2014 City Council Election: Ward 15 – Eglinton-Lawrence

The Incumbent:

Josh Colle

The Race

Unfortunately, Councillor Josh Colle did not provide a response to our survey. We would have preferred to evaluate his response against those of his opponents. From those who responded, there is agreement that neighbourhood safety and local job development are top local issues. There is also unanimous agreement on repealing or eliminating the Municipal Land Transfer Tax. Some differences of opinion on transit funding and planning.

Candidates Who Did Not Participate: Councillor Josh Colle

The Breakdown

  • Candidate Response
    Aryeh-Bain, Chani Yes
    Belkadi, Ahmed Yes
    Harari, Eduardo Yes, but only 50% of inflation rate
    Van Zandwijk, James Yes


  • Candidate Response
    Aryeh-Bain, Chani Change management-to-staff ratio in public divisions. Internal restructuring of agencies. Through collective bargaining strategies. Cutting the size of city council.
    Belkadi, Ahmed Public-private partnerships for alternative service delivery. Further capping of councillor expenses.
    Harari, Eduardo Hold the line on collective agreements and re-evaluate city processes.
    Van Zandwijk, James Re-structuring emergency services. Re-examine two separate school boards.


  • Candidate Response
    Aryeh-Bain, Chani Yes
    Belkadi, Ahmed No
    Harari, Eduardo No
    Van Zandwijk, James Can not answer without experience


  • Candidate Response
    Belkadi, Ahmed Yes. Use Alternate Service Delivery models so that the city can focus on 1) policy design, 2) provide competition between different providers, 3) to hold companies to higher performance standards. This can be used for park services, maintenance, and snow removal, for example.
    Harari, Eduardo Yes, at a threshold of 80%. Tree services, maintenance, and water main repairs should also be contracted out.
    Van Zandwijk, James No


  • Candidate Response
    Aryeh-Bain, Chani Yes to gradual elimination
    Belkadi, Ahmed Yes to elimination
    Harari, Eduardo Yes to gradual elimination
    Van Zandwijk, James Yes to modifying


  • Candidate Response
    Aryeh-Bain, Chani Reduce taxes on business to help current owners and attract foreign investment.
    Belkadi, Ahmed Create a strong employment equity policy so that City jobs aren't being backfilled by existing employees. Join with other municipalities and levels of government to create a job employment strategy for the GTHA. Increased partnerships with business and educational institutions.
    Harari, Eduardo Establish local and international investment strategies that may include tax initiatives. Promote re-training in language development, business, and skills and trades.
    Van Zandwijk, James City should offer education in business startups and tax law for small business creation. Incentives for businesses suited for urban centres.


  • Candidate Response
    Aryeh-Bain, Chani Use public-private partnership, with public oversight, to expand transit network. Consult, but build now as was done in previous decades.
    Belkadi, Ahmed Use temporary revenue tools to build the Downtown Relief Line. HOV tolls on highways. Development charges on new business units. Ask province for fair share of transit tax and gas tax.
    Harari, Eduardo Restrict heavy transport trucks. Trailer and container movement should be by rail.
    Van Zandwijk, James In transit planning, must consider future larger populations. Questions transit financing based on projected revenues.


  • Candidate Response
    Aryeh-Bain, Chani Use the same principles in upcoming negotiations as were used in the first two years of the current Council's term.
    Belkadi, Ahmed Keep political beliefs at the door. Secure long-term deals fair to all sides.
    Harari, Eduardo Be firm while negotiating while considering hard work of employees.
    Van Zandwijk, James Must balance the standard of living of labourers with the pockets of taxpayers.


  • Candidate Response
    Aryeh-Bain, Chani Yes, specifically for new transit projects.
    Belkadi, Ahmed Supports the use of Alternate Service Delivery
    Harari, Eduardo Yes. In areas such as education, sports and recreation, training and innovation.
    Van Zandwijk, James Can not answer without evaluating what exists now.


  • Candidate Response
    Aryeh-Bain, Chani Pocketbook issues – residents worried about government spending their money wisely. Must treat resident tax dollars with utmost care.
    Belkadi, Ahmed Strangehold on power by current representatives. Local crime and lack of safety and security. Will commit to hosting bi-weekly meetings in ward to represent community better.
    Van Zandwijk, James One issue is a homeless shelter moving into the ward from another neighbourhood. Need specialized shelters for people with mental health and addictions.

 

The full responses

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

    Yes, I absolutely 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?

    To find savings in the current city budget would be to reduce spending first and foremost. We can change the management-to-staff ratio in certain public divisions, where, in some cases there is one manager for every four employees.

    We can also do some internal restructuring of agencies such as the TTC and Toronto Police Service where according to a KPMG report in 2011 suggested that could save the city $65 million.

    Furthermore, another $47 million could be saved using joint labour relations and collective bargaining strategies.

    Reducing the size of City Council to 25 wards instead of 44 could also save a significant amount of money. If our provincial and federal counterparts are able to manage with ridings almost double the size of our wards, why can’t city councillors?

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

    My answer in Question #2 is a good segue to my answer here. Yes, I do support reducing the size of Toronto City Council. Not only would it be a cost-saving measure but it would also improve the way City Council operates currently. There are “too many cooks to spoil the broth” right now. If we operated with a council that is almost half of its current size (and that reflects the reality of our federal and provincial counterparts), a lot more work can get done for the citizens of Toronto.

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

    I do support contracting out garbage collection east of Yonge Street. I live west of Yonge where garbage collection has already been contracted out. It has worked very well and I am pleased with the quality of service and the resulting savings to the City.

    Cleaning services on TTC property and other city property is another area that can be contracted out. Service quality would remain the same while saving significant sums for the taxpayer.

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

    The Municipal Land Transfer Tax was a tax grab from Toronto residents. People were unprepared for the repercussions of it. Fewer homes were changing hands as a result of it, though, thankfully, Toronto is still a coveted real estate market. Yet, more properties could have changed hands. People are opting to stay in their current homes longer due to this tax.

    Having said that, I support eliminating the Land Transfer Tax but it must be reduced incrementally before eliminating it fully. The City budget needs to be “weaned” of the income it produces by becoming more efficient and finding savings elsewhere in the budget. One thing is sure, when the local real estate market prospers, the local economy flourishes as well. Therefore, I would not fret over the “loss of revenue” which this tax generates because it can be made up through a myriad of positive ways when people are free to spend their money the way they see fit.

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

    It is unfortunate that Toronto’s rate of unemployment is much higher than the provincial rate. In order to create job growth, we need to reduce the onerous tax rate thus helping current business owners in Toronto, and attracting foreign investment to the City. Lower taxes create greater investment in the City. Greater investment in Toronto creates more jobs for Torontonians.

    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?

    A lack of adequate public transit in Toronto has been eclipsed by the amazing population growth of the City. If Toronto wants to be truly World Class and I know it has the potential, we have to do better on transit than we are right now. Coming from a private business background, I am in favour of public/private business partnerships so long as there is public oversight to ensure the safety and welfare of its citizens.

    Furthermore, being extremely efficient in other areas of the budget may yield the City revenue to fund, in part, transit projects. The key is to run a “tight ship” in all areas to benefit important projects such as transit.

    Lastly, in the 1950′s when our subway was built, it was, no doubt, a sacrifice on the part of the citizens of Toronto of the last generation. Yet, they were all visionaries and they knew building this subway system would not only benefit them but would also benefit their children in the coming generation. Consultation is important to getting the job done right. But consulting “ad nauseum” is merely talk with no results. We must emulate our forebears: Bite the bullet and build the rocket!

    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 result of labour negotiations affects every taxpayer of Toronto. Therefore, joint labour relations and collective bargaining strategies could yield the best results. The labour agreements that were ratified in the first two years of the current council’s term have given us labour peace. I urge the city’s negotiating teams to use the same principles in the upcoming negotiations.

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

    Yes, I do see opportunities for P3s in the city of Toronto. As I mentioned before, funding new transit projects jointly is a prime example.

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

    After speaking with many residents in my ward, the over-arching issue for almost everyone is still “pocketbook” concerns. People are working harder these days to make ends meet. The last thing they want to see is government separating them from more of their hard-earned cash. Then, watching government spend their money mindlessly just adds insult to injury.

    I plan to be a strong voice for the residents of my ward in treating tax revenue with the utmost of care. My residents have toiled to earn their incomes and have contributed their fair share of taxes diligently. The least we could do as politicians is to recognize that fact when planning necessary projects for the City.

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

    I believe the notion that taxes should be attached to inflation makes sound business sense. If programs and services are getting more expensive but the City doesn’t have the funds to meet those fees, something has to give. We cannot saddle future generations with debt or let our city fall apart because of an unwillingness to do our fair share. With that said, I would not support increasing taxes above inflation unless advocated by the City Manager. I don’t believe tying councils hands by creating a cap on taxes would lead to sound policy decisions if the City found itself struggling to balance the books. Therefore I do not support a cap, but I am 100% committed to keeping property tax in line with the rate of inflation.

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

    According to outgoing City Manager Joe Pennachetti, the gravy train has stopped. He was quoted as saying to council last year that “We’ve had hundreds of millions of dollars of efficiencies and budget savings over a decade. We’re capped out.” I would have to take the City Manager at his word. If anything, I would advocate for Private-Public partnerships under Alternative Service Delivery as you will see in greater detail in my following answers and the further capping of Councillors’ expenses. Beyond that I would be extremely reluctant to cut anything else in fear of harming public services.

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

    This is a complicated question. First of all, I believe any decision to change the size of council should not be made by council. It is a clear conflict of interest. I am also hard-pressed to believe that cutting the size of council to say, 22 like the Mayor had advocated for last summer, would really make much of a difference in how council operates. I believe there should be a stricter code of conduct to ensure council is working effectively. I would also be weary of cutting the size of council because many wards, especially in the northern parts of the city, are already quite large as it is. It would be hard to imagine Councillors being able to be sufficiently accessible to all their constituents if they were representing say 200,000 people.

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

    Yes I would support the continued contracting out of garbage collection throughout the rest of Toronto. As for other services, I would rather advocate for Alternative Services Delivery. ASD, not to be confused with privatization, refers to the transfer of ownership of a public sector enterprise to the private sector. In short, it separates policy direction from service delivery. To be clear, the City still makes the policy decisions and regulates the service, while the service provider operates the program. This system has several advantages to our current funding model: 1) The City can focus solely on policy design and creating desired outcomes of said policy. This leaves more space for the City officials to innovate. 2) It will provide competition between different providers who would be fighting for government contracts. The City will be able to strike cost friendly deals by contracting services. 3) The City would be able to hold these companies to higher performance standards than can be achieved by government. In essence, ASD provides the taxpayer with improved service for less cost. I believe the ASD model can be used in non-core services such as Park Services, Maintenance and Snow removal. Together, the cost of these programs are in the hundreds of millions of dollars. If we can lower the overall cost through private-public partnership, it could go a long way to help fund other critically needed projects such as the Downtown Relief Line or finding a permanent solution for the Gardiner. Furthermore, ASD has been touted by the province both before and after the most recent election and the programs I listed have been considered for privatization by the current council. It conclusion, I believe the City should be directly involved in policy direction to maintain high standards in all services. To be clear, I am not advocating for privatization. ASD is potentially an innovative solution to maintaining and improving upon the services that Toronto holds dear.

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

    I would push for the complete repeal of the Municipal Land Transfer Tax. If council believed that the car tax was unfair back in 2010, I don’t see how the MLTT is any different. The Toronto Real Estate Board rightfully calls it a cash grab and I consider it totally unfair and a complete disregard for Taxpayers. For anyone in Toronto looking to buy or sell their home, they would be taxed twice (once by the Municipal Land Transfer Tax and once the Provincial Land Transfer Tax). For example, if we were to take the average single detached home price of $750,000, one would have to pay both the City and the Province over $10,000 each. For many this could very realistically affect their ability to afford a home. It just doesn’t make any sense to be taxed to transfer the same piece of land twice within the same transaction. It is by no means fair and I would like to see it repealed.

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

    One of the easiest and most direct ways the City can help deal with unemployment is by creating a strong employment equity policy. That means that the City would become an example in ensuring that every citizen has a fair opportunity to fill job openings within the City and that it isn’t simply being backfilled by existing employees. By setting such an example, the hope would be that the private sector would follow suit. In an effort to reduce unemployment, the city should sit down with regional municipalities and other levels of government to create a job employment strategy for the GTHA. To specifically deal with high levels of youth unemployment, we need to sit down with the city’s largest employers to ensure that entry-level positions are just that. Any quick job search will find that many of these positions are asking for multiple years of experience and skills that no new graduate could realistically meet. We also need to ensure that post-secondary institutions are equipping youth with the skills that employers are looking for and not just theoretical knowledge that doesn’t help them practically use their degrees once they graduate. It is only through these partnerships with other governments, business and educational institutions that will allow us to practically tackle the alarming trend of unemployment.

    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 fund public transit infrastructure, I would support certain temporary revenue generating tools under one clear condition: Those funds go directly to a major infrastructure project, such as the DRL. I would like to approach the provincial government to ask them to consider development charges on new for-profit units built in our city. I would also be interested to study HOV tolls on highways. According to the Toronto Star, it would generate $160-$250 million annually. The City should also sit down with the province and ask for our fair share of the 13% transit tax and ask for part of the 14.7 cents we pay per litre for gas be redirected to expand the TTC. As for the current transit planning, I am not quite sure what the alternative would be outside of removing our municipal government from the process. I believe this would be extremely bad for our City. Council needs to realize that congestion costs our city $11 billion dollars annually and the longer it takes them to agree on a type of transit, the more expensive their decision will become. If they can’t understand that, citizens have an election on October 27th and they will fill council chairs with those who understand.

    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 your political beliefs at the door and do what you do best. What’s most important is getting long-term deals that secure our city’s public services and are both fair for the taxpayer and employees that are trying to make an honest living.

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

    As mentioned earlier, I would support the use of Alternative Service Delivery.

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

    The greatest challenge affecting Ward 15 is the dynastic stranglehold on power by current political representatives. Consider this, over the past 35 years most of Ward 15 in its various pre-amalgamation forms has essentially had only two different City Councillors. Since 1988, only two incumbents have been defeated in an election at any level of government in Eglinton-Lawrence. Following a recent shooting in Lawrence Heights this summer, I was invited to meet with local residents to discuss the perpetual cycle of violence in the neighbourhood. I was shocked to see the frustration on one mother’s face as she told me that she can’t rest her head until her children are home from school. Others recalled stories of stray bullets landing in a local playground, and despite giving local politicians a list of suggestions over a year ago, they have yet to hear back. It is no wonder in talking with many of you, more often than not, there is a real sense of indifference to government, which is rooted in an inability to affect real change. Too many of you believe your voices are simply heard once every four years when your vote is required for re-election, and empty promises run limitless. As your newest City Councilor, my goal will be to create a more diverse and more representative Ward 15. I promise to be the most accessible and visible member of public office our community has ever had. I believe in order to be a true representative of the people, one needs to understand what their constituents want and need. This is why I pledge to not only knock on doors during election time, but between them. I am also committed to holding bi-weekly meetings at different locations throughout our Ward where I can meet as many constituents as possible and take their needs back to City Hall to achieve real results. It is this type of bold, transparent and inclusive leadership our community so desperately needs. As a proud lifelong resident of this community, I cannot wait to get started!

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

    Yes, but only 50 per cent of the inflation rate.

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

    Holding the line on collective agreements and revaluating city process.

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

    No, because councillors need to be able to assist all residents and issues of their own ward.  If we reduce the number of councillors the number of resident each councillor will be responsible for will increase and will make it impossible of the councillor to serve them as effectively.

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

    Yes, I support contracting out garbage collection east of Yonge street at a threshold of 80% so that the city can activate this essential service in case of any eventuality. Services like tree services and maintenance, snow removal, watermains repairs can also be contracted out at the same rate.

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

    The Land Transfer Tax should be gradually be repealed other tools to create revenue for the city or reduce it by half.

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

    The City should have an active role in promoting job creation and skills development. The City should promote job creation by establishing a local and international investment strategy; that may include tax initiatives. Local business should be engaged and encouraged to participate into City programs that provide them with the tools to enhance their business and promote job creation. The City should continue to foster and promote the training and retraining of its residents in areas as language development, business and technical skills and trades.

    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?

    Yes. Also, adopt a much more intermodal approach, including restricting heavy transport trucks and working with the national railways and the trucking association to work toward increasing trailer and container movement via rail.

    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 has faced several strikes while conducting labour negotiation putting city in an unfavorable situation. We should be firm when negotiating but never forget the hard work that employees put into their jobs.

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

    Yes, there are opportunities in the areas of education, sports and recreation, training and innovation among others. For example; by creating technology hubs at private industries or with private industry support to motivate youth into further education and training.

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

    Safety has been a mayor issue during the years. And although policing and enforcement have been of great assistance the issue persist. By engaging the communities and establishing a two way communication within the residents and the police and re-establishing neighborhood watch programs we can surely eliminate the tension that current programs are coursing. Police carding while being an effective method has being viewed as a profile type of program that results in more damage than assistance.

    Residents and specially the youth should be encourage and engaged in to sports, cultural and educational activities that will keep them off the streets and on the right path.

    Special police task forces like gang relations and substance abuse control more be introduced in programs particularly in schools, community centres and housing.

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

    Yes. However, property values in Toronto and general inflation in Canada have been adjusting at different rates and this needs to be taken into account.

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

    A lot of the City’s services are run inefficiently; police, fire, and EMS tend to all respond to calls which really require only one of the three. We might also re-examine funding for religious schools, if that’s a possibility, to put the Catholic school board on the same footing as Protestants, Muslims, and any other religion.

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

    I can’t answer this honestly without actually having had experience. It does seem like a lot, but Toronto is a big city with a large and varied population.

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

    don’t think adding job insecurity to the people that make our city work would be beneficial at all. Most of the services need streamlining, surely, but notably in the provincial health care sector, where a lot of the HR is contracted, patients are getting longer wait times and less care than before. Contractors work to operate at a profit, purely, while public employees work to serve the public. I live West of Yonge Street, and the service has certainly suffered under GFL.

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

    I wouldn’t support eliminating it, but maybe reducing it, and certainly modifying it. More and more people are buying properties in Toronto as financial investments; that’s fine, but to make money one must spend it, no? It would then become just a COB issue that an entrepreneur must factor into the calculations. I would support eliminating a transfer tax for buyers of principal residences – it does seem a little harsh that the city would grab cash from people for merely trying to establish themselves.

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

    Our economy seems to be gearing more and more to independent contractors and small businesspeople. We could facilitate this by offering education in business startups, tax law, and other related subjects. Also, we seem to be turning our industrial sector into a residential sector, and as our city grows faster than the rest of the province, there isn’t much to be done about that. Incentives could be made for employers that would be more suitable to an urban setting than a foundry or a slaughterhouse.

    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 actually have no idea yet. I do know that we need to look ahead for a much larger population and an ever-widening encirclement of Suburbia. When the Don Valley Viaduct was built, it was built with subways in mind, decades before subways came to Toronto. We need to think like that again, because we are about twenty years too late starting that.The funding ideas brought forth by Ford (and Tory, too, if I’m not mistaken) call for creative financing based on future expected tax income generated by a better infrastructure. It seems to me that many countries borrow from the IMF or the World Bank based on this type of projection, and austerity measures follow 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?

    Most taxpayers will say that employees of private companies are not treated as well as city employees, and they are right. For most of them, the answer is to drop the standard of living for city employees. We live in a world where a lot of us have a lower standard of living than did our parents – and it’s often human nature to share the squalor, so to speak. Drastic changes need to be made to our labour laws and the enforcement of them, and that isn’t the bailiwick of a city councillor, but I do think that the government has a responsibility to set an example. That being said, having never been on the union’s side of the table when I’ve come into contact with them, I must also say that most of the time union leaders must be given no free ride to rifle the pockets of taxpayers. Union leaders have been known to bleed companies dry in order to get some short-term gain, but ultimately destroy the company.

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

    I can’t really answer that until I have a closer look at what exists now.

    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 them is a homeless shelter that is moving into the ward from elsewhere. I do know that it costs roughly $1600 per month per ‘client’ to house the homeless in communal shelters. I think as a Band-Aid solution, shelters have been on a little too long and we need to start looking at some real solutions. Many of the people on our streets aren’t even from Toronto – most of them come here looking for work from Smalltown, Canada. We do need some specialized shelters for people with addictions or mental health issues, but for many of the people in the shelter system, it’s endlessly cheaper and easier to house them. I actually have a much larger plan for dealing with this that I plan to bring up in some of the upcoming debates.

2014 City Council Election: Ward 14 – Parkdale-High Park

The Incumbent:

Gord Perks

The Race

Environmentalist Councillor Gord Perks hasn’t faced difficulty getting elected in his ward. We don’t expect this to change in 2014, though, two of his opponents who responded to our survey certainly offer interesting policy. It is good to note support for reducing or eliminating the Municipal Land Transfer Tax. Ideas on transit and job development require fine-tuning.

Candidates Who Did Not Participate: Councillor Gord Perks, Charmain Emerson, Andreas Marouchos, Jimmy Talpa

The Breakdown

 

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 to the rate of inflation or less.

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

    To be honest, I would have to look over the current budget to determine cost savings.

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

    I don’t necessarily think by reducing council whether operations would be improved. It might, for example, less people = less votes = less lobbying. I am not sure if the city needs less, if all Wards are somewhat equal size then, by eliminating some we would put a strain on the remaining Wards.

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

    I live in the West and so far I have no issues with garbage collection. If it is affordable and not a tax burden on Torontonians – I would support this service East of Yonge.

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

    Hot button for sure. Easy answer is yes, I would support a reduction and or eliminating the tax. But without a clear plan to replace the revenue to the city – how will we support growth? It will be an ongoing challenge. Something that needs to be looked at and worked on for sure.

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

    This is ongoing. We need to do better here. Toronto needs to get behind training our citizens for the jobs of the future and making sure we are ready.  Let’s help bring down the unemployment rate in Toronto.  For example; Could we align future job trends with current programs, local schools and employers? Daycare support workers, Elder care Coordinators and people in the Technology sector to name a few future job trends – we can help to prepare our citizens to acquire the skills necessary to ensure the job opportunities can be filled and bring down the unemployment rate 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?

    Again- not sure. One thought is to have a smaller portion of council responsible for making positives changes to our transit woes and charge them with effecting change and holding them accountable for the term. The thought here is if we can have a smaller group in charge, changes can get made and help alleviate the log jam of ideas. Sometimes we have to just start somewhere.

    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 is a big city with lots of challenges and tax payers are savvy people.

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

    I don’t have enough information on this subject. Will have to dive into this further, preferably to look at case studies and see if there are opportunities that could benefit Toronto and its tax payers.

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

    Address all issues head on. As I start campaigning I will get an idea of hot buttons and work to formulate resolutions.

  • 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 plan on automating our street and “Green P” pay parking so policing can be done via tablet

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

    No comment till I get to City Hall.

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

    Yes. Toronto Community Housing Corp.

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

    Will you support reducing it or eliminating it? Reducing as much as possible until it is eliminated.

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

    Promote to Ontarians the benefits of seeking employment out of 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?

    I would build 2 new subway lines. One on Keele Street from Bloor to York University with stops at Bloor, Dundas, St. Clair, Eglinton, Lawrence, Wilson, Sheppard, Finch and Steeles. The other on Dufferin Street from CNE to Finch with stops at CNE, King, Queen, Dundas, Bloor, Dupont, St. Clair, Eglinton, Lawrence, Wilson, Sheppard, Finch. I would also build a downtown relief line from CNE straight to Union Station.

    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?

    Even city labourers are taxpayers so they need to understand that a cap on wages means tax savings for them also.

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

    Yes, in building of subways.

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

    Relieving congestion and our elderly not being ableto afford to live downtown. The subway system that I proposed in question 7 will enable the elderly to access less expensive housing in the north of the city and give them the ability to travel downtown quickly and comfortably in any weather or traffic conditions.

2014 City Council Election: Ward 12 – York South-Weston

The Incumbent:

Frank Di Giorgio

The Race

Councillor Frank Di Giorgio narrowly won his last race over challenger Nick Dominelli. These opponents face off again in 2014 with new candidates including the well-known brother of Councillor Nunziata in the neighbouring ward. There are notable differences of opinion in taxation and transit expansion. It is good to see broad support for local job development and increased apprenticeship programs and youth mentorship.

Candidates Who Did Not Participate: Nick Dominelli

The Breakdown

  • Candidate Response
    Di Giorgio, Frank Yes to the operating budget and no to the capital budget.
    Nunziata, John Yes
    Olawoye, Lekan Did not specifically answer


  • Candidate Response
    Di Giorgio, Frank Control in growth of volume and delivery of more services.
    Nunziata, John Phase out Wheel Trans. Combining purchasing in all agencies and commissions.
    Olawoye, Lekan Eliminate duplications, waste, and red tape. Ensure projects are completed on time and on budget.


  • Candidate Response
    Di Giorgio, Frank Yes
    Nunziata, John Yes
    Olawoye, Lekan Will consider


  • Candidate Response
    Di Giorgio, Frank Will consider
    Nunziata, John Yes
    Olawoye, Lekan No


  • Candidate Response
    Di Giorgio, Frank Yes to a modest reduction
    Nunziata, John Yes to phasing out
    Olawoye, Lekan Must consider with other taxes


  • Candidate Response
    Di Giorgio, Frank Private enterprise should introduce new services and jobs through investment.
    Nunziata, John Reducing red tape and regulatory bureaucracy. Expanded convention centre for greater tourism. Reducing business taxes to create climate for job creations.
    Olawoye, Lekan Property training local opportunities like Metrolinx transit expansion. Youth mentorship program. Advocate for local businesses affected by Eglinton Crosstown construction. Support current and new Business Improvement Areas.


  • Candidate Response
    Di Giorgio, Frank Refine transit planning process. Under-used bus routes should be serviced by smaller buses or private enterprise.
    Nunziata, John Upper levels of government must step up to the plate to fund subways.
    Olawoye, Lekan Focus is to be a voice for residents and ensure the needs of Ward 12 are prioritized.


  • Candidate Response
    Di Giorgio, Frank Retain tight control over wage increases and peg the increases to inflation.
    Nunziata, John Negotiating team must be firm but fair. Civil servants need to assist with keeping labour costs in check.
    Olawoye, Lekan Make decisions on what is best for all residents in the city.


  • Candidate Response
    Di Giorgio, Frank Yes for example TTC service delivery, tree services on private property, and street cleaning.
    Nunziata, John Yes, in public transit, Wheel Trans, the planning process, expediting the building permit process by engaging the private sector to read plans.
    Olawoye, Lekan P3 models are highly complex and pose risks. Not supportive.


  • Candidate Response
    Di Giorgio, Frank New investment for revitalization and creation of jobs. Incentives for landlords to upgrade their buildings.
    Nunziata, John Unemployment and youth unemployment. Develop municipal apprenticeship system. Target job creation to disadvantaged communities.
    Olawoye, Lekan Lack of strong local leadership at City Hall.

 

The full responses

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

    Yes to the Operating Budget and no to the Capital Budget

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

    Greater control over the growth in the number of services offered by the City. The City tends to expand not only the volume of services but also the delivery of more services.

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

    Some reduction in the size of Council would be good and it would enhance the operation of Council.

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

    I believe that the garbage collection should be contracted out only if the public sector cannot keep costs within 15% of the private sector costs.

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

    Support modest reduction only.

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

    The creation of jobs is best handled by having the public sector limit new jobs to growth in existing service volume and having private enterprise introduce new services and jobs through new investment.

    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?

    Service routes that are poorly utilized should be serviced by smaller buses and possibly operated by private enterprise. Yes the current transit planning process must be refined.

    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?

    Retain tight control over wage increases and peg the increases to inflation.

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

    Yes. Contracting out some of the TTC service delivery may be productive. Creating new jobs through contracting out service delivery related to trees on private property. Creating new jobs through contracting out street cleaning.

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

    The need for new investment to trigger revitalization and creation of jobs. Promote economic development strategies that include incentives for investment and incentives for reinvestment by landlords to upgrade their buildings.

  • 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?

    Now that every taxi in Toronto will be wheelchair accessible we can begin to phase out Wheel Trans. The city currently subsidizes Wheel Trans operating budget by $100 a year.Savings and efficiencies can be found by combining purchasing of all agencies and commissions.

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

    Yes, by 50% and yes it would make Council more functional.

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

    Yes, if the private sector can provide an equal or better service I am in favour of outsourcing.

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

    Yes, I would support the phasing out of the tax as fiscal circumstances permit.

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

    Reducing red tape and regulatory bureaucracy to allow businesses to create jobs. An expanded convention centre would provide for greater tourism. Making Toronto the music capital of the world. Ultimately, reducing business taxes will provide the climate for job creation.

    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 subways and upper levels of government need to step up to the plate. They have a direct interest in eliminating the gridlock which has a huge negative economic impact.

    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?

    Ultimately the taxpayers will foot the bill. The negotiating team must be firm but fair. Civil servants as well as politicians need to step up to the plate and assist with keeping labour costs in check.

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

    Yes, public transit, Wheel Trans, the planning process, expediting the building permit process by engaging the private sector to read plans.

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

    Unemployment, youth unemployment. Developing a municipal apprenticeship system that will provide people with the skills to enter the workforce. Working with federal and provincial government to ensure the Canada Jobs Plan involves Toronto so that job creation can be targeted in certain disadvantage communities.

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

    It is essential to ensure that property taxes do not put additional strain on residents of Toronto, while balancing the need to invest in the infrastructure and services that will support strong, healthy communities. I have the right experience to manage a tight budget and ensure that tax payer dollars are spent responsibly and cost-effectively.

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

    I will work with City staff and my fellow Councillors to eliminate duplications, waste and red tape, and ensure that projects are completed on time and on budget. I believe that you can achieve good fiscal management in the city budget while continuing to provide the community infrastructure and services that make Toronto such a great city to live and raise a family in.

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

    As a Councillor, I would considered every proposal that could improve how Council operates, and I would guided by what is best for my constituents.

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

    No. Our city has a role to play in making sure our services are reliable, effective and efficient.

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

    I believe that this decision can’t be made in isolation. I would work tirelessly in the City budget process, including listening to my constituents’ concerns, to find ways to balance the City budget and make changes to currently taxes as appropriate.

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

    Good local paying jobs and a vibrant business presence help build a strong community. It allows youth to gain experience, enables families to pay the bills and provides the neighbourhood with a variety of goods and services. To create more local opportunities and thriving businesses we need three key elements: proper training for local opportunities, mentorship and strong advocacy.

    I will: · Advocate for more job training in Ward 12, including training for jobs related to the Metrolinx transit expansion in York South-Weston
    · Create a youth mentorship program so youth in the community have access to skill-building and networking opportunities · Champion York South-Weston as a welcoming place for business development · Speak up for local businesses affected by the construction of the Eglinton Crosstown LRT · Ensure local businesses have access to municipal, provincial and federal funding and services · Support the Eglinton Hill Business Improvement Area (BIA) and new local BIAs to beautify the community with cost-matching funds from the 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?

    Toronto needs to get moving. Transit is an important issue overall in city, and it is no different in Ward 12. We are so far behind in transit improvements and infrastructure that the safety of our community is in jeopardy. As a resident of Ward 12, I understand the deficiencies and difficulties with transit in the community and my focus is to be a voice for residents and ensuring that transit issues in Ward 12 are prioritized.

    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?

    Put people before politics. Make decisions based on what is best for all residents of the city.

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

    Our most complex challenges require the collaboration of the public, private and not-for-profit sector. No single sector has a monopoly on good ideas or good execution. That being said, P3 models are highly complex and pose real risks with questionable benefits. While many politicians find it tempting on the surface, I’m not willing to pursue short term benefit for long term costs.

    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 is that Ward 12 does not have strong local leadership at City Hall. The people of Ward 12 work hard. We need a City Councillor who will work just as hard as the residents do in order to improve the community. My Service Pledge outlines my vision for supporting my constituents every day.

2014 City Council Election: Ward 13 – Parkdale-High Park

The Incumbent:

Sarah Doucette

The Race

Councillor Sarah Doucette faces several more challengers than she did in the 2010 race. Which such competition it is unfortunate that a response to our questions was not submitted. The candidates on the ballot here are split in opinion on taxation and transit funding. A big topic in Ward 13 is a lack of responsible development and criticism of the Ontario Municipal Board. Expect the OMB to be a hot-button issue in the next Council term.

Candidates Who Did Not Participate: Councillor Sarah Doucette, Thomas Dempsey, Taras Kulish, Greg Lada, Rishi Sharma, Bohdan Spas

The Breakdown

  • Candidate Response
    Bielaski, Matthew Yes
    Melnyk, Eugene Yes
    Pavlov, Nick Yes
    Perez, Alex Yes
    Tar, István No
    Tummillo, Evan Yes


  • Candidate Response
    Bielaski, Matthew Cancel Scarborough subway for LRT. Privatize services like garbage collection.
    Melnyk, Eugene Streamline waste for efficiencies
    Pavlov, Nick Through a rationalization of all services and an open and competitive bidding process.
    Perez, Alex Finding more efficient services.
    Tar, István Sure there is space to save
    Tummillo, Evan It is difficulty to say because councillors do not have micro-oversight to make those judgments.


  • Candidate Response
    Bielaski, Matthew No
    Melnyk, Eugene No
    Pavlov, Nick Yes
    Perez, Alex Will Consider
    Tar, István No
    Tummillo, Evan No


  • Candidate Response
    Bielaski, Matthew Yes
    Melnyk, Eugene Yes. Also partial contracting out for community housing, police services, and construction management.
    Pavlov, Nick Yes
    Perez, Alex Did not answer specifically
    Tar, István No
    Tummillo, Evan Yes


  • Candidate Response
    Bielaski, Matthew Yes to modifying
    Melnyk, Eugene Yes to reducing by 50%
    Pavlov, Nick Yes to elimination
    Perez, Alex Will consider modifying
    Tar, István No
    Tummillo, Evan No


  • Candidate Response
    Melnyk, Eugene Lower business taxes.
    Pavlov, Nick Biggest roadblock facing entrepreneurs is red tape. Change the environment so entrepreneurship can flourish.
    Perez, Alex The City's Employment and Social Services should be a hub for innovation and prioritize programs for youth employment and recent immigrants. Partner with the private sector to do this.
    Tar, István Toronto should be its own province.
    Tummillo, Evan Make the city more accessible. Private partnerships for worthy ventures.


  • Candidate Response
    Bielaski, Matthew Congestion charge for people travelling to downtown, and collected as a dedicated fee.
    Melnyk, Eugene Partnerships with the private sector for funding.
    Pavlov, Nick With vision and drive we can find the tools to build a lot more transit without federal or provincial government funding or approval.
    Perez, Alex One transportation body should oversee all public transportation in the City. Build subways but switch the Scarborough subway back to LRT. Regional transit integration. Time of day differential fares for public transit.
    Tar, István The President of the TTC should be elected by workers and residents.
    Tummillo, Evan Attach referendum questions to city ballots to gauge public interest. We should pursue new revenue tools but also push for more funding from other levels of government.


  • Candidate Response
    Bielaski, Matthew Services can be contracted. The lowest bid shouldn't necessarily win contracts.
    Melnyk, Eugene Pay structure and compensation should be similar to private sector.
    Pavlov, Nick Union labour must be competitive, proficient at what they do, and give value to the residents who they work for.
    Perez, Alex City must take a strong position and be firm when bargaining.
    Tar, István Instead of labour unions there should be a Canadian standard for wages.
    Tummillo, Evan Be fair and responsible. Good paying jobs channel back into the economy.


  • Candidate Response
    Bielaski, Matthew Yes, for example, infrastructure projects, recreational services, and the development of the waterfront.
    Melnyk, Eugene Yes, in public transit and community housing.
    Pavlov, Nick Yes, particularly, in transit infrastructure.
    Perez, Alex Did not respond
    Tar, István Did not respond specifically
    Tummillo, Evan Will consider, particularly for cultural services.


  • Candidate Response
    Bielaski, Matthew Development that fits into the existing neighbourhood and upgrading infrastructure to accommodate this development.
    Melnyk, Eugene Community housing standards, too many condo developments.
    Pavlov, Nick Over-development that affects the character of the neighbourhoods. The OMB needs to have its powers in Toronto restricted.
    Perez, Alex Rapid development expansion must turn to responsible development. Promote inclusionary zoning. Work to reform or abolish the OMB.
    Tar, István Over-taxation and garbage
    Tummillo, Evan Every issue is important to be solved. Referenced OMB and responsible development.

 

The full responses

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

    I would like to peg tax increases to inflation. As much as it is unpopular we have been under funding our city relative to other municipalities for many years. We are fast reaching a breaking point where if we reduce or eliminate taxes, our services will suffer.

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

    Eliminating the Scarborough subway and reverting it back to a fully funded LRT will save a lot of money and eliminate a tax increase that was not needed other than for political grandstanding. I would also support moving services, like garbage collection, to private contracts as long as the level of service was as good or better then currently delivered publicly.

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

    No, for the reason that Toronto’s Wards are already large and very diverse. Example my Ward (Ward 13) has over 35,000 people, which is larger than many small towns, and has very different issues than some other Wards. I feel that reducing the size of Council will not affect how it functions. Having a Council that is willing to co-operate on issues, discuss matter and not be adversarial will improve how it operates.

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

    Yes I would support contracting out garbage collection as long as the service is not reduced. I do not mind paying taxes for services, but I want value for every tax dollar I give. I feel many others feel the same as I do.

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

    It a huge revenue generator for the City, having said that I dislike it greatly. I would reduce or eliminate it for real-estate transactions under 2.5 million dollars. I would increase it for the transactions above 2.5 million dollars.

    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 hardest question to answer as it touches on many social and economic factors.  I would encourage small business development, start up’s and entrepreneurs in the city. I see this as jobs that have both growth potential and that will make our city stronger as a whole.

    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?

    By being very unpopular. I would implement a Congestion Charge for people travelling into downtown that do not live there, similar to what the city of London, England has. This would be a dedicated fee that would only be used to fund public transit in Toronto. This would do two things. The first would be to finally give transit dedicated funding. The second would be to encourage more people to take public transit and not to drive.

    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?

    By remembering that many services can be contracted out if needed. I would also tell them that it is not necessarily lowest bid should win contacts. You must look at what real value you are getting for each dollar you are spending.

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

    Yes I do. P3s generally work best for hard infrastructure projects like hospitals or sports facilities. I see possibilities for recreation complexes and sports fields as well as for the development of the waterfront. I don’t think they will solve all of the City’s problems but I feel they can play a part.

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

    I see development being the top issue in my Ward. More and more people want to live here, which is great, but we cannot turn Bloor West Village into a canyon of condos. I would work with the planning department, the developers and the resident groups to make sure that new developments fit into the neighbourhood and do not destroy the community. I would also ensure that as part of the development the infrastructure required to support all the new residents that will be coming to live in the community is also upgraded alongside building the developments.

  • 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?

    Through streamlining wastage in all public sectors and strive to be more efficient.

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

    No. The city of Toronto is large and representation by councillors through more wards would be more effective.

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

    Yes. I support contracting out garbage. I believe community housing, certain police services, certain construction management and other areas of public sectors may be partially contracted out.

    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 by 50 percent.

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

    Lower certain business tax to encourage more hiring. Create a stronger economy through fiscal responsibility.

    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 a partnership with private sector businesses would help fund a good deal of new transit projects.
    No we do not.

    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 labour negotiations should focus on a pay structure and compensation similar to private sector pay structures.

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

    Yes, in public transit and community housing.

    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 many issues such as improving community housing standards, over development of condo projects, undermining the integrity of a neighbourhood.

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

    I support a fixed property tax cap that may not be increased for any reason. The City Government needs to work within its means and over the past 10 years, the radical house price increases and subsequent reassessment by MPAC is a stealth tax increase. As long as we continue in the Zero Interest Rate world that is being fostered by the Bank of Canada, there will be plenty of cost increases for the citizens of Toronto to pay without property taxes being one of them.

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

    I advocate finding savings in all aspects of the budget, rationalization of all services and an open competitive bidding process is needed for every single service the City Toronto provides.

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

    Yes I support reducing the size of city council by conforming the wards to the same size as the current Provincial and Federal Riding boundaries

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

    Yes, I support Contracting out garbage collection east of Yonge street. As for other services, as stated above, all services should be subject to competitive bid process.

    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 repealed.

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

    The red tape put forward by the City of Toronto is the single biggest roadblock facing entrepreneurs. Outdated and needlessly restrictive laws stop businesses before they ever get a chance to start. The flawed street food program, “A La Cart” is a classic example of this attitude coming from City Hall. The idea that everything need to be pre-approved by city bureaucrats is the antithesis of the kind of environment one needs for entrepreneurship to flourish.

    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?

    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 for too long has been seen as a political football for other levels of Government to Kick around. The City itself is the economic engine of Ontario and to a lesser extent Canada, it is high time that the City government took it upon itself to explore options for funding transit beyond begging and pleading with other levels of government to pay for it. In Spain the 50 KM subway loop MetroSurwas built in 3 years – from there is no reason that can’t happen in Toronto with the right kind of vision and drive – and without the federal and provincial governments funding or approval.

    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?

    Positive labour relations are part of any great city, however, we are not going to held hostage by union agendas that don’t serve the people of the city. Their members must be competitive, proficient at what they do, and deliver value to the residents, who they work for.

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

    Transit would be the biggest one, and there is no reason why we could not go outside of Canada for the expertise and partnerships – for example the Spanish firm that built the MetroSur, FCC Construcción could be brought in to bid on the Transit project and revenue sharing programs could be used as an incentive to entice builders.

    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 development. The character of this ward is being threatened by oversize condo towers that are being pushed on the neighbourhood. My focus will be on preserving the neighborhood. I vow to only work with developers who are willing to respect the size and scale of the community and work within those guidelines. High Park was once a successful example of rental and residential integration, however this has quickly eroded over the last four years. My career in real estate gives him the experience and knowledge needed to deal with a growing ward, and the planning pressures that come with that. The OMB also needs to have it’s powers within Toronto severely restricted.

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

    I will support property taxes to be in par with the rate of inflation to support current levels of services. If more efficient, cost effective measures can be implemented, we can improve and expand services without rising taxes. However, due to the lack of leadership in City Council for several years, combined with population growth, now we have immediate needs for transit expansion, infrastructure maintenance and expansion of services. I would support moderate increases of property taxes, or creation of new revenue tools, ONLY and after City Council develops and approves City Wide Strategies for transit expansion, infrastructure maintenance and services.

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

    According to the City’s manager there is little room for efficiencies. All options should be looked at while preserving or increasing the services the City offers. I will explore cost reduction by finding more efficient services.

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

    Not a priority, but it is a possibility. A disfunctional Council is a waste of money, resources, and opportunities. Currently, City Council wastes hours discussing issues that are not City-Wide problems (like supporting liquor license applications for a particular business), this should be discussed either in committees or local bodies, once that works has been unloaded from City Council I will support to study the reduction of number of council seats (it will be a long process, defining ward boundaries etc.)

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

    I believe the public sector services should move to a more competitive level, with the right oversight and policies in place it may be as competitive as any company. I will work to improve garbage collection service in Ward 13, while keeping it public and reducing it’s operation cost.

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

    No. That revenue tool has already been incorporated in the budget. I would consider changing and elevating the ceiling of the calculations. Property taxes should be kept at the rate of inflation. Council could explore other revenue tools. I would likely support a property tax increase or new taxes ONLY once a sustainable plan has been approved to: improve
    transit, infrastructure and services. I believe most people in the city are willing to accept moderate tax increases or new ones if there is a clear and viable plan in place.

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

    The City’s Employment and Social Services should be a hub for innovation. A large proportion of youth are unemployed or underemployed, many of them possessing valuable skill sets. The City should prioritize programs for youth employment. The City can also play an active roll in helping recent immigrants to enter the workforce where they can use their skills and receive fair payment. The City should implement employment services in partnership with the private sector and create the path for new long term careers for young 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 would support creating one transportation body to oversee all the City transportation needs, including transit. It should also develop a City Wide Transit Plan and start implementation early 2016. I support building proposed subway lines, like the DRL. I will support going back to the funded Scarborough LRT (with millions in savings). I support promoting ridership with time of day differential fares. Regional transit integration. Continuous, safe bicycle routes. Coordination of agencies involved in transportation. Roads roundabouts. Promote staggered starting hours for downtown jobs. Target a minimum walk score of 75 in all ward 13 in 4 years.

    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 of Toronto needs to have a strong position when negotiating new collective contracts, and be firm when bargaining. City Council can play a leadership role in backing the city’s negotiating team and get the best possible deal balancing labour demands and the city’s budget, while ensuring the residents of the city get good quality services.

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

    Did not submit response.

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

    DEVELOPMENT: Strong economic activity and sustained population growth in the last 10 years have created rapid development expansion. I support responsible development. Promote inclusionary zoning. Develop clear policies for Section 37 funds. Strong, effective
    City’s representation at OMB hearings. Work to reform or abolish the OMB. Conserve the character of Ward 13. Work with constituents and city staff to envision the future of the Ward and the City

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

    I support hikes for those, who easily able to pay it!

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

    I am sure there is a space to find some to save!

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

    No, that will be a chance to reduce democracy, Instead of that I have better representation system

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

    No, both way you have to pay, anyway!

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

    If the Land transferred systematically, for money, not for job creation the Transfer Tax rightful.

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

    Many-many idea, 1)Toronto should be  legally a province…2) in the mean time Ontario should build  a new capital city  somewhere in Sudbury, The jobless, homeless peoples can move there, to give  them affordable apartments and jobs. The size of the city must grow up to half million or more..  3) Toronto must copy Singapore and Hong-Kong, not the Detroit’s…

    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?

    1) My point above addressed the same thing already, Toronto will get a fresh air.

    2) The TTC not for the public to decide, The President must be elected, by 50% of the workers, 50%  of passengers, Car owners should be locked out from the vote. The President must promise before  election, what will he achieve, and he must swear to that. If he turn down his promise, must not  receive the half of his salary.

    3) Canadian average wage should be the new Canadian standard. Wrong, lazy drivers must lose the yearly premium, (thirteenth monthly of wage).etc.

    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?

    Instead of labour unions, must be a Canadian standard Everyone who working 8hr/mo. Should Bring home the Canadian average income. People who working 4 hrs/day, must bring home after  deductions around $1800~2,000 Can $. Jobless, pensioner, ODSP etc. Must get 1000~1200$, with urge that his/her hobby is to develop to be a part-time-full time job.

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

    Yes, Mostly when someone give up the business, lost the business, or a property owner do not take care with the tenants interests, the government should take ower the business, but he can be around as a “skilled, experienced” advisor, employee of the company.

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

    No tax, no more tax, too much garbage around!

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

    I would support capping property tax at the rate of inflation, though it would hinge on our ability to come up with new revenue streams for the city. As it stands, property taxes are the major revenue source for the city, which means that when as a city we decide to invest in new projects and services, or expand existing ones, we are left without many options on how to cover the costs. While I cannot say what kind of taxes, or revenue streams the city may choose to pursue, as that should be left to experts, I would support them in an effort to relieve us from our complete reliance on property taxes.

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

    It is difficult to say where the city should look to find savings, because I like most Torontonians and other Councillors do not have the micro-oversight to make such a judgement on a $9.6 billion budget. Not only that, but as the city grows, so too will the budget to accommodate the growing needs on the city.

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

    Toronto is the most diverse city in the world. As such many of the wards in Toronto are made up of a dichotomy of communities. Both low and high income, varying ethnicities and religions, as well as corporate and residential groups can be found within the borders of any single ward, making the job of a councillor an interesting balancing act. As it stands, Toronto City Council is a reasonable size. Reducing it would serve only to make representing to values and wishes of the varying communities that much more difficult for whomever the councillor may be.

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

    I would fully support contracting out the garbage collection services east of Yonge St. Since the contract was issued in my area, the waste collection has been efficient and employees have held themselves to a far more professional manner.

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

    I believe this ties in well with question 1, wherein our growing city is in desperate need of new revenue tools and has so far been unwilling to pursue different avenues. Until that time, we are left with the property and land transfer taxes to hold the budget together.

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

    As a city, our job isn’t so much creating jobs as it as creating the environment which can foster job creation. Making the city more accessible, pursuing private/public partnership to jump start worthwhile ventures and properly showcasing our prestige on the world stage is how we may foster the job growth we seek.

    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?

    Major transit projects are of interest to the entire city, yet are obviously decided upon by our elected officials. Unfortunately though, many politicians are elected with what they think is a mandate from the voters to pursue their initiatives whether they be transit or otherwise. The problem being that in municipal politics, many get elected because they choose the lesser of two evils, and don’t necessarily support all of their stances. Therefore, I would be in favour of potentially attaching referendum questions during election periods to accurately gauge the public’s wishes on City projects.

    With regards to funding transit, I have spoken in previous answers about our need to pursue other revenues streams, but it should also be the responsibility of other levels of government to pitch in as in most other developed countries. Considering Toronto is a hub where people from surrounding areas flock to for their jobs and business, it shouldn’t necessarily be fair that only Toronto tax payers be responsible for paying for services that many outside of the aforementioned group benefit from.

    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?

    Be fair and reasonable. While it is in our best interests to get the best deal for the city, it is also in our best interests that we all have good paying jobs so that we may channel it back into the economy.

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

    Private Public partnerships are a useful tool to bring worth while services to Toronto while ensuring that we don’t over pay for the service. One interesting avenue which has been used in many other cities centres around cultural services, such as museums and art galleries. The private/public partnership would see to it that large exhibits be on display free of charge, while special events and exhibits have an admission fee.

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

    To say there is only one would be foolish. While responsible development and the OMB’s role in the process is under considerable scrutiny and rightfully so, is it more important than affordable housing, or emergency preparedness in wake of last year’s devastating ice storm? As a councillor I will treat every issue, big or small as something needing to be solved. Surely ensuring density grows in a manageable fashion is of paramount concern, but is somebody’s view more important than another residents ability to sleep because of subway noise and vibrations. Every issue is important, and I shall endeavour to solve them all as they pop up.

2014 City Council Election: Ward 11 – York South-Weston

The Incumbent:

Frances Nunziata

The Race

Council Speaker Frances Nunziata has a strong hold on the ward she represents, with an electoral history in the area going back to 1985. Nunziata and her opponent both have their eyes on property taxes, finding savings in the budget, and holding the line on labour negotiations with the City. There are interesting community development proposals from both candidates.

Candidates Who Did Not Participate: Dory Chalhoub

The Breakdown

  • Candidate Response
    Garcia, Jose Yes
    Nunziata, Frances Yes


  • Candidate Response
    Garcia, Jose Eliminate duplication in government services, cut size of City Council, look for savings in police budget, contract out non-essential services.
    Nunziata, Frances Upper levels of management and bureaucracy at City Hall. Too much duplication – implement shared services with agencies, boards, and commissions.


  • Candidate Response
    Garcia, Jose Yes
    Nunziata, Frances Yes


  • Candidate Response
    Garcia, Jose Yes
    Nunziata, Frances Yes, and should consider contracting out janitorial services, tree pruning, and legal services.


  • Candidate Response
    Garcia, Jose Yes to reducing
    Nunziata, Frances Will consider with alternate sources of revenue.


  • Candidate Response
    Garcia, Jose Lower taxes for business, continue improvements with transit system and roads, and attract new development.
    Nunziata, Frances Local Employment Plans to create apprenticeship opportunities. Attach jobs to transit construction including career counselling meetings with Toronto Employment and Social Services.


  • Candidate Response
    Garcia, Jose Leave planning to the experts and stick with decisions made. Do not change subway plan for Scarborough. Rely less on property taxes for transit revenue – consider municipal income tax and sales tax.
    Nunziata, Frances Dedicated source of revenue for subway expansion. Property taxes were the right tool for Scarborough subway. Need commitments from upper levels of government.


  • Candidate Response
    Garcia, Jose Stay with the plan and always keep the taxpayer in mind.
    Nunziata, Frances Must enter negotiations with the view that we can not afford new expenditures.


  • Candidate Response
    Garcia, Jose Will consider if there are clear and long-term benefits.
    Nunziata, Frances Yes, for example, naming rights to City assets.


  • Candidate Response
    Garcia, Jose Tax breaks for small businesses, beautifying the area, transit express bus, and new development.
    Nunziata, Frances Re-development of Humber River Hospital site. Basement flooding. Union-Pearson Express fares are too high – fares should be put in line with GO Transit.

 

The full responses

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

    Absolutely, we are overtaxed as it is, I truly believe that if proper financial planning is put in place and followed we can keep the hikes to a minimum.

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

    We need to find efficiencies within the government services, eliminate duplication and move resources where they are actually needed, also continuing work on eliminating the gravy train and

    reducing the size of Toronto City Council as well as look into the police budget for other savings and contracting out non essential services, I also believe in keeping a closer watch on projects to keep them within budget and time.

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

    Yes, the current number of councillors makes the process too slow, with fewer members the city would be able to come to consensus quicker, get more things done, save money and avoid so much of the drama We keep hearing  about.

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

    I do support contracting out garbage collection east of Yonge Street, as the previous negotiations proved it, a tough stance to public sector unions is required to keep these costs in check, I support contracting out any non essential services

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

    I support to gradually reduce and even eliminate it as long as we can find savings in other areas to offset it, otherwise We run the risk of reducing or eliminating funding to other important areas.

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

    Taxes are making it very difficult to all businesses specially small to medium size to continue operating in our city, We need to make it worthwhile for businesses to open shop and/or increase hiring by bringing taxes down, continuing improvements with our transit system and roads and attract new development.

    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, it is taking forever and not much to show for, we should leave the planning to the experts and once decisions are made to go for it, I do agree with the subway plan for Scarborough, we should not change it.

    I would look for funding from other levels of government as well as looking at what the city can do in terms of generating revenues, we rely heavily on property taxes and not much else, we need to look at what other big cities are doing to generate revenue for transit projects, for example cities like New York and Chicago use a combination of municipal income tax and sales tax to fund 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?

    We know that it is going to be tough this time around and every negotiation is different, you need to stay with the plan and don’t budge to pressure, keep always the taxpayer in mind when agreeing on the terms of the contract.

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

    There are always opportunities for a partnership with the private sector, but as a councillor I wouldn’t support any unless there is a clear and long term benefit that makes sense to the city,

    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 lot of small businesses in the area that makes it enjoyable with no need to go to the big stores for small purchases, helping them stay in business with tax breaks will go a long way,  beautifying the area to make it more appealing, improving transit by implementing an express 89 bus and bring new development to the area.

  • 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?

    Upper levels of management. I believe we should trim the size of the bureaucracy at City Hall. In addition, there is a lot of duplication; we should be implementing shared services with our agencies, boards and commissions.

    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. I believe that consideration should also be given to contracting out services like janitorial services, tree pruning, and legal services, to name a few.

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

    I have always been opposed to the MLT; however, in order to commit to reducing or eliminating it, we would first have to identify an alternate source of revenue.

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

    I am an advocate for Local Employment Plan’s and have worked closely with Hammerheads to create apprenticeship opportunities whenever there is new construction in my ward. In partnership with Metrolinx and Toronto Employment and Social Services (TESS), I was able to get the Georgetown South Project Employment Initiative created which provides easy access to job opportunities along the Georgetown corridor as part of Metrolinx’s construction, as well as one-on-one career counselling meetings with representatives from TESS. This project has proven to be a great success and is being replicated by Metrolinx for other construction 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?

    I believe that in order to really move forward with public transit expansion we need to find a dedicated source of revenue. As a strong supporter of subways, I believe allocating funds through the property taxes was the right thing to do and once the Scarborough subway is completed, we should continue collecting that revenue to put towards other transit expansion projects. It is important to have the upper levels of government at the table as well.

    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 to go into negotiations with the view that we cannot afford additional expenditures. Period. I believe we did very well during the last term’s negotiations and were able to come to an agreement without labour disruption. There is no reason why the same cannot be done in the next term.

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

    Yes. One area would be selling naming rights for City assets.

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

    Depending on the area of Ward 11, there are different “top issues.” For example, the development of the Humber River Hospital site at 200 Church Street, after it closes, is of great concern to area residents. I have already initiated discussion with potential partners and the province regarding opportunities to maintain the site for institutional uses which is what the community has stated it wants.

    Further south in Ward 11, a top issue is basement flooding, with homes having been constructed on land within the flood plain. The environmental assessments for Ward 11 were completed this year, and I will ensure that money is put into the budget so that we can move forward with the recommended solutions now, not later.

    Finally, the fares to ride the UP Express is of concern to the entire ward, with the majority of the opinion that the anticipated $20-$30 fare is too high. I have advocated at Council for fares in line with GO Transit fares and will continue to do so.

2014 City Council Election: Ward 10 – York Centre

The Incumbent:

James Pasternak

The Race

This was a tight race in 2010, with the top 3 vote-catchers all within a few hundred votes of each other. Candidate Igor Toutchinski is back to challenge incumbent Councillor James Pasternak. There is wide support from all candidates to build subways, keep property taxes low especially for seniors, and support public-private partnerships. With few differences, should the ward change its course on Election Day?

Candidates Who Did Not Participate:  Randy Bucao, David Epstein, Michael Mitchell

The Breakdown

  • Candidate Response
    Masucci, Liberato Yes
    Pasternak, James Yes
    Toutchinski, Igor Yes


  • Candidate Response
    Masucci, Liberato Reduce city councillor administrative budgets. Eliminate expenses unrelated to city services that must be provided. If services are provincial or federal, ask those governments to foot the cost
    Pasternak, James Unload non-performing real estate assets to pay down debt. Reduce department duplication. Penalize companies under contract with City if projects are not on budget and in time. Underspend expense and staff budgets.
    Toutchinski, Igor Councillor office budgets must be reduced. Remove inefficiencies in City Council.


  • Candidate Response
    Masucci, Liberato Yes
    Pasternak, James No
    Toutchinski, Igor Will consider with consultation from community


  • Candidate Response
    Masucci, Liberato Yes. In addition, parking revenue collection and enforcement, and security services on city properties and city agencies.
    Pasternak, James Yes
    Toutchinski, Igor Will consider


  • Candidate Response
    Masucci, Liberato Yes to reducing on higher priced homes and eliminating for lower priced homes.
    Pasternak, James No, but look at a staged lowering of the tax rate
    Toutchinski, Igor Yes to elimination


  • Candidate Response
    Masucci, Liberato Work with private sector to get assistance in hiring youth for clean-up and maintenance on short-term contracts. City should meet with employment agencies to help find work placement opportunities for residents.
    Pasternak, James Lower commercial property taxes. Cut red tape. Aggressively attract major investors. Build subways to create thousands of jobs.
    Toutchinski, Igor End tax rebate for vacant commercial properties so that rent prices can be lowered for new businesses. Lowering commercial property tax rates.


  • Candidate Response
    Masucci, Liberato Create City of Toronto bond to help pay for transit. Change the transit planning process by consulting with taxpayers and residents in the community who will be impacted by local transit projects. No more St. Clair streetcar debacles.
    Pasternak, James Subway expansion must continue each year. Moved successful motion to build subway relief line between Downsview station and Yonge-Sheppard station.
    Toutchinski, Igor Bonds and debentures on the world market and condo development charges can be used for new revenue tools. We must expand the subway network especially between Downsview station and Yonge-Sheppard station.


  • Candidate Response
    Masucci, Liberato Re-negotiate agreements that do not improve services. Streamline services. Reduce staffing as people retire
    Pasternak, James Employment package must be strong enough to attract best and brightest without raising taxes beyond the rate of inflation
    Toutchinski, Igor Relationship with labour leaders must be conciliatory. Savings in other areas will benefit everyone so standard of living can improve collectively.


  • Candidate Response
    Masucci, Liberato Yes, through sponsorship of recreational programs and services that need to be provided but have a high wage component (parking enforcement and court services).
    Pasternak, James Yes, in recreational facilities and station building along transit lines. Dedicated toll revenues on DVP and Gardiner Expressway can be implemented through a P3 and used to build subways.
    Toutchinski, Igor Will consider where it makes sense to save taxpayers money.


  • Candidate Response
    Masucci, Liberato Traffic congestion especially along Sheppard Ave. High tax rates for small home owners based on increased value – hard for seniors to pay property taxes.
    Pasternak, James Number one priority is connecting Downsview station and Yonge-Sheppard station with an east-west subway to ease congestion and give students easier access to York University.
    Toutchinski, Igor Number one priority is infrastructure including drainage system and poor road conditions.

 

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

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

    - Reduce the city councilor administrative budgets. Example, travel outside the city of Toronto in particular outside the province and the country. Review and reduce, if possible eliminate, expenditures unrelated to the city services that need to be provided. If the services needed are provincial and or federal then they should be paid by those levels of government.

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

    Yes the wards should be identical to the federal Members of Parliament. Reduce the cost of day to day administration. Reduce the confusion about who to speak to when services are required at the municipal, provincial, and federal level of government.

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

    Yes. Also parking revenue collection and enforcement; Security Services – city of Toronto properties. Security Services – city of Toronto associated agencies. Others areas to be reviewed.

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

    Yes I would recommend reducing it on the on the higher priced homes. Eliminating the tax on the lower priced homes help more residents purchase their first home.

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

    My ideas to create job growth in Toronto include hiring students and other residents to clean up and help maintain the city on short term contracts. Work with the private sector to see if we could get their assistance with the across the city of Toronto programme. I would recommend that the city meet with the Employment agencies in Toronto to see how they could help the city find work placement opportunities as part of the initiative.

    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?

    Create City of Toronto Bond similar to the other cities Ontario and or USA states. The bond would be specifically for building improved transit in Toronto. Toronto residents and investors would invest in the bonds and receive reasonable interest etc. The city of Toronto would be able to build the subways and could continue to provide modern buses when required. We need to have the taxpayers and the residents who live in the community that going to be impacted before, during, and after the proposed changes.

    Examples of ideas that create havoc in the city of Toronto based on studies and are forced on city residents. The street cars tracks that were installed in the St Clair and Dufferin area destroyed the neighbourhood. Many stores closed and never reopened. Millions of dollars spent to build the new street car tracks. The design separates the tracks from cars resulted in reduced lanes for cars. Cars have to do u turns at traffic lights in order to get to their destinations on the opposite side of the street.

    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?

    Review and try to renegotiate arrangements that do not improve the services we need to provide to taxpayers. We need to streamline the services we provide to taxpayers and the business community. Provide more services with the current staffing and reduce staffing as they retire. he flexibility to change how we provide services has to be improved on. If we don’t improve how things are done we cannot maintain the current staffing across the city departments. It is in the unions /and administrative staff interest to improve how we meet the needs of all residents of the city.

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

    Yes. Sponsorships of programs by private and public sectors. Recreation – many programmes could be co sponsored by the Private or non profit groups supported or in working with the city. Financial support vs the city covering all the costs and the having the staffing dollars required. Overall it would be less expensive if the we work in a partnership arrangement. Promotion of the City to get visitors and new residents. Services that need to be provided but have a high wage component, parking enforcement, court services (security) Etc.

    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 due to the number of buildings that are being built in particular Sheppard Ave. The number of houses that are being torn down to build larger homes. Higher tax rates for the smaller home owners based on the increased value in the area – many smaller homes owned by seniors who have a limited income it will become more difficult to pay the property taxes as the values go up. I would recommend that homes owned by senior citizens not be taxed at the same rate. The city should provide a rebate or credit to keep their annual tax amount reasonable.

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

    I would support such a measure.  As a member of the budget committee and as a fiscal conservative I worked to keep property taxes low.  During this term, we were able to keep property tax rate increases below the rate of inflation.   I believe that seniors, young families and others on fixed incomes should be able to take the extra savings and determine their own spending priorities.

    It is also important  that  high inflation rates should not necessarily allow property taxes to  go up the same amount.  We may need a more secure formula to protect taxpayers in such cases.

    I also supported the elimination of the Vehicle Registration Tax as well as the elimination dozens of fees that are normally charged in our recreation centres.  The expansion of the Priority Centres program is designed as tax relief for working families who want to leverage our indoor recreation programs. We also reduced or eliminated fees for fields and swimming pools and  exmpted charities from new solid waste taxes.

    My colleagues and I on the Budget Committee took about 2% of the Land Transfer Tax variance and handed it back to tax payers in the form of a reduced property tax increase.

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

    During this term, I supported new collective bargaining agreements that reduced future liabilities for the City of Toronto but gave our dedicated front line workers a very respectable contract.  We were the only Council in the country that won these concessions.

    The City of Toronto is also hanging onto hundreds of non-performing real estate assets.  We need to put pressure on our real estate division to unload these holdings and pay down our debt.

    Savings can also be realized by reducing departmental duplication, making sure that companies that bid on contracts stay on budget and on time. Companies under contract to the city that go over budget should face severe penalties and the never ending downloading from the province must also end.

    Every Councillor and city employee must do their part in saving money.  In my four years at City Hall I underspent both my office expense budget and my staffing budget every year.  If everyone across the city can do this, we would have tens of millions of dollars in savings.

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

    For a city this size, having 44 Councillors is not out of line.  New York City, for example, has 51 members. Chicago, with a population about the same size of Toronto, has 50.   In fact, if one were to reduce the size of council there would be no savings at all.  The reduced council would need to double up their staff. Moreover, without a full complement of dedicated elected officials, customer service would be compromised.  A reduced City Council normally leads to a higher burden of complaints and puts the city at increased risk of litigation.

    One way to make Council meetings more effective would be to have more delegated items dealt with by the 4 community councils.  This centrifugal system could streamline processes and make our government machinery flow more effectively.

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

    I believe that our most recent action in contracting out garbage has been a success and I believe we should look at it again.  Naturally, we should consult with all stakeholders before going forward.

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

    The Land Transfer Tax brings in about $350 million per year.  This revenue allows us to keep property tax increases below the rate of inflation and the lowest overall taxes in the Greater Toronto Area.  That being said, it is time to amend the current  exemptions of this tax to ensure that it reflects the increased average value of a home.  In addition, we should be looking at a staged lowering of the prevailing tax rate.

    That being said, our motion at budget committee moved $6.5 million of the Land Transfer Tax variance back into the hands of tax payers, which lowered the base property tax increase to 1.73%.  Another .5% was added to pay for transit.

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

    When it comes to employment, we must rely on the private sector to generate new and secure jobs.  This can be done by creating a positive building climate, which includes a lower commercial property tax rate, cutting red tape, and aggressively attracting major investors.

    At the same time the city has a role to play.  I worked with my colleagues to increase our funding to the arts industry so that it reaches $25 per capita.  The arts  is a multi-billion industry and grows exponentially when government makes a contribution.  At the same time, Toronto must continue investing in subways.  Subways are perhaps the most effective infrastructure investment, creating thousands of jobs and building a 100-year transit legacy.

    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 is little doubt that Toronto has been asleep at the transit wheel for 25 years.  During this time, only 6 new subway stations were opened.  This is unacceptable.  That being said, working with my colleagues, we now have more transit investment in the ground or shovel ready in Toronto’s history.  That amounts to  a little under $20 billion.  But it cannot stop there.   We must do everything possible to ensure that subway construction and digging continue on an annual basis.  My motion at City Council made building the North York Relief Line between Downsview Station and Yonge and Sheppard a Metrolinx Phase II funded project.

    We certainly need partners at Queens Park and in Ottawa.  Canada remains one of the only western industrialized countries without a national urban transit strategy.  At the same time, we should be dedicating more of the Land Transfer Tax and development fees to building 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?

    Toronto is a $9.6 billion organization with over 51,000 employees.   In this current term, we declared the TTC an essential service and therefore their negotiations are handled as a separate bargaining category.  The same can be said of police services and Toronto Public Library, both of which handle their negotiations separate from direction of Council.

    We must make sure that we have an employment package that is strong enough to attract the best and the brightest from across Canada.  At the same time, we must ensure that the growth of government does not force us to raise taxes beyond the rate of inflation.

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

    I believe there are opportunities for public-private partnerships.  The best opportunities for such involve recreational and sports facilities as well as the station building along transit lines.   Stations should be housed around privately built commercial, retail and residential plazas.

    Private-public partnerships can also work in the application and collection of  tolls from non-residents of Toronto.  Out-of-towners who are commuting into Toronto should pay tolls on both the Gardiner Expressway and the Don Valley Parkway.  This is best implemented with a public-private partnership.   Dedicated toll revenues should go to building subways.

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

    Transit continues to be a major concern in Ward 10.  The number one priority is connecting Downsview Station with Yonge St. and Sheppard Avenue.  This will take major pressure off Sheppard and Finch Avenue on an east-west access and take the congestion out of the surrounding neighbourhoods as motorists try to “cut through.”  It will increase local property values and remove busses from arterial roads.  It will also give York University students a seamless travel across most of the city.

    As a member of the TTC Board, I have moved this forward to the study stage   At full City Council, I received the support of my colleagues to have this project declared a Metrolinx Phase II priority.   The next step is funding an Environment Assessment, which I hope to fund before the end of October.

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

    I support all efforts in keeping taxes low, and will be a firm vote against any and all new tax increases.

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

    It starts from the top. The personal office budgets of city councillors must be eliminated or reduced significantly. We must end these preferential deals that our representatives receive. I will also fight to remove abuse and inefficiencies in city council to save taxpayers money.

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

    I am open to the idea of reducing the size of Toronto City Council, but I would like to hear from a majority of residents in my ward, before acting on a policy that directly affects their representation.

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

    We will work with residents of Ward 10 to find a mutually agreeable way to make their tax dollars go further; we are not dismissing this as an option, however if there are other ways to save money, we will explore those options first.

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

    We will eliminate the land transfer tax. We managed to do without it for decades before Mayor David Miller. Reductions in government inefficiencies, new private sector growth from a competitive tax rate, and greater co-operation with the federal government will give us the revenues we need.

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

    I would start with one simple policy: end the tax rebate that the city hands over to commercial landlords for vacant commercial properties. Taking landlords off this subsidy will force them to lower their rent prices. Lower rents means more businesses will locate in Toronto, bringing jobs with them. I also support lowering commercial property tax rates to further encourage businesses to locate 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?

    It doesn’t have to be this complicated; a city with strong financials can get great financing deals through bonds and debentures on the world market. We should also be asking condo developers to pay for the capital costs of building subway stations under their properties. The private sector can and will play ball if we pitch them a real plan. As for the transit planning process; I hear from residents all the time, we need to build our subway network. We will start with the expansion of the Sheppard Line to Yonge and Downsview stations immediately, not make grandiose transit plans that lead to 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 want a conciliatory relationship with our labour leaders. Times are tough and our public sector workers are struggling to take care of their families, just as those outside of the public sector are. I have grown up in a family of teachers and I respect their vital contributions to society. The savings in my plan will benefit everyone so that our standard of living will improve collectively.

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

    I am in favour of more affordable alternatives in our city, where it makes sense. If services can be delivered for a cheaper cost to the taxpayer, while delivering the same or better standard of service, I am for it.

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

    Crumbling infrastructure is by far the most important local issue. Specifically, a collapsing storm drainage system and awful road conditions, have our residents concerned. It saddens me to see that infrastructure problems have lead to the flooding of hundreds of basements resulting in personal financial difficulties and health hardships. As a resident of Ward 10, I share the frustrations of our residents and feel that this inaction is caused by too much analysis and not enough action.

2014 City Council Election: Ward 1 – Etobicoke North

The Incumbent:

Vincent Crisanti

The Race

It was a close call for Crisanti in 2010 who won by just over 500 votes. This time around he is challenged by a new slate of candidates and many more than in 2010. The candidates who participated in our Voting Guide seem to agree on a few things – property tax increases no more than inflation and support for Public-Private Partnerships (P3′s) in transit projects.

Candidates Who Did Not Participate: Akhtar Ayub, Idil Burale, Dino Caltsoudas, Jeff Corbett, Patricia Crooks, Khaliq Mahmood, Avtar Minhas, Christopher Noor

The Breakdown

  • Candidate Response
    Baig, Arsalan Yes
    Crisanti, Vincent Yes
    Hundal, Charan Yes
    Patri, Gurinder Yes

  • Candidate Response
    Crisanti, Vincent Contracting out waste collection east of Yonge. Harmonizing procurement practices.
    Hundal, Charan Eliminate duplication and unnecessary consulting costs.
    Patri, Gurinder No specifics provided.

  • Candidate Response
    Baig, Arsalan No
    Crisanti, Vincent Yes
    Hundal, Charan No
    Patri, Gurinder No

  • Candidate Response
    Baig, Arsalan Yes
    Crisanti, Vincent Yes + will consider other services with caution
    Hundal, Charan No
    Patri, Gurinder Yes + parks maintenance

  • Candidate Response
    Baig, Arsalan Yes – reduce
    Crisanti, Vincent Yes – reduce or eliminate
    Hundal, Charan No
    Patri, Gurinder Will consider

  • Candidate Response
    Baig, Arsalan Introduce more projects
    Crisanti, Vincent Create better services for our local businesses and reduce business property tax to be competitive with surrounding municipalities.
    Hundal, Charan Provincial and Federal Governments should invest at least $250 millions in joint ventures with all the big cities to create green economy jobs.
    Patri, Gurinder Educate the business owner as to be how to be competitive at global level.  Create incentive for Research and development to help manufacturer to keep quality and price to make their  product acceptable globally.

  • Candidate Response
    Baig, Arsalan More satetlite base buses terminal. Will examine the cost factor minimum to have more better buses.
    Crisanti, Vincent Must ensure that our other two levels of government are engaged, while utilizing Private/Public Partnerships in the development of a true rapid transit strategy.
    Hundal, Charan Need a better business process, a better solution to our problems and not constant conflict.
    Patri, Gurinder Need a balanced approach of surface and subsurface system.  Need to create Public and Private sector partnership to address the funding.

  • Candidate Response
    Crisanti, Vincent Following the same practices used in this last term of office would be my best advice.
    Hundal, Charan Understand obligations to the Tax payers. Keeping in view the benefits to the City, People and Business Community.
    Patri, Gurinder Need to involve all the stake holders involved in these negotiations and address this issue keeping in view larger interest of Canada in view of new developing economic trends.

  • Candidate Response
    Baig, Arsalan Yes – transit
    Crisanti, Vincent Yes – transit and infrastructure
    Hundal, Charan Yes – transit and TCHC
    Patri, Gurinder Yes – infrastructure

  • Candidate Response
    Baig, Arsalan New Public Transit and Property Taxes.
    Crisanti, Vincent Rapid Public Transit, investment in our road infrastructure, senior/youth programs and jobs are some of top issues in Ward 1.  While supporting a fiscally responsible pro-growth agenda I have been active in addressing these issues and will continue to advocate for my residents.
    Hundal, Charan Jobs, Transit, Housing, Infrastructures and Roads. I will prioritize all issues and put up to the council with proper business process in a timely fashion for necessary remedies.
    Patri, Gurinder Development and infrastructure. My focus is development and target Ward 1 to be developed as as model ward.

 

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 ensuring future hikes are no greater than the rate of inflation.

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

    No Response Received.

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

    I think Reducing the City council Size will not make a major difference. If Better people get elected for the Toronto City Council this would really improve how council operates.

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

    Yes i Support

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

    Municipal land Transfer Tax must be reduced.

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

    Creating More jobs by introducing more 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?

    The plan is to have more satetlite base buses terminal with rapid movements of people in the busy period. Buses usually made with stainless steel. We want to have better quality buses. We will examine the cost factor minimum to have more better buses. Because of the winter condition we need proper buses to harsh winter conditions(staineless steel). Our Roads are in a state of disrepair. This was because of the winter storm we had earlier this year. Council has to have ideas to cope with this challenging conditions. Comparatively Brampton has demonstrated growth in its transit system(zum service). Zum Service is more efficient for rapid transit which we require. Major discussions as regards L.R.T vs Extension of Subway System???

    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?

    No Response Received.

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

    Transit

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

    New Public Transit and Property Taxes are of Paramount Importance. Commuting in the G.T.A to and from work takes about 80 mins, this is the worst amongst 19 Large Urban Areas in North America. Several Projects are controversial.

    a) Subway vs L.R.T Technology

    b) Streetcars and Congestion

    c) Disruption from the Eglinton Crosstown and the Electrification of the Union Pearson Express.

    The Proposals by Metrolinkx to raise revenue for Transit funding is also a major source of controversy.

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

    Yes, keeping our property taxes below the rate of inflation will afford our residents a City they can prosper in.

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

    Contracting out remainder of solid waste collection east of Yonge Street is a great place to start.

    Harmonizing procurement practices where it makes sense.

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

    Yes, reducing the size of Council will add savings to our bottom line and will allow for more time effective and efficient decision making.

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

    Yes, I will be supporting the contracting out of garbage collection east of Yonge Street.  Core City services are very important and caution should be taken when considering completely contracting out a function of the City.  We must ensure that customer service and customer satisfaction will not be compromised.  With that said, we should look at any opportunity to privatize services only if it would be of a greater overall benefit to our residents to do so.

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

    I believe there is an appetite for the reduction or an eventual phased elimination of the LTT, if we are successful in finding further efficiencies and new revenue generating tools we can move in this direction.

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

    We must continue to nurture and create better services for our local businesses.  This would allow for their continued growth and sustainability, while creating the opportunity to hire locally.  I have hosted several local business roundtables in my Ward, bringing our businesses together to network, while having our Economic Development Division engaged to assist our business owners.  Also, we need to continue to work towards a reduced business property tax rate that is competitive with our surrounding municipalities.

    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 ensure that our other two levels of government are engaged, while utilizing Private/Public Partnerships in the development of a true rapid transit strategy.

    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 are a big part of every Council term.  We were successful in negotiating contracts without a strike in this term.  Following the same practices used in this last term of office would be my best advice.

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

    Yes, in transit and infrastructure.

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

    Rapid Public Transit, investment in our road infrastructure, senior/youth programs and jobs are some of top issues in Ward 1.  While supporting a fiscally responsible pro-growth agenda I have been active in addressing these issues and will continue to advocate for my residents.

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

    Yes and within the Fairness range.

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

    To Eliminate duplication and an unnecessary consulting cost.

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

    No, it’s a lot of work so we need a hardworking team with diligence.

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

    No, but we need to look into this matter in more detail to obtain the best results for our tax payers.

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

    We have a lot of important projects, which requires significant financing to build Toronto’s image as a world class city to attract National and International investments for better job opportunities.

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

    Big Corporations failed to fulfill their social and economic obligations to communities. We need a new model of entrepreneurship to create jobs with Public and Private sector partnership. Provincial and Federal Governments should invest at least $250 millions in joint ventures with all the big cities to create green economy jobs without which we cannot achieve the desired results.

    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 a better business process, a better solution to our problems and not constant conflict.

    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?

    Business and Labour leaders should work together as a role model by understanding their obligations to the Tax payers. Keeping in view the benefits to the City, People and Business Community.

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

    Transit and TCHC.

    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 concern are Jobs, Transit, Housing, Infrastructures and Roads. I will prioritize all issues and put up to the council with proper business process in a timely fashion for necessary remedies.

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

    I am very much in favour of property tax linked to inflation.

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

    We need to rational while making cuts.  We need to make sure the quality of service is not effected and no one is shown the door but need to be adjusted by creating new opportunities.  Canada is know globally for its quality in its service and manufacturing.  We need to make sure such cuts will not relegate Canada to a developing status than developed.

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

    No.  To address the communities at local level we need adequate representation.  Population has increased in GTA.  To address the concerns of residents I think we need to proportionate the representation.  If Federal representation is proportionated, why not at local level.  It should be increased.

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

    Yes.  I will lobby for contract for parks maintenance.

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

    Land transfer tax should be a one time fee and not while transferring  title or the seller should be reimbursed fully or partially or be set on a formula.

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

    Cuts are not the solution. Need to create a plan of action to educate the business owner as to be how to be competitive at global level.  Create incentive for Research and development to help manufacturer to keep quality and price to make their  product acceptable globally.

    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?

    This is key issue on which there has been an ongoing debate for years.  Council needs to put down their feet firmly.  We need a balanced approach of surface and subsurface system.  This continued debate needs to end.  Looks like making fools of residents.  Need to create Public and Private sector partnership to address the funding.

    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 involve all the stake holders involved in these negotiations and address this issue keeping in view larger interest of Canada in view of new developing economic trends.

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

    Many parts of city are having infra structure which does not even meet current needs not to talk of future.  To address this issue such partnerships are must.

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

    Ward 1 is lagging behind in development.  Ward 1  is just seeing restoration process.  Business belt has half a century old infra structure.  This is effecting the economic prosperity.  My focus is development and target Ward 1 to be developed as as model ward.

2014 City Council Election: Ward 32 Beaches-East York

The Incumbent:

Mary-Margaret McMahon

The Race

In 2010, Mary-Margaret McMahon achieved a landslide victory when she was up against then incumbent, Sandra Bussin. They are facing off again in 2014. Development seems to be the top issue of concern for residents of Ward 32 which is going through a period of transition. The second most important issue identified is transit which all candidates have very differing views on.

Candidates Who Did Not Participate: Bruce Baker, Jim Brookman, Alan Burke, Michael Connor, Eric de Boer

The Breakdown

  • Candidate Response
    Bussin, Sandra No
    Dawson, Sean Yes
    Garcia, Maria No
    Graff, Brian No
    McMahon, Mary-Margaret No
    Sears, James No – cap is not enough
    Suttor, Carmel No


  • Candidate Response
    Bussin, Sandra No specifics provided.
    Dawson, Sean  "Most savings would come from small improvements within all departments that would still be rather substantial. Some larger opportunities would be within the Toronto police services and their paid-duty assignments that came in over $26 million last year."
    Garcia, Maria It is best to put savings in the current city budget to BANKS in order maximize benefits of the city budget.
    Graff, Brian Toronto Police Services and contracting out garbage.
    McMahon, Mary-Margaret  "Stream-lining services and eliminating redundancies. We do not need multiple audit functions in different departments nor multiple communication centres. We can also find savings by increasing our energy efficiency in all city facilities."
    Sears, James Trim the fat from the Sunshine List, cutting funding of all special events such as gay pride and caribana, and eliminating fluoridation.
    Suttor, Carmel We've all been maddened by seeing construction jobs with more supervisors than workers, or transit supervisors standing en masse around bunched up streetcars.  Like everyone else, I see that as waste and should be eliminated.


  • Candidate Response
    Bussin, Sandra No
    Dawson, Sean No
    Garcia, Maria No
    Graff, Brian No
    McMahon, Mary-Margaret No
    Sears, James No
    Suttor, Carmel No


  • Candidate Response
    Bussin, Sandra No
    Dawson, Sean Will consider
    Garcia, Maria Yes
    Graff, Brian Yes
    McMahon, Mary-Margaret Will consider
    Sears, James Yes
    Suttor, Carmel No


  • Candidate Response
    Bussin, Sandra Will consider reform
    Dawson, Sean Will consider
    Garcia, Maria Will consider reform
    Graff, Brian Yes – reduce and reform
    McMahon, Mary-Margaret Supports increasing first-time home buyers rebate.
    Sears, James No
    Suttor, Carmel No


  • Candidate Response
    Bussin, Sandra Support and encourage the work of the City's Economic Development Department in its efforts to secure community and private partnerships with the corporate sector to enhance and create new employment opportunities.  See my response to the Art Vote 2014 for strategies in growing our film, arts and cultural sector both locally, provincially, across North America and Internationally.
    Dawson, Sean Implement a non-resident worker tax on Toronto businesses for every employee that lives outside of Toronto. The revenue from this would go towards improving infrastructure that makes us lose business.
    Garcia, Maria I would suggest ideas of creating jobs such as the acquisition of ownership of Linkedin.ca to promote Canadian highly skilled professionals as Top Influencers and display of jobs in North America.
    Graff, Brian I would make substantial cuts to the tax rate on industrial properties, because much of the industrial land in Toronto is being poorly utilised for things such as indoor used car lots or self-storage, that do not create jobs.
    McMahon, Mary-Margaret Improving transit, creating affordable housing, and ensuring childcare is affordable helps attract and keep employers. We also need to encourage local shopping and strengthening our commercial areas. We have to foster skills training initiatives for youth, such as the Central Ontario Building Trade's Hammerheads program which trains marginalized youth in construction. Finally, we need to protect our employment lands.
    Sears, James  "Slashing property taxes is the most effective way to create jobs."
    Suttor, Carmel Remove the tax breaks that commercial landlords get for having an empty store, and replace that with tax breaks that encourage them to take a risk on a new small business.  Make participation in the BIA optional rather than mandatory in the first few years.


  • Candidate Response
    Bussin, Sandra The 3 stop Scarborough subway has resulted in a .5% increase this year. This new tax will ramp up to 1.6% for next 30 years starting in 2016.  This is the biggest single tax increase since the amalgamation of Toronto.
    Dawson, Sean We need to evaluate councils role in transit planning. If the TTC is the agency in charge of public transit it seems more appropriate that they propose new projects by priority and the method of transit by review studies. Councils role should be to approve the funding and the method of funding. For funding new transit I point to my non-resident tax from answer 6.
    Garcia, Maria I would suggest to request government funding of new transit projects to eas congestion and the removal of too many old cable cars and polluted parking trucks in Kew Beach, Ward 32.
    Graff, Brian Reduce the cost of projects by running new transit in Hydro Corridors, or promoting a shorter cheaper Downtown Relief Line that would run from Castle Frank Station then under Parliament Street. Buses (including electric trolley buses) are much cheaper than streetcars, LRTs and Subways, and will relieve traffic congestion faster and more easily. I oppose road tolls, and would try to increase funding with development charges or from the economic benefits gained on land close to new transit.
    McMahon, Mary-Margaret I am proud to say that I was one of the few Toronto City Councillors to support dedicated transit revenue tools to pay for transit expansion. I am not afraid to say that transit is not free. We need to explore many options including a charge on large parking lots in suburban areas and Tax-Increment Financing.
    Sears, James Put a moratorium on new projects until we slash the breadth of salaries at the TTC.  Let's get the expenses down and get tokens reduced to $2.50 each so that the poor can afford to ride.  Once we do so, and ridership is up (which in turn will increase revenue), then we can self-fund transit expansion without new taxes.
    Suttor, Carmel We need to make a plan and stick to it aggressively.  We could implement a congestion tax similar to London's and dedicate it to transit.


  • Candidate Response
    Bussin, Sandra  That all parties bargain with the best interests of the city at heart.
    Dawson, Sean  "I think the best practise would be to set an expectation of what we want to achieve and be as honest and equally among all organizations."
    Garcia, Maria If there are labour negotiations on labour dispute, I would advice to consider the unemployment rate and hire more workers and refuse unauthorized laborers and non-taxpayers.
    Graff, Brian  "The negotiating team needs to understand fully the consequences of all contracts and not continue to make mistakes that inflate pay levels in ways that are unjustified."
    McMahon, Mary-Margaret I believe that we can secure financial security for the City and our labour unions through mutual respect, collaboration and transparency.
    Sears, James Kick the fucking Marxists off the negotiating team.  I will deal with the unions.
    Suttor, Carmel I don't know, and won't pretend to.


  • Candidate Response
    Bussin, Sandra There are a number of private-public partnerships, garbage contracts are the most notable.  In some cases these types of arrangements do work well, especially where specific expertise is required, i.e.  management of bio-solids.
    Dawson, Sean A lot of the P3s here are actually government agencies setup to administer a project or just a single aspect of the overall project. I believe parks and arenas could be provided additional features based on a simple acknowledgment of a providers name i.e. naming rights.
    Garcia, Maria Yes, there are opportunities for Accountants like me in public-private partnerships posted online in Linkedin.com, Workopolis.com, HR agencies and other recruitment websites in Google.com.
    Graff, Brian If it makes sense the city should work with the private sector. Ultimately, it is up to City Council and staff to ensure that the best interests of the city are being served,  providing needed services and facilities, and financially, by managing its affairs properly and exploring every realistic option to do things better.
    McMahon, Mary-Margaret I am open to exploring opportunities for P3s for the City of Toront‎o provided they are in the best interest of Torontonians.
    Sears, James No – does not support
    Suttor, Carmel No – does not support


  • Candidate Response
    Bussin, Sandra Development. Let's make the Provincial Planning Act work for neighbourhoods. I pledge to fight hard to make this a reality!
    Dawson, Sean Development. Issue is that the construction happening isn't offering benefits to the community. We need to do a better job to steer the direction of construction to ensure it is providing a benefit to the neighbourhood it's located. To be more specific I purpose making minimum requirements of LEED gold for new developments to ensure the neighbourhoods health as a whole is considered. LEED gold certification would typically require considerations such as green roofs helping manage storm water.
    Garcia, Maria The major events like Beach Metro Easter Parade, Beaches Arts Crafts & Show and Beaches Jazz 26th International Festival are top issues and attractions in Ward 32. Another issue is the garbage collection and disposal due to the lack of funding by Toronto City Hall.  A major issue is the police activities around Ward 32 and the voluntary and forced activities of civilians like me such as monitoring activities in Woodbine of Hollywood, U.S.A. tourists such movie, TV stars, screenwriters, producers (seeking remuneration) and on web.
    Graff, Brian Growth and change. The concerns focus on the issues of traffic congestion, public transit, parking and infrastructure that is no longer adequate or as good as in the recent past.
    McMahon, Mary-Margaret Transit and Development. I am committed to building the Downtown/Yonge Relief Subway Line to reduce gridlock. Using our GO train system more efficiently by reducing fares at Danforth Go Station and electrifying the lines. We need to improve the city's consultation process so that residents are heard and their views incorporated into developments.
    Sears, James Development.
    Suttor, Carmel Transit.  I support the immediate transit relief that's been proposed by the TTC and needs to be passed by Council – better technology to time streetcars with lights, to reduce bunching, more express buses, more all night routes.

 

The full responses

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

    Council should spend our taxes wisely.  $100 Million dollars was wasted in stopping the work on Transit City which was completely funded! Image what you could achieve with this money.  I am opposed to the new tax to build the 3 stop subway to Scarborough which will be the biggest, specific tax for the next 30 years imposed by Council since Amalgamation.  A new dedicated tax of .5% has been applied this year to every property taxpayer. In 2016 this tax will be increased to 1.6% for the remaining 30 years.  A totally unnecessary tax since the Light Rail Transit Line was fully funded!

    The best way to build is collectively through taxation to meet the financial needs of the city. Therefore, I am flexible but would set a goal to keep taxes at the rate of inflation.  I believe we need to have new revenue tools like 1 cent of the provincial sales tax to do the work that a city must do to keep it vibrant and effective.

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

    The process of budget setting is a complex one and my preference is to commit my time and effort to setting the best budget for the city using the rate of inflation as a benchmark.

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

    Toronto is the 3rd largest city in North America with a multiplicity of communities and needs.  I do not support the reduction in the number of members of Council.  In relation to other councils across Ontario the ratio of Toronto citizens to representatives is high, approximately 50,000+ constituents per Councillor.  Democratic elected representation is at the very heart of Democracy.

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

    I support the public delivery of key services to our residents, including policing, fire and emergency services, water and waste water and public transit to name a few.  Presently the city does contract out commercial garbage pick-up and community garbage pickup in several areas.  I do not support the complete release of this service to the private sector, since as  the city divests itself of its equipment and facilities, the private delivery costs will go up for the City.

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

    Certainly the Land Transfer tax has proven to be a major funding source for the budget needs of the City.  However, I do believe this tax does need to be modified as it is having an impact on the natural mobility in properties.

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

    It is important to support and encourage the work of the City’s Economic Development Department in its efforts to secure community and private partnerships with the corporate sector to enhance and create new employment opportunities.  See my response to the Art Vote 2014 for strategies in growing our film, arts and cultural sector both locally, provincially, across North America and Internationally.

    We need to work harder to provide employment starts for the youth and graduates of post-secondary institutions who are struggling to find work.  We must also address the growing sector of mature individuals who need gainful 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?

    There is a great debate raging in this election about the best way to provide new transit systems for Toronto. Should we have a network of light rail transit Lines (LRT) or subways? Some Background: In-depth technical studies recommended the 2010 Transit City plan for a network of light rail lines throughout the city.  The plan included a light rail system for Scarborough with seven stops along its route.  Last summer, City Council voted to stop work on the new seven-stop LRT and voted to build a subway line with 3 stops.  What does this decision mean to you?  The LRT was fully financed, including ongoing maintenance by the province through Metrolinx. All risks were assumed by the Province of Ontario.  The plan calls for a fast train on a dedicated grade-separated right-of-way. The 7 stop LRT would reach 2 post-secondary campuses. The Environmental Assessment was completed, the design work was almost done, and the project was scheduled to be finished by 2020.  THE SHELVING OF THIS WORK CREATED A $100 MILLION FOR TAXPAYERS AND FURTHER DELAYS.

    The 3 stop Scarborough subway has resulted in a .5% increase this year. This new tax will ramp up to 1.6% for next 30 years starting in 2016.  This is the biggest single tax increase since the amalgamation of Toronto.

    The $100 million plus dollars that was wasted would have been better spent on the much needed and highly recommended Downtown Relief Line – a major solution to help alleviate future capacity constraints on the Bloor-Danforth and Yonge–University 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?

    That all parties bargain with the best interests of the city at heart.

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

    There are a number of private-public partnerships, garbage contracts are the most notable.  In some cases these types of arrangements do work well, especially where specific expertise is required, i.e.  management of bio-solids.

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

    Beaches-East York, Ward 32 is at a pivotal point with respect to development. Do we want to keep our unique village character OR LOSE TO THE COOKIE CUTTER CONDO DEVELOPMENT MUSHROOMING ACROSS PARTS OF THE CITY? In the last 4 years, new development applications are negatively reshaping our community.  Let’s make the Provincial Planning Act work for neighbourhoods. I pledge to fight hard to make this a reality!

  • 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 equal to the rate of inflation. I think we should automatically add the rate of inflation to property tax barring any special circumstance that the city revenue is out pacing services costs. However, to say that we don’t want to increase our taxes at all would also prohibit us from saying as a group that we want add any additional services not currently provided.

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

    The city budget has been reviewed internally by the city of Toronto as well as by private sector services, employed through the city, and has been found to be in-line with most cities of Toronto’s size. I think most savings would come from small improvements within all departments that would still be rather substantial. Some larger opportunities would be within the Toronto police services and their paid-duty assignments that came in over $26 million last year. Improvements to our employment rate would also drastically save on programs offered to the unemployed.

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

    City Council’s size seems appropriate for Toronto currently. The issue I have is with the staff budget of $224,264.25 divided between staff of up to 4 full-time employees and $30,815.40 for an office budget. I think we need to evaluate grouping wards and have these groups share a reduced staff. An example would be to have 4 neighbouring wards share 12 employees total, rather then the current 16 employees between 4 wards.

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

    I would consider contracting out the garbage collection east of Yonge street. A C.D. Howe report, from 2012, estimated Toronto could save close to $50 million from contracting out services. It appears the trial in the west end has proved successful so I don’t see why we shouldn’t try to replicate that success.

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

    The Land Transfer Tax should never have been implemented on existing residents. It seems like an arbitrary tax for selling a home but isn’t applied to a cost burden on the city for the transaction. New developments would make more sense as the city would have a new cost with a new resident that didn’t previously exist. However, the tax has been implemented and generates well over $300 million. That is a lot of money to replace if the city were to eliminate the tax or reduce it. Reports suggesting that eliminating the tax would create other revenue opportunities well above what the land transfer tax brings in just don’t seem to add up. I think it’s a tax in place that is an easy consideration to weigh in a decision to move. That being said, any suggestion for a tax that was more appropriate than redistributing the current funds generated by the LTFT to property tax I would consider it.

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

    Toronto has created over 1.3 million jobs. Unfortunately, a lot of workers come from neighbouring municipalities causing grid lock and taking employment away from Toronto residents. So when non-resident workers come to Toronto they are essentially being subsidized by tax payers through transit and other infrastructures paid by resident property taxes. We need to adjust for the large scale this is happening in a city environment.  I purpose we implement a non-resident worker tax on Toronto businesses for every employee that lives outside of Toronto. The revenue from this would go towards improving infrastructure that makes us lose business. This may seem like an attack on outside workers, but they are more then guest when they use services subsidized by Toronto tax payers 5 days a week.

    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?

    City Council has caused more confusion for the general public around what transit is needed and where. The result has stalled projects and created uncertainty for other projects. We need to evaluate councils role in transit planning. If the TTC is the agency in charge of public transit it seems more appropriate that they propose new projects by priority and the method of transit by review studies. Councils role should be to approve the funding and the method of funding. The only exception would be projects to design or change a neighbourhood based on transit in the hopes of achieving something not in the metrics that the TTC uses.

    For funding new transit I point to my non-resident tax from answer 6.

    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 are tough. The tone has been established by the treatment from previous years. I think the best practise would be to set an expectation of what we want to achieve and be as honest and equally among all organizations. When departments appear to be favoured the non-favoured ones will resist all compromises. All negotiations should be considered under one plan and tweaked for the minor variances between the groups.

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

    P3′s are not easily classifiable. A lot of the P3s here are actually government agencies setup to administer a project or just a single aspect of the overall project. These agencies are given controls to do things governments might not be able to, out of fear that the public wouldn’t approve, and I believe this take accountability away from elected officials. Other P3s can risk services based on revenues generated. A more straight forward revenue stream is advertising. I believe parks and arenas could be provided additional features based on a simple acknowledgment of a providers name i.e. naming rights.

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

    I hear a lot about new construction, in the form of condos, changing the neighbourhood for the worst. I feel that the real issue is that the construction happening isn’t offering benefits to the community. We need to do a better job to steer the direction of construction to ensure it is providing a benefit to the neighbourhood it’s located. To be more specific I purpose making minimum requirements of LEED gold for new developments to ensure the neighbourhoods health as a whole is considered. LEED gold certification would typically require considerations such as green roofs helping manage storm water. Another example would be minimum requirements for green P parking in either an underground garage or easily accessible parking.

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

    Yes, I support property tax cap to regulate price increase in Toronto properties.

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

    It is best to put savings in the current city budget to BANKS in order maximize benefits of the city budget.

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

    No, the Toronto City Council should not reduced its size and consider adding new Councillors in order to improve the Council performance and achievements.

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

    I will support contracting out garbage collection in Yonge St. similar to Kew Beach and Ashbridge Bay in Ward 32 but suggest to transfer garbage disposal to the ravine or forest canal in Ward 32. I also suggest for   garbage collection around residence homes, apartments and business establishments into disposal and recycling area which may need small funding from the Municipality of Toronto.

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

    Municipal Land Transfer Tax pertains to tax imposed on sale of land properties, donation of land properties and bequeth or transfer of ownership of properties. I will support reducing the Municipal Land Transfer tax  especially on donation and bequeth  because these does involve cash outlay but may only involve the transfer of ownership. I will not eliminate the Municipal Land Transfer Tax  because it is necessary for the success of the various projects in the Municipality and in our Ward 32.

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

    In order to reduce unemployment rate in Toronto,  I would suggest ideas of creating jobs such as the acquisition of ownership of Linkedin.ca to promote Canadian highly skilled professionals as Top Influencers and display of jobs in North America.

    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 suggest to request government funding of new transit projects to eas congestion and the removal of too many old cable cars and polluted parking trucks in Kew Beach, Ward 32.

    In addition, I would like to recommend for Toronto Transit Commission to participate freely thru donations or sponsors ads or even offer free ride to City Hall candidates. Also, I would propose the removal of phone texting and phone line by TTC available to commuters who receive messages about the traffic conditions such as defective buses, transit late arrival hours, bad weather conditions, all these which create mental disturbances such as facebook chatting or google or yahoo conversation, resulting to one’s lost direction in transit and sleepiness inside TTC. Thus, TTC should advertise DO NOT USE CELLPHONE INSIDE TTC, NO TEXTING, CELLPHONE OFF.

    Further, I would like to recommend the removal of texting along air traffic, voluntary and forced activities thru assistance in air travel traffic by helicopters, private jet plane, small commercial airplanes around Toronto East York; support assistance while at work to transit operators thru use of my phone numbers without notice, street car and bus drivers in Transit Commission.

    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 there are labour negotiations on labour dispute, I would advice to consider the unemployment rate and hire more workers and refuse unauthorized laborers and non-taxpayers.

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

    Yes, there are opportunities for Accountants like me in public-private partnerships posted online in Linkedin.com, Workopolis.com, HR agencies and other recruitment websites in Google.com.

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

    The major events like Beach Metro Easter Parade, Beaches Arts Crafts & Show and Beaches Jazz 26th International Festival are top issues and attractions in Ward 32. Another issue is the garbage collection and disposal due to the lack of funding by Toronto City Hall.  A major issue is the police activities around Ward 32 and the voluntary and forced activities of civilians like me such as monitoring activities in Woodbine of Hollywood, U.S.A. tourists such movie, TV stars, screenwriters, producers (seeking remuneration) and on web.
    As a Councillor Candidate and a concerned Citizen of this country, I am helping the government promote the City parks by helping paramedics in monitoring of immigrant Canadian TV writers, scriptwriters & newsmen; helping the transfer and resizing of legal tourists in Canada to Toronto Island and Ward Island by policewomen; helping the reinstallation of legal cable connection of Toronto Hydro & CIKTEL in Toronto East York; and monitoring as Neighborhood Watcher (without remuneration) of visitors at Norwood Park.

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

    Property tax freezes and arbitrary caps are the reason previous councils resorted to the Personal Vehicle Tax and the Land Transfer Tax. I will not “play games” and keep the property tax rate low while raising revenue in other, less sensible, ways. We need to think long term. We need to build infrastructure properly rather than cheaply, while finding savings where sensible.  We need to maintain the infrastructure we have so we aren’t wasting money because of inadequate maintenance. Cutting spending on road repairs and raiding reserve funds, costs us more in the long run in the same way not fixing a leaky roof costs more in the long run. There should be no more short term gain for long term pain.

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

    The police force is the largest item in the budget, and with a new Police Chief, I would expect we can find savings in areas that do not risk public safety. I would likely vote in favour of expanding privatised garbage pickup into areas east of Yonge Street.

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

    No. Fewer politicians result in less democracy and less accountability. A smaller council shifts power to unelected staff and lobbyists. Though the full two-tier structure we had before the “Megacity” cannot be recreated, we need to restructure the City Council to shift decisions closer to local communities, and to undo the problems inherent in the current structure. Elected councillors must be responsible for decision making, and too much power should not be in the hands of unelected staff.

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

    I will support expanding the contracting out of garbage collection, as long as it saves money and services are reasonably maintained.

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

    I propose we reduce the amount collected each year, by gradually increasing the threshold at which the tax is payable, so that eventually the tax will apply only to very expensive properties, and then it might be eliminated. I would start by changing the rate of tax on the first $55,000 to 0% from 0.5%, then increase the $55,000 threshold every year so that the amount of tax collected is less with each passing year.

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

    Toronto has lost many jobs to the 905 and other areas. I would make substantial cuts to the tax rate on industrial properties, because much of the industrial land in Toronto is being poorly utilised for things such as indoor used car lots or self-storage, that do not create jobs. This is particularly true in the inner suburban areas. Jane Jacobs was correct in saying that cheap space in buildings spurs innovation. Tax cuts would encourage independent entrepreneurs and reinvestment. To pay for this, I would slow down the pace at which tax rates on commercial properties are being cut each year. Shopping malls and Downtown office buildings are thriving with current tax rates, but we need to make better use of the industrial land, particularly to create jobs for people currently living in poverty.

    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 transit planning process is a mess. I would find ways of reducing the cost of projects by running new transit in Hydro Corridors, or promoting a shorter cheaper Downtown Relief Line that would run from Castle Frank Station then under Parliament Street. Buses (including electric trolley buses) are much cheaper than streetcars, LRTs and Subways, and will relieve traffic congestion faster and more easily. I oppose road tolls, and would try to increase funding with development charges or from the economic benefits gained on land close to new 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?

    It is impossible to run a city with a large public sector workforce being paid high wages, with generous benefits (pensions, etc.), while wages and benefits in the private sector are stagnant or being reduced. Ultimately, the province needs to examine arbitration rules. The negotiating team needs to understand fully the consequences of all contracts and not continue to make mistakes that inflate pay levels in ways that are unjustified.

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

    If it makes sense the city should work with the private sector. However, P3’s are can be overrated. There can be additional costs with a P3 that can offset any savings. The City can borrow money for long-term capital projects cheaper than the private sector, and the City need not pay dividends or earn a profit. P3s can also be a poor choice if the contracts are poorly negotiated and contain loopholes.  The city’s record on issuing tenders has not always been good. Remember the computer scandals and the untendered Boardwalk Cafe lease in The Beach?  Ultimately, it is up to City Council and staff to ensure that the best interests of the city are being served,  providing needed services and facilities, and financially, by managing its affairs properly and exploring every realistic option to do things better.

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

    Ward 32 is a diverse Ward, with each neighbourhood having unique issues. However, in every area—from The Beach to Leslieville to The Danforth—residents are concerned about the impact of growth and change. The concerns focus on the issues of traffic congestion, public transit, parking and infrastructure that is no longer adequate or as good as in the recent past. When compared to different cities world wide Toronto remains at the top of many lists. Despite this Toronto is no longer the leader it once was, particularly compared to some cities south of the border which have equalled or surpassed Toronto in key areas. Toronto is increasingly becoming a city with the extremes of rich and poor, while the middle class is being squeezed out. A weakening economic base, high population growth and policies designed to limit sprawl make this city less affordable and less liveable compared to recent times.

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

    No. Without knowing what the City’s finances will look like it would be irresponsible to guarantee a cap to increases. However I have, and will continue to, support responsible tax rates that do not burden taxpayers.

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

    As the Chair of the Audit Committee, I have worked with the Auditor General to find savings in various departments across the city. There are efficiencies to be found by stream-lining services and eliminating redundancies. We do not need multiple audit functions in different departments nor multiple communication centres. We can also find savings by increasing our energy efficiency in all city facilities.

    I have been pushing for LED streetlights in the city, which will save millions a year and provide better quality lighting.

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

    I do not support reducing the size of council. Councillors are swamped with work and reducing their numbers would only serve to reduce customer service.

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

    We need to wait till we have all the facts before making a decision on this. We need to explore the private garbage collection experiment on the west side of the city and determine if it has been cost effective, provided good customer service and achieved our waste diversion targets.

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

    I support increasing the first-time home buyers Municipal Land Transfer Tax rebate to keep home ownership viable for young Torontonians.

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

    To create jobs in the city we need to make Toronto and attractive place to start and grow businesses. Improving transit, creating affordable housing, and ensuring childcare is affordable helps attract and keep employers. We also need to encourage local shopping and strengthening our commercial areas. We have to foster skills training initiatives for youth, such as the Central Ontario Building Trade’s Hammerheads program which trains marginalized youth in construction. Finally, we need to protect our employment lands. We cannot create jobs if we build condo towers on the land set aside for 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?

    I am proud to say that I was one of the few Toronto City Councillors to support dedicated transit revenue tools to pay for transit expansion. I am not afraid to say that transit is not free. We need to explore many options including a charge on large parking lots in suburban areas and Tax-Increment Financing.

    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 can secure financial security for the City and our labour unions through mutual respect, collaboration and transparency.

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

    I am open to exploring opportunities for P3s for the City of Toront‎o provided they are in the best interest 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?

    The top issues in Ward 32 are Transit and Development.

    Transit: I am committed to building the Downtown/Yonge Relief Subway Line to reduce gridlock. Using our GO train system more efficiently by reducing fares at Danforth Go Station and electrifying the lines. We also need to expand and speed our bus and streetcar service to connect our area with downtown.

    Development: We need to improve the city’s consultation process so that residents are heard and their views incorporated into developments. And, we need to plan ahead by studying and creating specific planning rules for each of our areas.

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

    A property tax cap is NOT good enough.  I have an idea which will result
    in an immediate 2% SLASH in property taxes.  I was studying mathematics at
    U of T before I went to medical school.  Did you know that there are 8,000
    people on the Sunshine List employed by the City of Toronto, and with
    benefits, they account for $1B of expenses?  We collect $3.7B in property
    tax.  Those 8,000 people account for 27% of our property taxes!!!  If each
    of them took a $10K pay cut, then we can drop taxes by over 2% across the
    city.

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

    Please see my web site where I have a DETAILED platform, but I would start
    by trimming the fat from the Sunshine List, cutting funding of all special
    events such as “gay pride” and “caribana”, and eliminating fluoridation.

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

    No, I would not reduce the size of council because I believe that a
    councillor’s job is and has always been PART-TIME.  Therefore, they should
    be managing a geographic area just large enough for a part-timer to
    handle.  Instead, I want them to be paid as part-timers.  I support an
    immediate slash in councillor salaries to $70,000 per year, which is the
    median wage in Toronto.  Also, I am the ONLY candidate running in this
    election that has promised NOT to accept the $105,000 salary, out of
    principle.

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

    Yes, I support contracting out garbage and any other service, provided the
    person doing the negotiations on behalf of the city plays hardball on the
    contract.  There’s no point in contracting out services if the city gets
    screwed in the process.

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

    No, I think we should leave the land transfer tax where it is.  Until we
    get our property taxes under control, we cannot afford to slash it.  I am
    a VERY honest person and will not promise to cut it until we can afford to
    do so.

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

    Slashing property taxes is the most effective way to create 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?

    We cannot afford new transit projects right now.  Instead, I would put a
    moratorium on new projects until we slash the breadth of salaries at the
    TTC.  There are 1,400 TTC workers on the Sunshine List, and the CEO makes
    over $300,000 per year with benefits!  Let’s get the expenses down and get
    tokens reduced to $2.50 each so that the poor can afford to ride.  Once we
    do so, and ridership is up (which in turn will increase revenue), then we
    can self-fund transit expansion without new taxes.  In the same way that
    slashing taxes creates jobs, slashing fares will increase ridership and in
    turn increase revenue.

    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?

    Kick the fucking Marxists off the negotiating team.  I will deal with the
    unions.

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

    Public-private partnerships are VERY overrated because the public is
    always left with the short end of the stick, both in regards too being
    shortchanged in the profit equation, and by being forced to take all the
    risk.  I will not sell the treasure of the citizens in exchange for short
    term gain.  Any business that wants to jump into bed with the city of
    Toronto will have to take most of the risk and put up most of the money.

    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 concern in Ward 32 is out of control real estate development which
    is destroying the quaint nature of our community.  Mary Margaret McMahon
    is a useless Marxist that is getting eaten alive by developers.

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

    I do not support a cap on taxes at the rate of inflation.  While property taxes are not a progressive way to raise revenue for a city, at the moment they are all we have.  We are paying a high cost to low taxes (lower than most of the GTA.)  I know many people who have paid hundreds in extra insurance for basement flooding or thousands to repair damage done by floods and falling trees because we have not kept up our infrastructure.

    I think focusing on property taxes leaves out Toronto’s biggest problem: we pay far more tax to the provincial and federal governments than we get in return.  This has left Toronto holding the bag.  We need more cost sharing on transit and affordable housing, at least to the point where Toronto is getting as much as it is giving.

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

    Of course we’ve all been maddened by seeing construction jobs with more supervisors than workers, or transit supervisors standing en masse around bunched up streetcars.  Like everyone else, I see that as waste and should be eliminated.  However, Joe Pennachetti, the City Manager, has said that “anyone who promises savings of a billion dollars by finding efficiencies is telling an untruth.”

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

    I don’t know whether reducing the size of city council would solve any of Toronto’s real problems.  Many citizens find it hard to get their councillor’s attention as it is.

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

    I do not support contracting out of garbage or other city services.  I support a living wage for all, and jurisdictions that have unions tend to have better wages in non-unionized jobs too.  Unfortunately, many people do not know the role that unions played in getting us weekends, paid vacations and safer work conditions. As so many people are losing well-paying jobs, they’ve been persuaded to be furious at the people who still have them, rather than to look for the real causes.

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

    I support keeping the land transfer tax until a fairer way to get revenue for Toronto is found.

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

    Good question!  We need to encourage more local businesses.  We could do a few things to make starting a small business easier.  One is to remove the tax breaks that commercial landlords get for having an empty store, and replace that with tax breaks that encourage them to take a risk on a new small business.  We need to make participation in the BIA optional rather than mandatory in the first few years, as this can be one expense too many if the BIA charges hefty fees and does not act in the interest of the new business.

    We also have the combination of many bright, well educated and unemployed young people and some areas of the city that fail to attract businesses.  I believe we could put the two together, give tax breaks to the property owner, loans to the young entrepreneurs, and foster a tech incubation centre.  This is an investment in our young people and not a waste of money.  If only 1% of the startups come up with a useful product or application, all the money invested will be repaid, not only directly, but by encouraging more young people to do the same.

    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 make a plan and stick to it aggressively.  We could implement a congestion tax similar to London’s and dedicate it to 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?

    I don’t know, and won’t pretend to.

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

    I think that P3s can go horribly wrong.  We need to keep assets that produce revenue in the public domain.

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

    Transit is at the top of the list here in Ward 32.  I support the immediate transit relief that’s been proposed by the TTC and needs to be passed by Council – better technology to time streetcars with lights, to reduce bunching, more express buses, more all night routes.

2014 City Council Election: Ward 33 Don Valley East

The Incumbent:

Shelley Carroll

The Race

After over a decade in the Councillor’s chair for Ward 33, Shelley Carroll is looking for another election win. All of Carroll’s opponents note transit as a top issue in Ward 33 with two candidates pledging their support for subways.

Candidates Who Did Not Participate: Dina Karzman

The Breakdown

  • Candidate Response
    Bell, Paul Yes
    Carroll, Shelley Yes – outside of increase to fund the Scarborough subway expansion
    Inthisorn, Khamphay Yes
    Nayak, Divya Yes


  • Candidate Response
    Bell, Paul Responsible spending decisions
    Carroll, Shelley Line-by-line review by Budget Committee to find efficiencies.
    Inthisorn, Khamphay Should always strive for added savings and efficiencies, but savings from service efficiencies have all been tapped out. New revenue generating strategies are needed to support existing city services.
    Nayak, Divya Construction projects being planned properly and fulfilled efficiently.


  • Candidate Response
    Bell, Paul Yes
    Carroll, Shelley No
    Inthisorn, Khamphay No
    Nayak, Divya No


  • Candidate Response
    Bell, Paul Yes
    Carroll, Shelley Will wait for City Manager's report.
    Inthisorn, Khamphay Yes
    Nayak, Divya Yes


  • Candidate Response
    Bell, Paul Yes – eliminate
    Carroll, Shelley No
    Inthisorn, Khamphay Will consider reform
    Nayak, Divya Yes – eliminate


  • Candidate Response
    Bell, Paul By investing in infrastructure and not over-taxing the productive, the City will create an environment that will attract investment. Jobs follow investment, not taxation.
    Inthisorn, Khamphay Toronto needs to have a long term vision to prepare our workforce for increasing automation, the technology for which is already being used across the globe. This is an inevitable reality, and it is best to be proactive and ensure that Torontonians continue to have the necessary skills to fill great jobs.
    Nayak, Divya We must collaborate with the Provincial as well as Federal governments to ensure we have a strong, favorable business climate in Toronto where businesses may be competitive and in turn incentivize them to create and maintain well-paying permanent jobs for Torontonians.


  • Candidate Response
    Bell, Paul Wherever subways are built, development and prosperity follows. There is money on the table from both the Federal and Provincial Governments to fund subways. By earmarking section 37 funds to build stations and focusing City spending on infrastructure we will be well on our way to ending the stagnation that has dragged Toronto’s transit development down for decades.
    Carroll, Shelley No specifics provided
    Inthisorn, Khamphay Council needs to stop blocking and flip-flopping on projects already under way. The wasted time is frustrating for residents, and money required to pay penalties for breaking contracts already in progress nullifies most of the “savings” switching is purported to incur.
    Nayak, Divya The Province has committed $15 billion dollars to GTHA Transit and infrastructure and it is important that we collaborate with the province as well as the Feds to get the funding for Toronto the commercial capital of Canada.


  • Candidate Response
    Bell, Paul Toronto needs a Council who supports taxpayers. By electing Councillors who have capitulated to the demands of unions and associations, taxpayers have failed themselves.
    Inthisorn, Khamphay City’s negotiating team and council should reach out to residents, local businesses and  the community leaders for consultations on issues that matter to Torontonians prior to bargaining and all labour negotiations should be conducted in good faith with the interest of Toronto’s taxpayers in mind.
    Nayak, Divya Collaborate and work for the greater good of Toronto.  In short, a unified approach for the benefit of the masses is necessary to succeed in getting the greatest value for the taxpayer.


  • Candidate Response
    Bell, Paul While P3s are expedient and reduce exposure to risk, I prefer private tenders.
    Carroll, Shelley We do P3's wherever there is a willing partner and all of our partnership projects with other orders of Government go through their P3 screen.
    Inthisorn, Khamphay Due to my unfamiliarity with the subject of Public-Private Partnerships, I would like to refrain from taking a stance until I review the subject matter in more depth.
    Nayak, Divya Yes. Large scale infrastructure improvements and Transit.


  • Candidate Response
    Bell, Paul Current representation. I will represent the people of Don Valley East’s interests over personal ambition. I will bring civility and transparency to Council. I will return all calls or other correspondence. I respect that public service is a calling, not a career.
    Carroll, Shelley Infrastructure. There only IS a flooding mitigation implementation plan because my colleague Councillor Del Grande and I fought tooth and nail for it and have dogged it constantly to ensure it happens.
    Inthisorn, Khamphay Transportation and traffic congestion. Traffic congestion must be eased, with long term goals of affordable and effective transit services. I will also promote cycling as an alternate mode of travel, and advocate for Bike Share Toronto (formerly Bixi) to be expanded into my ward.
    Nayak, Divya Gridlock.  If elected councillor my first goal is to ensure a balance in development and infrastructure improvements.  Subways can achieve the need of a quick, efficient and safe commute. I want to ensure that residents of this ward receive a good long-term solution not a cheap short term alternative.

 

The full responses

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

    Absolutely I do. Any property tax hike should be earmarked to provide services for property owners. As this is not the case, I oppose arbitrarily raising people’s property taxes to provide more money for the City to mal-invest.

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

    Financing programs like BIXI, unneeded signage to recognize Nelson Mandela, and $600,000 public bathrooms are the types of spending that can not continue. Council is toying with the notion of bidding to host the 2025 World’s Fair and the 2026 World Cup of soccer. Proposed spending on schemes such as those or the Pan-Am Games are not expenditures that I support.

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

    Los Angeles maintains itself with 19 Councillors. Toronto would be better served by fewer Councillors. Currently, many Wards consist of core groups of like minded voters. When their views are not in the best interest of the GTA, in order to represent their constituents, the local Councillor opposes motions that would improve the City. Reducing the size of Council would reduce NIMBYism because larger Wards would logically have a more varied constituency. Under such a revision Councillors would need to hire larger staffs to serve their larger Wards but their raised public profile would result in more scrutiny and accountability. Perhaps the re-election rate for a City Councillor would no longer hover above 80%. Few politicians can claim an 80% approval rating.

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

    Contracting out garbage collection West of Yonge St. has been a huge success, both in value to the taxpayer and in the quality of service. Contracting out garbage collection East of Yonge is something I strongly support. Regarding other services, it is my observation that competitive bidding results in better value to customers than the imposition of government appointed monopolies. I support free-market economics.

    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 a disincentive to development and an impediment to prosperity. I strongly support eliminating this counter-productive cash grab.

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

    The only jobs that Councils or governments create are supported by tax dollars. By investing in infrastructure and not over-taxing the productive, the City will create an environment that will attract investment. Jobs follow investment, not taxation.

    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?

    Wherever subways are built, development and prosperity follows. There is money on the table from both the Federal and Provincial Governments to fund subways. By earmarking section 37 funds to build stations and focusing City spending on infrastructure we will be well on our way to ending the stagnation that has dragged Toronto’s transit development down for decades. If there still is a need for more funding, The Bank of Canada was established to provide interest free loans to municipalities to build infrastructure. If that option is unavailable I propose we borrow today, from charter banks, at favourable interest rates, to fund subways that will serve for generations. We borrow money to buy our homes and to pay for our children’s educations; we can borrow to build a transit system that will inspire growth and prosperity throughout the GTA.

    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?

    Toronto needs a Council who supports taxpayers. By electing Councillors who have capitulated to the demands of unions and associations, taxpayers have failed themselves. An informed and engaged electorate will elect Councillors who will put people before politics.

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

    While P3s are expedient and reduce exposure to risk, I prefer private tenders. If a project has value to the private sector I would rather a transparent bidding process be implemented than a P3. If a project has little value to investors but is necessary, it becomes an expense incumbent upon the taxpayer.

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

    Listening to people in Don Valley East (Ward 33), the issue that has been brought to my attention most frequently regards the disconnect people feel with their Councillor. I have been told many times that the sitting Councillor promotes partisan party politics over their concerns. They support the completion of the Sheppard subway but the incumbent supports LRTs. They don’t have calls returned personally, they only see the incumbent attend events for political gain, and they feel ignored. I will represent the people of Don Valley East’s interests over personal ambition. I will bring civility and transparency to Council. I will return all calls or other correspondence. I respect that public service is a calling, not a career.

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

    Mayor Ford and 22 other Councillors adopted a motion to add a .5% property tax on top of the budgeted increase, every year for 30 years, in order to fund three subway stops that have not yet been properly studied. I did not support that but once Council has taken a position, I am unable to reverse it on my own. What I can commit to is holding the budgeted increase outside of the Ford Subway Tax Levy to inflation.

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

    During my tenure as Budget Committee Chair, my committee enacted $350 million in efficiencies. My committee and I preferred to be more surgical than the current administration, engaging the whole committee in teams of 2 to go line by line. In this method, ‘no’ is less an option for staff. We can push back to say that we are coming back at this one next year so’ make the necessary adjustments to your org chart. We’re going to come back to this item in the next budget’. Using this method, reductions accumulate over time and they are truly permanent in that they result in organizational change as opposed to just deferring actions until the damn bursts a few years down the road.

    The key to this approach is an agreement within the Budget Committee that all will apply themselves rigourously to the process and all will stand by the Budget without tinkering unless the change is in reponse to considered input and is unanimously supported by Budget Committee. I feel very fortunate to have had that. The current term’s Budget Chiefs have not enjoyed that same level of dedication.

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

    I do not feel it is necessary to increase the size of Council in keeping with recent Conservative Federal Government imposed changes but I do not support a decrease. My concern is populating the number of agencies, boards and commissions that Council is responsible for. Mayor Ford has had a great deal of trouble achieving quorum in his committees, including Executive Committee and has pretty much run out of willing Committee Chairs as the 4 years draws to a close. Accountability suffers.

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

    I prefer to wait for the City Manager’s upcoming report before proceeding on the East side. We have had some difficulty with current west side contractor, GFL, so we need to know more. In the mean time, I have never had any issue with delivering all Capital Projects through contracting out. I also supported and helped establish contracted services in all other areas of solid waste besides curbside collection. I also delivered partnership service contracts such as the Street Furniture contract whereby Astral contracts transit shelter maintenance in exchange for ad space but also pays the city revenue as well as the water metering contract whereby the provider of the meters was given the installation and service contract s opposed to Toronto Water staff.

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

    I represent a ward that is full of senior homeowners and struggling new Canadian homeowners. They cannot afford to have me reduce a revenue stream they are not paying into and put the burden on them trough their property tax bills.

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

    I have worked very hard and very vocally to create an attractive business proposition out of our fair City. As a result of my input on the Economic Development Committee and my pitch for my suburban business park while on the InvestTO Board, 2000 financial service sector jobs from abroad are moving into Consumers Road Business Park in September.

    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. Currently, the finishing touches are being put on a subway expansion to Vaughan that was adopted in my first term of Council. The Federally incented Rail link to the Airport is under construction. Lastly, the largest infrastructure project in the entire nation, right now, is the Eglinton Crosstown LRT. These are real. Moreover, the only reason the Sheppard LRT won’t be ready to serve the Pan Am games is Mayor Ford’s cancellation.

    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 are a part of every term of Council. Toronto has been a leader in breaking free of the dreaded 3% merry-go-round. We did this in 2009, prior to the current term of office. With the exception of the First Responder contracts, we have continued to negotiate contracts below inflation and below the annual contract increase clause with our private garbage contractor, GFL. With inflation still low, I’ve no doubt we will continue to do so. The final frontier is engaging the Province in a discussion about moving the essential First Responder contracts to Province-Wide bargaining in order to reduce or eliminate the whipsaw effect happening across Ontario and driving costs up.

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

    We do P3′s wherever there is a willing partner and all of our partnership projects with other orders of Government go through their P3 screen. Recently, most firms have been reluctant to work in the large city arena, favouring less ‘built out’ cities in working with the Federal P3 Fund.

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

    Infrastructure. We continue to adapt water infrastruct to meet the demands of extreme weather as we are a flood-prone ward. Further to that, we are following water projects with road reconstruction and hydro renewal as these types of infrastructure were put on hold for almost a decade while the flooding mitigation study was implemented. What Am I doing about it? There only IS a flooding mitigation implementation plan because my colleague Councillor Del Grande and I fought tooth and nail for it and have dogged it constantly to ensure it happens.

  • 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 at the rate of inflation for properly accessed properties.

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

    We should always strive for added savings and efficiencies, but a recent study from the Munk’s Institute on Municipal Finance and Governance (IMFG) corroborates the Toronto City Manager’s assertion that savings from service efficiencies have all been tapped out.

    I am of the opinion that existing city services are already stretched too thin. We cannot cut or reduce any more existing city services without negatively impacting the overall state and liveability of our city

    New revenue generating strategies are needed to support existing city services. I am always looking for new ways and would be more than happy to review new revenue generating strategies.

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

    No. I do not support reducing the size of Toronto City Council. People rely on their municipal governments for more of their day-to-day services and concerns than they do with their provincial and federal representatives.

    While reducing the number of councillors and re-drawing of ward boundaries may be a viable and cost saving option in smaller cities and municipalities. I believe that implementing this same strategy would prove disastrous for our city.  In 2006 the city of London, Ontario re-drew its municipal boundaries and reduced its wards to 14. The average number of constituents per ward is now approximately 33,913. Compare this to an average of 59,433 constituents in each of Toronto’s 44 wards. Toronto has a population density more than five times that of London, Ontario, while also being a much more diverse and multicultural city.

    Re-drawing the boundaries to 25 wards would increase the average to 104,602 citizens per councillor, not taking into consideration future population growth. The increase workloads on councillors would result in inefficiencies and other forms of redundancy over what already exists in the current system, possibly leading to a net increase in office budget expenditure for the city.

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

    Yes. I do support contracting out garbage collection east of Yonge Street, but we need to be realistic about this process and understand the nuances of the situation. The success of the contracting out garbage collection west of Yonge Street and the historical success of Etobicoke indicate that this is an intelligent and worthwhile plan. However, the city of Toronto has job security provisions as part of its collective agreement, which Etobicoke never had to deal with. Even if we were to contract out garbage collection to a private company, current and any Toronto waste management worker with more than 10 years of service would still be employed by the city — they would be shuffled around the city, thus increasing administration costs in the short term, and not doing much to decrease the city’s overall personnel expenses.

    The reality of the situation is that these particular set of cost savings are a long term strategy, but that does not make it less worthwhile to pursue.

    I would also like to see the cleaning at police facilities re-negotiated at a better price. The savings were ⅓ of what was promised, mainly due to city council dragging its feet about the matter.

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

    Toronto needs revenue to provide infrastructure and services to our residents, and attract business with our quality of life. Housing prices and employment opportunities are intrinsically linked to the quality of life that the city is able to provide to residents. Outright eliminating a source of revenue would negatively impact the costs of houses long term, as Toronto would be unable to pay for infrastructure and services, making it a less appealing place to live.

    While eliminating any land transfer tax would be short-sighted, lowering the tax rate for first-time home buyers could encourage equal opportunity land ownership among our citizens.

    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 provide people with an accessible path into work and onto higher paying jobs. We also need to reward work by making low wages go further, and help people forward.

    Toronto needs to have a long term vision to prepare our workforce for increasing automation, the technology for which is already being used across the globe. This is an inevitable reality, and it is best to be proactive and ensure that Torontonians continue to have the necessary skills to fill great jobs.

    We also need to create a culture that makes it easy to start and operate an enterprise.

    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?

    Council needs to stop blocking and flip-flopping on projects already under way. The wasted time is frustrating for residents, and money required to pay penalties for breaking contracts already in progress nullifies most of the “savings” switching is purported to incur.

    It is interesting that after the metrolink report was released, its flaws were quickly pointed out by other experts and largely ignored by council. In the interest of substantial long term savings, we should offer small rewards for peer-reviews of plans that can demonstrate a substantially more efficient way of proceeding. This investment in planning would have the potential to save a lot in the long term.

    We also need to look towards automation of some transit services in the future.

    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?

    City’s negotiating team and council should reach out to residents, local businesses and  the community leaders for consultations on issues that matter to Torontonians prior to bargaining and all labour negotiations should be conducted in good faith with the interest of Toronto’s taxpayers in mind.

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

    I am always supportive of cost saving strategies, and willing to explore all of the options available. There has been some academic research questioning the cost benefits of P3s. Due to my unfamiliarity with the subject of Public-Private Partnerships, I would like to refrain from taking a stance until I review the subject matter in more depth.

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

    Transportation and traffic congestion continues to be a top concern for residents in ward 33.  Traffic congestion must be eased, with long term goals of affordable and effective transit services. I will also promote cycling as an alternate mode of travel, and advocate for Bike Share Toronto (formerly Bixi) to be expanded into my ward.

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

    Property tax is the single most important source of revenue for the city. Likewise for the taxpayer, mortgage payment is the largest monthly expense. Ontario’s current CPI is at 3%, a record high in Canada. I support a property tax that is capped at the rate of inflation, or at 2%; whichever is lesser.

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

    With my educational background in Mathematics, I am confident that I can bring about a positive influence when it comes to money matters and budgeting. I believe the council and mayoral budget needs to reign in on frivolous expenditure. If we are able to limit our non-priority expenditure and focus on the issues that need immediate attention, the council will get a lot more work done in less time. As well we must try to find efficiencies in the city structure in a manner that ensures tax payer dollar does not go to waste. For example, during infrastructure improvements make it a point to ensure
    a project’s long-term sustainability through proper coordination of all city services.
    Currently in our ward we face this problem of wastage. If construction is taking place on a street make sure all necessary renovations are fulfilled efficiently in a given timeframe so that we will not have to face intensive excavation a few weeks later. Millions of dollars will be saved in these small logical measures.

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

    Toronto is a mosaic of different communities and it is essential we get strong
    representation for each segment in order to progress as a city on the whole. Toronto City council should be the epitome of democracy through the diverse range of communities having their voices heard at City level. The frustration arises when we see our elected representatives using hard earned tax payers’ dollars for expenditure that does not meet the requirements of the constituents. I believe the solution lies in the proper allocation of funds and the right policy initiatives. In my opinion, this can only be achieved through adequate community consultations. The only way people can have a voice is if their elected officials are willing to listen. If elected, the first thing I will do is
    act on what this ward’s constituents need. We have been ignored far too long.

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

    Given that the city has identified savings of $11 million dollars annually by contracting out garbage west of yonge; it will be a good idea to consider contracting out garbage collection east of yonge. We have to be creative in identifying savings and revenues.

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

    I support eliminating the municipal land transfer tax. The good people of Toronto pay the highest taxes in all of Canada, We need a break. We work day in and day out to pay off our mortgage. We pay provincial land transfer tax. And we have to pay an additional Toronto land transfer tax. If the City doesn’t help us pay off our mortgage they shouldn’t be first in line to gather the fruits of our labour.

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

    There is no easy fix. We need to establish a more determined and aggressive approach from the city, province and the Corporate sector. We must collaborate with the Provincial as well as Federal governments to ensure we have a strong, favorable business climate in Toronto where businesses may be competitive and in turn incentivize them to create and maintain well-paying permanent jobs for Torontonians. When I was meeting the small business owners in my ward, I was shocked to see how much energy costs impacted the overall profit margin. Collaborating with the Province and reigning in the energy costs can tremendously benefit our small business owners who will then have more assets to generate jobs. We should also work with the private sector and encourage them to employ our youth with special needs. Corporations have a corporate social responsibility and they need to walk the talk. Investing in our people is a must and this can be ensured by securing the right amount of private investments and sustaining a favorable business climate.

    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?

    Investing in infrastructure especially public transit is essential to ensure and improve the quality of life for Torontonians. The Province has committed $15 billion dollars to GTHA Transit and infrastructure and it is important that we collaborate with the province as well as the Feds to get the funding for Toronto the commercial capital of Canada.

    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?

    Collaborate and work for the greater good of Toronto. This applies not just to the city officials but also to the union leaders. Union leaders are not as opposite on the spectrum as believed to be. Although all concerns should be brought to the able during negotiations, there must be a constant reiteration that any policy implemented by the city is in the best interest of the taxpayer. In short, a unified approach for the benefit of the masses is necessary to succeed in getting the greatest value for the taxpayer.

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

    Absolutely. Private organizations are not the demons we portray them to be. With the right amount of oversight and guidance we can see through City projects in an efficient and cost-effective manner. When large scale infrastructure improvements and Transit are concerned, it would only be in our favor that we try to maximize our assets to best fit budgetary requirements and at the same time ensure the best possible bang for our buck.

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

    Gridlock – We are seeing unbridled condominium construction in our community. This will put a lot of pressure on our roads, schools, hospitals, community centers and Hydro grid to keep up with the sudden population densification. If elected councillor my first goal is to ensure a balance in development and infrastructure improvements. I will ensure the high standard of living for residents in this ward is not endangered in the midst of city politics. The transit solution for our community will go a long way to ensure we manage traffic and have community members get around the city in a timely manner. In my opinion, subways can achieve the need of a quick, efficient and safe commute. I want to ensure that residents of this ward receive a good long-term solution not a cheap short term alternative.

2014 City Council Election: Ward 36 Scarborough Southwest

The Incumbent:

Gary Crawford

The Race

It was a close race in 2010 with Gary Crawford taking the win with just over 400 votes more than his top opponent, who is back in 2014 for a rematch. There is no shortage of reasonable ideas in the survey responses we received from Ward 36 candidates. Three out of five respondents agree that commercial taxes in Toronto must be competitive to fuel job growth.

Candidates Who Did Not Participate: Masihullah Mohebzada, Andre Musters, Joy Robertson

The Breakdown

  • Candidate Response
    Crawford, Gary Will consider
    Green, Ed No
    McDermott, Robert Yes
    Spencer, Bob No
    Tobin, Christian Yes


  • Candidate Response
    Crawford, Gary Continue to implement a number of the recommendations in the Core Service Review of 2012, including a look at middle and upper management positions within the public service.
    Green, Ed Contracting out garbage collection and responsible spending decisions.
    McDermott, Robert Cut the Council size, tender all city  contracts, closely monitor city contracts to ensure that they are completed on time and on budget, freeze salaries for staff and council members, cut the police and ttc budgets,, cut councillor office budgets,  sell off city assets, eg: Toronto Zoo,  golf courses, theatres, reduce the size of government, contract out city services and transit.
    Spencer, Bob Any savings in the budget need to come purely from the administrative side.
    Tobin, Christian Reduce Councillor benefits such as free TTC access, passes to the Zoo, the CNE and more.


  • Candidate Response
    Crawford, Gary Yes
    Green, Ed No
    McDermott, Robert Yes
    Spencer, Bob No
    Tobin, Christian No


  • Candidate Response
    Crawford, Gary Yes
    Green, Ed Yes
    McDermott, Robert Yes
    Spencer, Bob No
    Tobin, Christian Yes


  • Candidate Response
    Crawford, Gary Yes – reduce
    Green, Ed No
    McDermott, Robert Yes – eliminate
    Spencer, Bob No
    Tobin, Christian Will consider reducing


  • Candidate Response
    Crawford, Gary Keep commercial and industrial taxes competitive with other North American cities. Partnerships with our North American cities in order to share knowledge, resources and ideas are critical steps to ensuring job growth across all sectors. Supporting arts and culture also attracts new businesses and growth in our city.
    Green, Ed Need to stop zoning inustrial land to Residential land use. Need to encourage the use of vacant land for commericial use
    McDermott, Robert Lower business taxes to attract nee businesses and industry. promote Toronto as a place to live, work and invest, train unemployed youth in high demand trades, give priority to residents who live in Toronto for city jobs.
    Spencer, Bob Should be actively investing in infrastructure projects that both help our city grow and create jobs.
    Tobin, Christian Taxation on business should be lowered dramatically and that the province should be lobbied by the city to follow suit.


  • Candidate Response
    Crawford, Gary A better partnership with our Provincial and Federal partners is a key step in securing funding for public transit. Subways are an essential part of the plan for transit.
    Green, Ed No I believe Council has accomplished alot in rapid transit ue. Theconstruction is to come in futre years.
    McDermott, Robert We need much better transit planning. We need to eliminate and discontinue the use of streetcars in Toronto, build subways, increase bus service on the surface routes, privitize transit, hold senior management and the CEO of the TTC more accountable for poor service, automate the system to cut labour costs, hire part time and casual employees.
    Spencer, Bob Increase the Municipal Land Transfer tax on home sales of 2 million dollars or more as well as increasing parking rates downtown.
    Tobin, Christian City needs to open up subway stations to a wider array of vendors including big name chains like Rogers/Bell/Fido kiosks, Tim Horton's, and Wendy's to name a few.  I also think looking into corporate sponsorship of stations would be prudent as well. As for the planning process, I think it needs to be more resident focused. Too many on Council have a vision for the TTC and seem uninterested in the opinions of the millions who use it every day.


  • Candidate Response
    Crawford, Gary Any negotiations involve two sides who are willing to work towards successful outcomes that benefit everyone.
    Green, Ed Labour for the coming term hould be frozren We do not have the funds to icrease wages.
    McDermott, Robert Contract out city work. Freeze wages. Reduce the size of government. Hire contract employees. Tender city work.
    Spencer, Bob I would ask them to remember that our city workers are people and taxpayers as well as municipal employees and that the best deal is one that ensures high morale among our city staff to encourage a continued strong work ethic.
    Tobin, Christian The best  advice I can give is to be patient and never forget who you are negotiating on behalf of – the people of Toronto. I believe many Councillors need to be reminded of that fact.


  • Candidate Response
    Crawford, Gary Yes. City can leverage partnerships through advertising revenue. The Toronto Transit Commission and the Toronto Zoo are just two of the possibilities that come to mind. I remain in favour of P3s to fund transit expansion in our City as well.
    Green, Ed Yes. The air rights at subway satations shoul be the highest propiority. I can t believe they cannnot get devevopers to build office buildings or residential properators over subway stations
    McDermott, Robert Yes. Transit, libraries, Works, Parks, Policing, Fire, Garbage, City Services.
    Spencer, Bob  No.
    Tobin, Christian Aside from the privatisation of garbage pick up city wide, I feel that at this time any further privatisation or public-private partnerships consideration should be subject to intense public scrutiny prior to proceeding.


  • Candidate Response
    Crawford, Gary Improvements to streetscapes and revitalizing neighbourhoods are priorities for the residents of this ward. Responsible development that makes sense along with community input from residents is what is desired. Additionally, pedestrian safety and greater access to transit are other priorities of the residents. I will continue the positive work I've done over the course of this term and will continue to engage residents of Ward 36 in order to make our community the best place to live, work and play in Toronto.
    Green, Ed No Response Given
    McDermott, Robert Better Transit, Improved Infrastructure, Municipal Land Transfer Tax – Phased out, Traffic  Congestion, Street Parking, Lower Taxes, City Jobs for City Residents. I will give our residents Leadership – Accountability and Vision. I will give them a strong voice at City Hall . It's what they want.
    Spencer, Bob Lack of good public transit in Scarborough. As a Councillor I will reinstate previously cut funding for bus services that will allow for immediate improvement to bus service on Kingston Road and I will push to bring back the Kingston Road express bus that was eliminated during amalgamation.
    Tobin, Christian Accessible transit. I live on Warden Avenue and late in the evening the bus runs infrequently. Kingston Road needs an all night bus service like Eglinton Avenue has or at the very least, like Yonge Street has after the subway shuts down. As City Councillor, I will fight to make accessible transit for ALL Torontonians a priority.

 

The full responses

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

    I will continue to support keeping property taxes as low as possible. While property taxes are essential in order to deliver the quality services that the residents of this City expect and depend on, I also recognize that modest increases may sometimes be required.

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

    We need to continue to implement a number of the recommendations in the Core Service Review of 2012, including a look at middle and upper management positions within the public service.

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

    I am in support of reducing the size of Council as it would be more efficient and better equipped to make formal decisions. This would cut down on the number of hours devoted to debating and I believe that consensus building would be better achieved. I have represented the other half of my Ward as a School Board Trustee and can do it again.

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

    In this term of Council, we have successfully contracted out garbage west of Yonge Street. I would be in support of looking into the same level of service for east of Yonge. Despite the initial hiccups of contracted services west of Yonge, Solid Waste is running efficiently now.

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

    As a recent home purchaser I am frustrated by the amount I paid for the Land Transfer Tax. I would be supportive of a gradual reduction of the Land Transfer Tax but not elimination. Residents of this City rely upon the $350M in revenues from this funding source to deliver the valuable services that keep our City moving. Without this source of funding, it would be difficult to maintain our current service levels. We need to find the funds to replace any reduction before it is reduced. I am definitely not in favour of any increase to the LTT as outlined by one Mayoral candidate.

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

    It’s essential to keep commercial and industrial taxes competitive with other North American cities. Ensuring competitive rates will support the City’s job growth. Partnerships with our North American cities in order to share knowledge, resources and ideas are critical steps to ensuring job growth across all sectors. Supporting arts and culture also attracts new businesses and growth in our city.

    I supported the City’s Strategic Action #4, 2014-2018 to increase employment opportunities by improving the strategic alignment of the Workforce Development Strategy, Toronto Strong Neighbourhoods Strategy and Collaborating for Competitiveness.

    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?

    A better partnership with our Provincial and Federal partners is a key step in securing funding for public transit. The City of Toronto has its fair share of the bill to pay and the other levels of government need to commit to funding as well. Subways are an essential part of the plan for 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?

    Any negotiations involve two sides who are willing to work towards successful outcomes that benefit everyone.

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

    Opportunities for public-private partnerships are there and the City can leverage partnerships through advertising revenue. The Toronto Transit Commission and the Toronto Zoo are just two of the possibilities that come to mind. I remain in favour of P3s to fund transit expansion in our City as well.

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

    Improvements to streetscapes and revitalizing neighbourhoods are priorities for the residents of this ward. Responsible development that makes sense along with community input from residents is what is desired. Additionally, pedestrian safety and greater access to transit are other priorities of the residents. I will continue the positive work I’ve done over the course of this term and will continue to engage residents of Ward 36 in order to make our community the best place to live, work and play in Toronto.

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

    No I dont support a property taxpayer cap.I belive City Council can support a budget at the rate of inflation.

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

    I see savings in contracting out garbage service. I see savings in  capital projects wasting money on wrong ideas.

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

    No I do not believe in reducing the size of Council. I believe the councillors have enough work sitting on committee meetings and serving residents in there wards. I think the size of wards are the corect size.

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

    Yes I support the contracrting out of garbage service east of Yonge Street I believe it will save money and provide better service.

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

    The land Transfer tax. should remain in effect We need these tax dollars to supprt the operation of the city services.

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

    Yes Job growth is very high. We need to stop zoning inustrial land to Residential land use. We are using up all the land for industrial use. We need to encourage the use of vacant land for commericial use

    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 believe Council has accomplished alot in rapid transit ue. Theconstruction is to come in futre years. I suppoer the Kennedy Station subway extension to Malvern. I support that Sheppard line extension from Do Mills to Scarborough Town Centre should be subway.

    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 for the coming term hould be frozren We do not have the funds to icrease wages.

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

    Yes more Prvate/Public capital projects should be started. The air rights at subway satations shoul be the highest propiority. I can t believe they cannnot get devevopers to build office buildings or residential properators over subway stations It is another waste of taxpayer money not being utiilized.

    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 Given

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

    Yes, Absolutely.

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

    Cut the Council size, tender all city  contracts, closely monitor city contracts to ensure that they are completed on time and on budget, freeze salaries for staff and council members, cut the police and ttc budgets,, cut councillor office budgets,  sell off city assets, eg: Toronto Zoo,  golf courses, theatres, reduce the size of government, contract out city services and transit.

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

    Yes. The City Council should be reduced to 16 councilors-at -large

    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?

    As organizer for the Toronto Land transfer Tax Coalition, I, along with other candidates in the coalition are opposed to the Municipal Land Transfer Tax and want to phase out this unfair and unwanted tax. We will respect the wishes of the majority of Torontonians who want this tax phased out. In the latest poll on this tax 58% of Torontonians said they would support a Mayoral or Council candidate who reduce or phase out 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?

    Lower business taxes to attract nee businesses and industry. promote Toronto as a place to live, work and invest, train unemployed youth in high-demand trades, give priority to residents who live in Toronto for city jobs. Currently 65% of city jobs are held by people who do not live in the City of Toronto. Promote tourism,  Lower the retirement age for city employees to provide opportunities for young graduates,  Eliminate employment equity programs, create internships and apprenticeships.

    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 much better transit planning. We need to eliminate and discontinue the use of streetcars in Toronto, build subways, increase bus service on the surface routes, privitize transit, hold senior management and the CEO of the TTC more accountable for poor service, automate the system to cut labour costs, hire part time and casual employees.

    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?

    Contract out city work. Freeze wages. Reduce the size of government. Hire contract employees. Tender city work.

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

    Yes. Transit, libraries, Works, Parks, Policing, Fire, Garbage, City Services.

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

    1. Better Transit

    2. Improved Infrastructure

    3. Municipal Land Transfer Tax – Phased out

    4. Traffic  Congestion

    5.  Street Parking

    6.  Lower Taxes

    7. City Jobs for City Residents

    Since January, I have been knocking on doors speaking with residents in Ward 36 to determine the issues that are important to them in the upcoming Municipal Election. Listed above are the issues that residents have identified as being important to them. When elected to City Council, I will vigorously address the issues that are important to our residents.

    I will give our residents Leadership – Accountability and Vision. I will give them a strong voice at City Hall . It’s what they want.

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

    No. Attaching any sort of cap to our property taxes strips our elected officials of the ability to properly finance necessary projects and services that the members of our communities rely on.

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

    Any savings in the budget need to come purely from the administrative side. I will not cut any front line services or workers just to save a few dollars.

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

    No. Municipal politicians need to be responsive to the concerns of their constituents. Decreasing the size of City Council would make this more difficult and would make our council less representative.

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

    No. Contracting out services has proven in many jurisdictions to be more expensive over the long term. While it may seem to be a good deal for taxpayers they are often left on the hook for more user fees and end up receiving worse service. I will not support contracting out support of any services.

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

    No. I would support a “welcome stranger” policy that would allow adjustments in this rate to be made at the time of sale. This would help our seniors and low income families to stay in their houses regardless of the growth in their neighbourhood.

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

    City Council should be actively investing in infrastructure projects that both help our city grow and create jobs. I am committed to working with my local BIA to identify any opportunities in Scarborough Southwest where this would be 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?

    In order to fund new transit projects I would propose the city increases the Municipal Land Transfer tax on home sales of 2 million dollars or more as well as increasing parking rates downtown. The increased revenue from this money should be dedicated exclusively to improving transit in our 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?

    I would ask them to remember that our city workers are people and taxpayers as well as municipal employees and that the best deal is one that ensures high morale among our city staff to encourage a continued strong work ethic.

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

    No. Public-private partnerships have proven in many instances, including the Brampton Hospital, E-Health, and ORNGE air ambulances to be very costly for taxpayers. We should learn the lessons here and know that P3s work to privatize gain while socializing losses something I do support.

    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 the residents of my ward is the lack of good public transit in Scarborough. As a Councillor I will reinstate previously cut funding for bus services that will allow for immediate improvement to bus service on Kingston Road and I will push to bring back the Kingston Road express bus that was eliminated during amalgamation.

  • 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 best savings are on what the Council spends on itself. With free TTC access, passes to the Zoo, the CNE and more, these small costs add up. People who earn over 100 thousand a year can afford these perks on their own. We must also increase fines for idling, illegal parking and actually enforce them.

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

    NO/ I believe it would place undue strain on services a Council office can offer residents.

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

    YES/ Not at this time

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

    I feel the Land Transfer Tax should be reduced to a flat rate of 1.0 per cent for homes with a value of 500 thousand or more. It should be eliminated for homes under that amount.

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

    I believe that taxation on business should be lowered dramatically and that the province should be lobbied by the city to follow suit. It is foolish for a city with high unemployment to scare away businesses that want to set up shop in Toronto and give jobs to Torontonians, by over taxing them. Doing so makes them go to other cities and give those jobs to other people. People with jobs tend to buy goods, services, and invest, that is what Toronto needs.

    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 have long made the argument that the TTC has millions of dollars in untapped revenue it is not taking advantage of. The city needs to open up subway stations to a wider array of vendors including big name chains like Rogers/Bell/Fido kiosks, Tim Horton’s, and Wendy’s to name a few.  I also think looking into corporate sponsorship of stations would be prudent as well. While the idea may not be popular, I think in the long run we need a funding plan that for once, doesn’t solely focus on hitting the tax payer’s wallet. As for the planning process, I think it needs to be more resident focused. Too many on Council have a vision for the TTC and seem uninterested in the opinions of the millions who use it every day.

    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  advice I can give is to be patient and never forget who you are negotiating on behalf of – the people of Toronto. I believe many Councillors need to be reminded of that fact.

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

    Aside from the privatisation of garbage pick up city wide, I feel that at this time any further privatisation or public-private partnerships consideration should be subject to intense public scrutiny prior to proceeding.

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

    The people I have spoken to in Ward 36 say accessible transit is a big issue for them. I live on Warden Avenue and late in the evening the bus runs infrequently. Kingston Road needs an all night bus service like Eglinton Avenue has or at the very least, like Yonge Street has after the subway shuts down. The impression I get from residents is they feel because they don’t live Downtown or in Forrest Hill, the City couldn’t care less about them. That’s why as City Councillor, I will fight to make accessible transit for ALL Torontonians a priority.