the top issue of concern for residents in your ward? What will you do as Councillor to address the issue?

    Apart from maintaining low taxes and affordable social housing, building efficient and providing faster transit system seems to be one of the main issues the ward 2 residents are facing. As the elected Councillor, I look forward to working with MetroLinx, the Council, and TTC in providing a quick short and long term resolution to ensure faster commute time to downtown Toronto.

  • 1. Do you support a property tax cap ensuring future hikes are no greater than the rate of inflation?

    I do not support a tax cap, I believe budget increases though should be tied to inflation. To be clear I am for a tax rate increase only to meet inflationary pressure on the economy, but not beyond that point. I believe that a cap as a principal is a good idea, but not a practical one. If the city should need to raise revenue given an extreme circumstance of a freak weather event or large scale disaster in order to deal with said circumstance it would be difficult to keep the city’s budget in the black and a legal cap could hand cuff a potential city recovery. I think if a law could be drawn up that has a floating 2-3 year cap depending on circumstance, there could be wiggle room to enforce it through a legally binding process that leaves open an emergency scenario.

    2. Where, specifically, do you advocate finding savings in the current city budget?

    There are not a lot of savings to be had in the budget, and the expenditures are increasing every year. Really savings come from assistance from the upper levels of government, primarily the federal government (the Provinces finances are not the best) for once taking an interest in their largest municipal tax base. But investments in maintaining a modern and forward looking tech integrated city hall will reveal inefficiencies faster than in the traditionally murky bureaucracy. The duplication of efforts through man power can be easily determined through an efficient scheduling and organizational structure.

    3. Do you support reducing the size of Toronto City Council?

    I do not support reducing the size of council, as a member of a representative democracy I believe that the larger the body of elected officials to vote on an issue the closer to true representation we can have. Government is not about being fast, it is about getting the right things done, and hyper reactionary government often makes laws that don’t work. I don’t believe we need to be making more laws, we need to be actively trying to reduce old, poorly though out ones. Reducing the size of council would only boil down the people there to extreme points of view and probably entrench further their beliefs making voting more difficult and co-operation impossible. (But the premise of this question is that council hasn’t been doing anything. In my interviews with several city councillors this year for an online media co-op we found out that a lot has actually been done in the last couple years. Councillors stated that the only images we see about city hall are of a few distractions from governing by a very small number of people. These people shape the consciousness along with irresponsible journalism into a very distorted picture.)

    4. Will you support contracting out garbage collection east of Yonge Street?

    I) I would support contracting out garbage collection east of Yonge Street As a resident of a part of Toronto where we’ve had private contractors collecting our garbage for a long time I don’t see the need for two separate organizational process for garbage collection. Our garbage is picked up every week and the complaints are typically few and far between from the people I have spoken to about this issue.

    II) When it comes to contracting services out I am leery of the process for fear of the necessity of an oversight process from the city to maintain quality of services which could neutralize the cost benefits of contracting the services out. I feel that any deviation from a current services process must be met with the same quality service or higher and that each case of the contracting out of services must be looked at closely to ensure we won’t get into the middle of a contract and realize we’ve made a horrible mistake.

    5. What are your thoughts on the Municipal Land Transfer Tax – will you support reducing it or eliminating it?

    I am not a fan of the land transfer tax, but Toronto’s budget at this point doesn’t allow for much wiggle room on the tax. I do not support its increase and would argue for a slight reduction, but the math just doesn’t add up when it comes down to eliminating it, though my philosophical principals say that would be the correct way to proceed.

    6. Toronto’s unemployment rate is much higher than the provincial rate. What are your ideas to create job growth in Toronto?

    Toronto does not exist in a vacuum and is affected by global market trends, our unemployment rate has a lot to do with the segments of our economy that generate actual growth in a globalized world of low cost manufacturing. I believe we need to create innovative tax zones, (businesses pay a lot of money in taxes to the municipality). We see a horseshoe of development around the city’s border simply for the reduced tax rate companies can pay in the surrounding municipalities. I would propose the creation of business development zones with 3-5 year reduced tax rates for small and medium sized businesses, in areas of substantial commercial and manufacturing lands, (like in my ward which is about 50% residential/ 50% business). This temporary tax exemption zone would give small and medium sized companies which are the backbone of a real productive local economy, a chance to get off the ground before being clubbed by the tax man opening up funds for businesses to invest in employing people.

    7. It seems City Council has been debating public transit forever with little results to show. How would you fund new transit projects to ease congestion for everyone? Do you feel we need to change the current transit planning process?

    I disagree with the premise of the question, as we have had major efforts when it has come to public transit and will likely see most of the plans come to fruition before the Pan-Am games at the end of next summer. But the process is slow and does need an overhaul. We could fund new transit by taxing out of city drivers for the use of some of our roads with tolls. This might make people more inclined to take alternative methods, alleviating traffic and if not it generates revenue from those tolls. Toll roads for those who don’t pay our municipal taxes and free roads if your car is registered in Toronto. With this process in place I would moving forward support a small scale car registration fee as well of no more than $2.50 a month or 30$ a year simply to help pay for the increased amount of road work due to climate change related road deterioration(weathering) which is gradually becoming a bigger and bigger problem.

    8. Labour negotiations will be a big part of the next council term. What advice do you have for the city’s negotiating team to get the best deal for taxpayers?

    If you treat the opposing side as an enemy you will not succeed at getting a good deal done for the city. If they want everything, give them something and do not embitter and embolden them into a position of moral high ground by undercutting and forgetting their purpose(to make the quality of the lives of the employees under their banner better).You cannot afford to lose the PR(public relations) battle. Successful negotiation comes from a place of understanding the restricted budget, economic factors at play in the city and each other. Have several deals drawn up ahead of time so the process can feel like a dynamic negotiation,  you will then maintain the balance of power from the outset.

    9. Do you see opportunities for public-private partnerships (P3s) involving the City of Toronto? Where, specifically?

    P3s can be a valuable tool in the hands of government but I would have to get a full rundown of some of the infrastructure projects proposed in the next 4 years from the city manager, though the Gardiner does come to mind. It’s dated and ancient and needs a ton of work that city can’t very well afford by itself.  That being the case, a public private partnership could be fruitful in creating a long term investment strategy in road quality.

    10. What is the top issue of concern for residents in your ward? What will you do as Councillor to address the issue?

    Commute times and access to work. My ward is one of the furthest from the core, and we feel it every day. It takes longer and longer to get anywhere in the city. The city spent ungodly sums of money on a rail line to Pearson that literally goes through some of our backyards and our ward did not get the stop we desperately needed. The go line is infrequent in today’s world of shift work where not everyone works the exact hours of 9-5. I have proposed an increase in North/South bus frequency to and from the Bloor line in peak hours and an express bus on Islington(37) with an extension of the hours of the Royal York(73) line later into the evening. The TTC service in a large part of my ward is pitiful and this previous winter with a rapist on the loose the danger this presented to women at night became very real, very quickly. We just want our money to be put to use getting us the things we need in the city and not just what people elsewhere want.

  • 1. Do you support a property tax cap ensuring future hikes are no greater than the rate of inflation?

    Yes, absolutely, this is one of my top campaign points titled “Fair Taxes”.

    2. Where, specifically, do you advocate finding savings in the current city budget?

    I will begin by making the TTC more efficient, this is also one of my main campaign points titled “Efficient TTC”.

    3. Do you support reducing the size of Toronto City Council?

    I do not support reducing the size of city council.

    4. Will you support contracting out garbage collection east of Yonge Street?

    I support contracting out garbage collection east of Yonge St. I will also study the possibility of privatizing bus routes.

    5. What are your thoughts on the Municipal Land Transfer Tax – will you support reducing it or eliminating it?

    I support reducing the Land Transfer Tax and also eventually eliminating it.

    6. Toronto’s unemployment rate is much higher than the provincial rate. What are your ideas to create job growth in Toronto?

    “Job Growth” is also one of my main campaign points. We must work in coalition with the province to promote and attract industry to Toronto. City council must act as a sales force and represent the great City of Toronto as one of the most important cities of the world.

    7. It seems City Council has been debating public transit forever with little results to show. How would you fund new transit projects to ease congestion for everyone? Do you feel we need to change the current transit planning process?

    I will study public-private partnerships to fund new transit projects.

    8. Labour negotiations will be a big part of the next council term. What advice do you have for the city’s negotiating team to get the best deal for taxpayers?

    There are a number of cities in North America that have gone bankrupt. We can learn from other’s mistakes.

    9. Do you see opportunities for public-private partnerships (P3s) involving the City of Toronto? Where, specifically?

    Yes, I will study public-private partnerships involving transit.

    10. What is the top issue of concern for residents in your ward? What will you do as Councillor to address the issue?

    The top issue of concern for residents of Ward 2 is job growth. People are concerned with neighborhoods dying. As the city population grows, travel times will increase dramatically. Many people will depend on local jobs. Ward 2 has many industrial neighborhoods, we must attract businesses for job growth.

    As Councillor I will promote business opportunities in Ward 2 Etobicoke.

    • 1. Do you support a property tax cap ensuring future hikes are no greater than the rate of inflation?

      I am certainly a fiscal conservative who believes that City Council should be run like a business by watching how and where money is spent. As a resident and taxpayer of Etobicoke for the past 30 years, I know how frustrating it is to witness our politicians raise taxes because they have not been able to prioritize.

      To answer the question specifically, I would be in full support of a tax cap on property taxes ensuring that it rises no more than the rate of inflation. By doing this, council and city staff will be forced to work within a budget which is important for our city in order to live within our means and stay financially healthy. By not having a cap, spending could easily get out of control. We need to be in a position of making spending choices by prioritizing what is essential to the city to function properly.

      Having said this, I would be open to a small increase that would be directly funnelled to transit. I believe the city, other levels of government, users, and the private sector can and should all contribute to building our transit infrastructure. I will go into more detail when I answer question #7.

      2. Where, specifically, do you advocate finding savings in the current city budget?

      If I was elected councillor of my ward, I would like to hear from the city managers responsible for the budget. It should  be the Budget Chief who would have the most knowledge of the city budget and who hopefully has very little bias.

      I am aware that a very large portion of Toronto’s budget goes to Police Services. I realize that we need police to keep our city safe and in my opinion they do an excellent job. However, I also think that we can find savings within the force, mainly personnel. Overlapping shifts should be negotiated out of the next contract, time spent at the court house is wasteful, and overtime hours can be limited. Other means of reducing their budget should be  looked into and discussed.

      User fees for city run programs can also be increased. I realize that many residents may not like this idea but our programs are actually cheap when compared to other areas of Ontario. Programs for low income households should be maintained.

      3. Do you support reducing the size of Toronto City Council?

      The size of City Council as well as the number of School Board trustees should be reduced in half. I think that decisions can be made easier and quicker with a smaller sized council. Presently, it seems as though council is dysfunctional and split on ideology. With a smaller number, I feel that council would be more efficient and more can actually be accomplished.

      4. Will you support contracting out garbage collection east of Yonge Street?

      I support contracting out garbage east of Yonge Street 100%. I live in Etobicoke  and was happy to have had garbage pickup while other parts of Toronto did not during the Public Service strike a few years ago. Our garbage/recyclables are picked up every Friday from our driveway and there has never been an issue or problem. If the city is saving the amount of money that they claim to be, I really can’t see any reason not to extend privatization throughout the rest of the city. I realize that workers in these areas will be affected, however, most will be placed within the city workforce elsewhere. Most employees will adapt very well.

      I would be open to suggestions of privatizing other services. However, I would need to hear the pros and cons from non partisan experts. If the argument can be made that privatizing a certain service would improve efficiency, reduce costs, and benefit the public; I would certainly be open to supporting privatization.

      5. What are your thoughts on the Municipal Land Transfer Tax – will you support reducing it or eliminating it?

      The Municipal Land Transfer Tax would be difficult to reduce or eliminate at this time. As a tax payer, I would love to simply say that I would vote yes to eliminating it. However, the reality is that the city has become used to this revenue tool. If we were to eliminate it now, cuts would have to occur or another form of taxation would take its place. Expenses are increasing, I simply do not think the tax revenue generated from the Land Transfer Tax can be easily replaced . However, I would be open to suggestions and am open minded enough to consider other options.

      6. Toronto’s unemployment rate is much higher than the provincial rate. What are your ideas to create job growth in Toronto?

      The unemployment rate in Toronto is higher than one would think. Looking at the number of cranes, bidding wars, construction sites, and busy malls etc.; it is easy to think that unemployment would not be an issue.

      With real estate prices so high and business rentals also expensive, small business owners face a difficult task of staying afloat. I would be in support of a tax break for small business owners in their first year or two in order to give them a chance to become established.

      I would also encourage large companies to invest and establish themselves in my ward as well as other parts of the city as long as they took safety and environmental practices seriously.

      7. It seems City Council has been debating public transit forever with little results to show. How would you fund new transit projects to ease congestion for everyone? Do you feel we need to change the current transit planning process?

      Toronto Council has been discussing transit for as  long as I can remember. After decades of discussing a link from Union to Pearson, it looks as though air passengers will finally be able to travel downtown directly from the airport without fighting traffic.

      Transit seems to be the number one issue facing Toronto voters, and for good reason. Our politicians have neglected this for decades and the results have come to fruition. Not only does congestion affect everyday life for millions of people, it costs the economy upwards of 10 Billion dollars per year. Environmentally, exhaust from idling cars is a source of air pollution and smog.

      I believe that all three levels of government, the private sector, and users of the infrastructure all have a role to play in funding transit. We need a strong mayor and supportive council members to make decisions that will enable us to move towards building the necessary infrastructure. Much has been said about Mr. Tory’s, Ms. Chow’s, and Mr. Ford’s visions of transit in our city. In my opinion, the most important thing is they all know improved transit is important. Council can approve one of these plans or a hybrid of all or parts of them. What is important is that the decisions have to be made very soon and steps taken to start building the infrastructure soon after.

      8. Labour negotiations will be a big part of the next council term. What advice do you have for the city’s negotiating team to get the best deal for taxpayers?

      I think that the last round of negotiations went very well. Mr. Ford came into the position of mayor and was very  clear that savings would be found and that there was very little room for city employee raises. I think that coming in with a position of strength actually saved the city from a strike. This benefitted everyone, the city workers most of all. Workers in our city need to be treated with respect and in my opinion, they have excellent benefits and competitive salaries. I am not of the opinion that a fight needs to occur but if I was in the position to advise the negotiating team, I would advise them to come in with a very matter of fact, firm position. Fair but firm. The union would then know that the city was serious about keeping wage increases to a minimum and that there was no possibility of upward movement.

      9. Do you see opportunities for public-private partnerships (P3s) involving the City of Toronto? Where, specifically?

      Private-Public Partnerships are becoming more common and I think that the trend will continue going forward. Our transit crisis in this city can and should involve both the public and private sectors as I have touched on already . I am  sure that in order to complete the amount of work that needs to be done to build this infrastructure, partnerships will have to be formed out of necessity.  Toronto Hydro is another company that could benefit by privatizing or partnering.

      On a smaller scale but important and easily implemented would be a public-private partnership with school breakfast programs and private bakeries/coffee shops. Ms. Chow has proposed using 2 million more dollars to expand a breakfast program for school children. While I applaud her intentions and support feeding kids, I think there is a much better way of doing this. Every evening, large amounts of food is either thrown out or given to employees to take home. This food should be consumed by students who need it. Instead of using 2 million tax payer dollars, the city can hire a small group of employees to organize pick up and deliveries from the cafes/bakeries to the schools. Not only would this save a lot of money, it helps the environment by cutting down on waste.

      10. What is the top issue of concern for residents in your ward? What will you do as Councillor to address the issue?

       I think that the biggest issue in my Ward is the same issue that the rest of the city seems to be addressing, transit. I would listen to the residents concerns and address them with the people who plan and make decisions. If there are too many passengers for too few busses at certain times of the day or on specific routes, I think that this could be addressed fairly quickly. I would address this type of concern with planners at the TTC. The Finch LRT line is also something that needs to go forward. If I were to become Ward 2 Councillor, I would support and argue for its implentation.
      Issues for residents of this ward will probably vary as much as the demographic makeup of the area. I will address each issue as they arise and do my best to treat all of them with equal importance.

  • 1. Do you support a property tax cap ensuring future hikes are no greater than the rate of inflation?

    I tend to think that inflation is a misleading figure in municipal politics.  Inflation, as it pertains to the Consumer Price Index, does not include all factors that affect City spending.  Cities do not consume bread, clothing, and electronics; they consume wood, concrete, and asphalt. The conventional rate of inflation affects residents differently than it affects the City as an entity.  Increasing City revenues at the consumer rate of inflation may not be sufficient to meet budgetary gaps, to address state of good repair backlogs (of which there are many), to make the necessary investments in public infrastructure and social welfare, etc.  By refusing to peg tax increases to a sensible economic indicator, we also penalize residents in low to mid-priced homes by subjecting them to flat user fees. How much more are we paying now for utilities (e.g. Water, hydro), than we were 4 years ago? Those utilities do not take home values or income into account.  Before I could commit to any position regarding property tax increases, I think that it is necessary to establish the economic factors that affect a municipality and subsequently establish the difference between those factors and the Consumer Price Index.

    That said, raising property taxes beyond a nominal amount should require evidence-based decision-making that the tax increase would result in demonstrable benefits for ALL residents in the city.  Toronto enjoys municipal property tax rates lower than most other urban centres across the country, and yet has a greater need for services than any other urban centre simply by virtue of its size.  Simply put, we need services and we need to be able to fund them.  I recognize that a tax hike is the last thing that anybody wants, but I also recognize that using the rate of inflation as a barometer for raising property taxes is misleading at best and fiscally irresponsible at worst.

    2. Where, specifically, do you advocate finding savings in the current city budget?

    I support the position taken by mayoral candidate David Soknacki to find savings in the Toronto Police Service’s operating budget.  Toronto’s crime rate is dropping and we are seeing diminishing returns with respect to budget increases for the Toronto Police Service.  Further, all other City departments and agencies were asked to cut 10% from their budgets during the current mayoralty, but TPS was exempt from this, and even received a budgetary increase.  It is only fair that TPS be asked to find efficiencies and savings, since everyone else has already had to do so.

    3. Do you support reducing the size of Toronto City Council?

    No, I do not support reducing the size of Toronto City Council.  It would not be feasible for a smaller council to adequately represent the needs and interests of the enormously diverse demographics that make up the City of Toronto.  Wards in Etobicoke, for example, are already geographically huge.  These wards have their own local communities, and those communities have their own needs.  It would not be feasible to expect a councillor to adequately comprehend and address the issues affecting a ward the size of Wards 1 and 2 or 2 and 3, for example. They are simply too large and diverse. I would not support a City Council that leaves residents’ voices unheard.

    4. Will you support contracting out garbage collection east of Yonge Street?

    I will only support the contracting out of City Services if the following conditions are met:

    -        Safety is not compromised.  The City contracted out garbage collection to Green For Life, and in the process, we saw GFL’s safety rating downgraded due to repeated violations.  I am not prepared to sacrifice safety for dollars.

    -        Service standards do not decrease. It’s easy to save money if you don’t care about the quality of your services, but I don’t abide by that. Coming from the private sector, I understand that we aren’t by nature more efficient, nor do we naturally produce better quality goods and services. Inefficiencies and subpar work can be found throughout the spectrum, and the City needs to be concerned about much more than just its bottom line. What’s the point of contracting out and saving a few dollars if it means that residents receive demonstrably worse service?

    -        A formal, approved transition plan is implemented to ensure that public employees that would be affected by the contracting out of City services are not left out in the cold.  I don’t support contracting out services if it means that doing so raises our unemployment numbers.   Most of my previous work dealt with the newly unemployed, and to me these are not numbers. They’re families thrown into upheaval. I am not the type to pass the buck on our problems and ruin lives in the process.

    5. What are your thoughts on the Municipal Land Transfer Tax – will you support reducing it or eliminating it?

    Given the median price of Toronto real estate, across various housing types, the Municipal Land Transfer tax is very nearly a flat tax. I’m not a fan of flat taxes, as they disproportionally affect those with lower incomes. However If we eliminate or reduce the Municipal Land Transfer Tax, where do we make up the shortfall?  For very obvious reasons, we can’t let public employees go wholesale.  We certainly can’t keep raising user fees, as those increases hit our most vulnerable residents to an unacceptable degree (for example, compare the 12-month cost of a Metropass before and after the elimination of the Vehicle Registration Tax). Are we prepared to push that shortfall onto our annual property tax bills?  Simply put, the Municipal Land Transfer Tax is a one-time payment that helps keep annual property taxes low. If we are to eliminate it, I would need to see a fairer system implemented which does not leave another unwanted gap in the city’s budget.

    6. Toronto’s unemployment rate is much higher than the provincial rate. What are your ideas to create job growth in Toronto?

    In addition to advocating for increased commercial and residential in Ward 2, I propose the development of an Innovation Hub in Ward 2 that partners with local businesses and public services (specifically Toronto Public Library) to develop a computer programming and coding program for youth.  Toronto has a strong emerging technology and electronic entertainment sector, and my proposed Innovation Hub will allow local youth the opportunity to learn and get involved in coding and programming, which they can use in the pursuit of higher education at local institutions, and which will encourage the aforementioned technology and electronic entertainment industries to hire qualified local candidates.

    Further, I support revisiting the Woodbine entertainment complex proposal (formerly known as Woodbine Live) that the current mayoralty and Ward 2 councillor failed to secure.  The site for the project is the largest area of undeveloped land in the city and is bursting with potential.  A project of this scale is long overdue for Ward 2, and will result in many employment opportunities that will strongly benefit Ward 2.  The the indirect economic benefits of such a large project are enormous, and it’s unacceptable that this deal was allowed to fall through in the first place.  After consulting with various government and private sector entities, this project is still viable if the right Councillor were able to spearhead it with the City and the Province.

    7. It seems City Council has been debating public transit forever with little results to show. How would you fund new transit projects to ease congestion for everyone? Do you feel we need to change the current transit planning process?

    Transit planning needs to be left to planning experts, and politicians are rarely those experts.  It’s the politicians’ job to approve and fund those projects, not to squabble over the details.

    Toronto’s transit infrastructure needs serious attention and both short- and long-term solutions. We can’t keep changing plans to meet political goals – Rob Ford’s cancellation of Transit City has already cost the City $85 million in sunk costs, and we’re about to be on the hook for a further $1 billion  for a subway that doesn’t address the most pressing needs of the City. Especially not those of Ward 2.

    Both the Province of Ontario and the Government of Canada need to pay their fair share of the costs of transit expansion in Toronto, as Toronto is the economic engine for the country.  However, we cannot reasonably expect them to pay for the majority, not when the same story could be told of many urban centres across the country.  As such, Toronto needs to have a serious conversation about the fair implementation of revenue tools.  We aren’t going to find the necessary billions by cutting services and contracting out garbage – Rob Ford’s repeatedly-debunked “$1 billion savings” wasn’t sustainable in the long term even before it was discovered to be a lie.

    8. Labour negotiations will be a big part of the next council term. What advice do you have for the city’s negotiating team to get the best deal for taxpayers?

    We need to be clear that labour negotiations aren’t just about getting a good deal for taxpayers.  The City’s workforce is not a commodity that we should be buying for the lowest possible price.  The City is the largest employer in Toronto, and has a responsibility to invest in its workforce to the best of its abilities.  By investing in your workforce, you increase morale and you boost services.  Make the City a desirable place to work, and you’ll attract top-tier candidates for available positions.

    The most important advice I have for negotiating teams, both City and Union, is that we’re on the same side.  Unions want the best deal for their members, as is their wont, and the City wants the best deal for their employees that they as an employer can afford. As a private citizen and financial planner during the 2008 TTC wildcat strike, and the 2009 garbage workers’ strike, it bothered me immensely that we’d just encountered the most massive jobs and wealth destruction in decades, yet the unions were steadfast in their demands. Whether justified, the fact was that all of us were in the same boat, and had to make sacrifices. It was bad optics, and gave negotiations the public tinge of bad faith.

    That said, the acrimonious and toxic atmosphere of Rob Ford’s mayoralty will pass, and we’ll restore dignity and civility to the City and to Council.  It is incumbent upon all affected parties to treat each other with dignity and respect, and to understand that we are all invested in a common goal – happy, healthy employees that provide the highest-level of service to their stakeholders.

    9. Do you see opportunities for public-private partnerships (P3s) involving the City of Toronto? Where, specifically?

    I believe that Ward 2, specifically, will benefit from P3s with respect to my proposed Innovation Hub.  By working with Toronto Public Library, Ward 2 can get a foot in the door with respect to the instruction of information literacy, and by partnering with private agencies and institutions, we can expand the service in a sustainable, responsible, and fair manner.

    I also believe that Section 37 funding represents a form of P3.  Ward 2 is in dire need of low-level infrastructure investment.  Rob Ford was adamant not to accept Section 37 funding, and unfortunately his constituents paid the price.  There’s a dearth of family-friendly infrastructure in this Ward, such as well-developed and maintained parks, roads, playgrounds, and bike/pedestrian paths. Without well-developed infrastructure that makes Ward 2 a desirable place to live, and therefore a Ward that will attract more large-scale development, we will continue to remain one of Toronto’s most underdeveloped wards.  By pushing for better use of P3s, we can build a ward where people are happy to live and work.

    10. What is the top issue of concern for residents in your ward? What will you do as Councillor to address the issue?

    The lack of development in Ward 2 on all areas is the most serious issue that this Ward faces. By development, I mean interconnected neighbourhoods, with access to local amenities, and a thriving employment market. Ward 2 has bled thousands of jobs since 2000, due to shrinkage in the manufacturing and retail sectors. Additionally, lack of access to transit is a major irritant for residents; moving about our neighbourhoods is a very lengthy journey without the use of a vehicle. Our communities lack recreation facilities and healthy nutritional options (e.g. mid-range and discount grocery stores), which creates a “health desert” in the northern part of the ward. Individually, any of these factors is a major problem to be addressed, but taken in combination, any councillor should be embarrassed at having let conditions get this bad. It is a failure to residents, and to the City.

    As Councillor, I will help alleviate this problem by creating a more welcoming atmosphere for developers at the City – the acrimony of the past will remain in the past.  I will work with Council, with the residents and communities in Ward 2, and with developers to build a Ward that is attractive to businesses and the residents they will serve, and is sustainable for long-term community viability.

  • 1. Do you support a property tax cap ensuring future hikes are no greater than the rate of inflation?

    Yes, in principle I do agree with this proposal, there can however be unforeseen circumstances that may lead to an increase greater than the rate of inflation.  I vow that I will do my best to always keep our property taxes as low as possible.

    2. Where, specifically, do you advocate finding savings in the current city budget?

    Since I am a first time candidate, I cannot say with certainty where all our saving could be found, but I think we have to look at the Toronto Police Services where 40% of all its members according to media reports earn over 100,000 much of that due to overtime pay. We must also look closely at contracts with private companies to make sure the city is not over spending when outsourcing.

    3. Do you support reducing the size of Toronto City Council?

    No. You cannot put a cost savings on democracy. If the public is suspicious of their municipal politicians now, can you imagine what the possibility of future corruption with half the number of councillors?  The current number of our democratic body of representatives at city hall keeps councillors in check and forces them to be more accountable; a reduced council size will inevitably reduce our democracy.

    4. Will you support contracting out garbage collection east of Yonge Street?

    We have had contracted out garbage collection in my Ward 2 for many years now and seems to be working. My only hesitation would be not to give a monopoly to (1) one company. Competition always keeps cost and prices low. I also want to make sure that the current city employees do not lose their pensions or seniority as a result of privatization.

    5. What are your thoughts on the Municipal Land Transfer Tax – will you support reducing it or eliminating it?

    The Municipal Land Transfer Tax should at the very least be reduced, even better if we can eliminate it.

    6. Toronto’s unemployment rate is much higher than the provincial rate. What are your ideas to create job growth in Toronto?

    Specifically in Ward 2,  I  believe we need to help employers expand their business. There should be more training and co-op opportunities for students and those who wish to upgrade their skills. The City should work with Employers to help indentify the skill sets needed for the future workforce. The City should also help small business to a much greater extent than they do at present.

    7. It seems City Council has been debating public transit forever with little results to show. How would you fund new transit projects to ease congestion for everyone? Do you feel we need to change the current transit planning process?

    The City has failed to have a long term transit plan. City planners have allowed high-rises, skyscrapers to go up anywhere without first planning how this would effect traffic flow. In my opinion it is the developers of high-rises that should pay an additional level to the city in order to fund mass transit. Since the developers are causing congestion by putting tall structures where they please without care or thought of how it will impact transit, they should pay for the congestion they are creating. In addition, for the most part I don’t believe LRTs are the long term solution for Toronto, the only real long term solution are more subway lines.

    8. Labour negotiations will be a big part of the next council term. What advice do you have for the city’s negotiating team to get the best deal for taxpayers?

    The city’s negotiating team and the Labour negotiation team have to look at the big picture. We need an approach where everyone realizes we share this city and there is no use in taking extreme positions, there is only so much money to go around and we need both sides to work together. Building a consensus that leaves management and employees feeling this is both the best deal for taxpayers and the employees. The “them vs us” attitude does not work in negotiations, it only creates more division amongst people. I advocate a balanced approach in both Labour negotiations and in City Hall.

    9. Do you see opportunities for public-private partnerships (P3s) involving the City of Toronto? Where, specifically?

    At this time I am unaware of a specific public-private partnership involving the city of Toronto. I am open to the idea, however again I will emphasizes I do not support giving any (1) one company a city monopoly, I prefer to always have multiple private partnerships to ensure competition.

    10. What is the top issue of concern for residents in your ward? What will you do as Councillor to address the issue?

    The top concerns at Ward 2 reflect the same issues that effect all Torontonians that is transit and unemployment.

    I will work with business in the area to reduce any red tape at City Hall. I will advocate for more training centres and co-op programs for students trying to enter the workplace.

    In regards to transit we need to increase bus services, in particular at night for the many in the ward that work the later night shifts.

  • 1. Do you support a property tax cap ensuring future hikes are no greater than the rate of inflation?

    Taxes must be fair for residents to meet their expectations for city services. Tax
    caps often just push fee increases in other directions – like increasing the
    Municipal Land Transfer Tax or the water rate, and hard caps often guarantee
    that taxes will increase at that rate every year, meaning that it would be unlikely
    to ever have years with no increases (like in 2011). It would be more effective to
    address the hidden taxes that taxpayers must pay every day, simplifying the tax
    system and removing the required administrative oversight from the other forms of taxation.

    2. Where, specifically, do you advocate finding savings in the current city budget?

    After several years of cuts to the city budget and a projected surplus this year, we need to focus on the quality of city services and on deferred infrastructure
    maintenance before cutting anything else. It is less expensive for taxpayers to
    keep things in good working order than to replace them once they’re broken, so
    this approach is better for taxpayers in the long-term.

    3. Do you support reducing the size of Toronto City Council?

    The way City Council operates has been a main challenge since amalgamation.
    There is nothing automatic about the size of Council that determines how well it
    operates, as it is more about the quality of the people who are elected and how
    committed they are to doing a good job. Having a smaller Council risks making it more disconnected from taxpayers, which we often see at the provincial and
    federal levels. If the size of Toronto City Council were to be decreased,
    something else must be done to maintain residents’ ability to access City Hall.

    4. Will you support contracting out garbage collection east of Yonge Street?

    I support a comprehensive review of the cost and quality of both public and
    private collection in order to determine which gives taxpayers a better deal. This review applies to other services as well.

    5. What are your thoughts on the Municipal Land Transfer Tax – will you support reducing it or eliminating it?

    The Municipal Land Transfer Tax plays an important role in the current city
    budget. If it is going to be eliminated or reduced, there needs to be a plan to
    replace the lost revenue in the city budget. With a growing number of people
    relying on the sale of their home to fund their retirement, we need to make sure
    the Tax doesn’t disproportionately affect seniors.

    6. Toronto’s unemployment rate is much higher than the provincial rate. What are your ideas to create job growth in Toronto?

    It’s important to look at both unemployment and underemployment in the city, as more people are now working low-paid, part-time, and casual jobs, which brings down the standard of living and Toronto’s competitiveness levels. Improving transit infrastructure to reduce road congestion and ensuring proper zoning in the outer neighbourhoods to encourage more dense business development and liveable communities is key to attracting both well-trained residents and highquality employment.

    7. It seems City Council has been debating public transit forever with little results to show. How would you fund new transit projects to ease congestion for everyone? Do you feel we need to change the current transit planning process?

    Transit discussions have often been too short-sighted, with decisions changing
    every few years by different Councils. Transit planning shouldn’t be affected by
    the personal agendas of particular Councillors, but should be based on wellresearched proposals that take into account travel and growth patterns, cost, and longevity. Mid-project changes have needlessly cost taxpayers millions of dollars, delayed projects, and made traffic congestion worse. There are certain steps we can take that are both immediate and within the budget, like increasing the frequency and hours of bus service.

    8. Labour negotiations will be a big part of the next council term. What advice do you have for the city’s negotiating team to get the best deal for taxpayers?

    Bargaining in good faith is the best way for the City to avoid labour disruptions
    while also making sure that we’re living within our means.

    9. Do you see opportunities for public-private partnerships (P3s) involving the City of Toronto? Where, specifically?

    If private companies have ideas for how to improve the city and to work with the public to do it, then I support having that discussion. Ultimately, any P3 must be in the best interests of taxpayers and residents and must not leave them on the hook with all of the risk, and the public should benefit from the profits that might come from the project.

    10. What is the top issue of concern for residents in your ward? What will you do as Councillor to address the issue?

    The top concerns are good jobs and good roads and sidewalks. By making north
    Etobicoke a more attractive place to live and spend time, we can attract diverse,
    high-paying industries. This includes investments in transit, parks, and roads, but also building relationships with schools and training centres like the University of Guelph-Humber to connect local residents to both a good education and local jobs. !
    Improving roads takes more than just re-paving. Getting more people on buses
    reduces the wear and tear, increasing commercial density means more people
    can walk to the things they need, increasing the standard of materials and design of roads to have them last longer, and having projects inspected during
    construction to ensure they are being build well and won’t require preventable
    repairs.

  • 1. Do you support a property tax cap ensuring future hikes are no greater than the rate of inflation?

    I would support a property tax cap with no higher level than the rate of inflation.

    2. Where, specifically, do you advocate finding savings in the current city budget?

    I am not familiar with the budget at this time. I have some ideas but I do not wish to state them at this time. I would require researching the city documentation first.

    3. Do you support reducing the size of Toronto City Council?

    I believe council could be reduced in size. I believe some consider council to be a part time job.

    4. Will you support contracting out garbage collection east of Yonge Street?

    I will have to see the overall difference to the situation. It may well be the better route to contract .

    Other services will require a case by case study.

    5. What are your thoughts on the Municipal Land Transfer Tax – will you support reducing it or eliminating it?

    The municipal land transfer tax should be eliminated at best or reduced at the worst case scenario.

    6. Toronto’s unemployment rate is much higher than the provincial rate. What are your ideas to create job growth in Toronto?

    The employment rate in Toronto is an issue. To provide more and better employment the city needs to be open to business. If this requires changes to existing policies then we must get on with making the changes. This will entail licensing and building department policies and very likely zoning as well.

    7. It seems City Council has been debating public transit forever with little results to show. How would you fund new transit projects to ease congestion for everyone? Do you feel we need to change the current transit planning process?

    Public transit in this city must be improved. I believe subways are the way of the future. All other world class cities have built and are continuing to build subway systems. Light rail transit is at best a temporary endeavor. Streetcars are a blockage on the roads and a last century technology.

    I believe a public / private sector coalition will be the most cost effective strategy to fund transit projects.

    8. Labour negotiations will be a big part of the next council term. What advice do you have for the city’s negotiating team to get the best deal for taxpayers?

    In labour negotiations I would believe an honest and straightforward approach would be the best.

    9. Do you see opportunities for public-private partnerships (P3s) involving the City of Toronto? Where, specifically?

    I see the real possibility for public / private partnerships to complete projects and infrastructure maintenance.

    10. What is the top issue of concern for residents in your ward? What will you do as Councillor to address the issue?

    No Response Received.

  • 1. Do you support a property tax cap ensuring future hikes are no greater than the rate of inflation?

    yes, I do support tax hikes cap of no greater than inflation. As a matter of fact I think that homeowners are already paying too much taxes. If we continue the way we are going, how would our young people be able to afford a home in the next few years?

    2. Where, specifically, do you advocate finding savings in the current city budget?

    There are too many poor decisions made by council that is costing Torontonians millions of dollars. Case in point, the fixed link bridge decision a few years ago, how much did scuttling that project cost taxpayers? Today we are building an underground tunnel, do you think that council would spend their own money in that fashion?  what about the nightmare on StClair avenue with that concrete barrier that has destroyed the street? Then there is the police chief, if we have to pay him a full salary for a year , why would we let him go ? why not let him continue on for the year before letting him go.

    3. Do you support reducing the size of Toronto City Council?

    I do support reducing the size of Toronto Council, I think that some of the wards in the downtown area  could be merged in order to result in a more equitable representation for the amalgamated areas (Etobicoke, North York and Scarborough). I am sure that it will improve how council operates since I think that there is too much ward hugging that still occurs in council , 15 years after amalgamation.

    4. Will you support contracting out garbage collection east of Yonge Street?

    Yes, I would support contracting out garbage collection east of Yonge Street, I live in Etobicoke where the garbage collection was contracted out for years now and for the last 10 plus years we have never experienced a garbage strike, I am very happy with the garbage collection services in my area.
    I would support privatisation of the TTC and Park services.

    5. What are your thoughts on the Municipal Land Transfer Tax – will you support reducing it or eliminating it?

    I support eliminating the land transfer tax , it was implemented as a tax grab by the previous administration, it should be eliminated.

    6. Toronto’s unemployment rate is much higher than the provincial rate. What are your ideas to create job growth in Toronto?

    We need to open up our city to business, it has been closed for too long by the policies of the previous administration. We need to stop finding any and all excuses to close off our streets to businesses. We also need to lengthen the runway at the Island Airport so that it is convenient for business people to access the city. There is a need to reduce the taxes for businesses  that are operating in the city which will allow them to stay competitive and in addition attract new businesses.

    7. It seems City Council has been debating public transit forever with little results to show. How would you fund new transit projects to ease congestion for everyone? Do you feel we need to change the current transit planning process?

    I think that there are room for a more streamlined TTC in addition, the funding for new transit projects needs to come from a combination of sources which are (1)The Federal government  (2)The Provincial government  (3) A modest increase in fares combined with a more streamlined and efficient TTC organisation. I do not think that it is fair for Torontonians alone to foot the bill for the TTC since it is a service that is used by many in the GTA/province.

    8. Labour negotiations will be a big part of the next council term. What advice do you have for the city’s negotiating team to get the best deal for taxpayers?

    Three words, Privatisation, Privatisation, Privatisation.

    9. Do you see opportunities for public-private partnerships (P3s) involving the City of Toronto? Where, specifically?

    I think that there may be opportunities for public-private partnerships, however I would be very suspicious of the way these types of contracts are written because I feel that eventually the city will be shafted in the end, regardless of how advantageous it appears in the initial stages.

    10. What is the top issue of concern for residents in your ward? What will you do as Councillor to address the issue?

    Residents of my ward have felt a bit left out in the cold over the last few years. I will ensure that they are fully represented in council and that their concerns are addressed on a regular basis.

  • 2014 City Council Election: Ward 18 – Davenport

    The Incumbent:

    Ana Bailão

    The Race

    Ward 18 Davenport is a ward with a median income below the city average with a mix of pensioners and young adult residents. Reasonable taxation should be top of mind for any person representing this ward at City Hall. There is willingness from both the incumbent Councillor and her opponents to find efficiencies in government and explore private partnerships. Would have liked to see more support for cutting the size of City Council.

    Candidates Who Did Not Participate: Bobby Beckett, Joseph Ferrari, Jolene Hunt, Alex Mazer, Jim McMillan, Derek Power, Robert Rodrigues

    The Breakdown

    • Candidate Response
      Alves, Paul Yes
      Bailão, Ana Supports tax relief rebate program
      Pavao, Dennis Yes
      Romao, Elsa Yes
      Uddin, Mohammed No


    • Candidate Response
      Alves, Paul Stop cancelling funded TTC projects. Councillor constituency offices.
      Bailão, Ana Police services budget and continue to identify departmental efficiencies.
      Pavao, Dennis The city spends more on debt charges than it does Toronto Public Health. Cut overtime paid duty for police officers.
      Romao, Elsa Review the budget and see what is being utilized and what makes sense. Remove the items that don't.
      Uddin, Mohammed Consider savings within the police budget. Dollars can be shifted to housing, parks, transit, infrastructure, and other higher priority services.


    • Candidate Response
      Alves, Paul No
      Bailão, Ana No
      Pavao, Dennis No
      Romao, Elsa No
      Uddin, Mohammed Yes


    • Candidate Response
      Alves, Paul Yes
      Bailão, Ana No
      Pavao, Dennis Yes
      Romao, Elsa Yes
      Uddin, Mohammed Yes


    • Candidate Response
      Alves, Paul Yes to elimination
      Bailão, Ana 10% of the Land Transfer Tax should be dedicated to affordable housing repairs, which improves neighbourhoods.
      Pavao, Dennis Yes to elimination once the city cuts waste and pays off its debt.
      Romao, Elsa Yes to reducing
      Uddin, Mohammed Yes to elimination


    • Candidate Response
      Alves, Paul Create conditions for job growth by relieving gridlock and improve our transit.
      Bailão, Ana Champion Social Procurement Initiatives which assists young people in upgrading their skills. Supports a low commercial tax rate. Increase tax incentives for business especially to under-developed areas of the city.
      Pavao, Dennis Promote entrepreneurship. Ensure companies stay and do business in Toronto.
      Romao, Elsa Technology and smart construction.
      Uddin, Mohammed Create jobs with community infrastructure programs. After-school youth employment programs.


    • Candidate Response
      Alves, Paul Build planned LRT lines instead of subways or more buses.
      Bailão, Ana Supported new transit-dedicated revenue tools at Council because they provide reliable investment. Provincial and federal governments must support transit infrastructure. Set annual construction target, for example, 1km of subway track per year.
      Pavao, Dennis Traffic light synchronization. Push federal and provincial governments for more funding.
      Romao, Elsa Hire more than one construction company and work with more than one union to start 24 hour job sites. The job will get done faster with less overtime.
      Uddin, Mohammed Need a long-term plan for transit development. Build more subways. Provincial and federal governments must aid in funding.


    • Candidate Response
      Alves, Paul This isn't about taxpayers vs city staff, we are all taxpayers and we all rely on city staff to keep the city functioning.
      Bailão, Ana Be fair with employees and work collaboratively to reach solutions that deliver the best service at the best price.
      Pavao, Dennis Considering city debt, there is not room for pay increases. City workers have to do their job efficiently.
      Romao, Elsa More than one union can work at a job site in shifts eliminating overtime. Open to using private labour if they are registered with the city.
      Uddin, Mohammed Does not support cutting wages.


    • Candidate Response
      Alves, Paul Yes, particularly, within subway stations.
      Bailão, Ana Will consider proposals and weigh them on their merits.
      Pavao, Dennis Yes
      Romao, Elsa No opinion


    • Candidate Response
      Alves, Paul Transit and gridlock.
      Bailão, Ana Affordability, especially in transit and housing. For affordable housing – as Chair, partnered with the private sector to deliver significant results without private investment by streamlining permitting and reducing red tape for developers.
      Pavao, Dennis Traffic congestion and eliminating inefficiencies.
      Romao, Elsa Traffic congestion, parking, children's education, elderly care.
      Uddin, Mohammed Transparency and accessibility to elected representative. Bus schedules must be revised to accommodate growing population.

     

    The full responses

    • 1. Do you support a property tax cap ensuring future hikes are no greater than the rate of inflation?

      I do.

      2. Where, specifically, do you advocate finding savings in the current city budget?

      First off, we should stop cancelling TTC projects that are already funded.  My team also has a plan to save millions on councillor constituency offices.

      3. Do you support reducing the size of Toronto City Council?

      No. Absolutely not.  Reducing the size of council would make it nearly impossible for a middle class candidate to even attempt a campaign.  Once elected, their ward would be larger, making an even greater disconnect between council and citizen.  The ward office would have to hire more staff, so the savings wouldn’t be much.  This is a terrible idea.  44 brains are better than 22, any day.

      4. Will you support contracting out garbage collection east of Yonge Street?

      Yes.  the private collection west of Yonge Street has worked great.  For the first time in my life I saw a garbage collector stop and sweep up my sidewalk because he dropped some items.  The service level has gone up in my humble opinion.

      5. What are your thoughts on the Municipal Land Transfer Tax – will you support reducing it or eliminating it?

      This needs to go.  I’ve consulted with a few real estate agents, and they all say the same thing, that this tax is stifling our real estate market.

      6. Toronto’s unemployment rate is much higher than the provincial rate. What are your ideas to create job growth in Toronto?

      Government doesn’t create jobs unless they are government jobs. Government creates the atmosphere with the right conditions that allow job growth.  One way to do this is relieve the gridlock and improve our transit.

      7. It seems City Council has been debating public transit forever with little results to show. How would you fund new transit projects to ease congestion for everyone? Do you feel we need to change the current transit planning process?

      We need to go ahead with the planned LRT lines. They are cheaper to build, quicker to implement, and faster than buses or subways.  Politicians need to stop cancelling ALREADY FUNDED lines out of spite. It’s cost us hundreds of millions.

      8. Labour negotiations will be a big part of the next council term. What advice do you have for the city’s negotiating team to get the best deal for taxpayers?

      The best deal for taxpayers is a fair deal.  This isn’t about taxpayers vs city staff, we are all taxpayers and we all rely on city staff to keep the city functioning.

      9. Do you see opportunities for public-private partnerships (P3s) involving the City of Toronto? Where, specifically?

      There are lots of opportunities for PPP.  I see opportunites to do more with the TTC, specifically amenities at subway station locations.  We currently have a lack of bathrooms across the system. I’m sure Tim Horton’s or another company would build some bathrooms and maintain them in return for a spot to sell coffee.  Everybody wins.

      10. What is the top issue of concern for residents in your ward? What will you do as Councillor to address the issue?

      Transit. Gridlock.  As Councillor, I will push to get TTC projects underway. It’s time to stop talking and start building.

    • 1. Do you support a property tax cap ensuring future hikes are no greater than the rate of inflation?

      As a Councillor representing an area where the median income is below the average, I have a responsibility to balance the need for affordability with the expansion of new services. This need for affordability also highlights the continued existence of programs such as the Tax Relief Rebate, which I strongly support and which will need to be enhanced.

      With the huge backlog in infrastructure and the continuing growth of our city, delaying repairs can have much higher costs later. I will be a strong and reasonable voice on ensuring that we make responsible financial decision in the best interests of our city and my community.

      2. Where, specifically, do you advocate finding savings in the current city budget?

      I believe there are efficiencies to be identified in the Police Services budget without negatively impacting safety in our city. I will continue to support reports at Council to identify departmental efficiencies, which have successfully identified savings in recent years.

      3. Do you support reducing the size of Toronto City Council?

      Municipal government is the most accessible and transparent level of government and it is in the best interest of Toronto residents for this to continue. I do not believe that reducing the size of Council would result in significant savings and has the opposing risk to reduce service and accessibility to the public.

      By reducing the number of Councillors we would be expanding the area being represented and the number of residents in each Ward. To maintain good service, Councillors would require a larger staff and increased budgets – minimizing any potential savings.

      Furthermore, the additional residents would also make it more difficult to schedule meetings directly with the Councillor. Residents deserve excellent service and access to their elected representatives; until savings can be made without sacrificing this, Council should remain at its current size.

      4. Will you support contracting out garbage collection east of Yonge Street?

      I do not support expanding the contracting out of garbage east of Yonge Street. The current combination of public and private garbage collection service has created a healthy competition, which promotes a high-level of service quality and results in good value for Toronto residents.

      5. What are your thoughts on the Municipal Land Transfer Tax – will you support reducing it or eliminating it?

      Currently the city relies heavily on the Municipal Land Transfer Tax and, without a viable replacement, it would be irresponsible to eliminate it. I do, however, believe strongly in building a stronger relationship between taxes and returns; people have a right to clearly understand how this money impacts them.

      It is for this reason that I advocated for 10% of the Land Transfer Tax to be dedicated to affordable housing repairs. These repairs improve neighbourhoods and, in turn, improve property values for the surrounding homeowners.

      By pegging issue-specific revenue to issue-specific investment we build greater public trust in the responsible spending of public money.

      6. Toronto’s unemployment rate is much higher than the provincial rate. What are your ideas to create job growth in Toronto?

      On Council, I have championed Social Procurement initiatives, which assists young people in upgrading their skills and increasing their employability. I also led initiatives to prevent the exploitation of workers through sub-contracting – as temporary and low-wage positions increase employment volatility in our city.

      We must also be strong proponents of our business community. I voted to support a low commercial tax-rate, which allows Toronto to remain competitive with other cities. This keeps jobs in Toronto and reduces the burden on our small-businesses.

      Moving forward, we can continue to achieve this by increasing tax-incentives for businesses, especially to commercially under-developed areas of our city.

      7. It seems City Council has been debating public transit forever with little results to show. How would you fund new transit projects to ease congestion for everyone? Do you feel we need to change the current transit planning process?

      I supported our city’s first dedicated, long-term funding of major transit expansion and a voted for a strong transit vision that builds for our city’s current and future needs. For our city to grow, we must ensure sustainable dedicated funding to transit continues. For this reason, I supported new transit-dedicated revenue tools at Council and the next term of Council must finally approve these new tools to reliably invest in building transit.

      We must also recognize the critical role that the Provincial and the Federal governments have in supporting Toronto’s transit infrastructure. We must continue to make the case for their involvement and ensure that these government partners know their responsibility in providing better transit to Canada’s largest city – for economic as well as social reasons.

      While our city is in no position to take on large projects alone, we can absolutely be setting annual construction targets and responsibly allocating sustainable funding towards reaching these transit goals. While 20 kilometres of subway would cripple our current city budget, 1 kilometre per year is manageable.

      We cannot go back in time but we can make changes now and for the future. I believe residents are ready to cut through rhetoric and have a serious conversation about good transit and how it is paid for.

      8. Labour negotiations will be a big part of the next council term. What advice do you have for the city’s negotiating team to get the best deal for taxpayers?

      I have always believed in paying people a good wage for good work, I believe this is what makes our city strong. We need to be fair with our employees and we need to work collaboratively to reach solutions that deliver the best service at the best price. We must never forget that our employees, and their families, are also our residents and that we all benefit from a good deal.

      9. Do you see opportunities for public-private partnerships (P3s) involving the City of Toronto? Where, specifically?

      I am a strong believer in being broad-minded and making evidence-based decisions. It is our obligation to the public to fully investigate every option and Public-Private Partnerships are an important part of this investigation. I would welcome the opportunity to review any such proposal and weigh it on its merits.

      10. What is the top issue of concern for residents in your ward? What will you do as Councillor to address the issue?

      Affordability is a primary concern for my area, especially for transit and housing. For transit, I have been able to initiate traffic studies to optimize light-signal timing, create community traffic management committees and deliver new articulating buses for improved efficiency on the Dufferin 29 route.

      For housing, I have worked as Chair of the Affordable Housing Committee to partner with the Private Sector and deliver significant results without public investment. By simply stream-lining permitting and reducing red-tape for developers of affordable housing we have guaranteed the creation of 7,783 new affordable homes and 13,174 new jobs in our city over a three year period.

      Our potential is only limited by our desire to innovate and be good business partners.

    • 1. Do you support a property tax cap ensuring future hikes are no greater than the rate of inflation?

      I agree with the cap. This should not be a reason to hike property taxes at the rate of inflation every time the city has a shortfall and needs money. It not a spending allowance. The main problem I see with property taxes is equality. You can have 2 similar houses on the same street paying 2 different property taxes.

      2. Where, specifically, do you advocate finding savings in the current city budget?

      The city budget spent $428.6 million or 4.4% on debt charges. This is more than the expenditures for Toronto Public Health $246.3 million, long term care homes and services $231.8 million and the list goes on.. As a business entrepreneur, success for me is described as when the “company” has no debit and is generating a profit.

      One example is the paid duty officers that are hired for road construction getting overtime pay.  Cut the overtime and hire more officers.

      3. Do you support reducing the size of Toronto City Council?

      No. If a city councillor is well informed about his city and takes the initiative to learn and contribute his findings then they would bring something valuable to the table. There is always room for improvements.

      4. Will you support contracting out garbage collection east of Yonge Street?

      Yes, it’s proving to be financially beneficial.  When these contracts go for tender we have to make sure that we have a good pool of companies to get competitive pricing.

      5. What are your thoughts on the Municipal Land Transfer Tax – will you support reducing it or eliminating it?

      This tax was reduced from 1.75% down to 1.25% which generated $11.8 million. Once the city cuts it waste and pays off its debt then I can see doing away with it. One more good reason for living in and doing business in Toronto.

      6. Toronto’s unemployment rate is much higher than the provincial rate. What are your ideas to create job growth in Toronto?

      When have to promote entrepreneurship, this is the area where most jobs are created.  At the same time we have to ensure that companies stay and keep doing business in Toronto.

      7. It seems City Council has been debating public transit forever with little results to show. How would you fund new transit projects to ease congestion for everyone? Do you feel we need to change the current transit planning process?

      We have to get traffic moving and ease congestion by getting the lights synchronized. The city has to push the federal and provincial governments for funding. In-efficiencies have to be eliminated. Increasing the fair of the TTC would eventually make it un-affordable and result in fewer passengers. I’m sure there was a time when the TTC actually made a profit?

      8. Labour negotiations will be a big part of the next council term. What advice do you have for the city’s negotiating team to get the best deal for taxpayers?

      The City Council has to reiterate that with the debt that its carrying that there’s not much room for pay increases. People working for the city have to remember that at the end of the day they have to do their job efficiently. These city workers who know there job best have to speak up otherwise outsourcing will be introduced.

      9. Do you see opportunities for public-private partnerships (P3s) involving the City of Toronto? Where, specifically?

      Yes, as long as it benefits the people of this great city.

      10. What is the top issue of concern for residents in your ward? What will you do as Councillor to address the issue?

      From speaking with the residents there are a number of concerns that are priority. One of them being traffic congestion and the other is eliminating in-efficiencies.

      I would push for street light synchronizing to get traffic moving. As for in-efficiencies this has to be brought up before the Council and we would have to focus in on every aspect of what it takes to make this city run.

      Note:

      I want to express my sincere apologies on the brief answers. These type questions really do take time to analyze and answer. On a brighter note I totally support the Toronto Taxpayers Coalition.

      I think it’s time to cut waste and make the city accountable on its frivolous spending habits. Spending the taxpayer’s money any way they choose to, is not the way to run a city.

    • 1. Do you support a property tax cap ensuring future hikes are no greater than the rate of inflation?

      Yes.

      2. Where, specifically, do you advocate finding savings in the current city budget?

      We need to look at the city budget and see what it being most utilized and what makes sense and then put a motion to remove the items that don’t make sense so that we may save on raising taxes during these economic challenging times we have been facing.

      3. Do you support reducing the size of Toronto City Council?

      I dont not approve on reducing the size I think we should add more wards and have more councillors and their pay should be based on performance.

      4. Will you support contracting out garbage collection east of Yonge Street?

      At this point it seems financially sound to continue to contract out and save tax payers extra money.

      5. What are your thoughts on the Municipal Land Transfer Tax – will you support reducing it or eliminating it?

      It is a tax we have grown accustomed to thus I would not increase it but would support a reduction.

      6. Toronto’s unemployment rate is much higher than the provincial rate. What are your ideas to create job growth in Toronto?

      Technology and smart construction are two ways to create more jobs and eliminate the contract min wage work that is rising in TO.

      7. It seems City Council has been debating public transit forever with little results to show. How would you fund new transit projects to ease congestion for everyone? Do you feel we need to change the current transit planning process?

      I think that transit is still going to be a hot mess for the next 5 years whether we take one plan or another, what we need to do is hire more than one construction company and work with more than one Union and start 24 hr job sites so that the job gets done faster and eliminating paying overtime to one company only. Thus faster turn around on the job getting done and saving tax payers thousands of dollars by not having to pay overtime, fair wages and decongesting roads faster for easy traffic flow.

      8. Labour negotiations will be a big part of the next council term. What advice do you have for the city’s negotiating team to get the best deal for taxpayers?

      Reaching a verdict with a timely manner and in case we can not agree in council to have a mediator work with council to get the best results and save tax payers dollars by moving forward.I think that council should vote on keeping standing Union agreements but also add that more then one Union can work at a job site in shifts to eliminate paying overtime and we should open the city jobs to private companies too as long as they are registered with the city we should pay the same fair wages and try to fix city problems in a faster a timely manner by giivng small companies work during the Winter times that are harder to obtain work thus eliminating the Unemployment Insurance use EI.

      9. Do you see opportunities for public-private partnerships (P3s) involving the City of Toronto? Where, specifically?

      No opinion.

      10. What is the top issue of concern for residents in your ward? What will you do as Councillor to address the issue?

      Congested traffic and parking are a main issue and the children education, elderly care and traffic.

    • 1. Do you support a property tax cap ensuring future hikes are no greater than the rate of inflation?

      As I believe, taxation is a crucial part to the development of the community’s infrastructure. This funds community programs and development which in turn grows the community. If the tax money is being spent in the right way, paying this property tax will ultimately benefit the people who are paying them. Form the conversations  I had, residents feel that if they are updated on where and how their hard earned money is being spent they do not mind paying it. As a home owner I understand that living in a house can be quite expensive, but if the community surrounding it is better developed the value of the property is greater.

      2. Where, specifically, do you advocate finding savings in the current city budget?

      The city budget should be re-evaluated; cutting unnecessary expenses and putting it toward areas where it’s needed the most. One that needs to be considered is the police budget. From every $1 earned, $0.85 goes into it. Some may argue that cutting the police budget will be cutting the front-line officers, but many other cities have reduced their budget successfully without this problem. Shifting a few dollars from within the administration will mean investments in housing, parks, transit, infrastructure development and other services that require a higher priority. Doing so, we can maximize on city development without minimizing its safety

      3. Do you support reducing the size of Toronto City Council?

      Yes I agree we should cut the size of Toronto city Council to follow in suit with the amount of MPP’s we have in GTA. As a result we will be able save millions of dollars which can put towards city infrastructure, transit and other high priority developments.

      4. Will you support contracting out garbage collection east of Yonge Street?

      I feel that contracting out garbage collection is beneficial to residents. If we compare our current service to the service of when it was public, a better and quality work is being done now. Garbage is being picked up on schedule with very little error. I would rather spend a few extra cents to ease the lives of our community members than save money.

      5. What are your thoughts on the Municipal Land Transfer Tax – will you support reducing it or eliminating it?

      Yes, I support the elimination of the Municipal Land Transfer Tax.

      6. Toronto’s unemployment rate is much higher than the provincial rate. What are your ideas to create job growth in Toronto?

      Creating jobs start off with addressing a place where work needs to be done. As we begin to fund community and infrastructure projects many jobs would be created and along with a growing community, local business would grow also creating more local jobs. To aid with youth employment, we would push for after school youth employment programs to increase their experience and knowledge of the workplace.

      7. It seems City Council has been debating public transit forever with little results to show. How would you fund new transit projects to ease congestion for everyone? Do you feel we need to change the current transit planning process?

      Since February I started knocking doors and as I learned from conversing with ward 18 residents, transit is the no.1 concern all over Toronto including this ward. Now the questions arise of how will we address this? Where would the fundings come from and how can this congestion be resolved?

      The city of Toronto has already been built; we do not have much resource to edit what has been done. The only solution to improve the transit sector is by developing the subway system. Such success can be seen in Munich-Germany, New York, Tokyo and London. Doing so, it would increase traffic flow above ground, create faster commute, make reliable schedules with lower maintenance and operating cost which ultimately will eliminate congestion.

      60-70 years ago the Gardiner Express was built, but now according to experts, within 10 years its validity will be up and needs to be torn down. This would be costing tax payers billions on top of which it would also be creating a hectic scene for commuters. We need a long term plan for transit development so that there are no unnecessary expenses. The solution to which I believe can only be done by developing on top of our current subway system.

      To make such a project come true, we would need to build on the Federal-Provincial and Municipal partnership to aid in funding the Toronto Subway extension plan.

      8. Labour negotiations will be a big part of the next council term. What advice do you have for the city’s negotiating team to get the best deal for taxpayers?

      I do not support the cutting of wages of the hard working people who spend day and night working, but still are undervalued. Cutting wages ultimately does not benefit anyone. If Labours are unhappy their work would be of the same quality.

      9. Do you see opportunities for public-private partnerships (P3s) involving the City of Toronto? Where, specifically?

      The private sector accepts responsibility and risk of design, financing, construction and maintenance of the project- the city retains ownership of all assets (This is not privatization). P3s engage the expertise and discipline of the private sector to deliver better value of the tax payer’s money with reduced cost and construction time.

      10. What is the top issue of concern for residents in your ward? What will you do as Councillor to address the issue?

      Knocking over 30,000 doors, I have had the privilege to talk to ward 18 residents and better understand the common/ high priority issues we are facing now in our community. As a resident here myself, I feel that the issues that really need to be addressed are –

      The transparency and accessibility to elected representative:

      Everyone should feel free to walk in and out of their councillor’s office without an appointment and be able to voice their issues. Routine updates should also be provided to show completed projects and action plans.

      Transit:

      In our area, transit is very congested especially in public transit. Bus schedules should be revised also more busses are needed to accommodate the growing population in our community.  Improvements should be made to the infrastructure so that grid-locks may be avoided

    2014 City Council Election: Ward 17 – Davenport

    The Incumbent:

    Cesar Palacio

    The Race

    In 2006, incumbent Councillor Cesar Palacio was elected with less than 300 hundred votes separating him from opponent Alejandra Bravo. This year, they participate in a re-match and the dynamics of the race haven’t changed. This ward faces a clear choice between a candidate committed to respecting taxpayers and business development, or a path towards higher taxes and unwise spending. Ward 17 has a high population of pensioners and immigrants. Who will best represent them?

    Candidates Who Did Not Participate: George Stevens

    The Breakdown


    • Candidate Response
      Bravo, Alejandra No
      Palacio, Cesar Yes
      Selvam, Saeed Yes


    • Candidate Response
      Bravo, Alejandra Cancel the Scarborough subway
      Palacio, Cesar Reduce middle management throughout city divisions. Streamline management levels in the TTC without compromising front line service. Contract out garbage collection east of Yonge St. Harmonize procurement practices between City agencies, boards, and commissions. Review 48% of City Operating Budget for efficiencies in salaries and benefits.
      Selvam, Saeed Reduce budget in higher expense areas first. Focus on smaller line-items not being spent effectively.


    • Candidate Response
      Bravo, Alejandra No
      Palacio, Cesar Yes
      Selvam, Saeed No


    • Candidate Response
      Bravo, Alejandra No
      Palacio, Cesar Yes. Also city legal services, parts of Buildings Divisions and Planning Division, and contracting out parking enforcement. Leasing municipal golf courses to private sector.
      Selvam, Saeed Yes


    • Candidate Response
      Bravo, Alejandra No
      Palacio, Cesar Yes to reducing by 10%
      Selvam, Saeed No


    • Candidate Response
      Bravo, Alejandra Reduce the commercial property tax rate relative to residential rates. Ensure policies on procurement of goods and services and construction of new infrastructure. Make sure unemployed people have access opportunities after re-training.
      Palacio, Cesar Reduce business tax for small business to 2.5%. Eliminate "Education Tax" within the property tax system for small businesses. Promote the City as a place to do business and invest.
      Selvam, Saeed Make Toronto appealing to investors to attract job opportunities. Focus on entrepreneurship and start-up grants by enhancing Enterprise Toronto and NGOs.


    • Candidate Response
      Bravo, Alejandra Reverse cuts to TTC and increase bus service. Cancel Scarborough subway for LRT. Provincial and federal governments need to return to the table with funding.
      Palacio, Cesar Open a reserve account to fund future transit projects. Need to create a fair and sustainable funding formula dedicated to transit infrastructure. Push for National Transit Strategy with federal government. Work in partnership with private sector.
      Selvam, Saeed Support the Anne Golden Report calling for the province to generate money for transit and getting a fair share from provincial and federal levels of government.


    • Candidate Response
      Bravo, Alejandra The City needs to negotiate with labour unions in good faith to secure contracts that offer good value for the public and fair wages and working conditions.
      Palacio, Cesar Get value for taxpayers' money. Make provisions with management staff to provide essential services in case of labour disruptions.
      Selvam, Saeed Get the best deal for the City with balance between jobs, services, and rights.


    • Candidate Response
      Bravo, Alejandra Partner with not-for-profit and community agencies to deliver services. Does not support privatization of city services to the for-profit sector.
      Palacio, Cesar Yes in building public transit infrastructure and for affordable housing.
      Selvam, Saeed P3s can be used to expand retail activity in transit stations. Will consider P3s through cost-benefit analysis.


    • Candidate Response
      Bravo, Alejandra Unemployment. Construction of Eglinton Crosstown. Lack of green space and recreational centres. Concerns over community safety.
      Palacio, Cesar Property taxes must be held to rate of inflation or below. De-congesting the bottleneck of traffic at the western end of the St. Clair Right-of-Way. A solution must be reached and funding has been put aside for it.
      Selvam, Saeed Transit; Affordable housing; Safety and security; Cleanliness; Business development and jobs – these issues are all connected. Necessary road repairs and solving the St. Clair Bottleneck.

    The full responses

    • 1. Do you support a property tax cap ensuring future hikes are no greater than the rate of inflation?

      We need to set property tax rates at an appropriate level to provide services that Torontonians rely on.  Tax rate increases need to recognize rates of inflation and population growth. We need to make sure tax rates are affordable, particularly for people on fixed incomes.

      2. Where, specifically, do you advocate finding savings in the current city budget?

      The first and most glaring example of savings in the City budget is eliminating the unnecessary Scarborough subway, which will cost at least $1 billion more than the fully funded LRT plan, and saddle property tax payers with a 30 year tax hike.

      3. Do you support reducing the size of Toronto City Council?

      We need to review boundaries to adjust for population changes and reflect new federal riding boundaries.  A cut in council size would mean a reduction of accountability to residents and deprive residents of an engaged, local voice.

      4. Will you support contracting out garbage collection east of Yonge Street?

      Contracting garbage collection east of Yonge Street would risk any competitive advantage that we may be gaining from the current mix of private and public service delivery.  We should complete the current contract and review the cost-benefit for the public before making further moves to contract out.

      5. What are your thoughts on the Municipal Land Transfer Tax – will you support reducing it or eliminating it?

      The Land Transfer Tax has generated billions of dollars in revenue  currently funding services that the public demands. Any cut to this tax would require a corresponding increase in property taxes, an unfair burden on residents in my community.

      6. Toronto’s unemployment rate is much higher than the provincial rate. What are your ideas to create job growth in Toronto?

      Most jobs are created by local small businesses. Continuing to reduce the commercial property tax rate relative to residential rates is critical. Toronto’s high unemployment rate, especially among youth, threatens the city’s shared prosperity. The city has a number of levers and tools it doesn’t currently use to create pathways to employment for people marginalized from the labour market. The city should ensure policies on procurement of goods and services, construction of new infrastructure, and the regulatory environment for private development create opportunities for good jobs for residents of the city. The workforce development system is the responsibility of the provincial government, but Toronto has a role to play. It’s important that the system is reworked, as many unemployed people do not access opportunities after retraining, despite massive public investment in programs and services. My position on how community benefits can promote good jobs outlined here http://maytree.com/opinion/community-benefit-agreements-new-tool-reduce-poverty-inequality.html

      7. It seems City Council has been debating public transit forever with little results to show. How would you fund new transit projects to ease congestion for everyone? Do you feel we need to change the current transit planning process?

      We need to reverse cuts to TTC and invest in increased bus service, & smart expansion of the subway and LRT network. I would support  returning to the fully funded and studied above-ground transit plan, rather than the unnecessary Scarborough subway, which will cost at least $1 billion more than the fully funded LRT plan, and saddle property tax payers with a 30 year tax hike. We need the provincial and federal governments to return to the table in terms of transit funding. The planning process needs to strike a good balance between local community concerns and following the best available expert advice.

      8. Labour negotiations will be a big part of the next council term. What advice do you have for the city’s negotiating team to get the best deal for taxpayers?

      The City needs to negotiate with labour unions in good faith to secure contracts that offer good value for the public and fair wages and working conditions.

      9. Do you see opportunities for public-private partnerships (P3s) involving the City of Toronto? Where, specifically?

      Public services should be delivered in a way that is transparent and accountable to the public. The city currently contracts with a number of private non-profit organizations to deliver services in a nimble way that responds to changing community needs, in a diverse and ever evolving population. Not-for-profit organizations and community agencies are an important partner in the delivery of social services, child care, public health services, etc. This is done with public oversight and without the recovery of profit in the delivery model, and is therefore a success. I would not support the privatization or contracting out of city services to the for-profit private sector, as this would introduce the profit margin into the cost.

      10. What is the top issue of concern for residents in your ward? What will you do as Councillor to address the issue?

      Unemployment, precarious work and a lack of opportunities for youth are major issues. Construction to fix the bottleneck on St. Clair W  at Old Weston Road is needed.  Residents are living with the construction of Eglinton Crosstown. New development will require collaborative work with developers, residents, and local business. Ward 17 is deficient in green spaces and recreation opportunities. Concerns about community safety require the support of residents, the community and police.

    • 1. Do you support a property tax cap ensuring future hikes are no greater than the rate of inflation?

      Yes, I support a property tax cap.  Increases should not be greater than the rate of inflation. According to the Fraser Institute the average Canadians spend a considerable amount of their income on all forms of taxation, compared to what they spend on food, shelter, and clothing combined.

      2. Where, specifically, do you advocate finding savings in the current city budget?

      • By reducing the size of government –mainly within middle management throughout City Divisions.
      • Within the TPS, employment growth has gone up; while statistics show that the level of crime has gone down.
      • The TTC has experienced unprecedented employment growth -efficiencies could be found by streamlining management levels without compromising front line services.
      • Contracting out garbage collection east of Yonge Street.
      • Harmonizing and centralizing HR, IT, fleet services and procurement practices throughout City Divisions and its Agencies, Boards and Commissions.
      • Review 48% of the City’s current Operating Budget which is allocated to staff salaries and benefits whereby employees are currently receiving an annual increase equivalent to double the rate of inflation – this must be reviewed.

      3. Do you support reducing the size of Toronto City Council?

      I do support reducing the size of government by half, which is why I voted in support of the recommendation during this term of Council – I believe this would make City Council more functional and productive. Voting in a block at City Council has become too disruptive and polarized.

      4. Will you support contracting out garbage collection east of Yonge Street?

      • Absolutely. I support contracting out garbage collection east of Yonge Street.
      • Contracting out part of the City Legal Services (Council continuously directs the City Solicitor to hire outside legal services to defend city interests)
      • Contracting out part of the Buildings Division, such as: zoning examiners, technical services and administrative staff.
      • Contracting out part of the Planning Division (Council continuously directs the Chief Planner to hire outside planning consultants to represent the city)
      • Contracting out Parking Enforcement, or transferring the responsibilities to the Toronto Parking Authority.
      • Leasing municipal golf courses to the private sector.

      5. What are your thoughts on the Municipal Land Transfer Tax – will you support reducing it or eliminating it?

      I did not support the Land Transfer Tax when it was introduced. I would be in support of reducing it by 10% if re-elected.

      6. Toronto’s unemployment rate is much higher than the provincial rate. What are your ideas to create job growth in Toronto?

      • An accelerate reduction of business taxes for small business to 2.5%. Business taxes for small businesses in Toronto are too high in relation to their counterparts in the GTA and other Regions.
      • Request the Province to get rid of “Education Taxes” within the property tax system for small businesses.
      • Promote the City as a place to do business and invest.

      7. It seems City Council has been debating public transit forever with little results to show. How would you fund new transit projects to ease congestion for everyone? Do you feel we need to change the current transit planning process?

      We need to stay the course. City Council decided on the current transit plan – the subway extension to the Scarborough Centre, the DRL, and the Eglinton cross-town.

      • To fund future transit projects – all levels of government must be part of the solution. Council must open a “reserve” account dedicated to future transit projects.
      • We must continue to bring our provincial and federal partners to the table to ensure funding is being allocated to future transit infrastructure – we need to create a fair sustainable funding formula that is dedicated to transit infrastructure
      • The City of Toronto is the financial engine of the province and the country, City Council must insist on a “national transit strategy”
      • We need to work in partnership with the private and public sectors (P3s) – this has already been accomplished in other jurisdictions.

      8. Labour negotiations will be a big part of the next council term. What advice do you have for the city’s negotiating team to get the best deal for taxpayers?

      • Use the same strategy that was used this term of City Council. Get value for taxpayer’s money!
      • Make provisions within management staff to provide essential services in case of a labour standoff, or labour disruption.

      9. Do you see opportunities for public-private partnerships (P3s) involving the City of Toronto? Where, specifically?

      • Building public transit infrastructure
      • Affordable or social housing

      10. What is the top issue of concern for residents in your ward? What will you do as Councillor to address the issue?

      • Property Tax Increases – I will continue to exercise fiscal prudence, transparency and accountability holding property tax increases to the rate of inflation or below.
      • Decongesting the area of St. Clair Ave West/Old Weston Rd/ Keele St – the St. Clair Right Of Way has caused a traffic congestion nightmare and is of top concern to Ward 17 residents – an Environmental Assessment is already underway where a   viable solution to alleviate this bottleneck of traffic congestion will be reached – as the local Councillor I successfully secured a reserve account where funding has been allocated to fund this project.

      As an experienced City Councillor, I will continue to stand up for my community, I will stand up to the bullies at city hall, I will fight for what is right.

    • 1. Do you support a property tax cap ensuring future hikes are no greater than the rate of inflation?

      Although Toronto has one of the most reasonable property tax rates in the GTA it should be in line with inflation ensuring fair and equal distribution for all residents. I would support a cap in that regard.

      2. Where, specifically, do you advocate finding savings in the current city budget?

      We need to look at innovative ways of generating and saving revenue. I believe that slow and steady wins the race, meaning that instead of reducing our budget in higher expense areas first, focus on the smaller line-items that are not being spent effectively and trim from there.

      3. Do you support reducing the size of Toronto City Council?

      Council’s operation has a lot to do with councillors’ abilities to work together. We need to do better at this. While I don’t support reducing the size of council, I would support having a speaker in council who is elected by council rather than appointed.

      4. Will you support contracting out garbage collection east of Yonge Street?

      Many residents east of Yonge have asked for their garbage to be contracted out to ensure equality of service across the board. I would not deny them, unless there is some sort of unexpected compelling financial case.

      5. What are your thoughts on the Municipal Land Transfer Tax – will you support reducing it or eliminating it?

      The MLTT is a critical revenue generator for the City of Toronto. While it is also expensive to live in Toronto and purchase a property for many in our city, the issue is more with market values and rents than the actual tax rates themselves. At a time like this when transit and affordable housing issuffering, we need to focus on providing an enhanced level of service while having revenue to invest in future legacy projects like transit expansion. The MLTT should be kept at the moment

      6. Toronto’s unemployment rate is much higher than the provincial rate. What are your ideas to create job growth in Toronto?

      First we need to take care of our biggest issues like transit, community spaces, transportation and so on. We need to make Toronto appealing to investors and employers to invest in so that we can attract job opportunities to the city. My plan is to also focus on entrepreneurship and start-up grants by enhancing Enterprise Toronto and working with other NGOS who are already trailblazing in this area. We must support a culture of risk, that’s what business and thus jobs are all about. We need to also focus on the youth unemployment rate which is sky-rocketing. By working with all 3 levels of government to create and attract jobs, the possibilities are endless.

      7. It seems City Council has been debating public transit forever with little results to show. How would you fund new transit projects to ease congestion for everyone? Do you feel we need to change the current transit planning process?

      People are willing to pay for service as long as they see value, this hasn’t been the case and many residents are. I would support items in the Anne Golden report which are largely about how the province would generate money for transit and also ensure that we get our fair share from the province and the federal government.

      8. Labour negotiations will be a big part of the next council term. What advice do you have for the city’s negotiating team to get the best deal for taxpayers?

      We need balance. Negotiations are only as good as their negotiators, thus with the city’s best we need to ensure that we don’t stop until the best deal for labour and the city is met. A balance between jobs, service and rights is key.

      9. Do you see opportunities for public-private partnerships (P3s) involving the City of Toronto? Where, specifically?

      P3s work best in certain scenarios and others they unfortunately do not. Using the example of transit; P3s would be poorly implemented if talking about selling naming rights at stations etc, but may not be a bad idea if talking about expanding retail activity in certain stations (current example at Bathurst station) where the city is able to find another revenue source without much risk or loss of control. I’m open to new possibilities as long as we do a thorough cost-benefit analysis, hear what residents have to say and then consider the facts. We need action in a time of broken promises, all good options should be considered

      10. What is the top issue of concern for residents in your ward? What will you do as Councillor to address the issue?

      Transit, affordable housing, safety/security, cleanliness, business development and jobs. It’s difficult to put one over the other because all of them are quite connected in that if they’re not resolved or acted on, our Davenport as we know it will slip through our fingers. What I will do is work with the community to: address the bunching and signaling issues of the St Clair streetcar , invest in more busses on Dufferin along with necessary road repairs, restimulate Davenport businesses with pop-up shops and parkign where necessary, enforce the Toronto cycling/pedestrain safety strategy by increasing cyclist infrastructure, solving the St.Clair Bottleneck once and for all, work with local police to combat drugs and speeding and be a responsive-service oriented Councillor who will help all no matter what the issue with a strong team of residents and volunteers.

    2014 City Council Election: Ward 16 – Eglinton-Lawrence

    The Incumbent:

    Karen Stintz

    The Race

    Councillor Karen Stintz is not up for re-election this year which means voters in Ward 16 have some choosing to do – 16 choices in fact! 14 of whom responded to our survey. There is certainly a range of opinion among candidates in Ward 16 on almost all issues surveyed but there are smart, fiscally responsible choices on the ballot. Good to note innovative ideas on transit funding and unemployment.

    Candidates Who Did Not Participate: John Cannella

    The Breakdown

    • Candidate Response
      Boutros, Jean-Pierre Yes
      Carmichael Greb, Christin Yes
      Coll, Michael Yes
      Conacher, Sean Yes
      Darby, Charm Did not answer specifically
      Gallezot, Thomas No
      Heaney, Gary Yes
      Levitan, Steven Yes
      Metter, Elana Yes
      Mills, Terry Yes
      Spence, Paul No
      Tanel, Adam Yes
      Vukosavljev, Peter Yes
      Williams, Bob Yes
      Youssefi, Dyanoosh No


    • Candidate Response
      Boutros, Jean-Pierre Re-affirm the Master Agreements for LRTs, not the Scarborough subway. Ward 16 residents insist on not cutting services any further.
      Carmichael Greb, Christin Every line in the budget must be scrutinized for large scale projects.
      Coll, Michael Look for efficiencies in telecommunications, bulk and fuel energy, and garbage collection east of Yonge St. Consolidate services in agencies, boards, and commissions.
      Conacher, Sean Garbage collection services and contracting out other city maintenance.
      Gallezot, Thomas Across the board by cutting middle management and making top management more accountable.
      Heaney, Gary Managing labour costs in Toronto Police services, fire, and EMS. Reduce shift overlaps.
      Levitan, Steven Build more effective cooperation with divergent stakeholders within City Council and staff.
      Metter, Elana Look at outsourcing of current services such as daily management of TCHC. Eliminate the rebates landlords receive for vacant properties.
      Mills, Terry Contract out where it's evident the private sector can do a better job and for less money.
      Spence, Paul Reducing the number of councillors, privatization of services such as garbage east of Yonge St
      Tanel, Adam Start with biggest expenditure – staff salaries.
      Vukosavljev, Peter Reduce administration cost by reducing paper work
      Williams, Bob Need to make difficult decisions about reducing services. If we don't want to make cuts, then we need to consider user fees.
      Youssefi, Dyanoosh Avoid unnecessary duplication in public works. Review policing budget. The efficiency of our government is a long-term process with sometimes short-term costs.


    • Candidate Response
      Boutros, Jean-Pierre No
      Carmichael Greb, Christin No
      Coll, Michael Yes
      Conacher, Sean Yes
      Darby, Charm No
      Gallezot, Thomas Yes
      Heaney, Gary Yes
      Levitan, Steven Will consider
      Metter, Elana Yes
      Mills, Terry No
      Spence, Paul Yes
      Tanel, Adam Yes
      Vukosavljev, Peter No
      Williams, Bob Will consider
      Youssefi, Dyanoosh No


    • Candidate Response
      Boutros, Jean-Pierre Will consider
      Carmichael Greb, Christin Yes
      Coll, Michael Yes
      Conacher, Sean Yes, also parks and recreation.
      Darby, Charm Will consider
      Gallezot, Thomas Will consider
      Heaney, Gary Yes
      Levitan, Steven Yes
      Metter, Elana Yes
      Mills, Terry Will consider
      Spence, Paul Yes
      Tanel, Adam Yes
      Vukosavljev, Peter Yes
      Williams, Bob Yes
      Youssefi, Dyanoosh Will consider


    • Candidate Response
      Boutros, Jean-Pierre Yes to modifying the minimum threshold or reducing if lending rates go up.
      Carmichael Greb, Christin Yes to modifying
      Coll, Michael Yes to elimination
      Conacher, Sean Yes to gradual elimination
      Darby, Charm Did not answer specifically but does not support the tax
      Gallezot, Thomas No to either reducing or eliminating
      Heaney, Gary Yes to reducing
      Levitan, Steven No
      Metter, Elana Yes to reducing or reforming
      Mills, Terry No
      Spence, Paul Yes to phasing it out and replacing it with a property tax increase spread across the city.
      Tanel, Adam Yes to eliminating when the housing market softens
      Vukosavljev, Peter Yes
      Williams, Bob Yes to reducing offset with increased efficiencies and revenues in other areas.
      Youssefi, Dyanoosh Will consider modifying


    • Candidate Response
      Boutros, Jean-Pierre Preserve Employment Lands. Re-consider corporate tax rates. Landlords should not be given grants if stores are not leased.
      Carmichael Greb, Christin Investments in infrastructure will make Toronto more appealing to job creators.
      Coll, Michael Youth and industry roundtables to align future college and university programs with actual needs.
      Conacher, Sean Review red tape affecting business. Establish a single service point for permits and licenses required by business.
      Darby, Charm Partner with corporations to employ and train young people.
      Gallezot, Thomas Focus on essential infrastructure. Reduce red tape burden on small business. Help immigrants access lit of permits and licenses needed to operate business.
      Heaney, Gary Invest in arts and culture, promote city on international stage, offer tax incentives for business.
      Levitan, Steven Arts provide employment and significant return to the city. Property tax rebates for cultural organizations. Use a development incentive to create more space for arts organizations.
      Metter, Elana Create the optimal conditions for job creation through incentives for employers and entrepreneurs.
      Mills, Terry Address gridlock which creates lost productivity. Move forward with major transportation infrastructure. Eglinton Crosstown will boost economy and other areas could benefit from something similar.
      Spence, Paul Expand Billy Bishop Airport. Tax incentives for companies willing to re-locate to Toronto.
      Tanel, Adam Invest in world-class infrastructure to attract jobs
      Vukosavljev, Peter Help small business and start-up companies
      Williams, Bob Efforts to create job growth must be incentivized by upper levels of government. Need favourable tax structure, well-maintained roads, public transit, and affordable housing.
      Youssefi, Dyanoosh Offer support, with other levels of government, for the most vulnerable s they can take on meaningful employment.


    • Candidate Response
      Boutros, Jean-Pierre All large capital projects and planning should be done through Metrolinx and the province and them figure out the funding formula. TTC should be merged with GO Transit. Mayors and regional chairs should sit on these boards with private experts.
      Carmichael Greb, Christin Set the transit plan and stick to it. Residents are willing to pay for key services, including transit infrastructure.
      Coll, Michael Invest in signal switches and a Downtown Relief Line.
      Conacher, Sean Provincial and federal governments must partner to fund transit.
      Darby, Charm There is a lack of creative and real ideas and no real plan to fund transit. Must build integrated and coordinated system now. More buses. Change hours for delivery trucks downtown.
      Gallezot, Thomas Stop debating and stop building. Transit City was a good plan. LRTs over subways.
      Heaney, Gary Implement plans approved by TTC and Metrolinx which includes the Downtown Relief Line, Finch West LRT, and Sheppard East LRT.
      Levitan, Steven Appoint Chief Transportation Officer. Address TTC maintenance backlog. Use outside construction manager to advise the TTC. Phase out parking on downtown routes. Implement MARLIN at intersections. Support reduced or free transit fare for Early Bird hours.
      Metter, Elana Stick to approved and funded plans. Create partnerships with provincial and federal governments and explore further private sector funding opportunities.
      Mills, Terry Move forward on Scarborough subway. Need a long-term integrated transportation strategy across the city and region but it must be funded by province.
      Spence, Paul Funding through tax increases and a congestion tax.
      Tanel, Adam Need a fair funding model and the province to pay its fair share.
      Vukosavljev, Peter Implement John Tory's SmartTrack
      Williams, Bob Funding through Tax Increment Financing with property tax increases as a contingency plan. Must be viewed and co-ordinated at a regional level (Metrolinx).
      Youssefi, Dyanoosh Funding must be contributed by other levels of government, neighbouring municipalities, and builders.


    • Candidate Response
      Boutros, Jean-Pierre Get taxpayers the best deal possible without antagonizing front line workers
      Carmichael Greb, Christin New contracts must reflect taxpayers' ability to pay
      Coll, Michael Emphasize to unions that best value to Toronto and taxpayers is the top priority.
      Conacher, Sean City must be transparent in its negotiating position.
      Darby, Charm City should highlight that we're in a revenue crunch. Develop other income streams in order to meet operational obligations.
      Gallezot, Thomas Government and unions should not be implementing ideology.
      Heaney, Gary Continue to take a hardline approach.
      Levitan, Steven Bring together stakeholders to achieve results.
      Metter, Elana Work to give employees a fair contract while ensuring we do not spend beyond our means.
      Mills, Terry Acknowledge city needs to live within its means.
      Spence, Paul Privatize services and insert no strike clause in contracts.
      Tanel, Adam Do not back down. We can not afford to pay double what the private sector does.
      Vukosavljev, Peter Keep wage increase at rate of inflation
      Williams, Bob Labour costs in line with rate of inflation.
      Youssefi, Dyanoosh Keep costs reasonable and ensure jobs are fair and equitable.


    • Candidate Response
      Boutros, Jean-Pierre Yes, and the public must understand that private sector is a middleman helping to fund the projects. Private partners have skills extracting lower costs from suppliers.
      Carmichael Greb, Christin Yes, particularly, complex projects such as transit, bridges, and cleaning up brownfield sites.
      Coll, Michael Will consider
      Conacher, Sean Yes, to start, with department of public works and parks and recreation.
      Darby, Charm Will consider if the right partnership is chosen.
      Gallezot, Thomas No
      Heaney, Gary Yes, specifically for transit on a case by case basis.
      Levitan, Steven Yes, particularly, for transit, roads, social housing, and hospitals.
      Metter, Elana Yes, specifically for the TCHC. The City should not be acting as a landlord.
      Mills, Terry Yes, for example, in transit stations with potential retail space and in the design and building stage.
      Spence, Paul Yes, for example, with the TTC
      Vukosavljev, Peter Yes
      Williams, Bob Will consider for transit infrastructure.
      Youssefi, Dyanoosh Will consider with focus on long-term impacts.


    • Candidate Response
      Boutros, Jean-Pierre Development and traffic management. City departments need to coordinate better.
      Carmichael Greb, Christin Transit, development, and infrastructure. Local issues as opposed to city-wide issues. All are important.
      Coll, Michael Traffic and congestion as it affects livability and transit safety.
      Conacher, Sean Infrastructure renewal, coordination of traffic projects, and maintaining park space.
      Darby, Charm Community safety which encompasses safer roads, fewer potholes, better emergency response.
      Gallezot, Thomas Growing price of housing. Unilateral and inappropriate development. Free Toronto from the OMB. Cut vacant commercial property tax rebate to help small businesses.
      Heaney, Gary Traffic safety through reducing speed limits and greater enforcement.
      Levitan, Steven Transit, gridlock, and intensification which affects the character of a neighbourhood.
      Metter, Elana One of the biggest issues is community safety. Would look at instating a community watch program and working with Toronto Police Services. Also, traffic safety in residential areas and school zones.
      Mills, Terry Enhancing the quality of life through a host of services and infrastructure deficit.
      Spence, Paul Disruption due to the Eglinton Crosstown LRT and overdevelopment.
      Tanel, Adam Traffic and congestion
      Vukosavljev, Peter Better TTC service to reduce gridlock
      Williams, Bob Pressures for development intensification
      Youssefi, Dyanoosh Transit, development, maintaining infrastructure, lack of local park space, and other public spaces.

     

    The full responses

    • 1. Do you support a property tax cap ensuring future hikes are no greater than the rate of inflation?

      Yes, I support a property tax cap based on inflation in Statistics Canada’s official year-over-year October CPI for Toronto, with a caveat: I would consider going higher for one-time civic emergencies of epic proportions, like last year’s Ice Storm, when recommended by the City Manager.

      2. Where, specifically, do you advocate finding savings in the current city budget?

      We would find large savings – about $40 million per year – in the city budget by reaffirming of City/TTC/Metrolinx Master Agreement for LRTs, as signed in November, 2012. The Scarborough Subway foolishly adds 1.6% to property tax bills across Toronto, for the next 30 years. The Scarborough LRT does the exact same thing that specific Scarborough Subway would do, without the 1.6% tax increase. The Scarborough LRT is like the SkyTrain in Vancouver, separated, elevated, and it does not interfere with traffic like streetcars.

      This Scarborough Subway adds more to our average tax bill than the Vehicle Registration Tax did, a tax you advocated against. A home appraised at $900,000 (typical for Ward 16) will pay $2120 in this tax, for no good reason.

      This gravy train subway also prevents us from building other infrastructure, as the City Manager’s report said: “If the City decides to undertake the subway project, it will place pressure on the City’s ability to maintain debt service ratios below guidelines. Furthermore, it will directly reduce budget flexibility to address ongoing operational and service levels issues now and in the future.” (From City of Toronto Report on Item CC37.17 “Scarborough Rapid Transit Options”, July 12, 2013.)

      The City Manager has made clear that the Ford Administration has maximized efficiencies, stating, “I believe we’ve gone as far as we can without impacting services.” Ward 16 residents insist on not cutting services any further. Ours is a lean government, which I learned while working with Councillor Stintz as Senior Advisor to the TTC Chair. We cannot run a deficit, for which I am thankful.

      I will hire ambitious, hard-working people who want to learn about and contribute to our city, and who will see their roles as I do: An honour, not a career. It is a privilege to work at City Hall.

      3. Do you support reducing the size of Toronto City Council?

      I do not support reducing council to 22 seats if it is only under the guise of saving money. You won’t save money, because you still need to serve the same number of residents. Reducing to 22 could be defended by some as a tactic to empower a weak mayor, by having her/his vote be one of 23, not 45. It is not a wise tactic if the intention is to save money, because service will diminish commensurately. I do support term limits for councillors, a maximum of 12 years in any 24 year period.

      4. Will you support contracting out garbage collection east of Yonge Street?

      I will support contracting out solid waste collection east of Yonge Street based on consistent proof that the service west of Yonge is measurably better, and the savings remain permanent. I want to confirm GFL is comfortable with the same contract we have with them now on a go-forward basis. I do not want a huge increase in the next contract.

      5. What are your thoughts on the Municipal Land Transfer Tax – will you support reducing it or eliminating it?

      On Municipal Land Transfer Tax, I believe the minimum threshold should be raised to $500,000, then raised annually at Toronto’s CPI rate described in #1, but feel it should occur if and when market stimulus is needed. Toronto’s real estate market is hot right now. If lending rates go up, I’d consider lowering LTT at that time.

      6. Toronto’s unemployment rate is much higher than the provincial rate. What are your ideas to create job growth in Toronto?

      Job growth on a macro scale is best achieved by the provincial and federal governments, through their levers. On a local basis, we must preserve Employment Lands (not everything needs to be a condo), and we must revisit corporate tax rates, in order to get mid to large size businesses back from the 905. The downtown core is burgeoning. Class “A” vacancy rates are low, and new towers are being built. I am optimistic, but we need better, smarter transit to move people in and out of their work and homes.

      I do not like schemes which make it more worthwhile to not do something, like giving landlords a grant when their stores are not leased. If those spaces are empty, jobs can’t be created. For instance, “since 2002, the city has given commercial property owners a 30 per cent break on their taxes for space that has been vacant for 90 days or more.” http://www.thestar.com/news/gta/2012/01/10/porter_a_tax_break_thats_bad_for_business.html

      That kind of thing must be stopped.

      7. It seems City Council has been debating public transit forever with little results to show. How would you fund new transit projects to ease congestion for everyone? Do you feel we need to change the current transit planning process?

      CVA Uplift was something I believed in when it was proposed in 2012. Whatever is done, we must do it in partnership, with three levels of government. The public must understand that transit isn’t free. That said, this council made taxpayers in Toronto and across Canada spend $1.5 billion more than they need to in Scarborough for a subway, when LRT would serve the same purpose. The money is wasted. As I said in #2, this subway hurts our ability to borrow or tax for the next major project, like DRL. That is why I advocate for all large capital projects and GTHA transit planning be done by Metrolinx and the province, with them figuring out funding formulae, and TTC/GO Transit merge, with my preference being that Andy Byford run the operations of both merged organizations.

      No matter what, council heads such as mayors and regional chairs should sit on the boards of those organizations, along with private experts. Metrolinx’s Board was originally constituted that way, and it worked until external politics got involved.

      8. Labour negotiations will be a big part of the next council term. What advice do you have for the city’s negotiating team to get the best deal for taxpayers?

      What advice do I have for the city’s labour negotiators? Get taxpayers the best deal possible which doesn’t antagonize our valued employees at the front lines.

      9. Do you see opportunities for public-private partnerships (P3s) involving the City of Toronto? Where, specifically?

      Yes. Public-private partnerships are not non-profit relationships, and that isn’t always understood by the public at-large. The private sector is a middleman, helping fund the project. If the city can get better lending rates for a project, due to exceptional credit ratings, a P3 may not be needed, but private partners usually have strong skills at extracting lower costs from suppliers. For large projects, like transit, I prefer the province take those projects over. The province can use who its leaders see fit, either through Infrastructure Ontario or other organizations.

      10. What is the top issue of concern for residents in your ward? What will you do as Councillor to address the issue?

      The top issues, besides Rob Ford, are development and traffic management. I’ll focus on the latter. City Departments sometimes don’t coordinate as well as they can. Two different city entities could be working on the same stretch of road within two years, yet that same stretch will be torn up twice, as happened in 2010 and 2012 on Avenue Road. That is wrong and should stop. Also, closing up two parallel arterial roads at the same time is wrong, like the Gardiner Expressway and Lake Shore Boulevard simultaneously. We should consider 24 hour construction on arterial roads, to expedite repairs.

      Better traffic management improves the roads for all, whether on bus, bike, car or truck. It is essential we get smarter with traffic management.

    • 1. Do you support a property tax cap ensuring future hikes are no greater than the rate of inflation?

      Yes.

      2. Where, specifically, do you advocate finding savings in the current city budget?

      With much needed funding required for large-scale projects such as transit and infrastructure, every line in the city budget should be scrutinized to determine if taxpayers are getting a good deal.

      3. Do you support reducing the size of Toronto City Council?

      There are over 22,000 households in Ward 16 – a number that will only continue to grow in the coming years. While I am favour lean government, I will not pursue such an agenda at the expense of effective representation.

      4. Will you support contracting out garbage collection east of Yonge Street?

      Yes, I support contracting out garbage collection east of Yonge Street.

      I believe all services are open to the possibility of being contracted out if it means better quality service at a better price for taxpayers.

      5. What are your thoughts on the Municipal Land Transfer Tax – will you support reducing it or eliminating it?

      I am in favour reforming the Municipal Land Transfer Tax in order to provide greater opportunities for families to purchase homes in Toronto. However, we must be conscious of the revenue generated for the city through the MLTT, therefore it’s important to pursue an agenda of fiscal responsibility in concert with tax relief.

      6. Toronto’s unemployment rate is much higher than the provincial rate. What are your ideas to create job growth in Toronto?

      Investments in infrastructure – particularly roads and transit – will make Toronto more appealing to job creators.

      Government should be supportive of job creators as opposed to a hindrance as it has shown to be in the past.

      7. It seems City Council has been debating public transit forever with little results to show. How would you fund new transit projects to ease congestion for everyone? Do you feel we need to change the current transit planning process?

      From my conversations with residents in the ward, I believe that people are willing to pay for key services, including transit infrastructure.

      Many residents are unaware of the details of any long-term transit plan for Toronto. This is the direct result of endless debate and the changing of minds of council. Set the plan and stick to it.

      8. Labour negotiations will be a big part of the next council term. What advice do you have for the city’s negotiating team to get the best deal for taxpayers?

      An honest conversation must be had with labour leaders. New contracts must reflect the taxpayers’ ability to pay.

      9. Do you see opportunities for public-private partnerships (P3s) involving the City of Toronto? Where, specifically?

      Yes. P3s allow more projects to move ahead while transferring risk to the private sector.

      Potential projects would need to be assessed to make sure they are a good fit for the model.

      Complex projects such as transit, bridges, and cleaning up brownfield sites would be good candidates for the P3 model.

      10. What is the top issue of concern for residents in your ward? What will you do as Councillor to address the issue?

      City wide issues such as transit, development and infrastructure are top of mind for many residents in Ward 16. However, in speaking with people throughout the community, it is clear that, there are a number of issues that may only impact a single street, but are critically important to residents. From traffic flow, the raccoon population, green space to the tree canopy, many residents are more concerned with local issues over city-wide issues.  My goal as councillor will be to address everyone’s top issue, not matter how small or specific it may be. If it’s important to them, it will be important to me. Ensuring that I am in constant communication with residents, will allow me to ensure I am aware of all of the issues, as well as allow residents to see that their issues are being addressed.

    • 1. Do you support a property tax cap ensuring future hikes are no greater than the rate of inflation?

      yes

      2. Where, specifically, do you advocate finding savings in the current city budget?

      Consolidate services in IT, Purchasing, legal, audit payroll, fleet and real estate between major ABC’s like TTC and Toronto Police. I would look for better efficiency/discounts in City telecommunications, bulk fuel and energy, contract out solid waste east of Yonge.

      3. Do you support reducing the size of Toronto City Council?

      Yes and I would continue to find better value with the release of my council reform motion, released in the next few days.

      4. Will you support contracting out garbage collection east of Yonge Street?

      Yes. We must continuously look for ways to improve and evaluate options that provide ratepayers with a better deal.

      5. What are your thoughts on the Municipal Land Transfer Tax – will you support reducing it or eliminating it?

      I have committed to eliminating the punitive/unfair tax.

      6. Toronto’s unemployment rate is much higher than the provincial rate. What are your ideas to create job growth in Toronto?

      I met several stakeholder groups at Youth Day at Mel Lastman square and again at Dundas Square. I will continue to meet with affected groups to find ways to reduce the unemployment rate and find opportunities to partner with businesses. I would have youth and industry round tables to align future college/uni program with actual needs; and, create direct youth mentorship programs for aspiring youth.  I would also create more volunteer positions within the City Hall framework to provide youth with real world work experience.

      7. It seems City Council has been debating public transit forever with little results to show. How would you fund new transit projects to ease congestion for everyone? Do you feel we need to change the current transit planning process?

      We must invest in signal switches and a Downtown Relief Subway Line to improve congestion.

      Yes, I will announce a proposal to eliminate waste and second-guessing in the transit process.

      8. Labour negotiations will be a big part of the next council term. What advice do you have for the city’s negotiating team to get the best deal for taxpayers?

      Important to work with all parties to understand clearly what the best out come may be, but must emphasize to Unions, that getting the best value to Toronto and Taxpayers is the top priority.  This is very important to avoid repeating the mistakes of the past while being mindful of the future.

      9. Do you see opportunities for public-private partnerships (P3s) involving the City of Toronto? Where, specifically?

      We must always look for ways to improve and provide ratepayers a better deal.

      10. What is the top issue of concern for residents in your ward? What will you do as Councillor to address the issue?

      Traffic and Congestion- is an issue as transit expansion has failed to keep up with population growth.  Safety is a real concern as the Yonge Street stations’ platforms, are reaching dangerous levels at peak times. Additionally, alternatives, like the Avenue road express bus are unattractive due to the double fare. Co-ordination of road/construction work by improved communication at City Hall, will reduce congestion. We must work to improve the livability of those in Ward 16.

      I have made it my top priority to increase livability and to find ways get people home safely, faster and more reliably so they can spend more time living and less time commuting. I am committed to building the Downtown relief subway line, syncing traffic signals and co-coordinating road and water work ……to help address this issue.

    • 1. Do you support a property tax cap ensuring future hikes are no greater than the rate of inflation?

      Yes

      2. Where, specifically, do you advocate finding savings in the current city budget?

      I support continuing the process of expenditure review by this council. I believe that greater savings can be found in contracting out remaining garbage collection services and reviewing the prospects for contracting out other City maintenance.

      3. Do you support reducing the size of Toronto City Council?

      I support revising the wards in the context of the federal redistribution. I believe that fewer councillors, without necessarily reducing support staff, can ensure better accountability and continue to provide residents with good, available and approachable service.

      4. Will you support contracting out garbage collection east of Yonge Street?

      Yes. I also believe that Parks and Recreation and Works maintenance services can be reviewed for opportunities to contract out appropriate services and continue to provide quality service if not improved service.

      5. What are your thoughts on the Municipal Land Transfer Tax – will you support reducing it or eliminating it?

      Yes. Unfortunately this matter has become complicated as the additional revenue has been integrated into expanding City budgets, so savings and revenues will have to be found in order to reduce and eliminate this tax grab. The new council will need to do the hard work of finding the savings and partnering with the province and federal governments to support transition away from this tax increase.

      6. Toronto’s unemployment rate is much higher than the provincial rate. What are your ideas to create job growth in Toronto?

      We need to improve the business climate in Toronto through a review of all red tape impacting new and expanding businesses. I will also work to establish a single service point for the various permits and licences required by businesses. I think we need to look seriously at reducing the mill rate for businesses to ensure Toronto is a competitive host for new employment opportunities.

      7. It seems City Council has been debating public transit forever with little results to show. How would you fund new transit projects to ease congestion for everyone? Do you feel we need to change the current transit planning process?

      We need to have a meaningful relationship with the provincial and federal governments to partner in transit investment. I will test all transit solutions around simple criteria of whether
      the answer our needs in the shortest term possible, are realistic and have solid financial support.

      8. Labour negotiations will be a big part of the next council term. What advice do you have for the city’s negotiating team to get the best deal for taxpayers?

      The City needs to ensure that it is transparent in its negotiating position and seeks a collaborative environment with the City employees.

      9. Do you see opportunities for public-private partnerships (P3s) involving the City of Toronto? Where, specifically?

      I think the departments of public works and parks and recreation provide the best place to start with a review of partnering opportunities.

      10. What is the top issue of concern for residents in your ward? What will you do as Councillor to address the issue?

      Ward 16 faces the same range of concerns as the City as a whole. The challenge of building better communities is particularly acute here. We are living through infrastructure renewal which is important work, but can be frustrating for commuters, residents and local communities. I will work to ensure we have coordination of projects so that communities face no more than one traffic interruption at a time. I will also lead the implementation of strict controls on the infiltration of residential streets by commuter traffic to provide safer streets for our residents. Another community challenge is in the area of outdoor recreation space. I will fight to maintain our park space in the face of local authorities who propose to sell it for development.

    • 1. Do you support a property tax cap ensuring future hikes are no greater than the rate of inflation?

      I realize that property tax is the largest contributor to our city’s revenue. Toronto need to have a diversified income stream in order to reduce the burden on property tax payers.

      As it stands right now, residents in Toronto pay on average approximately 1,000 less than residents in the GTA – we are enjoying a bit of a property tax holiday.

      I’ve been knocking on a lot of doors and people don’t mind paying their taxes, they simple want to get value for their money and we are not getting value.

      2. Where, specifically, do you advocate finding savings in the current city budget?

      As a Certified Financial Planner and Financial advisor in one of Canada’s big banks, it’s easy for me to see where the savings can be found.  Example, offer incentives to Boards, Commisions Agencies that end their financial year with a surplus that would put an end to the spending spree just so annual budgets won’t be decreased. Commissions such as TTC and the Police could better manage their schedules and payroll if they hire properly thus reducing the large allocation of funds for over time wages. Policies and procedures as it pertains to absentism in the work place could be better applied so that the city doesn’t have to pay two people to do one  job at a higher cost.

      3. Do you support reducing the size of Toronto City Council?

      I do not believe the size of council is the issue. It is the lack of financial management and accountabiluty that is the Pink Elephant in the room and a sense of duty to serve

      4. Will you support contracting out garbage collection east of Yonge Street?

      Any application in service delivery that will provide more efficient service to residents, and more cost effective, and offer a living wages to workers would be  welcome

      5. What are your thoughts on the Municipal Land Transfer Tax – will you support reducing it or eliminating it?

      Toronto is the only municipality in all of Canada that has double land transfer tax. When the change was made by the Harris government in the early 90′s when the Ontario land transfer tax was blended into the Toronto Land transfer tax – it became invisible and politicians of the day and even now were reluctant stop a cash cow because they didn’t know what to replace it with.  Fact is,  some people have sought to buy homes in the GTA where that double tax whammy does not exist.

      6. Toronto’s unemployment rate is much higher than the provincial rate. What are your ideas to create job growth in Toronto?

      When I become councillor I will lobby my colleagues to apply creative thinking  on job creation in our city. I will develop relationships with large corporations in the private sector to employ young people out of university and train them so that we can stimulate their growth potential and that of our city.

      7. It seems City Council has been debating public transit forever with little results to show. How would you fund new transit projects to ease congestion for everyone? Do you feel we need to change the current transit planning process?

      In the David Miller years, we spent a lot of time talking about Transit and it was axed by the current mayor. Now we are at it again and all the mayoral candidates are singing off the same song sheet. No creative or orginal ideas. Same old, same old with no real and practical way of funding such large infracstructure.  For the past forty years Toronto has sat  by and opprotunity after opportunity pass us by because we did not as a city have a shared vision of what our city might become. Every year we ponder and think it becomes more expensive.

      Let’s think not only of now or the next 4 years but think in terms of our children. We need to build an integrated and coordinated transit system that serve all of Toronto.  We can use more buses, consider more bus only and taxi only lanes. Set a time frame of when delivery trucks can be down town say from 8:00 p.m. to 7:00a.m. in the mornings.

      8. Labour negotiations will be a big part of the next council term. What advice do you have for the city’s negotiating team to get the best deal for taxpayers?

      We must be real and practical with the unions. The Unions want a fair deal for their members and the city want a fair deal for its residents. Everybody ought to know that money does not grow on trees. The city should highlight that fact that we are in a revenue crunch. We need to develop other income streams in order to meet all our operations obligations.

      9. Do you see opportunities for public-private partnerships (P3s) involving the City of Toronto? Where, specifically?

      I do not believe that P3′s is the solution to everything. In some instance it works. It works when each party can be made accountable to whatever promises they make. It works when there is recourse. Right now at Yonge and Eglinton where North Toronto Collegiate Institue once stood are 2 condominiums. Tridel and the school board had a deal. Tridel was to maintain the school grounds, at last I heard, they renegged on the deal. So it’s important that the right partner is choosen, if the partnership is to be sustainable.

      10. What is the top issue of concern for residents in your ward? What will you do as Councillor to address the issue?

      The top issue of concern in my neighbourhood is community safety.  Which encompasses, safer roads for children and seniors, fewer potholes to save residents money on astronomical car repair. Better emergency response preparedness, rememer the ice storm.  Deligent police response when a breaking and entry is the process.  People work hard for their money I will work harder to serve them. To advocate for my neighbours and to keep them safe.  There  are roads in WARD 16 that have been in disrepair for years and no one seems to notice. I I will make it  happen. I will get the job done. There are locations on roadways that could use a crosswalk or two – managed intersection. All this is community safety.

    • 1. Do you support a property tax cap ensuring future hikes are no greater than the rate of inflation?

      I do not support any mechanism that limits the ability of lawmakers to do the job for which they have been elected. I believe to best way to ensure that taxpayers are respected is to implement full accountability and transparency.

      2. Where, specifically, do you advocate finding savings in the current city budget?

      Across the board. I believe that savings can be found by cutting middle management and making top management more accountable and transparent. I don’t intend to make savings at the expense of frontline workforce that is providing great value for taxpayers money.

      3. Do you support reducing the size of Toronto City Council?

      Yes. I believe the municipal ridings should be the same than the provincial ridings which will cut the size of Council in half and make the decision process more rational.

      4. Will you support contracting out garbage collection east of Yonge Street?

      I would partner with unbiased academics to analyse in depth the result of contracting out garbage collection west of Yonge. If it is determined that value for taxpayers money has been improved, then I will support contracting out east of Yonge.

      At the time being, I don’t believe other services should be contracted out.

      5. What are your thoughts on the Municipal Land Transfer Tax – will you support reducing it or eliminating it?

      No. I think it’s an acceptably fair tax that doesn’t affect too much working families and benefits our economy.

      6. Toronto’s unemployment rate is much higher than the provincial rate. What are your ideas to create job growth in Toronto?

      Focus spending on essential infrastructure, in particular transit infrastructure. Cut wasteful spending or fancy urban design fantasies like Eglinton-Connect. Significantly reduce the red tape burden on small business owners. Help immigrants quickly and efficiently create a tailored list of permits and licences that are required from all levels of government to operate their specific business. Partner with other level of governments to multiply initiatives like BizPal. Attract investments through a better promotion of Toronto in places where Montreal is better known, especially francophone and francophile countries.

      7. It seems City Council has been debating public transit forever with little results to show. How would you fund new transit projects to ease congestion for everyone? Do you feel we need to change the current transit planning process?

      My main idea about transit is that we must stop debating and start building. Transit City was an excellent infrastructure project providing great value for taxpayers money. We wasted four years endlessly opposing different options that are actually the same. The Eglinton Crosstown is the proof that a LRT is no different than a subway. We must think in term of value for the taxpayer, not of ideology. Partisans of the LRT argue that we must implement them because that is what “world class city” do. It doesn’t make sense because you don’t invest billions in transit infrastructure because it looks good. Partisans of subways argue that we must implement them because of Canadian winters. It doesn’t make sense because you don’t invest billions in transit infrastructure to provide heated shelters.

      8. Labour negotiations will be a big part of the next council term. What advice do you have for the city’s negotiating team to get the best deal for taxpayers?

      We are all in the same boat. City workers are also taxpayers. Let’s restore sanity and behave like adults. Government should not be about implementing an ideology, it should be about finding the solutions that provide the best value for everybody. Coming from France where unions are all about ideology and conflict, I appreciate the quality of our unions here. Of course, there are situations where unionized workforce may try to abuse its dominant position. Those situations should be addressed with respect but firmness. Let’s work together to build an even greater City.

      9. Do you see opportunities for public-private partnerships (P3s) involving the City of Toronto? Where, specifically?

      I am not a big fan of P3s. Looking at what happened with most of them (Ornge, the Power Plants, Ehealth) I have the feeling that they are bringing the worst of both systems.

      10. What is the top issue of concern for residents in your ward? What will you do as Councillor to address the issue?

      Top concern is the ever growing price of housing that is destroying multi-generational communities. I intend to halt projects like Eglinton Connect that promote gentrification and bring no value to the communities. I will bring together the stakeholders, including developers, to improve tenants situation while making sure that it is not at the expense of small owners.

      Unilateral and inappropriate development is another important concern. I am in favor of freeing Toronto from the OMB, but I also want to make sure our City Planner is working in a transparent and accountable way. I do not believe that adequate community consultation has taken place with respect to Eglinton Connect and other recent development projects. If elected, I will partner with un-biased academics to find ways to ensure that community members’ diverse views are represented and that development decisions are evidence-based.

      The situation of small businesses in the Ward is also very preoccupying. I believe the commercial property vacancy tax rebate should be cut. Immigrants who are willing and capable of creating their own businesses should be encouraged to do so.

      Working families need affordable daycare and after school activities. We can optimize the use of Section 37 in Ontario’s Planning Act and work with school boards to ensure that school infrastructure is effectively used for community purposes after hours.

      A huge concern is also the increase in local crime, such as “break and enters”, I am in favor of increasing foot and bike police patrol, especially during cottage season. But more fundamentally, I believe that building strong neighborhoods and promoting citizen involvement is the best way to protect us efficiently.

    • 1. Do you support a property tax cap ensuring future hikes are no greater than the rate of inflation?

      Yes I do 100%

      2. Where, specifically, do you advocate finding savings in the current city budget?

      We must continue to make gains by managing labour costs. Negotiations will be taking place with the Toronto Police Services shortly, as their contract expires not long after the election. These negotiations with Police ( Fire and EMS when due ) services are the centre piece to achieving the city’s efficiency goals, considering they account for almost 50% of it’s payroll. I am in favour of one ( ex ) Mayoral candidates ideas to use a four platoon shift model as is done in other cities. He believes reducing shift overlapes can save $25m. I also agree that using incentives and other measures to replace light duty officers and retirement ready officers with new recruits will realize substantial savings

      3. Do you support reducing the size of Toronto City Council?

      I am in favour of doing away with the two wards for every federal riding rule of thumb and having a one to one correspondence.

      4. Will you support contracting out garbage collection east of Yonge Street?

      Yes I support contracting out garbage collection east of Yonge Street, as the current model is working very well west of Yonge and has resulted in substantial savings to taxpayers. Long term experience with private pick-up in Etobicoke has shown that there is not much difference in quality of service between operators.

      5. What are your thoughts on the Municipal Land Transfer Tax – will you support reducing it or eliminating it?

      I will support reducing the Land Transfer Tax. The tax is growing exponentially with the dramatic increases in property values.

      6. Toronto’s unemployment rate is much higher than the provincial rate. What are your ideas to create job growth in Toronto?

      I feel we must boost the city’s attractiveness with arts and culture investments, promote the city on the international stage and offer tax incentives for businesses to locate here.

      7. It seems City Council has been debating public transit forever with little results to show. How would you fund new transit projects to ease congestion for everyone? Do you feel we need to change the current transit planning process?

      No I don’t believe we need to change the current process. I believe strongly in the plans that have been approved by the TTC and Metrolinx and funded by the province and possibly the private sector. But we have to move on the DRL, Finch West and Sheppard LRT Lines.

      8. Labour negotiations will be a big part of the next council term. What advice do you have for the city’s negotiating team to get the best deal for taxpayers?

      Continue to take a hardline approach to negotiations!

      9. Do you see opportunities for public-private partnerships (P3s) involving the City of Toronto? Where, specifically?

      I feel there should be many opportunities for public-private partnerships in Toronto. The private sector may enforce a discipline and rigour of thinking about a project that I don’t think government often does as well as it should. Also the private sector can provide a level of innovation through a competitive process that sometimes governments can’t do. I have to say I get most excited about possibilities of P3s in regards to transit on a project by project basis.

      10. What is the top issue of concern for residents in your ward? What will you do as Councillor to address the issue?

      We have a very big concern with traffic safety in our ward. I will work to reduce speed limits to 30 km/h in school zones and adjacent residential streets while ensuring more enforcement. You will always get a ticket on Avenue Road or Yonge Street if your two minutes past the meter time, but you can go through stop signs all day long with zero consequence. I intend to change that in the way that many international cities have done already, with very positive results.

    • 1. Do you support a property tax cap ensuring future hikes are no greater than the rate of inflation?

      Council should have as its goal to limit future hikes in property taxes to no greater than the rate of inflation. However, in the past the city has deferred investments in maintenance, transit and other areas to achieve lower increases in taxes. Like deferred maintenance on a car or a home, this may mean that catching up on larger investments may call for a tax raise larger than that of inflation.

      2. Where, specifically, do you advocate finding savings in the current city budget?

      While the city government has attempted to control spending, I believe there are savings to be found in city processes and workflows. While I think Mr. Tory has the start of an idea in asking city staff to yield 10 ideas to improve efficiency and customer server, I believe there are great savings to be found in building more effective cooperation with divergent stakeholders within City Council, staff and Torontonians. Building cooperative, effective teams of stakeholders with divergent interests are skills that I bring from many years of successful business ownership.

      3. Do you support reducing the size of Toronto City Council?

      I support the Toronto Ward Boundary Review to compare growth in population between wards and impact of development. I am also interested in looking at ward boundaries, especially in terms of what is most fiscally responsible for city council. I am open to considering ranked ballots.

      4. Will you support contracting out garbage collection east of Yonge Street?

      My personal experience with the contracting out of garbage collection has been positive. I think that, subject to proper review of the financial and service impacts of contracting out, extending this program can be effective for the city. I am open to reviewing other programs which might benefit from competitive bidding.

      5. What are your thoughts on the Municipal Land Transfer Tax – will you support reducing it or eliminating it?

      Toronto cannot, at this time, afford to eliminate any further revenue sources. The Municipal Land Transfer Tax is an effective source of revenue for Toronto. I am open to reviewing the tax and its implementation to make it more stable and lessen any negative impacts.

      6. Toronto’s unemployment rate is much higher than the provincial rate. What are your ideas to create job growth in Toronto?

      I, like many at the municipal and provincial level, recognize that Toronto is underperforming, especially in comparison to its Canadian and global cousins. Efforts are being made to address this underperformance in employment and other areas, including the recent “Collaborating for Competitiveness” report published by the city with input from multiple sources. There are opportunities for the city to address unemployment and underemployment. With the experience and skills I bring to Council, I am confident I can assist in identifying and helping to execute the best of these. Arts provides employment and significant return to the city. As we know a dollar invested in arts returns tenfold or more. I would suggest to council the possibility of utilizing property tax rebates or other incentives for building owners who let to cultural organizations which provide services to or in Toronto. As well, I would like to investigate a development incentive that would create more spaces for arts organizations. The formula would be based on reduction in property tax providing extra benefit for developers when allocating a space in their building that fits community needs. In trading a small amount of density for community benefit, the developer could exclude that square footage from their density calculation in their application. The incentive would also mandate a development consultation wih the neighbours, both to inform and to gain their approval on a permanent community space

      7. It seems City Council has been debating public transit forever with little results to show. How would you fund new transit projects to ease congestion for everyone? Do you feel we need to change the current transit planning process?

      Toronto has fallen decades behind its needs for public transit, victim of politics and widely differing views of methods of providing service. I support the Metrolinx plan, which included detailed expert reviews, public consultations and were agreed to in 2013. It is also vital to review and implement alternative that can provide immediate relief of transit congestion in the short and medium terms while longer term plans are implemented. This can be done by using existing capacity in better, more creative ways. These include: 1) Expanding on Councillor Stintz’s idea for a transportation “czar”, by appointing a Chief Transportation Officer, reporting directly to the City Manager. 2) Address the TTC maintenance backlog, diminishing inconvenient transit slowdowns 3) The TTC does many things well. Construction may not be one of these things. I suggest we bring in an experience construction manager to advise the Council on best practices for cost control and faster construction 4) Phase out parking on major downtown routes, improving automobile through-traffic. 5) Implement improved technology (i.e. MARLIN) at Toronto intersections, improving through-traffic for transit and automobiles 6) Supporting ideas such as an Early Bird period (i.e. 6-7am) of free or reduced fare transit to incent riders to change their transit schedules and improve utilization of off-peak transit times The transit planning process has been delayed by its costs and politics. I will work with my fellow council members to focus and act on solutions in the short, medium and long terms

      8. Labour negotiations will be a big part of the next council term. What advice do you have for the city’s negotiating team to get the best deal for taxpayers?

      My career has been built on bringing together stakeholders with divergent interests and objectives together to successfully achieve successful results. As City Councillor for Ward 16, Eglinton-Lawrence, I will be in a position to provide advice and guidance in addressing the objectives of all of the stakeholders and getting the best deal for Ward 16, Toronto and its taxpayers.

      9. Do you see opportunities for public-private partnerships (P3s) involving the City of Toronto? Where, specifically?

      In a recent poll, 62% of Canadians responded that they look favourably on P3’s, especially in areas such as transit, roads, social housing, and hospitals. With the demonstrable need to catch up on maintenance and growth of our city infrastructure, properly engaged P3’s can be an invaluable part of the city’s growth. It is incumbent on the city to ensure that P3 engagements are properly planned and contracted to avoid potential pitfalls of these types of projects.

      10. What is the top issue of concern for residents in your ward? What will you do as Councillor to address the issue?

      In speaking with many residents of Ward 16, at their doors and at community events, I have learned that the top issues of concern are transportation (transit/gridlock) and intensification. Transit and gridlock has been discussed in previous responses in this survey. Intensification however is a growing issue. Residents have come to me asking how I will address plans for buildings and other projects they consider too large and which conflict with the character of their neighbourhoods. I will work with the residents and resident associations on a case by case basis, balancing their concerns with potential benefits to the neighbourhood and the ward. I will always be open to listen to residents’ concerns and do my utmost to help address them.

    • 1. Do you support a property tax cap ensuring future hikes are no greater than the rate of inflation?

      Yes, I do support keeping property taxes at the rate of inflation. We need to respect the taxpayer and look for other sources of revenue, like public/private partnerships.

      2. Where, specifically, do you advocate finding savings in the current city budget?

      I believe the City should look at outsourcing some of our current services. For instance, we could look at outsourcing things typically outside a government’s mandate, i.e. the day-to-day management of the Toronto Community Housing Corporation.

      During her mayoral campaign, Karen Stintz suggested the City eliminate the rebate landlords are receiving on vacant buildings. This is something I support, and would bring to council if elected.

      3. Do you support reducing the size of Toronto City Council?

      Yes, I believe our City wards should mirror the federal and provincial ridings, which would reduce the size of City council, from 44 councillors to 22.

      4. Will you support contracting out garbage collection east of Yonge Street?

      Yes I believe the City needs a balance between services we provide and services we contract out so no one groups is able to hold the city hostage with labor talks.

      5. What are your thoughts on the Municipal Land Transfer Tax – will you support reducing it or eliminating it?

      While I ultimately support the elimination of the Municipal Land Transfer Tax (MLTT), I don’t believe it can be done right away. Currently, the MLTT is a huge revenue tool for the city making up approximately 3.5% revenue in the city’s operating budget. In order to eliminate it, we would need to replace it with a new source of revenue. Until we can find enough savings to make up the difference, or introduce a new revenue stream, I can only support reducing and/or reforming the MLTT.

      6. Toronto’s unemployment rate is much higher than the provincial rate. What are your ideas to create job growth in Toronto?

      I believe part of the city’s mandate is to create optimal conditions for job creation within Toronto. As councillor, I would work towards creating incentives for employers and entrepreneurs to build their businesses in our city, which would ultimately create more jobs.

      7. It seems City Council has been debating public transit forever with little results to show. How would you fund new transit projects to ease congestion for everyone? Do you feel we need to change the current transit planning process?

      Our problem with building transit in Toronto is that plans don’t typically survive our 4-year election cycles. We need to stick to approved and funded plans in order to see new transit built.

      In order to fund new transit projects, we need to create partnerships with both the Provincial and Federal governments, as well as explore further private sector funding opportunities.

      8. Labour negotiations will be a big part of the next council term. What advice do you have for the city’s negotiating team to get the best deal for taxpayers?

      Fair and balanced contracts are in everyone’s best interest. We need to be open and honest with our unions by outlining what we can afford. We need to ensure we are working to give our employees a fair contract while also ensuring we don’t spend beyond our means and remain responsible to the taxpayers.

      9. Do you see opportunities for public-private partnerships (P3s) involving the City of Toronto? Where, specifically?

      Yes, I do. Specifically I would look at the Toronto Community Housing Corporation as a possible opportunity for a public-private partnership. I don’t believe the City of Toronto should be acting as a landlord: we’ve done a very poor job at this so far. Toronto should be governing and administering social services, not managing the day-to-day operation of the buildings.

      10. What is the top issue of concern for residents in your ward? What will you do as Councillor to address the issue?

      There are a number of major issues facing Ward 16 right now: community safety, protecting our community assets (like Bannockburn Park), managing Eglinton Connects, reducing congestion, and addressing our aging infrastructure.

      However, I think one of the biggest issues in Ward 16 is community safety.

      There have been a number of break-and-enters across the ward. People don’t feel safe in their own homes, and that’s a serious problem.

      If elected, I would work closely with both our community and the Toronto Police Service, and ensure information is flowing both ways. I would also look at instating a community watch program: our neighbours are the people best positioned to recognize someone who shouldn’t be on our streets. We need to ensure we have the best tools at our disposal to deal with this problem.

      Another safety issue in our community is people speeding in residential areas and school zones. We need to look at ways to address this issue through both traffic studies and community consultations. Then quickly implement the needed changes to make our streets safe.

    • 1. Do you support a property tax cap ensuring future hikes are no greater than the rate of inflation?

      I will not support a budget during the next four years that proposes a property tax increase above the rate of inflation.

      2. Where, specifically, do you advocate finding savings in the current city budget?

      By contracting out services where there is evidence the private sector can do the job better and for less money.  By continuing the good work already underway in Toronto to find savings and efficiencies.

      3. Do you support reducing the size of Toronto City Council?

      No I do not. While it might make council meetings function a little more smoothly, it would erode local democracy and undermine the principle that local government is closest to the people. Residents need access to their local representatives. Reducing council by half would diminish that access significantly.

      4. Will you support contracting out garbage collection east of Yonge Street?

      Yes, provided there continues to be a strong business case for doing so based on our experience of contracting out collection west of Yonge Street. I support contracting out where there is solid evidence that doing so will cost less and improve the service.

      5. What are your thoughts on the Municipal Land Transfer Tax – will you support reducing it or eliminating it?

      This is not a priority for me because Toronto needs the $300 million in annual revenue provided by the land transfer tax. To eliminate it entirely, you’re either cutting core services or raising property taxes above inflation – neither of which I support. I would consider reducing it, but again you’d have to identify a source for replacing that lost revenue.

      6. Toronto’s unemployment rate is much higher than the provincial rate. What are your ideas to create job growth in Toronto?

      Toronto has to work for those who live and do business here. As government, we must create the right climate for job growth and work to address systemic problems that are holding businesses and other job creators back. A good example is gridlock, which costs our GTA economy $6 billion every year in lost productivity. We have an opportunity right now to move forward with some major transit and transportation infrastructure projects – let’s get them done. In Ward 16, projects like the Eglinton Crosstown LRT will boost the local economy both during and after construction, and encourage businesses to increase their workforce, creating more jobs. There are success stories like this waiting to be realized all over this city.

      7. It seems City Council has been debating public transit forever with little results to show. How would you fund new transit projects to ease congestion for everyone? Do you feel we need to change the current transit planning process?

      For starters, I think we need to stop using transit as a political football. Torontonians want to see transit getting built, not endlessly debated. There is a plan in place to fund and build the Scarborough subway. Let’s move forward and get it done.

      On the larger issue of easing congestion over the long term – it’s a regional problem.  We need a long-term strategy for expanding integrated mass transit across the city and throughout the region, but ultimately it must be led by and funded by the province.

      8. Labour negotiations will be a big part of the next council term. What advice do you have for the city’s negotiating team to get the best deal for taxpayers?

      The emphasis should be on fair, frank and open discussions based on mutual acknowledgement that the city needs to live within its means.

      9. Do you see opportunities for public-private partnerships (P3s) involving the City of Toronto? Where, specifically?

      I support public-private-partnerships. In Ward 16, the new Yonge-Eglinton subway/LRT station would be a perfect fit for a P3 arrangement. In my view, Metrolinx should be taking advantage of potential commercial opportunities in the underground area connecting both lines. The newly created underground space could be a windfall for the city. Retail space could be operated by a private company that pays rent to the city and shares maintenance costs. Most importantly, Toronto needs to start working with private companies who know the business, and involve them in the design/build stage.

      10. What is the top issue of concern for residents in your ward? What will you do as Councillor to address the issue?

      My priorities will be protecting and enhancing the quality of life we have built here in Ward 16 – strengthening neighbourhoods; addressing traffic and transit congestion; creating new parks and open spaces while preserving what we have now; keeping annual property taxes at or below the rate of inflation; tackling the infrastructure deficit most particularly in areas of high/rapid intensification; and maintaining high-quality municipal services that are efficient and accessible for all.

    • 1. Do you support a property tax cap ensuring future hikes are no greater than the rate of inflation?

      No, I do not. Taxes should increase to the level where proper services can be delivered, but no higher. With increases limited to rate if inflation the city will fall into decline.

      2. Where, specifically, do you advocate finding savings in the current city budget?

      By reducing the number of councillors and thereby reducing budgets, privatisation of services such as garbage pickup east of Yonge etc.

      3. Do you support reducing the size of Toronto City Council?

      Yes. We have at least 30% more councillors than we need for a city our size.

      4. Will you support contracting out garbage collection east of Yonge Street?

      Absolutely.

      5. What are your thoughts on the Municipal Land Transfer Tax – will you support reducing it or eliminating it?

      I’m in favour of phasing it out and replacing it with a property tax increase spread across the city so everyone pays their fair share. The Land Transfer tax us nothing more than a tax on wealth.

      6. Toronto’s unemployment rate is much higher than the provincial rate. What are your ideas to create job growth in Toronto?

      By allowing expansion of Billy Bishop airport this will attract more businesses to Toronto creating jobs. This us just one example. Also tax incentives to companies relocating to Toronto.

      7. It seems City Council has been debating public transit forever with little results to show. How would you fund new transit projects to ease congestion for everyone? Do you feel we need to change the current transit planning process?

      New transit must be funded by tax increases and negotiation with the Federal and Provincial governments. Perhaps a congestion tax as done in London.

      8. Labour negotiations will be a big part of the next council term. What advice do you have for the city’s negotiating team to get the best deal for taxpayers?

      I support privatisation of services wherever possible. We can insert no strike clauses with private companies.

      9. Do you see opportunities for public-private partnerships (P3s) involving the City of Toronto? Where, specifically?

      TTC for starters. Naming rights for Subway stops, parks, public buildings.

      10. What is the top issue of concern for residents in your ward? What will you do as Councillor to address the issue?

      Disruption due to the Eglinton Crosstown LRT. I will insure disruption to businesses and residents will be kept to a minimum. Also overdevelopment. I will work to ensure residents concerns are taken seriously whether it is a high rise or simply a house on a residential street.

    • 1. Do you support a property tax cap ensuring future hikes are no greater than the rate of inflation?

      Yes.

      2. Where, specifically, do you advocate finding savings in the current city budget?

      Start with the biggest expenditure: staff salaries.

      3. Do you support reducing the size of Toronto City Council?

      Yes and yes.

      4. Will you support contracting out garbage collection east of Yonge Street?

      Yes. If the private bid is less expensive than the in-house cost. I would use the same approach with most city services.

      5. What are your thoughts on the Municipal Land Transfer Tax – will you support reducing it or eliminating it?

      I support eliminating the tax when/if the housing market in Toronto softens. Lowering it before then risks fueling the real estate bubble.

      6. Toronto’s unemployment rate is much higher than the provincial rate. What are your ideas to create job growth in Toronto?

      Investing in the infrastructure necessary to attract the high-paying jobs of the future. Our tech/transit infrastructure must be world class if we are going to compete in the global economy.

      7. It seems City Council has been debating public transit forever with little results to show. How would you fund new transit projects to ease congestion for everyone? Do you feel we need to change the current transit planning process?

      We need the province to pay their share. People who live outside the city use our roads every day without paying a dime in property tax. We need a fair funding model. Our planning needs to be more consistent,  predictable and far-sighted.

      8. Labour negotiations will be a big part of the next council term. What advice do you have for the city’s negotiating team to get the best deal for taxpayers?

      Do not back down. We cannot afford to keep paying double what the private sector does.

      9. Do you see opportunities for public-private partnerships (P3s) involving the City of Toronto? Where, specifically?

      Yes. I studied P3 law under Timothy Murphy. We should expand their use on capital projects and explore new uses to reduce operating costs.

      10. What is the top issue of concern for residents in your ward? What will you do as Councillor to address the issue?

      Traffic and congestion. I will work to improve transit and lobby for provincial funding for congestion-cutting infrastructure investments.

    • 1. Do you support a property tax cap ensuring future hikes are no greater than the rate of inflation?

      Yes

      2. Where, specifically, do you advocate finding savings in the current city budget?

      Reduced administration costs by reducing paper work.

      3. Do you support reducing the size of Toronto City Council?

      No

      4. Will you support contracting out garbage collection east of Yonge Street?

      Yes

      5. What are your thoughts on the Municipal Land Transfer Tax – will you support reducing it or eliminating it?

      Yes

      6. Toronto’s unemployment rate is much higher than the provincial rate. What are your ideas to create job growth in Toronto?

      Help small business and start up companies.

      7. It seems City Council has been debating public transit forever with little results to show. How would you fund new transit projects to ease congestion for everyone? Do you feel we need to change the current transit planning process?

      Implement John Tory SmartTrack.

      8. Labour negotiations will be a big part of the next council term. What advice do you have for the city’s negotiating team to get the best deal for taxpayers?

      Keep wage increase at rate of inflation.

      9. Do you see opportunities for public-private partnerships (P3s) involving the City of Toronto? Where, specifically?

      Yes

      10. What is the top issue of concern for residents in your ward? What will you do as Councillor to address the issue?

      Better TTC service to reduce gridlock.

    • 1. Do you support a property tax cap ensuring future hikes are no greater than the rate of inflation?

      Yes. However, as seen for the Scarborough subway, special tax increases can still be implemented. These need to be considered carefully.

      2. Where, specifically, do you advocate finding savings in the current city budget?

      The vast majority of services provided by the City are mandatory. Those that aren’t mandatory (libraries, parks and recreation) add to what make the City livable. During 2011-2012 the City conducted an extensive series of independent service reviews to find efficiencies. Those recommended efficiency improvements need to be considered and implemented.

      These easy wins are disappearing and we will have to make difficult decisions around what services may need to be reduced. Those decisions need to be debated vigorously and publically. Alternatively, if we are not prepared to make cuts, consideration needs to be given to increased/expanded user fees for non-mandatory services.

      3. Do you support reducing the size of Toronto City Council?

      I believe a smaller council would function more effectively, but I do not see it as a significant cost saving measure. Any move towards a smaller Council needs to be balanced with increased opportunity and mechanisms for public consultation. In reducing council size, we need to expand the pool of voices that contribute to moving our City forward!

      4. Will you support contracting out garbage collection east of Yonge Street?

      Yes, the program west of Yonge seems to be working. However, any agreement for east of Yonge would be subject to a new tendering process, incorporate lessons learned from the GFL contract and give fair consideration to efficiencies/improvements that have occurred with City garbage collection over the last 2 years.

      5. What are your thoughts on the Municipal Land Transfer Tax – will you support reducing it or eliminating it?

      The Municipal Land Transfer Tax (MLTT) makes Toronto more expensive than surrounding communities. This tax should be reduced and ideally phased out over a reasonable period. However, the MLTT accounts for 3.7% of Toronto’s revenue. That’s equivalent to a 10% increase in property taxes, a 22% increase in user fees or a tripling of the grants and subsidies received from the Federal government. The revenue from the MLTT will need to be offset by increased program efficiencies and increased revenues in other areas.

      6. Toronto’s unemployment rate is much higher than the provincial rate. What are your ideas to create job growth in Toronto?

      Employment and Social Services accounts for 12.1% of Toronto’s operating budget. Efforts to create job growth need to be incentivized by provincial and federal government programs. The senior levels of government need to be made aware of the unique circumstances in the City and devise programs to address those issues, particularly amongst the City’s youth.

      Toronto’s real contribution to employment is providing an environment that attracts business and a talented workforce. A favorable tax structure, along with well-maintained roads, public transit and affordable housing are critical for enhancing employment opportunities in Toronto.

      7. It seems City Council has been debating public transit forever with little results to show. How would you fund new transit projects to ease congestion for everyone? Do you feel we need to change the current transit planning process?

      New transit projects need to consider a variety of funding alternatives. While tax increment financing (TIF) provides a solution with no apparent increase in property taxes, we need to be certain that new development will occur. We also need to be prepared with a contingency plan should tax revenues fall short. Funding should consider a blend of options such as TIF and a dedicated property tax levy. If the TIF meets or exceeds requirements, the property tax levy would be refunded or reduced.

      The challenge with transportation planning is that it needs to be viewed and coordinated at a regional level. We need to be able to move people efficiency into and out of the city. There is a regional transit plan maintained by Metrolinx and agreed to by Toronto and the surrounding municipalities. What we need to do is prioritize, find the funding and move forward.

      8. Labour negotiations will be a big part of the next council term. What advice do you have for the city’s negotiating team to get the best deal for taxpayers?

      Labour costs are the largest expense for most City Divisions. If we intend to keep property tax increases to the rate of inflation, negotiating teams must ensure contract agreements reflect this reality.

      9. Do you see opportunities for public-private partnerships (P3s) involving the City of Toronto? Where, specifically?

      In Toronto, one could potentially see the development and operation of a new subway line or a new Gardiner expressway as a P3 project. However, a P3 is not necessarily the most cost effective solution. It should be considered along with more traditional project financing to determine the best investment option.

      10. What is the top issue of concern for residents in your ward? What will you do as Councillor to address the issue?

      The top issue of concern is the pressures of development in our neighbourhoods and along the transportation corridors. Ward 16 is bordered by the Yonge subway line to the east and the Crossways LRT along the south. These areas are targeted for development intensification. The risk for citizens in these communities is that our principles for development, as outlined in the Official Plan, may be compromised. Changing zoning requirements may occur without sufficient consultation and citizen input. Furthermore the Ontario Municipal Board has historically demonstrated a bias towards developers over community input and the City’s Official Plan. Public consultation and input cannot be sacrificed. The City will grow, but it is up to us to determine how well we grow!

    • 1. Do you support a property tax cap ensuring future hikes are no greater than the rate of inflation?

      I believe that taxes must be fair and equitable.  When planning a city, we must do our best to have a long-term vision and plan for what will best serve our residents, will promote business, the physical and mental health of our residents, as well as the vibrancy of our neighbourhoods.  Fiscal responsibility is the duty of every representative. We cannot shackle future generations by cutting off or setting hard caps on any source of revenue. The property tax burden could be alleviated for those who could least afford it.  I favour the expansion of revenue sources and a more equitable contribution weighted more to means.

      2. Where, specifically, do you advocate finding savings in the current city budget?

      We should be continuously scrutinizing our expenditures and operations to find savings opportunities, without sacrificing important and vital services.  At this point, I believe we should examine our public works to ensure that such work is properly coordinated and that unnecessary duplication is avoided.  In addition, about 25% of our property taxes go toward policing.  With decreasing crime rates, this is an area that needs to be re-examined.  Finally, coordinated efforts by the three levels of government will both serve society and save costs.  For example, evidence shows that if we provide a viable home to a homeless person who has mental health challenges, this person will soon be able to get the help she or he requires, and ultimately even find employment.  This short-term expenditure will reduce long-term costs: the cost of shelters, emergency hospital visits, policing, and detention centres is much higher than the cost of providing someone with a home and support (some of which the person will be able to pay back, in time.)  The efficient governance of our city is an ongoing process.

      3. Do you support reducing the size of Toronto City Council?

      Changing the number of city councillors would have no positive impact on how Council operates. I know Councillors who often spend more than 12 hours a day to serve their constituents.  Reducing the size of City Council would mean that residents’ calls and needs would go unanswered.  We need to change the dialogue at city hall, so that councillors think in terms of the city, the residents’ interests, and the longer term, and not soundbites and the next election cycle.

      4. Will you support contracting out garbage collection east of Yonge Street?

      All proposals for changing the way services are offered, including proposals for contracting out, need to be based on evidence.  We need to weigh not only any anticipated immediate cost impact, but also the impact on the level and quality of service being offered to the residents of Toronto.  Any time the City wishes to work with another company, we must take into account the employment standards and conditions of that company.

      5. What are your thoughts on the Municipal Land Transfer Tax – will you support reducing it or eliminating it?

      The City of Toronto is one of the largest governments, of any level, in North America, yet it has very limited sources of revenue considering the size of its service requirements. It would be irresponsible to consider a reduction or elimination of any of its limited sources of revenue without there being alternative sources of revenue available to balance out the loss of funds. However, I believe we should give serious consideration to the issue, examine its impact, and, if necessary, consider measures such as providing a greater credit in some cases, or reducing or eliminating a portion of the Land Transfer Tax (for example, for homes under a certain price.)  But any decision should be based on sound evidence and only with increased revenues from elsewhere.

      6. Toronto’s unemployment rate is much higher than the provincial rate. What are your ideas to create job growth in Toronto?

      This is a multi-faceted issue, and can best be resolved by bringing together the various parties involved.  Furthermore, Toronto is home to many of the province’s most vulnerable citizens, who in turn are most likely to be unemployed.  On way we can expand opportunities for the most vulnerable, including the homeless and those with mental health challenges, by offering support together with other levels of government. Evidence shows that offering people support through difficult periods helps them emerge and be ready to take on meaningful employment and otherwise contribute to our community for the future.

      7. It seems City Council has been debating public transit forever with little results to show. How would you fund new transit projects to ease congestion for everyone? Do you feel we need to change the current transit planning process?

      Toronto has been debating public transit for years and has shown little vision and action. We need to have a long term vision for the transit needs of Toronto and then implement long-term solutions, not just solutions that are geared toward the next election cycle. The funding burden cannot be borne simply by transit users and Toronto residents. Contributions must also be made by other levels of government, including neighbouring municipalities whose residents benefit from Toronto’s transit infrastructure, as well as by builders so they can share in the cost of transit and other infrastructure to keep up with their new developments.

      8. Labour negotiations will be a big part of the next council term. What advice do you have for the city’s negotiating team to get the best deal for taxpayers?

      I urge all parties to put the best interests of our residents and the city first, consider the long-term impacts of any choices and decisions, and engage in creative, outside-the-box thinking to ensure we provide the best services possible to residents while keeping costs to a reasonable degree and ensuring that job conditions are fair and equitable.

      9. Do you see opportunities for public-private partnerships (P3s) involving the City of Toronto? Where, specifically?

      PPPs are simply one way to deliver service.  When we examine how we deliver our services, we should be open to all possibilities while we focus, primarily, on the long-term impact of any decisions that we make .

      10. What is the top issue of concern for residents in your ward? What will you do as Councillor to address the issue?

      What I have heard at the doors and on the streets from my fellow Ward 16 residents is a concern with transit, development and the ability of the infrastructure to maintain it, as well as concern over the lack of local park space and green space. As councillor for Ward 16 I will work to implement a long-term vision of Toronto that includes respectful government, responsible development and open, vibrant communities. I will work to ensure that the focus of new developments is to improve our neighbourhoods, not simply to build high-density tall buildings that are not practical for families or seniors.   I will work to ensure no new developments go up without the infrastructure needs addressed; that public space, especially green space, be a priority; and that we provide public spaces for seniors, children, and other residents.