2014 City Council Election: Ward 27 – Toronto Centre-Rosedale

The Incumbent:

Kristyn Wong-Tam

The Race

In 2010, Kristyn Wong-Tam entered Council as a rookie Councillor with just under 500 votes more than her top opponent. She faces a new batch of opponents in the 2014 race.  Most of the candidates that participated in our survey agree that streamlining of departments is required to eliminate duplication. Views vary on what the top issue concerning the residents of Ward 27 is.

Candidates Who Did Not Participate:  David Byford, Robin Lawrance, Jordan Stone

The Breakdown

  • Candidate Response
    Ahmed, Kamal Yes
    DAmours, Alain Yes
    Dichter, Benjamin Yes
    Humfryes, Susan Yes
    McIver, Megan Yes
    Roberge, Pat Yes
    Wolvin, Rob Yes
    Wong-Tam, Kristyn No


  • Candidate Response
    Ahmed, Kamal Maintain financial integrity of the City.
    DAmours, Alain ROAD INFRASTRUCTURES AND CONSTRUCTIONS, OUTDOOR, PARKS AND RECREATION PLANNING
    Dichter, Benjamin Police Services, amalgamate real estate departments, and increase manager to worker ratio.
    Humfryes, Susan Remove duplication throughout every department, unifying purchasing departments, contractors must be held liable for the “performance bonds”, and reduce the use of consultants.
    McIver, Megan Areas that need to be streamlined are the tremendous duplication between the city and its Agencies, Board's and Commissions, and another is IT not being fully utilized.  The City should review all tax and benefit administrative programs and services, with a view of moving to a fully electronic service model within the next five years.
    Roberge, Pat See what services can be contracted to save money to the city. And anything related to healthcare aka Toronto Public Health, should be funded in part or total through provincial and federal government.
    Wolvin, Rob Some departments might be able to share administrative staff, perhaps resulting in better communication between offices
    Wong-Tam, Kristyn I believe the City of Toronto can further examine its procurement policies and practices; and streamline its purchasing power to secure better savings. We need to find efficient ways to improve services while reducing the cost of service delivery.


  • Candidate Response
    Ahmed, Kamal Yes
    DAmours, Alain No
    Dichter, Benjamin Yes
    Humfryes, Susan Will consider
    McIver, Megan No
    Roberge, Pat No
    Wolvin, Rob Will consider
    Wong-Tam, Kristyn Supports re-configuration of wards based on population.


  • Candidate Response
    Ahmed, Kamal Yes. Also contracting out waste recycling management, landscaping, leaf cleaning and snow cleaning programs.
    DAmours, Alain YES. ALSO ROAD, PARKS, BUILDINGS MAINTENANCE.
    Dichter, Benjamin Yes. Open to all suggestions of privatization that does not negatively impact tax payers.
    Humfryes, Susan Yes. I’m interested in the wheel trans system and have no doubt that the taxi industry may be better suited to deliver this service far more comfortable and safety for the people that need it most.
    McIver, Megan Yes. Also open to contracting out other services.
    Roberge, Pat Yes. Would consider contracting out road repairs.
    Wolvin, Rob Will consider
    Wong-Tam, Kristyn No


  • Candidate Response
    Ahmed, Kamal Does not have enough info to make a judgement.
    DAmours, Alain Will consider
    Dichter, Benjamin Yes – eliminate
    Humfryes, Susan Yes – reduce
    McIver, Megan Will consider reform, but not elimination.
    Roberge, Pat No.
    Wolvin, Rob Will consider reducing
    Wong-Tam, Kristyn Will consider reform, but not elimination.


  • Candidate Response
    Ahmed, Kamal I will work with community associations, human right associations and business groups to create employment and business opportunity.
    DAmours, Alain  "MAYBE CREATE A PROGRAM TO REGULATE INOT A PROGRESSIVE FORM PAYMENTS OVER A SPECIFIED PRIOD OF TIME. KEEP BUSINESS/KEEP JOBS"
    Dichter, Benjamin Encourage development and revitalization. Help spawn development and revitalization within Ward 27 and specifically the Church Village. Ontario Place should be revitalized into an eco technological hub that capitalizes on both innovation and the dramatic shift occurring in the entertainment from entertainment to infotainment.
    Humfryes, Susan Would like to see the City of Toronto have complete control of Hydro which includes power generation and the independent ability to buy cheap hydro from other Provinces and States. Affordable Hydro rates equal more jobs and happier citizens of Ontario and Toronto! We must reduce red tape for businesses within the city bureaucracy.  Promote and support the film industry that have created thousands of jobs and can create many more.
    McIver, Megan Businesses need to know that Toronto has a competitive tax system, that there are opportunities for partnership, that they have a supportive government, that Toronto has top educational institutions for collaboration and a high calibre hiring pool, etc.  Investing in transportation infrastructure to move goods to market faster and create jobs, as well as developing partnerships with already growing sectors in Toronto such as ICT and Financial Services is a must.
    Roberge, Pat Offer any employers tax credit as incentives when hiring new employees, giving them skills and experience on a temporary basis. Also if it's a possibility, I would decrease the maximum age for the pension to 60, making many jobs available quicker.
    Wolvin, Rob I think Small Business needs to be the engine for Job Growth. Regulations need to be reviewed. Shops need a pedestrian friendly city to encourage customers to linger in a neighbourhood, browse, spend, even notice them. I'd also like to see a more Film Production friendly city.
    Wong-Tam, Kristyn Expand the City of Toronto's social procurement practices to implement local hiring policies, Invest in attracting Creative Economy industries to Toronto. Support a Toronto bid for Expo 2025. Invest in labour market training to better meet employer needs. Support tax incentives to maintain office space in mixed-used development. Reduce bureaucracy to assist business start-ups and foster a bold entrepreneurial culture. Expand apprentice programs and invigorate Toronto Employment and Social Services.


  • Candidate Response
    Ahmed, Kamal Yes, I feel we need to change the current transit planning process. Specially, I believe require subway facility for Rosedale Area and North, who don't have facility right now?
    DAmours, Alain I FEEL THAT EVERYONE SHOULD NEED TO CONTRIBUTE, NOT ONLY THE COMMUTERS.
    Dichter, Benjamin We need to reallocate funds and restructure the transit budget for permanent incremental TTC subway expansion. We need to implement a 40 year expansion program and bring a couple of new subway stations online every year in the same way, Seoul, Toyko, London, Paris and New York have done for decades.
    Humfryes, Susan Legislated sustained funding from Provincial and Federal Governments. Toronto must have relevant portions of gas taxed, land transfer taxes, land transfer taxed, infrastructure funding provincial offences fines, clean air fees and more. No new taxes or no tolls.
    McIver, Megan Borrowing to subsidize the current investment in transit (issuing bonds or otherwise) and capturing the projected future gains in taxes generated by additional revenue (because of things like job creation, increasing value in real estate, increasing business investment) and dedicating those increased gains to pay for transit projects. I advocate for one transportation body.
    Roberge, Pat I would change the purpose of the 5 cent plastic bag fee, to a 5 or 10 cent on every transaction for purpose of transit funding. Should fine any pedestrians caught jay walking. Fines can also be used to help transit as well.
    Wolvin, Rob We need DRL ASAP. It's essential for Toronto, economically AND for the quality of life of all Torontonians!
    Wong-Tam, Kristyn I have continued to  support the Transit City plan. I have supported exploring a number of transit tools to expand transit including: development charges, fuel tax, parking levy, sales tax, high occupancy toll lanes, highway tolls or other road pricing, vehicle registration tax and funding from the Provincial and Federal Governments.


  • Candidate Response
    Ahmed, Kamal As an Immigration Professional I believe I will do as much as I can do for the city's negotiating team to get the best deal for taxpayers.
    DAmours, Alain LOOK AT SUBCONTRACTING BUT ALSO TO INCLUD NEW TASK TO SOME OF OUR WORKER WITH BETTER INCOME
    Dichter, Benjamin I am a fiscally responsible candidate who is the son of a union worker. It is the responsibility of council to find the middle ground. A pro-union position and fiscally responsible position can be mutually exclusiveviewpoints when a reasonable balance is achieved.
    Humfryes, Susan With team work and respect to one another we can provide the right solution to the taxpayer.
    McIver, Megan Everyone has to do their fair share and has the responsibility to review budgets to find savings and efficiencies to ensure better results and better value for taxpayers.
    Roberge, Pat Respect taxpayers dollars by negotiating what is best for the city, its residents and employees involved. Try to find a balance while negotiating any request so both sides has some benefits.
    Wolvin, Rob Wages cannot be increased beyond inflation rate.
    Wong-Tam, Kristyn Delivering exceptional services to the residents should be a priority for both  City Council and the Toronto Public Service.


  • Candidate Response
    Ahmed, Kamal Yes. Housing and commercial building sectors and also some recreation and park sectors.
    DAmours, Alain YES: PUBLIC-PRIVATE PARKS (BUILD BY CITY ON PUBLIC OR PRIVATE PROPERTY BUT MAINTAIN BY PRIVATE SECTOR
    Dichter, Benjamin Yes. Public Transist, toll roads, information technology, construction, Toronto tourism and marketing are all areas we can reach out to the private sector for help.
    Humfryes, Susan Yes. Most departments except transit and water.
    McIver, Megan Yes. Economic development.
    Roberge, Pat Yes. Naming rights, aging city infrastructure and revitalization of Ontario Place.
    Wolvin, Rob Yes. Transit.
    Wong-Tam, Kristyn Yes. Development of new affordable housing.


  • Candidate Response
    Ahmed, Kamal Ensure that clean, safe and viable community in our ward and neighboring words. Resolve housing and transportation issues. Senior citizen programs and children's curriculum.
    DAmours, Alain BIKE LANES AND LGBTQ RETIREMENT HOMES. I WILL DO EVERYTHING I CAN TO BRING THE CITY UP TO DATE WITH THE WORKD WITH BIKE LANES  AND I WILL WORK WITH PRIVATE INVESTORS, 2 LEVELS OF GOVERNMENT TO FUND A NEW GAY ORIENTED RETIREMENT HOME
    Dichter, Benjamin Lack of communication and involvement from the councillor in Ward27. Residence are frustrated with councillors who take extremist positions and feel the right to choose with whom communicate and work. They want representation that has the ability to reach out to both sides and can communicate to everyone.
    Humfryes, Susan Homelessness/housing, marginalized, employment, overcrowding, crime, parking, noise, traffic congestion, transit, wheel trans, pollution. How I will address these issues is by working with the people of this city and the government to address these issues and concerns. And keep the taxes down.
    McIver, Megan Lack of planning and infrastructure around the large number of condo developments in the Ward is top of mind, as well as Section 37 agreements between developers and councillors which have loose guidelines (often not followed) and negotiations that often done behind closed doors.  I think there needs to be a new framework in place involving community and economic development experts, and much more transparency in the process.
    Roberge, Pat Unemployment/poverty among youth. I will work to have more resources available for younger adult 15-24. From help on building good resume, selling trades and other hot jobs in demand to those wishing going back to school, tax credit to employer hiring youth for summer, to more free resources for those with some addictions, mental illness, disabilities, as well as easier access to loan and grants.
    Wolvin, Rob Development. I'd like development to contribute to distinct villages within Toronto where people live, work, shop, go to school or recreation, steps from home. I want developers to be required to help create this type of environment not hinder it. Zoning and development requirements must be paid attention to by the next city council. We must find the political will to build a city with emphasis on it's people NOT just jobs for today and desolation tomorrow.
    Wong-Tam, Kristyn Land use development.  Ensuring responsible development has been a key issue I have tackled in my first-term of office and I have fostered strong relationships and new engagement processes and brought our local resident and business stakeholders to the table with developers to shape the development entering our neighbourhoods.

 

The full responses

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

    Yes, I do support a property tax cap ensuring future hikes are no greater than the rate of financial inflation and also rate can be measured.

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

    Maintain the financial integrity of the city, make sure taxpayer money doesn’t waste.

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

    Yes, I do support reducing the size of Toronto City Council. I found Ward 27 total voter is 51499, but other wards are not and lower then our ward. So, require balance for that? Also I believe this would improve Council operates.

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

    Yes I support contracting out garbage collection east of Yonge Street. Also I do feel contracting waste recycling management, landscaping, leaf cleaning and snow cleaning programs.

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

    This is very good question? I’m new in council election. I’m not ready answer it? I will work out about it?

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

    I will work with community associations, human right associations and business groups to create employment and business opportunity.

    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, I feel we need to change the current transit planning process. Specially, I believe require subway facility for Rosedale Area and North, who don’t have facility right now?

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

    Yes, I believe labour negotiations will be a big part of the council term. As an Immigration Professional I believe I will do as much as I can do for the city’s negotiating team to get the best deal for taxpayers.

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

    Yes, I do see opportunities for public-private partnerships involving the City of Toronto. Specially, housing and commercial building sectors and also some recreation and park sectors.

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

    Ensure that clean, safe and viable community in our ward and neighboring words. Resolve housing and transportation issues. Senior citizen programs and children’s curriculum. Toronto is one of the great cities of North America. Also the city and our ward require lots of development work. Hopefully I was answer your previous question about it. Let’s discuss any other issue, try to find out how to solve and make a better future together.

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

    YES I WOUKD

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

    ROAD INFRASTRUCTURES AND CONSTRUCTIONS, OUTDOOR, PARKS AND RECREATION PLANNING

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

    NO, THE WARDS ARE ACTUALLY PRETTY BIG AND REALLY NEED ALL THE ATTENTION OF THEIR COUNCILLORS

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

    YES, ROAD, PARKS, BUILDINGS MAINTENANCE,

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

    WE CANT CUT ALL INCOME TAX FOR THE CITY BUT I WOULD CERTAINLY GIVE IT A LOOK

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

    MAYBE CREATE A PROGRAM TO REGULATE INOT A PROGRESSIVE FORM PAYMENTS OVER

    A SPECIFIED PRIOD OF TIME. KEEP BUSINESS/KEEP JOBS

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

    I FEEL THAT EVERYONE SHOULD NEED TO CONTRIBUTE, NOT ONLY THE COMMUTERS

    CERTAINLY NEED TO LOOK AT THE ACTUAL TRANSIT PLAN AND MAYBE APPLY SOME CHANGES AS INCOME

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

    LOOK AT SUBCONTRACTING BUT ALSO TO INCLUD NEW TASK TO SOME OF OUR WORKER WITH BETTER INCOME

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

    CERTAINLY: PUBLIC-PRIVATE PARKS (BUILD BY CITY ON PUBLIC OR PRIVATE PROPERTY BUT MAINTAIN BY PRIVATE SECTOR

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

    BIKE LANES AND LGBTQ RETIREMENT HOMES

    I WILL DO EVERYTHING I CAN TO BRING THE CITY UP TO DATE WITH THE WORKD WITH BIKE LANES  AND I WILL WORK WITH PRIVATE INVESTORS, 2 LEVELS OF GOVERNMENT TO FUND A NEW GAY ORIENTED RETIREMENT HOME

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

    Yes. All residence have the option to contribute more in property taxes when they submit. If they would like to contribute more to the city, I encourage them to do so on their own accord.

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

    The entire budget from the top down needs to be reworked. $1.2 Billion for police services in a city with a crime rate as low as Toronto is obscene. $1.1 Billion for Toronto Unemployment and Social Services and well over $4 billion in debt is economically unsustainable.
    The City of Toronto manager to worker ratio of 1:3.4 employees in the city of Toronto staff and administration. This is economically unsustainable.
    There are real estate departments in each department of the city. This must be amalgamated into one department.
    View the following chart. Notice $712,000,000 of “other”. This cultural lack of accountability and lack of control must stop.

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

    Yes. Much of the cities progress is hindered by too many councillors focusing too much on their personal interests instead of what is best for the city as a whole. The proposed reduction to 25 councillors could be a huge benefit to the city.

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

    Yes, I am in favour of privatized garbage collection across the GTA. I am open to all suggestions of privatization that does not negatively impact tax payers. One of my policies to reduce red tape is to move permit issuance to a digital process much like Seattle, Washington. This could be administered by a partner in the technology sector and revenues split with the city.

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

    I am in favour of eliminating it entirely.

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

    Development and revitalization: “It is the job of city councillors to try to accommodate developers because they are the ones who will build the city as it is needed.” – Frederick G. Gardiner. This mindset alone, will help with job creation and building the local economy.
    Tourism: A large part of my platform in the ward is to help spawn development and revitalization within Ward 27 and specifically the Church Village. This should become a destination like the Distillery District. The Church Village, unlike other local destinations, has global outreach.
    However, regressive councillors have prevented this from happening. I would take a leadership roll in unlocking this revenue tool which ultimately would result in job creation and revenue for the city over the long term.
    I have a vision for Ontario place that I would present to the city, the province and Toronto residents. It should be revitalized into an eco technological hub that capitalizes on both innovation and the dramatic shift occurring in the entertainment from entertainment to infotainment. This
    movement, currently sweeping the globe through organizations such as TED, are a natural byproduct of living during the information age.

    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 reallocate funds and restructure the transit budget for permanent incremental TTC subway expansion. 40 years of regressive transit expansion policy and shortsighted decisions to cancel major expressways have resulted in the current congestion fiasco. Unfortunately, there is no magic bullet to solve this problem immediately and we should resist reactionary decisions and
    proposals that ignore long term reprocussions. We need to implement a 40 year expansion program and bring a couple of new subway stations online every year in the same way, Seoul, Toyko, London, Paris and New York have done for decades.

    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 am a fiscally responsible candidate who is the son of a union worker. I understand the concerns of both pro-union supporters and anti-union sentiments. It is the responsibility of council to find the middle ground. A pro-union position and fiscally responsible position can be mutually exclusive
    viewpoints when a reasonable balance is achieved. However, extremist positions from the pro union camp contributed greatly to the decimation of economies like Detroit and Flint, Michigan.

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

    Yes, there is a long list of areas where public-private partnerships can be explored. Public Transist, toll roads, information technology, construction, Toronto tourism and marketing are all areas we can reach out to the private sector for help.

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

    Ward 27 is a complicated ward because there are large communities that have opposing views. However, the common ground seems to be a lack of communication and involvement from the councillor in Ward27 who seems more concerned with pushing her own personal agenda.
    Residence are frustrated with councillors who take extremist positions and feel the right to choose with whom communicate and work. They want representation that has the ability to reach out to both sides and can communicate to everyone. Owning a business in the ward for almost a decade has helped me develop this strength the community.

  • 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?

    By getting rid of the duplication services throughout every department, unifying purchasing departments, Contractors must be held liable for the “performance bonds”, reduce the use of consultants.

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

    I believe that as long as City Council can work as a team and be fair anything is possible no matter the number and only if it helps the people of Toronto.

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

    Yes I do support the contracting out of garbage on the east side. I’m interested in the wheel trans system and have no doubt that the taxi industry may be better suited to deliver this service far more comfortable and safety for the people that need it most.

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

    I do support the reduction

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

    Once again the responsibilities of the other levels of government have fallen on Toronto. I would like to see the City of Toronto have complete control of Hydro which includes power generation and the independent ability to buy cheap hydro from other Provinces and States. This will stop companies from leaving our city and province.  This in turn will stop taking jobs away.

    Ontario and Toronto would have flourished all these decades if we had cheaper rates for the people and the ability buy cheap hydro from other Provinces and States. Because our forefathers had the foresight to provide cheap hydro, this attracted manufacturing and jobs; we need to keep an open mind to provide cheap hydro! Affordable Hydro rates equal more jobs and happier citizens of Ontario and Toronto!

    We must reduce red tape for businesses within the city bureaucracy.  Promote and support the film industry that have created thousands of jobs and can create many more.  If we can make Toronto the financial film and technology centre of Canada we can create jobs and improve tourism.

    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 new communication with the provincial and federal governments on legislated sustained funding. So many countries around the world fund transit straight to the municipalities. Toronto must have relevant portions of gas taxed, land transfer taxes, land transfer taxed, infrastructure funding provincial offences fines, clean air fees and more. Failing this Toronto must review its ties with the province of Ontario, and must keep in mind not to create No new taxes or no tolls. Yes I believe there is a better solution for transit planning.

    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 the negotiating team should be sensitive to the people of Toronto’s needs, perhaps the team could ask the people what issues they are having so they can negotiate well informed. With team work and respect to one another we can provide the right solution to the taxpayer.

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

    Yes, I see opportunity in most departments except transit and water.

    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 my ward are homelessness/housing, marginalized, employment, overcrowding, crime, parking, noise, traffic congestion, transit, wheel trans, pollution. How I will address these issues is by working with the people of this city and the government to address these issues and concerns. And keep the taxes down.

  • 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 measures that provide more value and better services for taxpayers.  Areas that need to be streamlined are the tremendous duplication between the city and its Agencies, Board’s and Commissions, and another is IT not being fully utilized.  The City should review all tax and benefit administrative programs and services, with a view of moving to a fully electronic service model within the next five years.  Currently, some programs and services are provided electronically but not fully utilized.  The City should explore opportunities for enhanced applications, registrations, collections, and other services.  For areas that have already generated efficiency, the City should continue to implement and in come cases accelerate, while applying that model to other departments.

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

    I don’t believe reducing the size of City Council would improve its operations.  Representing a Ward in all of its constituent parts as the boundaries currently are is challenging and requires great dedication to the job.  Unless major overalls were made to the role and responsibility of a Councillor, I would not support these changes.

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

    I support contracting out garbage east of Yonge Street. There are no other specific services that I am looking at contracting out at this time, but am open to the idea if a sound proposal is put forward.

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

    The Municipal Land Transfer Tax revenue is needed to balance the books. If elected, I would carefully look at reforms, but we are not in a position to eliminate it.

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

    Creating a climate for business investment and job growth is multi-dimensional. In order to create jobs, companies need to look at Toronto as a place to invest.  Businesses need to know that Toronto has a competitive tax system, that there are opportunities for partnership, that they have a supportive government, that Toronto has top educational institutions for collaboration and a high calibre hiring pool, etc.  One area we need to work more closely with business on is hiring more youth to address the unacceptably high youth unemployment.  Investing in transportation infrastructure to move goods to market faster and create jobs, as well as developing partnerships with already growing sectors in Toronto such as ICT and Financial Services is a must.

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

    There are many funding options being debated.  I most support those that involve borrowing to subsidize the current investment in transit (issuing bonds or otherwise) and capturing the projected future gains in taxes generated by additional revenue (because of things like job creation, increasing value in real estate, increasing business investment) and dedicating those increased gains to pay for transit projects.  The planning process should also be changed and housed under one roof.  I advocate for one transportation body.

    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 difficult choices ahead of us.  Everyone has to do their fair share and has the responsibility to review budgets to find savings and efficiencies to ensure better results and better value for taxpayers.

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

    There are many opportunities for public-private partnerships, particularly in the area of economic development. The Digital Media Zone, a public-private partnership between Ryerson and the AMC Complex at Yonge and Dundas Square is a perfect example.  To have success in attracting investment and creating new jobs, its critical to have a more cooperative approach.

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

    Lack of planning and infrastructure around the large number of condo developments in the Ward is top of mind, as well as “Section 37″ agreements between developers and councillors which have loose guidelines (often not followed) and negotiations that often done behind closed doors.  City Councillors have a great deal of discretion in the planning process which I take very seriously.  I think there needs to be a new framework in place involving community and economic development experts, and much more transparency in the process.

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

    Yes. But after heard the latest news about the aging infrastructure, we might have no choice to increase property taxes a more than rate of inflation.

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

    I would study the entire city budget first and prioritize the services from the most important to the less, considering what can be the consequences over the 4-5 next years. See what services can be contracted to save money to the city. And anything related to healthcare aka Toronto Public Health, should be funded in part or total through provincial and federal government.

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

    I think the size of City Council is efficient as it is. One councillor per ward is perfect considering the size of each ward, giving the chance to be very familiar with their ward, knowing the priorities, and what exactly needs to be done. Less councillors would make more larger area cover and might not be able to answer any issues from the constituents.

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

    Yes I would support contracting garbage collection east of Yonge Street. Depending also on budget allowed for road repairs, I think City of Toronto could also contract it. Chances we would pay less and have better roads as well.

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

    Like everybody I think it would be great to eliminate it, but since it is an important revenue for the City, by eliminating it would mean replacing with something else or increasing property tax. So in my opinion, we should keep the Municipal Land Transfer as it is and maybe freeze it for the next 2-3 years.

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

    Offer any employers tax credit as incentives when hiring new employees, giving them skills and experience on a temporary basis. These incentives would help them with the cost of training new employees. Also if it’s a possibility, I would decrease the maximum age for the pension to 60, making many jobs available quicker.

    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?

    First I would change the purpose of the 5 cent plastic bag fee, to a 5 or 10 cent on every transaction for purpose of transit funding.Also, for the safety of pedestrians, cyclists and motorists, police officers should fine any pedestrians caught jay walking like it is in other cities, or when they cross against their lights, reducing by the same time amount of injuries/fatalities caused by collision between motorist/cyclist and pedestrian. Fines can also be used to help transit 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?

    Respect taxpayers dollars by negotiating what is best for the city, its residents and employees involved. Try to find a balance while negotiating any request so both sides has some benefits. If can’t come to a fair agreement, wait for contract expiry and think about contracting service if doable.

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

    They are many opportunities that city of Toronto can benefits from public-private partnership such as naming rights, aging city infrastructure and revitalization of Ontario Place.

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

    Top issue I would say is unemployment/poverty among youth. I will work to have more resources available for younger adult 15-24. From help on building good resume, selling trades and other hot jobs in demand to those wishing going back to school, tax credit to employer hiring youth for summer, to more free resources for those with some addictions, mental illness, disabilities, as well as easier access to loan and grants.

  • 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?

    Some departments might be able to share administrative staff, perhaps resulting in better communication between offices

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

    I am in favour of reducing the number of Wards in the City of Toronto BUT not necessarily by half. I think it would be appropriate for Toronto to review the boundaries of their wards. I don’t think they represent the distinct communities in Toronto. I think, if this review was done, there would be an opportunity for the number of Wards to be reduced and for distinct communities to find more informed and robust representation on Council.

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

    I need to see the numbers before making this decision. Are residents losing quality? Are they actually saving in west?

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

    I would be willing to look at reducing the Land Transfer Tax.

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

    I think Small Business needs to be the engine for Job Growth. Regulations need to be reviewed. Shops need a pedestrian friendly city to encourage customers to linger in a neighbourhood, browse, spend, even notice them. I wonder if creative, hard working, optimistic entrepreneurs would benefit from a city that facilitates securing skills they don’t have, more affordably, ie. expert management and accounting services through city sponsored program.

    I’d also like to see a more Film Production friendly city. Consult with producers and locations people on what that might mean, actively promote Toronto as a Feature Film production centre. One major production can drop $150,000,000 into our economy. Generally Toronto only gets one a year! Why? What can we do about it? That means JOBS for 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?

    2010 Metrolinx and many experts said a Downtown Relief Line was PRIORITY #1 !! Why has Council been squabbling for 4 years over a Scarborough Subway, with a few more stops, to bring more into the Downtown? Politics! Complete lack of common sense! NO respect for the overall economic good or quality of life in the city as a whole! How faster, affordably could we lay subway track on existing rail lands than digging tunnels or taking space from our streets? Could the rail lands make room for a double deck ribbon of transit with one direction on top of the other? Why not lay subway track, link to Line 1 so trains can be transferred based on need? How hard would it be to negotiate a good deal for Toronto with developers to build and maintain new stations if the city is building a subway to the door of their developments? We need DRL ASAP. It’s essential for Toronto, economically AND for the quality of life of all Torontonians! BTW, why don’t we have automated trains like Vancouver’s skytrain? Wouldn’t this save money for the TTC?

    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?

    Wages cannot be increased beyond inflation rate.

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

    I think there are several places where this type of partnership could be explored. I’ve already recommended looking at a deal between city and developers to build new subway stations. I think that developers are spending billions in this city with intensity that’s unmatched anywhere in the world! This is an enormous opportunity for city and business to coordinate on the kind of city we want for future generations. Let’s not continue with this indifferent hands off approach from recent councils!

    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 the biggest issue for my Ward is the attack on neighbourhoods. We need development that enhances each community’s distinct nature NOT near identical towers that stomp on paths, parks, and heritage, with NO regard for those who will be their neighbours. I’d like development to contribute to distinct villages within Toronto where people live, work, shop, go to school or recreation, steps from home. I want developers to be required to help create this type of environment not hinder it. ENOUGH steel and glass, from grade to sky, for people who sleep on site, inches from those who will always been strangers, then travel an elevator to parkades, driving miles away to work, shop or play! People need to walk, shop in locally owned stores, linger in parks, community festivals and cafes. Meet and get to know your neighbours! Get to know the heritage of your particular corner of this massive city. Feel connected, take ownership of your community! This approach to planning, zoning and development partnerships would also have a positive impact on health and crime statistics as well as being the right way to go.

    Zoning and development requirements must be paid attention to by the next city council. We must find the political will to build a city with emphasis on it’s people NOT just jobs for today and desolation tomorrow.

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

    Each year the City’s staff review the infrastructure needs, transit priorities and social development programs set out by City Council and create budgets based on those priorities.  If city priorities remain unchanged year over year, then it may be possible to commit to a property tax cap that does not exceed the rate of inflation.

    However, we all know that Canada’s largest and most important city will not remain stagnant.  Committing to a property tax cap without knowing fully the future financial obligation of Toronto would be premature and irresponsible. As a business owner, I know what it takes to run a successful operation. To run Toronto with streamline business efficiency, we must be adaptable, ambitious and be ready to overcome big challenges and capitalize on opportunities.

    Extreme weather conditions which produced massive floods and ice storms of recent years has demonstrated that are sometimes unforeseen costs that must be borne by the City.  I am committed to creating fiscally responsible budgets that establish contingencies for these types of events, while also recognizing that the Toronto’s infrastructure is aging and has been neglected for many years without sufficient investment.  If we want Toronto to continue to prosper, then investing in our infrastructure is a necessary reality.

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

    Of interest is a recent report by the Institute of Municipal Finance and Governance stating that Toronto does not have a spending problem, rather it has a revenue problem. That said, I do believe that the City can work towards finding efficiencies within its business processes.  One notable example, is that we are one of the largest procurers of service and goods in the Province of Ontario, I believe the City of Toronto can further examine its procurement policies and practices; and streamline its purchasing power to secure better savings. We need to find efficient ways to improve services while reducing the cost of service delivery.

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

    As a Councillor for a ward that has more than double the population of other wards, I find it difficult to support reducing the size of City Council. Currently, the volume of work and staff resources are not distributed equally across the city by population count. However, I do strongly support the re-configuration of our current wards so that they are more proportionally balanced with adequate and corresponding staff resources.  I would also support further study on the structure of the current City Council, so that decision-making can occur more expeditiously by way of eliminating parochialism.

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

    In the most recent contract negotiations Local 416 came to an agreement with the City of Toronto for a contract that is more cost efficient than private sector bids.  The City of Toronto must carefully weigh the long-term financial impacts of contracting out of services versus immediate savings.  Losing the control over the direct management of employees can impact the quality and efficiency of city services.  Contracting out does not necessarily mean savings for the City of Toronto and can be more costly in the long-term as the impact of contracting out on the worker will ultimately impact the city’s bottom line in other ways.   When the city contracts out services, the worker, who is also a taxpayer is impacted.  Loss of good jobs that provide pensions, benefits and job security have an impact on our economy that is often more than the immediate cost savings of contracting out a service.

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

    As Councillor for Ward 27 there are more than 100 active development files in my ward and even more in the neighbouring downtown wards.  As developers and investors prosper from land development, the state of the City of Toronto’s infrastructure continues to decline and the impact is being felt more and more on the property tax base.  I support the municipal land transfer tax rebate offered to First-time Home Buyers and I believe that this rebate should increase with inflation. I also advocate that the Province should not be in the business of collecting land-based taxes and should surrender MLLT collection to all local governments.  However, as the City continues to intensify and grow it is entirely appropriate that the City of Toronto also recover costs to expand services for residents.

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

    City of Toronto can do the following to foster job creation:

    1. Expand the City of Toronto’s social procurement practices to implement local hiring policies
    2. Strategically invest in attracting Creative Economy industries to Toronto.
    3. Support a Toronto bid for Expo 2025 that will bring thousands of jobs, over a ten year period, to Toronto to build infrastructure, expand cultural facilities and create the opportunity to build a new university on the waterfront.
    4. Strategically invest in labour market training to better meet employer needs.
    5. Continue to make Toronto attractive to employers by supporting affordable housing, expanding accessible transit, investing in our arts and culture and public and green space.
    6. Support tax incentives to maintain office space in mixed-used development.
    7. Reduce bureaucracy to assist business start-ups and foster a bold entrepreneurial culture.
    8. Expand apprentice programs and invigorate Toronto Employment and Social Services.

    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 continued to  support the Transit City as a plan that will bring transit expansion quicker and more affordably than Council’s current plan for turning our existing LRT service into a subway.  Our current mayor has supported a 25 year increase to property taxes to fund a subway that will not expand service further into Scarborough and has put a burden on all property tax payers for the next 25 years.  I have supported exploring a number of transit tools to expand transit including:

    a.         development charges

    b.          fuel tax

    c.           parking levy

    d.           sales tax

    e.          high occupancy toll lanes

    f.           highway tolls or other road pricing

    g            vehicle registration tax

    I also firmly believe that the Federal and Provincial Governments need to pay their fare share of Toronto’s transit costs.   Toronto taxpayers only receive approximately 25%  of the Federal and Provincial taxes they pay through income and sales tax.  As a major driver in Canada’s economy, Toronto deserves better.

    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 has a strong history of negotiating fair and fiscally responsible contracts with our labour unions.  I will work hard to ensure that City labour negotiators continue to represent the interests of the City of Toronto in a fair and responsible process. Delivering exceptional services to the residents should be a priority for both  City Council and the Toronto Public Service.

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

    I do see potential for the City of Toronto to explore opportunities for further partnership with the private sector.  One of these areas is the development of new affordable housing.  In my first term of City Council, I have fostered innovative public-private partnerships that will see the creation of more than 25 units of affordable housing as part of private mixed-used development in Ward 27.  As our construction boom continues, there may be further opportunities to explore these types of partnerships.

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

    With over 14 different residential neighbourhoods in Ward 27, the needs, interests and priorities of Ward 27 are quite diverse.  However, land use development has been a key issue currently facing the majority of Ward 27.  There are over 100 active development files in Ward 27 which has seen intense mixed-use residential and commercial development over the past ten years.  Ensuring responsible development has been a key issue I have tackled in my first-term of office and I have fostered strong relationships and new engagement processes and brought our local resident and business stakeholders to the table with developers to shape the development entering our neighbourhoods.  I have fought actively to remove Toronto from the purview of the Ontario Municipal Board (OMB), one of the biggest obstacles facing responsible development in our City.   If re-elected I will continue to engage Ward 27 stakeholders in the development process and will continue to advocate for the City of Toronto to have autonomy from the OMB.