2014 City Council Election: Ward 16 – Eglinton-Lawrence

The Incumbent:

Karen Stintz

The Race

Councillor Karen Stintz is not up for re-election this year which means voters in Ward 16 have some choosing to do – 16 choices in fact! 14 of whom responded to our survey. There is certainly a range of opinion among candidates in Ward 16 on almost all issues surveyed but there are smart, fiscally responsible choices on the ballot. Good to note innovative ideas on transit funding and unemployment.

Candidates Who Did Not Participate: John Cannella

The Breakdown

  • Candidate Response
    Boutros, Jean-Pierre Yes
    Carmichael Greb, Christin Yes
    Coll, Michael Yes
    Conacher, Sean Yes
    Darby, Charm Did not answer specifically
    Gallezot, Thomas No
    Heaney, Gary Yes
    Levitan, Steven Yes
    Metter, Elana Yes
    Mills, Terry Yes
    Spence, Paul No
    Tanel, Adam Yes
    Vukosavljev, Peter Yes
    Williams, Bob Yes
    Youssefi, Dyanoosh No


  • Candidate Response
    Boutros, Jean-Pierre Re-affirm the Master Agreements for LRTs, not the Scarborough subway. Ward 16 residents insist on not cutting services any further.
    Carmichael Greb, Christin Every line in the budget must be scrutinized for large scale projects.
    Coll, Michael Look for efficiencies in telecommunications, bulk and fuel energy, and garbage collection east of Yonge St. Consolidate services in agencies, boards, and commissions.
    Conacher, Sean Garbage collection services and contracting out other city maintenance.
    Gallezot, Thomas Across the board by cutting middle management and making top management more accountable.
    Heaney, Gary Managing labour costs in Toronto Police services, fire, and EMS. Reduce shift overlaps.
    Levitan, Steven Build more effective cooperation with divergent stakeholders within City Council and staff.
    Metter, Elana Look at outsourcing of current services such as daily management of TCHC. Eliminate the rebates landlords receive for vacant properties.
    Mills, Terry Contract out where it's evident the private sector can do a better job and for less money.
    Spence, Paul Reducing the number of councillors, privatization of services such as garbage east of Yonge St
    Tanel, Adam Start with biggest expenditure – staff salaries.
    Vukosavljev, Peter Reduce administration cost by reducing paper work
    Williams, Bob Need to make difficult decisions about reducing services. If we don't want to make cuts, then we need to consider user fees.
    Youssefi, Dyanoosh Avoid unnecessary duplication in public works. Review policing budget. The efficiency of our government is a long-term process with sometimes short-term costs.


  • Candidate Response
    Boutros, Jean-Pierre No
    Carmichael Greb, Christin No
    Coll, Michael Yes
    Conacher, Sean Yes
    Darby, Charm No
    Gallezot, Thomas Yes
    Heaney, Gary Yes
    Levitan, Steven Will consider
    Metter, Elana Yes
    Mills, Terry No
    Spence, Paul Yes
    Tanel, Adam Yes
    Vukosavljev, Peter No
    Williams, Bob Will consider
    Youssefi, Dyanoosh No


  • Candidate Response
    Boutros, Jean-Pierre Will consider
    Carmichael Greb, Christin Yes
    Coll, Michael Yes
    Conacher, Sean Yes, also parks and recreation.
    Darby, Charm Will consider
    Gallezot, Thomas Will consider
    Heaney, Gary Yes
    Levitan, Steven Yes
    Metter, Elana Yes
    Mills, Terry Will consider
    Spence, Paul Yes
    Tanel, Adam Yes
    Vukosavljev, Peter Yes
    Williams, Bob Yes
    Youssefi, Dyanoosh Will consider


  • Candidate Response
    Boutros, Jean-Pierre Yes to modifying the minimum threshold or reducing if lending rates go up.
    Carmichael Greb, Christin Yes to modifying
    Coll, Michael Yes to elimination
    Conacher, Sean Yes to gradual elimination
    Darby, Charm Did not answer specifically but does not support the tax
    Gallezot, Thomas No to either reducing or eliminating
    Heaney, Gary Yes to reducing
    Levitan, Steven No
    Metter, Elana Yes to reducing or reforming
    Mills, Terry No
    Spence, Paul Yes to phasing it out and replacing it with a property tax increase spread across the city.
    Tanel, Adam Yes to eliminating when the housing market softens
    Vukosavljev, Peter Yes
    Williams, Bob Yes to reducing offset with increased efficiencies and revenues in other areas.
    Youssefi, Dyanoosh Will consider modifying


  • Candidate Response
    Boutros, Jean-Pierre Preserve Employment Lands. Re-consider corporate tax rates. Landlords should not be given grants if stores are not leased.
    Carmichael Greb, Christin Investments in infrastructure will make Toronto more appealing to job creators.
    Coll, Michael Youth and industry roundtables to align future college and university programs with actual needs.
    Conacher, Sean Review red tape affecting business. Establish a single service point for permits and licenses required by business.
    Darby, Charm Partner with corporations to employ and train young people.
    Gallezot, Thomas Focus on essential infrastructure. Reduce red tape burden on small business. Help immigrants access lit of permits and licenses needed to operate business.
    Heaney, Gary Invest in arts and culture, promote city on international stage, offer tax incentives for business.
    Levitan, Steven Arts provide employment and significant return to the city. Property tax rebates for cultural organizations. Use a development incentive to create more space for arts organizations.
    Metter, Elana Create the optimal conditions for job creation through incentives for employers and entrepreneurs.
    Mills, Terry Address gridlock which creates lost productivity. Move forward with major transportation infrastructure. Eglinton Crosstown will boost economy and other areas could benefit from something similar.
    Spence, Paul Expand Billy Bishop Airport. Tax incentives for companies willing to re-locate to Toronto.
    Tanel, Adam Invest in world-class infrastructure to attract jobs
    Vukosavljev, Peter Help small business and start-up companies
    Williams, Bob Efforts to create job growth must be incentivized by upper levels of government. Need favourable tax structure, well-maintained roads, public transit, and affordable housing.
    Youssefi, Dyanoosh Offer support, with other levels of government, for the most vulnerable s they can take on meaningful employment.


  • Candidate Response
    Boutros, Jean-Pierre All large capital projects and planning should be done through Metrolinx and the province and them figure out the funding formula. TTC should be merged with GO Transit. Mayors and regional chairs should sit on these boards with private experts.
    Carmichael Greb, Christin Set the transit plan and stick to it. Residents are willing to pay for key services, including transit infrastructure.
    Coll, Michael Invest in signal switches and a Downtown Relief Line.
    Conacher, Sean Provincial and federal governments must partner to fund transit.
    Darby, Charm There is a lack of creative and real ideas and no real plan to fund transit. Must build integrated and coordinated system now. More buses. Change hours for delivery trucks downtown.
    Gallezot, Thomas Stop debating and stop building. Transit City was a good plan. LRTs over subways.
    Heaney, Gary Implement plans approved by TTC and Metrolinx which includes the Downtown Relief Line, Finch West LRT, and Sheppard East LRT.
    Levitan, Steven Appoint Chief Transportation Officer. Address TTC maintenance backlog. Use outside construction manager to advise the TTC. Phase out parking on downtown routes. Implement MARLIN at intersections. Support reduced or free transit fare for Early Bird hours.
    Metter, Elana Stick to approved and funded plans. Create partnerships with provincial and federal governments and explore further private sector funding opportunities.
    Mills, Terry Move forward on Scarborough subway. Need a long-term integrated transportation strategy across the city and region but it must be funded by province.
    Spence, Paul Funding through tax increases and a congestion tax.
    Tanel, Adam Need a fair funding model and the province to pay its fair share.
    Vukosavljev, Peter Implement John Tory's SmartTrack
    Williams, Bob Funding through Tax Increment Financing with property tax increases as a contingency plan. Must be viewed and co-ordinated at a regional level (Metrolinx).
    Youssefi, Dyanoosh Funding must be contributed by other levels of government, neighbouring municipalities, and builders.


  • Candidate Response
    Boutros, Jean-Pierre Get taxpayers the best deal possible without antagonizing front line workers
    Carmichael Greb, Christin New contracts must reflect taxpayers' ability to pay
    Coll, Michael Emphasize to unions that best value to Toronto and taxpayers is the top priority.
    Conacher, Sean City must be transparent in its negotiating position.
    Darby, Charm City should highlight that we're in a revenue crunch. Develop other income streams in order to meet operational obligations.
    Gallezot, Thomas Government and unions should not be implementing ideology.
    Heaney, Gary Continue to take a hardline approach.
    Levitan, Steven Bring together stakeholders to achieve results.
    Metter, Elana Work to give employees a fair contract while ensuring we do not spend beyond our means.
    Mills, Terry Acknowledge city needs to live within its means.
    Spence, Paul Privatize services and insert no strike clause in contracts.
    Tanel, Adam Do not back down. We can not afford to pay double what the private sector does.
    Vukosavljev, Peter Keep wage increase at rate of inflation
    Williams, Bob Labour costs in line with rate of inflation.
    Youssefi, Dyanoosh Keep costs reasonable and ensure jobs are fair and equitable.


  • Candidate Response
    Boutros, Jean-Pierre Yes, and the public must understand that private sector is a middleman helping to fund the projects. Private partners have skills extracting lower costs from suppliers.
    Carmichael Greb, Christin Yes, particularly, complex projects such as transit, bridges, and cleaning up brownfield sites.
    Coll, Michael Will consider
    Conacher, Sean Yes, to start, with department of public works and parks and recreation.
    Darby, Charm Will consider if the right partnership is chosen.
    Gallezot, Thomas No
    Heaney, Gary Yes, specifically for transit on a case by case basis.
    Levitan, Steven Yes, particularly, for transit, roads, social housing, and hospitals.
    Metter, Elana Yes, specifically for the TCHC. The City should not be acting as a landlord.
    Mills, Terry Yes, for example, in transit stations with potential retail space and in the design and building stage.
    Spence, Paul Yes, for example, with the TTC
    Vukosavljev, Peter Yes
    Williams, Bob Will consider for transit infrastructure.
    Youssefi, Dyanoosh Will consider with focus on long-term impacts.


  • Candidate Response
    Boutros, Jean-Pierre Development and traffic management. City departments need to coordinate better.
    Carmichael Greb, Christin Transit, development, and infrastructure. Local issues as opposed to city-wide issues. All are important.
    Coll, Michael Traffic and congestion as it affects livability and transit safety.
    Conacher, Sean Infrastructure renewal, coordination of traffic projects, and maintaining park space.
    Darby, Charm Community safety which encompasses safer roads, fewer potholes, better emergency response.
    Gallezot, Thomas Growing price of housing. Unilateral and inappropriate development. Free Toronto from the OMB. Cut vacant commercial property tax rebate to help small businesses.
    Heaney, Gary Traffic safety through reducing speed limits and greater enforcement.
    Levitan, Steven Transit, gridlock, and intensification which affects the character of a neighbourhood.
    Metter, Elana One of the biggest issues is community safety. Would look at instating a community watch program and working with Toronto Police Services. Also, traffic safety in residential areas and school zones.
    Mills, Terry Enhancing the quality of life through a host of services and infrastructure deficit.
    Spence, Paul Disruption due to the Eglinton Crosstown LRT and overdevelopment.
    Tanel, Adam Traffic and congestion
    Vukosavljev, Peter Better TTC service to reduce gridlock
    Williams, Bob Pressures for development intensification
    Youssefi, Dyanoosh Transit, development, maintaining infrastructure, lack of local park space, and other public spaces.

 

The full responses

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

    Yes, I support a property tax cap based on inflation in Statistics Canada’s official year-over-year October CPI for Toronto, with a caveat: I would consider going higher for one-time civic emergencies of epic proportions, like last year’s Ice Storm, when recommended by the City Manager.

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

    We would find large savings – about $40 million per year – in the city budget by reaffirming of City/TTC/Metrolinx Master Agreement for LRTs, as signed in November, 2012. The Scarborough Subway foolishly adds 1.6% to property tax bills across Toronto, for the next 30 years. The Scarborough LRT does the exact same thing that specific Scarborough Subway would do, without the 1.6% tax increase. The Scarborough LRT is like the SkyTrain in Vancouver, separated, elevated, and it does not interfere with traffic like streetcars.

    This Scarborough Subway adds more to our average tax bill than the Vehicle Registration Tax did, a tax you advocated against. A home appraised at $900,000 (typical for Ward 16) will pay $2120 in this tax, for no good reason.

    This gravy train subway also prevents us from building other infrastructure, as the City Manager’s report said: “If the City decides to undertake the subway project, it will place pressure on the City’s ability to maintain debt service ratios below guidelines. Furthermore, it will directly reduce budget flexibility to address ongoing operational and service levels issues now and in the future.” (From City of Toronto Report on Item CC37.17 “Scarborough Rapid Transit Options”, July 12, 2013.)

    The City Manager has made clear that the Ford Administration has maximized efficiencies, stating, “I believe we’ve gone as far as we can without impacting services.” Ward 16 residents insist on not cutting services any further. Ours is a lean government, which I learned while working with Councillor Stintz as Senior Advisor to the TTC Chair. We cannot run a deficit, for which I am thankful.

    I will hire ambitious, hard-working people who want to learn about and contribute to our city, and who will see their roles as I do: An honour, not a career. It is a privilege to work at City Hall.

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

    I do not support reducing council to 22 seats if it is only under the guise of saving money. You won’t save money, because you still need to serve the same number of residents. Reducing to 22 could be defended by some as a tactic to empower a weak mayor, by having her/his vote be one of 23, not 45. It is not a wise tactic if the intention is to save money, because service will diminish commensurately. I do support term limits for councillors, a maximum of 12 years in any 24 year period.

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

    I will support contracting out solid waste collection east of Yonge Street based on consistent proof that the service west of Yonge is measurably better, and the savings remain permanent. I want to confirm GFL is comfortable with the same contract we have with them now on a go-forward basis. I do not want a huge increase in the next contract.

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

    On Municipal Land Transfer Tax, I believe the minimum threshold should be raised to $500,000, then raised annually at Toronto’s CPI rate described in #1, but feel it should occur if and when market stimulus is needed. Toronto’s real estate market is hot right now. If lending rates go up, I’d consider lowering LTT at that time.

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

    Job growth on a macro scale is best achieved by the provincial and federal governments, through their levers. On a local basis, we must preserve Employment Lands (not everything needs to be a condo), and we must revisit corporate tax rates, in order to get mid to large size businesses back from the 905. The downtown core is burgeoning. Class “A” vacancy rates are low, and new towers are being built. I am optimistic, but we need better, smarter transit to move people in and out of their work and homes.

    I do not like schemes which make it more worthwhile to not do something, like giving landlords a grant when their stores are not leased. If those spaces are empty, jobs can’t be created. For instance, “since 2002, the city has given commercial property owners a 30 per cent break on their taxes for space that has been vacant for 90 days or more.” http://www.thestar.com/news/gta/2012/01/10/porter_a_tax_break_thats_bad_for_business.html

    That kind of thing must be stopped.

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

    CVA Uplift was something I believed in when it was proposed in 2012. Whatever is done, we must do it in partnership, with three levels of government. The public must understand that transit isn’t free. That said, this council made taxpayers in Toronto and across Canada spend $1.5 billion more than they need to in Scarborough for a subway, when LRT would serve the same purpose. The money is wasted. As I said in #2, this subway hurts our ability to borrow or tax for the next major project, like DRL. That is why I advocate for all large capital projects and GTHA transit planning be done by Metrolinx and the province, with them figuring out funding formulae, and TTC/GO Transit merge, with my preference being that Andy Byford run the operations of both merged organizations.

    No matter what, council heads such as mayors and regional chairs should sit on the boards of those organizations, along with private experts. Metrolinx’s Board was originally constituted that way, and it worked until external politics got involved.

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

    What advice do I have for the city’s labour negotiators? Get taxpayers the best deal possible which doesn’t antagonize our valued employees at the front lines.

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

    Yes. Public-private partnerships are not non-profit relationships, and that isn’t always understood by the public at-large. The private sector is a middleman, helping fund the project. If the city can get better lending rates for a project, due to exceptional credit ratings, a P3 may not be needed, but private partners usually have strong skills at extracting lower costs from suppliers. For large projects, like transit, I prefer the province take those projects over. The province can use who its leaders see fit, either through Infrastructure Ontario or other organizations.

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

    The top issues, besides Rob Ford, are development and traffic management. I’ll focus on the latter. City Departments sometimes don’t coordinate as well as they can. Two different city entities could be working on the same stretch of road within two years, yet that same stretch will be torn up twice, as happened in 2010 and 2012 on Avenue Road. That is wrong and should stop. Also, closing up two parallel arterial roads at the same time is wrong, like the Gardiner Expressway and Lake Shore Boulevard simultaneously. We should consider 24 hour construction on arterial roads, to expedite repairs.

    Better traffic management improves the roads for all, whether on bus, bike, car or truck. It is essential we get smarter with traffic management.

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

    Yes.

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

    With much needed funding required for large-scale projects such as transit and infrastructure, every line in the city budget should be scrutinized to determine if taxpayers are getting a good deal.

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

    There are over 22,000 households in Ward 16 – a number that will only continue to grow in the coming years. While I am favour lean government, I will not pursue such an agenda at the expense of effective representation.

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

    Yes, I support contracting out garbage collection east of Yonge Street.

    I believe all services are open to the possibility of being contracted out if it means better quality service at a better price for taxpayers.

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

    I am in favour reforming the Municipal Land Transfer Tax in order to provide greater opportunities for families to purchase homes in Toronto. However, we must be conscious of the revenue generated for the city through the MLTT, therefore it’s important to pursue an agenda of fiscal responsibility in concert with tax relief.

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

    Investments in infrastructure – particularly roads and transit – will make Toronto more appealing to job creators.

    Government should be supportive of job creators as opposed to a hindrance as it has shown to be in the past.

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

    From my conversations with residents in the ward, I believe that people are willing to pay for key services, including transit infrastructure.

    Many residents are unaware of the details of any long-term transit plan for Toronto. This is the direct result of endless debate and the changing of minds of council. Set the plan and stick to it.

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

    An honest conversation must be had with labour leaders. New contracts must reflect the taxpayers’ ability to pay.

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

    Yes. P3s allow more projects to move ahead while transferring risk to the private sector.

    Potential projects would need to be assessed to make sure they are a good fit for the model.

    Complex projects such as transit, bridges, and cleaning up brownfield sites would be good candidates for the P3 model.

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

    City wide issues such as transit, development and infrastructure are top of mind for many residents in Ward 16. However, in speaking with people throughout the community, it is clear that, there are a number of issues that may only impact a single street, but are critically important to residents. From traffic flow, the raccoon population, green space to the tree canopy, many residents are more concerned with local issues over city-wide issues.  My goal as councillor will be to address everyone’s top issue, not matter how small or specific it may be. If it’s important to them, it will be important to me. Ensuring that I am in constant communication with residents, will allow me to ensure I am aware of all of the issues, as well as allow residents to see that their issues are being addressed.

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

    yes

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

    Consolidate services in IT, Purchasing, legal, audit payroll, fleet and real estate between major ABC’s like TTC and Toronto Police. I would look for better efficiency/discounts in City telecommunications, bulk fuel and energy, contract out solid waste east of Yonge.

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

    Yes and I would continue to find better value with the release of my council reform motion, released in the next few days.

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

    Yes. We must continuously look for ways to improve and evaluate options that provide ratepayers with a better deal.

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

    I have committed to eliminating the punitive/unfair tax.

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

    I met several stakeholder groups at Youth Day at Mel Lastman square and again at Dundas Square. I will continue to meet with affected groups to find ways to reduce the unemployment rate and find opportunities to partner with businesses. I would have youth and industry round tables to align future college/uni program with actual needs; and, create direct youth mentorship programs for aspiring youth.  I would also create more volunteer positions within the City Hall framework to provide youth with real world work experience.

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

    We must invest in signal switches and a Downtown Relief Subway Line to improve congestion.

    Yes, I will announce a proposal to eliminate waste and second-guessing in the transit process.

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

    Important to work with all parties to understand clearly what the best out come may be, but must emphasize to Unions, that getting the best value to Toronto and Taxpayers is the top priority.  This is very important to avoid repeating the mistakes of the past while being mindful of the future.

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

    We must always look for ways to improve and provide ratepayers a better deal.

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

    Traffic and Congestion- is an issue as transit expansion has failed to keep up with population growth.  Safety is a real concern as the Yonge Street stations’ platforms, are reaching dangerous levels at peak times. Additionally, alternatives, like the Avenue road express bus are unattractive due to the double fare. Co-ordination of road/construction work by improved communication at City Hall, will reduce congestion. We must work to improve the livability of those in Ward 16.

    I have made it my top priority to increase livability and to find ways get people home safely, faster and more reliably so they can spend more time living and less time commuting. I am committed to building the Downtown relief subway line, syncing traffic signals and co-coordinating road and water work ……to help address this issue.

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

    Yes

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

    I support continuing the process of expenditure review by this council. I believe that greater savings can be found in contracting out remaining garbage collection services and reviewing the prospects for contracting out other City maintenance.

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

    I support revising the wards in the context of the federal redistribution. I believe that fewer councillors, without necessarily reducing support staff, can ensure better accountability and continue to provide residents with good, available and approachable service.

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

    Yes. I also believe that Parks and Recreation and Works maintenance services can be reviewed for opportunities to contract out appropriate services and continue to provide quality service if not improved service.

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

    Yes. Unfortunately this matter has become complicated as the additional revenue has been integrated into expanding City budgets, so savings and revenues will have to be found in order to reduce and eliminate this tax grab. The new council will need to do the hard work of finding the savings and partnering with the province and federal governments to support transition away from this tax increase.

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

    We need to improve the business climate in Toronto through a review of all red tape impacting new and expanding businesses. I will also work to establish a single service point for the various permits and licences required by businesses. I think we need to look seriously at reducing the mill rate for businesses to ensure Toronto is a competitive host for new employment opportunities.

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

    We need to have a meaningful relationship with the provincial and federal governments to partner in transit investment. I will test all transit solutions around simple criteria of whether
    the answer our needs in the shortest term possible, are realistic and have solid financial support.

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

    The City needs to ensure that it is transparent in its negotiating position and seeks a collaborative environment with the City employees.

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

    I think the departments of public works and parks and recreation provide the best place to start with a review of partnering opportunities.

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

    Ward 16 faces the same range of concerns as the City as a whole. The challenge of building better communities is particularly acute here. We are living through infrastructure renewal which is important work, but can be frustrating for commuters, residents and local communities. I will work to ensure we have coordination of projects so that communities face no more than one traffic interruption at a time. I will also lead the implementation of strict controls on the infiltration of residential streets by commuter traffic to provide safer streets for our residents. Another community challenge is in the area of outdoor recreation space. I will fight to maintain our park space in the face of local authorities who propose to sell it for development.

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

    I realize that property tax is the largest contributor to our city’s revenue. Toronto need to have a diversified income stream in order to reduce the burden on property tax payers.

    As it stands right now, residents in Toronto pay on average approximately 1,000 less than residents in the GTA – we are enjoying a bit of a property tax holiday.

    I’ve been knocking on a lot of doors and people don’t mind paying their taxes, they simple want to get value for their money and we are not getting value.

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

    As a Certified Financial Planner and Financial advisor in one of Canada’s big banks, it’s easy for me to see where the savings can be found.  Example, offer incentives to Boards, Commisions Agencies that end their financial year with a surplus that would put an end to the spending spree just so annual budgets won’t be decreased. Commissions such as TTC and the Police could better manage their schedules and payroll if they hire properly thus reducing the large allocation of funds for over time wages. Policies and procedures as it pertains to absentism in the work place could be better applied so that the city doesn’t have to pay two people to do one  job at a higher cost.

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

    I do not believe the size of council is the issue. It is the lack of financial management and accountabiluty that is the Pink Elephant in the room and a sense of duty to serve

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

    Any application in service delivery that will provide more efficient service to residents, and more cost effective, and offer a living wages to workers would be  welcome

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

    Toronto is the only municipality in all of Canada that has double land transfer tax. When the change was made by the Harris government in the early 90′s when the Ontario land transfer tax was blended into the Toronto Land transfer tax – it became invisible and politicians of the day and even now were reluctant stop a cash cow because they didn’t know what to replace it with.  Fact is,  some people have sought to buy homes in the GTA where that double tax whammy does not exist.

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

    When I become councillor I will lobby my colleagues to apply creative thinking  on job creation in our city. I will develop relationships with large corporations in the private sector to employ young people out of university and train them so that we can stimulate their growth potential and that of our city.

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

    In the David Miller years, we spent a lot of time talking about Transit and it was axed by the current mayor. Now we are at it again and all the mayoral candidates are singing off the same song sheet. No creative or orginal ideas. Same old, same old with no real and practical way of funding such large infracstructure.  For the past forty years Toronto has sat  by and opprotunity after opportunity pass us by because we did not as a city have a shared vision of what our city might become. Every year we ponder and think it becomes more expensive.

    Let’s think not only of now or the next 4 years but think in terms of our children. We need to build an integrated and coordinated transit system that serve all of Toronto.  We can use more buses, consider more bus only and taxi only lanes. Set a time frame of when delivery trucks can be down town say from 8:00 p.m. to 7:00a.m. in the mornings.

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

    We must be real and practical with the unions. The Unions want a fair deal for their members and the city want a fair deal for its residents. Everybody ought to know that money does not grow on trees. The city should highlight that fact that we are in a revenue crunch. We need to develop other income streams in order to meet all our operations obligations.

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

    I do not believe that P3′s is the solution to everything. In some instance it works. It works when each party can be made accountable to whatever promises they make. It works when there is recourse. Right now at Yonge and Eglinton where North Toronto Collegiate Institue once stood are 2 condominiums. Tridel and the school board had a deal. Tridel was to maintain the school grounds, at last I heard, they renegged on the deal. So it’s important that the right partner is choosen, if the partnership is to be sustainable.

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

    The top issue of concern in my neighbourhood is community safety.  Which encompasses, safer roads for children and seniors, fewer potholes to save residents money on astronomical car repair. Better emergency response preparedness, rememer the ice storm.  Deligent police response when a breaking and entry is the process.  People work hard for their money I will work harder to serve them. To advocate for my neighbours and to keep them safe.  There  are roads in WARD 16 that have been in disrepair for years and no one seems to notice. I I will make it  happen. I will get the job done. There are locations on roadways that could use a crosswalk or two – managed intersection. All this is community safety.

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

    I do not support any mechanism that limits the ability of lawmakers to do the job for which they have been elected. I believe to best way to ensure that taxpayers are respected is to implement full accountability and transparency.

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

    Across the board. I believe that savings can be found by cutting middle management and making top management more accountable and transparent. I don’t intend to make savings at the expense of frontline workforce that is providing great value for taxpayers money.

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

    Yes. I believe the municipal ridings should be the same than the provincial ridings which will cut the size of Council in half and make the decision process more rational.

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

    I would partner with unbiased academics to analyse in depth the result of contracting out garbage collection west of Yonge. If it is determined that value for taxpayers money has been improved, then I will support contracting out east of Yonge.

    At the time being, I don’t believe other services should be contracted out.

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

    No. I think it’s an acceptably fair tax that doesn’t affect too much working families and benefits our economy.

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

    Focus spending on essential infrastructure, in particular transit infrastructure. Cut wasteful spending or fancy urban design fantasies like Eglinton-Connect. Significantly reduce the red tape burden on small business owners. Help immigrants quickly and efficiently create a tailored list of permits and licences that are required from all levels of government to operate their specific business. Partner with other level of governments to multiply initiatives like BizPal. Attract investments through a better promotion of Toronto in places where Montreal is better known, especially francophone and francophile countries.

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

    My main idea about transit is that we must stop debating and start building. Transit City was an excellent infrastructure project providing great value for taxpayers money. We wasted four years endlessly opposing different options that are actually the same. The Eglinton Crosstown is the proof that a LRT is no different than a subway. We must think in term of value for the taxpayer, not of ideology. Partisans of the LRT argue that we must implement them because that is what “world class city” do. It doesn’t make sense because you don’t invest billions in transit infrastructure because it looks good. Partisans of subways argue that we must implement them because of Canadian winters. It doesn’t make sense because you don’t invest billions in transit infrastructure to provide heated shelters.

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

    We are all in the same boat. City workers are also taxpayers. Let’s restore sanity and behave like adults. Government should not be about implementing an ideology, it should be about finding the solutions that provide the best value for everybody. Coming from France where unions are all about ideology and conflict, I appreciate the quality of our unions here. Of course, there are situations where unionized workforce may try to abuse its dominant position. Those situations should be addressed with respect but firmness. Let’s work together to build an even greater City.

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

    I am not a big fan of P3s. Looking at what happened with most of them (Ornge, the Power Plants, Ehealth) I have the feeling that they are bringing the worst of both systems.

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

    Top concern is the ever growing price of housing that is destroying multi-generational communities. I intend to halt projects like Eglinton Connect that promote gentrification and bring no value to the communities. I will bring together the stakeholders, including developers, to improve tenants situation while making sure that it is not at the expense of small owners.

    Unilateral and inappropriate development is another important concern. I am in favor of freeing Toronto from the OMB, but I also want to make sure our City Planner is working in a transparent and accountable way. I do not believe that adequate community consultation has taken place with respect to Eglinton Connect and other recent development projects. If elected, I will partner with un-biased academics to find ways to ensure that community members’ diverse views are represented and that development decisions are evidence-based.

    The situation of small businesses in the Ward is also very preoccupying. I believe the commercial property vacancy tax rebate should be cut. Immigrants who are willing and capable of creating their own businesses should be encouraged to do so.

    Working families need affordable daycare and after school activities. We can optimize the use of Section 37 in Ontario’s Planning Act and work with school boards to ensure that school infrastructure is effectively used for community purposes after hours.

    A huge concern is also the increase in local crime, such as “break and enters”, I am in favor of increasing foot and bike police patrol, especially during cottage season. But more fundamentally, I believe that building strong neighborhoods and promoting citizen involvement is the best way to protect us efficiently.

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

    Yes I do 100%

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

    We must continue to make gains by managing labour costs. Negotiations will be taking place with the Toronto Police Services shortly, as their contract expires not long after the election. These negotiations with Police ( Fire and EMS when due ) services are the centre piece to achieving the city’s efficiency goals, considering they account for almost 50% of it’s payroll. I am in favour of one ( ex ) Mayoral candidates ideas to use a four platoon shift model as is done in other cities. He believes reducing shift overlapes can save $25m. I also agree that using incentives and other measures to replace light duty officers and retirement ready officers with new recruits will realize substantial savings

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

    I am in favour of doing away with the two wards for every federal riding rule of thumb and having a one to one correspondence.

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

    Yes I support contracting out garbage collection east of Yonge Street, as the current model is working very well west of Yonge and has resulted in substantial savings to taxpayers. Long term experience with private pick-up in Etobicoke has shown that there is not much difference in quality of service between operators.

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

    I will support reducing the Land Transfer Tax. The tax is growing exponentially with the dramatic increases in property values.

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

    I feel we must boost the city’s attractiveness with arts and culture investments, promote the city on the international stage and offer tax incentives for businesses to locate here.

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

    No I don’t believe we need to change the current process. I believe strongly in the plans that have been approved by the TTC and Metrolinx and funded by the province and possibly the private sector. But we have to move on the DRL, Finch West and Sheppard LRT Lines.

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

    Continue to take a hardline approach to negotiations!

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

    I feel there should be many opportunities for public-private partnerships in Toronto. The private sector may enforce a discipline and rigour of thinking about a project that I don’t think government often does as well as it should. Also the private sector can provide a level of innovation through a competitive process that sometimes governments can’t do. I have to say I get most excited about possibilities of P3s in regards to transit on a project by project basis.

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

    We have a very big concern with traffic safety in our ward. I will work to reduce speed limits to 30 km/h in school zones and adjacent residential streets while ensuring more enforcement. You will always get a ticket on Avenue Road or Yonge Street if your two minutes past the meter time, but you can go through stop signs all day long with zero consequence. I intend to change that in the way that many international cities have done already, with very positive results.

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

    Council should have as its goal to limit future hikes in property taxes to no greater than the rate of inflation. However, in the past the city has deferred investments in maintenance, transit and other areas to achieve lower increases in taxes. Like deferred maintenance on a car or a home, this may mean that catching up on larger investments may call for a tax raise larger than that of inflation.

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

    While the city government has attempted to control spending, I believe there are savings to be found in city processes and workflows. While I think Mr. Tory has the start of an idea in asking city staff to yield 10 ideas to improve efficiency and customer server, I believe there are great savings to be found in building more effective cooperation with divergent stakeholders within City Council, staff and Torontonians. Building cooperative, effective teams of stakeholders with divergent interests are skills that I bring from many years of successful business ownership.

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

    I support the Toronto Ward Boundary Review to compare growth in population between wards and impact of development. I am also interested in looking at ward boundaries, especially in terms of what is most fiscally responsible for city council. I am open to considering ranked ballots.

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

    My personal experience with the contracting out of garbage collection has been positive. I think that, subject to proper review of the financial and service impacts of contracting out, extending this program can be effective for the city. I am open to reviewing other programs which might benefit from competitive bidding.

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

    Toronto cannot, at this time, afford to eliminate any further revenue sources. The Municipal Land Transfer Tax is an effective source of revenue for Toronto. I am open to reviewing the tax and its implementation to make it more stable and lessen any negative impacts.

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

    I, like many at the municipal and provincial level, recognize that Toronto is underperforming, especially in comparison to its Canadian and global cousins. Efforts are being made to address this underperformance in employment and other areas, including the recent “Collaborating for Competitiveness” report published by the city with input from multiple sources. There are opportunities for the city to address unemployment and underemployment. With the experience and skills I bring to Council, I am confident I can assist in identifying and helping to execute the best of these. Arts provides employment and significant return to the city. As we know a dollar invested in arts returns tenfold or more. I would suggest to council the possibility of utilizing property tax rebates or other incentives for building owners who let to cultural organizations which provide services to or in Toronto. As well, I would like to investigate a development incentive that would create more spaces for arts organizations. The formula would be based on reduction in property tax providing extra benefit for developers when allocating a space in their building that fits community needs. In trading a small amount of density for community benefit, the developer could exclude that square footage from their density calculation in their application. The incentive would also mandate a development consultation wih the neighbours, both to inform and to gain their approval on a permanent community space

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

    Toronto has fallen decades behind its needs for public transit, victim of politics and widely differing views of methods of providing service. I support the Metrolinx plan, which included detailed expert reviews, public consultations and were agreed to in 2013. It is also vital to review and implement alternative that can provide immediate relief of transit congestion in the short and medium terms while longer term plans are implemented. This can be done by using existing capacity in better, more creative ways. These include: 1) Expanding on Councillor Stintz’s idea for a transportation “czar”, by appointing a Chief Transportation Officer, reporting directly to the City Manager. 2) Address the TTC maintenance backlog, diminishing inconvenient transit slowdowns 3) The TTC does many things well. Construction may not be one of these things. I suggest we bring in an experience construction manager to advise the Council on best practices for cost control and faster construction 4) Phase out parking on major downtown routes, improving automobile through-traffic. 5) Implement improved technology (i.e. MARLIN) at Toronto intersections, improving through-traffic for transit and automobiles 6) Supporting ideas such as an Early Bird period (i.e. 6-7am) of free or reduced fare transit to incent riders to change their transit schedules and improve utilization of off-peak transit times The transit planning process has been delayed by its costs and politics. I will work with my fellow council members to focus and act on solutions in the short, medium and long terms

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

    My career has been built on bringing together stakeholders with divergent interests and objectives together to successfully achieve successful results. As City Councillor for Ward 16, Eglinton-Lawrence, I will be in a position to provide advice and guidance in addressing the objectives of all of the stakeholders and getting the best deal for Ward 16, Toronto and its taxpayers.

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

    In a recent poll, 62% of Canadians responded that they look favourably on P3’s, especially in areas such as transit, roads, social housing, and hospitals. With the demonstrable need to catch up on maintenance and growth of our city infrastructure, properly engaged P3’s can be an invaluable part of the city’s growth. It is incumbent on the city to ensure that P3 engagements are properly planned and contracted to avoid potential pitfalls of these types of projects.

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

    In speaking with many residents of Ward 16, at their doors and at community events, I have learned that the top issues of concern are transportation (transit/gridlock) and intensification. Transit and gridlock has been discussed in previous responses in this survey. Intensification however is a growing issue. Residents have come to me asking how I will address plans for buildings and other projects they consider too large and which conflict with the character of their neighbourhoods. I will work with the residents and resident associations on a case by case basis, balancing their concerns with potential benefits to the neighbourhood and the ward. I will always be open to listen to residents’ concerns and do my utmost to help address them.

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

    Yes, I do support keeping property taxes at the rate of inflation. We need to respect the taxpayer and look for other sources of revenue, like public/private partnerships.

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

    I believe the City should look at outsourcing some of our current services. For instance, we could look at outsourcing things typically outside a government’s mandate, i.e. the day-to-day management of the Toronto Community Housing Corporation.

    During her mayoral campaign, Karen Stintz suggested the City eliminate the rebate landlords are receiving on vacant buildings. This is something I support, and would bring to council if elected.

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

    Yes, I believe our City wards should mirror the federal and provincial ridings, which would reduce the size of City council, from 44 councillors to 22.

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

    Yes I believe the City needs a balance between services we provide and services we contract out so no one groups is able to hold the city hostage with labor talks.

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

    While I ultimately support the elimination of the Municipal Land Transfer Tax (MLTT), I don’t believe it can be done right away. Currently, the MLTT is a huge revenue tool for the city making up approximately 3.5% revenue in the city’s operating budget. In order to eliminate it, we would need to replace it with a new source of revenue. Until we can find enough savings to make up the difference, or introduce a new revenue stream, I can only support reducing and/or reforming the MLTT.

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

    I believe part of the city’s mandate is to create optimal conditions for job creation within Toronto. As councillor, I would work towards creating incentives for employers and entrepreneurs to build their businesses in our city, which would ultimately create more jobs.

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

    Our problem with building transit in Toronto is that plans don’t typically survive our 4-year election cycles. We need to stick to approved and funded plans in order to see new transit built.

    In order to fund new transit projects, we need to create partnerships with both the Provincial and Federal governments, as well as explore further private sector funding opportunities.

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

    Fair and balanced contracts are in everyone’s best interest. We need to be open and honest with our unions by outlining what we can afford. We need to ensure we are working to give our employees a fair contract while also ensuring we don’t spend beyond our means and remain responsible to the taxpayers.

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

    Yes, I do. Specifically I would look at the Toronto Community Housing Corporation as a possible opportunity for a public-private partnership. I don’t believe the City of Toronto should be acting as a landlord: we’ve done a very poor job at this so far. Toronto should be governing and administering social services, not managing the day-to-day operation of the buildings.

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

    There are a number of major issues facing Ward 16 right now: community safety, protecting our community assets (like Bannockburn Park), managing Eglinton Connects, reducing congestion, and addressing our aging infrastructure.

    However, I think one of the biggest issues in Ward 16 is community safety.

    There have been a number of break-and-enters across the ward. People don’t feel safe in their own homes, and that’s a serious problem.

    If elected, I would work closely with both our community and the Toronto Police Service, and ensure information is flowing both ways. I would also look at instating a community watch program: our neighbours are the people best positioned to recognize someone who shouldn’t be on our streets. We need to ensure we have the best tools at our disposal to deal with this problem.

    Another safety issue in our community is people speeding in residential areas and school zones. We need to look at ways to address this issue through both traffic studies and community consultations. Then quickly implement the needed changes to make our streets safe.

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

    I will not support a budget during the next four years that proposes a property tax increase above the rate of inflation.

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

    By contracting out services where there is evidence the private sector can do the job better and for less money.  By continuing the good work already underway in Toronto to find savings and efficiencies.

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

    No I do not. While it might make council meetings function a little more smoothly, it would erode local democracy and undermine the principle that local government is closest to the people. Residents need access to their local representatives. Reducing council by half would diminish that access significantly.

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

    Yes, provided there continues to be a strong business case for doing so based on our experience of contracting out collection west of Yonge Street. I support contracting out where there is solid evidence that doing so will cost less and improve the service.

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

    This is not a priority for me because Toronto needs the $300 million in annual revenue provided by the land transfer tax. To eliminate it entirely, you’re either cutting core services or raising property taxes above inflation – neither of which I support. I would consider reducing it, but again you’d have to identify a source for replacing that lost revenue.

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

    Toronto has to work for those who live and do business here. As government, we must create the right climate for job growth and work to address systemic problems that are holding businesses and other job creators back. A good example is gridlock, which costs our GTA economy $6 billion every year in lost productivity. We have an opportunity right now to move forward with some major transit and transportation infrastructure projects – let’s get them done. In Ward 16, projects like the Eglinton Crosstown LRT will boost the local economy both during and after construction, and encourage businesses to increase their workforce, creating more jobs. There are success stories like this waiting to be realized all over this city.

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

    For starters, I think we need to stop using transit as a political football. Torontonians want to see transit getting built, not endlessly debated. There is a plan in place to fund and build the Scarborough subway. Let’s move forward and get it done.

    On the larger issue of easing congestion over the long term – it’s a regional problem.  We need a long-term strategy for expanding integrated mass transit across the city and throughout the region, but ultimately it must be led by and funded by the province.

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

    The emphasis should be on fair, frank and open discussions based on mutual acknowledgement that the city needs to live within its means.

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

    I support public-private-partnerships. In Ward 16, the new Yonge-Eglinton subway/LRT station would be a perfect fit for a P3 arrangement. In my view, Metrolinx should be taking advantage of potential commercial opportunities in the underground area connecting both lines. The newly created underground space could be a windfall for the city. Retail space could be operated by a private company that pays rent to the city and shares maintenance costs. Most importantly, Toronto needs to start working with private companies who know the business, and involve them in the design/build stage.

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

    My priorities will be protecting and enhancing the quality of life we have built here in Ward 16 – strengthening neighbourhoods; addressing traffic and transit congestion; creating new parks and open spaces while preserving what we have now; keeping annual property taxes at or below the rate of inflation; tackling the infrastructure deficit most particularly in areas of high/rapid intensification; and maintaining high-quality municipal services that are efficient and accessible for all.

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

    No, I do not. Taxes should increase to the level where proper services can be delivered, but no higher. With increases limited to rate if inflation the city will fall into decline.

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

    By reducing the number of councillors and thereby reducing budgets, privatisation of services such as garbage pickup east of Yonge etc.

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

    Yes. We have at least 30% more councillors than we need for a city our size.

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

    Absolutely.

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

    I’m in favour of phasing it out and replacing it with a property tax increase spread across the city so everyone pays their fair share. The Land Transfer tax us nothing more than a tax on wealth.

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

    By allowing expansion of Billy Bishop airport this will attract more businesses to Toronto creating jobs. This us just one example. Also tax incentives to companies relocating to Toronto.

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

    New transit must be funded by tax increases and negotiation with the Federal and Provincial governments. Perhaps a congestion tax as done in London.

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

    I support privatisation of services wherever possible. We can insert no strike clauses with private companies.

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

    TTC for starters. Naming rights for Subway stops, parks, public buildings.

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

    Disruption due to the Eglinton Crosstown LRT. I will insure disruption to businesses and residents will be kept to a minimum. Also overdevelopment. I will work to ensure residents concerns are taken seriously whether it is a high rise or simply a house on a residential street.

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

    Yes.

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

    Start with the biggest expenditure: staff salaries.

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

    Yes and yes.

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

    Yes. If the private bid is less expensive than the in-house cost. I would use the same approach with most city services.

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

    I support eliminating the tax when/if the housing market in Toronto softens. Lowering it before then risks fueling the real estate bubble.

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

    Investing in the infrastructure necessary to attract the high-paying jobs of the future. Our tech/transit infrastructure must be world class if we are going to compete in the global economy.

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

    We need the province to pay their share. People who live outside the city use our roads every day without paying a dime in property tax. We need a fair funding model. Our planning needs to be more consistent,  predictable and far-sighted.

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

    Do not back down. We cannot afford to keep paying double what the private sector does.

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

    Yes. I studied P3 law under Timothy Murphy. We should expand their use on capital projects and explore new uses to reduce operating costs.

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

    Traffic and congestion. I will work to improve transit and lobby for provincial funding for congestion-cutting infrastructure investments.

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

    Yes

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

    Reduced administration costs by reducing paper work.

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

    No

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

    Yes

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

    Yes

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

    Help small business and start up companies.

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

    Implement John Tory SmartTrack.

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

    Keep wage increase at rate of inflation.

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

    Yes

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

    Better TTC service to reduce gridlock.

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

    Yes. However, as seen for the Scarborough subway, special tax increases can still be implemented. These need to be considered carefully.

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

    The vast majority of services provided by the City are mandatory. Those that aren’t mandatory (libraries, parks and recreation) add to what make the City livable. During 2011-2012 the City conducted an extensive series of independent service reviews to find efficiencies. Those recommended efficiency improvements need to be considered and implemented.

    These easy wins are disappearing and we will have to make difficult decisions around what services may need to be reduced. Those decisions need to be debated vigorously and publically. Alternatively, if we are not prepared to make cuts, consideration needs to be given to increased/expanded user fees for non-mandatory services.

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

    I believe a smaller council would function more effectively, but I do not see it as a significant cost saving measure. Any move towards a smaller Council needs to be balanced with increased opportunity and mechanisms for public consultation. In reducing council size, we need to expand the pool of voices that contribute to moving our City forward!

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

    Yes, the program west of Yonge seems to be working. However, any agreement for east of Yonge would be subject to a new tendering process, incorporate lessons learned from the GFL contract and give fair consideration to efficiencies/improvements that have occurred with City garbage collection over the last 2 years.

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

    The Municipal Land Transfer Tax (MLTT) makes Toronto more expensive than surrounding communities. This tax should be reduced and ideally phased out over a reasonable period. However, the MLTT accounts for 3.7% of Toronto’s revenue. That’s equivalent to a 10% increase in property taxes, a 22% increase in user fees or a tripling of the grants and subsidies received from the Federal government. The revenue from the MLTT will need to be offset by increased program efficiencies and increased revenues in other areas.

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

    Employment and Social Services accounts for 12.1% of Toronto’s operating budget. Efforts to create job growth need to be incentivized by provincial and federal government programs. The senior levels of government need to be made aware of the unique circumstances in the City and devise programs to address those issues, particularly amongst the City’s youth.

    Toronto’s real contribution to employment is providing an environment that attracts business and a talented workforce. A favorable tax structure, along with well-maintained roads, public transit and affordable housing are critical for enhancing employment opportunities in Toronto.

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

    New transit projects need to consider a variety of funding alternatives. While tax increment financing (TIF) provides a solution with no apparent increase in property taxes, we need to be certain that new development will occur. We also need to be prepared with a contingency plan should tax revenues fall short. Funding should consider a blend of options such as TIF and a dedicated property tax levy. If the TIF meets or exceeds requirements, the property tax levy would be refunded or reduced.

    The challenge with transportation planning is that it needs to be viewed and coordinated at a regional level. We need to be able to move people efficiency into and out of the city. There is a regional transit plan maintained by Metrolinx and agreed to by Toronto and the surrounding municipalities. What we need to do is prioritize, find the funding and move forward.

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

    Labour costs are the largest expense for most City Divisions. If we intend to keep property tax increases to the rate of inflation, negotiating teams must ensure contract agreements reflect this reality.

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

    In Toronto, one could potentially see the development and operation of a new subway line or a new Gardiner expressway as a P3 project. However, a P3 is not necessarily the most cost effective solution. It should be considered along with more traditional project financing to determine the best investment option.

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

    The top issue of concern is the pressures of development in our neighbourhoods and along the transportation corridors. Ward 16 is bordered by the Yonge subway line to the east and the Crossways LRT along the south. These areas are targeted for development intensification. The risk for citizens in these communities is that our principles for development, as outlined in the Official Plan, may be compromised. Changing zoning requirements may occur without sufficient consultation and citizen input. Furthermore the Ontario Municipal Board has historically demonstrated a bias towards developers over community input and the City’s Official Plan. Public consultation and input cannot be sacrificed. The City will grow, but it is up to us to determine how well we grow!

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

    I believe that taxes must be fair and equitable.  When planning a city, we must do our best to have a long-term vision and plan for what will best serve our residents, will promote business, the physical and mental health of our residents, as well as the vibrancy of our neighbourhoods.  Fiscal responsibility is the duty of every representative. We cannot shackle future generations by cutting off or setting hard caps on any source of revenue. The property tax burden could be alleviated for those who could least afford it.  I favour the expansion of revenue sources and a more equitable contribution weighted more to means.

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

    We should be continuously scrutinizing our expenditures and operations to find savings opportunities, without sacrificing important and vital services.  At this point, I believe we should examine our public works to ensure that such work is properly coordinated and that unnecessary duplication is avoided.  In addition, about 25% of our property taxes go toward policing.  With decreasing crime rates, this is an area that needs to be re-examined.  Finally, coordinated efforts by the three levels of government will both serve society and save costs.  For example, evidence shows that if we provide a viable home to a homeless person who has mental health challenges, this person will soon be able to get the help she or he requires, and ultimately even find employment.  This short-term expenditure will reduce long-term costs: the cost of shelters, emergency hospital visits, policing, and detention centres is much higher than the cost of providing someone with a home and support (some of which the person will be able to pay back, in time.)  The efficient governance of our city is an ongoing process.

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

    Changing the number of city councillors would have no positive impact on how Council operates. I know Councillors who often spend more than 12 hours a day to serve their constituents.  Reducing the size of City Council would mean that residents’ calls and needs would go unanswered.  We need to change the dialogue at city hall, so that councillors think in terms of the city, the residents’ interests, and the longer term, and not soundbites and the next election cycle.

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

    All proposals for changing the way services are offered, including proposals for contracting out, need to be based on evidence.  We need to weigh not only any anticipated immediate cost impact, but also the impact on the level and quality of service being offered to the residents of Toronto.  Any time the City wishes to work with another company, we must take into account the employment standards and conditions of that company.

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

    The City of Toronto is one of the largest governments, of any level, in North America, yet it has very limited sources of revenue considering the size of its service requirements. It would be irresponsible to consider a reduction or elimination of any of its limited sources of revenue without there being alternative sources of revenue available to balance out the loss of funds. However, I believe we should give serious consideration to the issue, examine its impact, and, if necessary, consider measures such as providing a greater credit in some cases, or reducing or eliminating a portion of the Land Transfer Tax (for example, for homes under a certain price.)  But any decision should be based on sound evidence and only with increased revenues from elsewhere.

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

    This is a multi-faceted issue, and can best be resolved by bringing together the various parties involved.  Furthermore, Toronto is home to many of the province’s most vulnerable citizens, who in turn are most likely to be unemployed.  On way we can expand opportunities for the most vulnerable, including the homeless and those with mental health challenges, by offering support together with other levels of government. Evidence shows that offering people support through difficult periods helps them emerge and be ready to take on meaningful employment and otherwise contribute to our community for the future.

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

    Toronto has been debating public transit for years and has shown little vision and action. We need to have a long term vision for the transit needs of Toronto and then implement long-term solutions, not just solutions that are geared toward the next election cycle. The funding burden cannot be borne simply by transit users and Toronto residents. Contributions must also be made by other levels of government, including neighbouring municipalities whose residents benefit from Toronto’s transit infrastructure, as well as by builders so they can share in the cost of transit and other infrastructure to keep up with their new developments.

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

    I urge all parties to put the best interests of our residents and the city first, consider the long-term impacts of any choices and decisions, and engage in creative, outside-the-box thinking to ensure we provide the best services possible to residents while keeping costs to a reasonable degree and ensuring that job conditions are fair and equitable.

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

    PPPs are simply one way to deliver service.  When we examine how we deliver our services, we should be open to all possibilities while we focus, primarily, on the long-term impact of any decisions that we make .

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

    What I have heard at the doors and on the streets from my fellow Ward 16 residents is a concern with transit, development and the ability of the infrastructure to maintain it, as well as concern over the lack of local park space and green space. As councillor for Ward 16 I will work to implement a long-term vision of Toronto that includes respectful government, responsible development and open, vibrant communities. I will work to ensure that the focus of new developments is to improve our neighbourhoods, not simply to build high-density tall buildings that are not practical for families or seniors.   I will work to ensure no new developments go up without the infrastructure needs addressed; that public space, especially green space, be a priority; and that we provide public spaces for seniors, children, and other residents.