2014 City Council Election: Ward 3 – Etobicoke Centre

The Incumbent:

Peter Leon (appointed)

The Race

The residents of Ward 3 had the good fortune of being represented by former Deputy Mayor Doug Holyday, and his replacement, departing Councillor Peter Leon. The future looks bright for this ward. The candidates standing for election all advocate fiscal responsibility, smart development, and investments in infrastructure and transit. There are many worthy replacements to Doug Holyday on this list. Good luck to all!

Candidates Who Did Not Participate: Paula Bauer, George Bauk, Peter Fenech

The Breakdown

  • Candidate Response
    Alvarez, Roberto Yes
    Comeau, Greg Yes
    D'Urzo, Frank Yes
    French, Dean Yes
    Holyday, Stephen Yes
    Hutcheon, Annette Yes
    Moskalyk, John Yes


  • Candidate Response
    Alvarez, Roberto Don't cut services. Simplify service delivery processes.
    Comeau, Greg Need a line-by-line review of operating budget. Privatize garbage collection east of Yonge St. Root out bureaucratic efficiencies.
    D'Urzo, Frank Police, fire department, and EMS.
    French, Dean Staff must find across the board savings and be recognized and rewarded for it.
    Holyday, Stephen City Council must consider outsourcing services as it did with garbage collection in the west side of Yonge St.
    Hutcheon, Annette Contracting out non-essential services such as cleaning services on TTC and city lawn maintenance and landscaping.
    Moskalyk, John Will consider trimming the budget for savings on a year-to-year basis.


  • Candidate Response
    Alvarez, Roberto No
    Comeau, Greg Yes
    D'Urzo, Frank Yes
    French, Dean Yes
    Holyday, Stephen Will consider
    Hutcheon, Annette Will consider
    Moskalyk, John No


  • Candidate Response
    Alvarez, Roberto Will consider
    Comeau, Greg Yes
    D'Urzo, Frank Yes
    French, Dean Yes
    Holyday, Stephen Yes
    Hutcheon, Annette Yes
    Moskalyk, John Yes


  • Candidate Response
    Alvarez, Roberto Yes to modifying
    Comeau, Greg Yes to elimination
    D'Urzo, Frank Yes to reducing
    French, Dean Yes to elimination
    Holyday, Stephen Yes to reducing
    Hutcheon, Annette Yes
    Moskalyk, John Yes to reducing


  • Candidate Response
    Alvarez, Roberto Macro level: Simple taxation, simple business regulation, and a long-term investment strategy. Micro level: Links between Enterprise Toronto and local universities.
    Comeau, Greg Support development near transit hubs for job growth. Keep non-residential tax rates low.
    D'Urzo, Frank Boost tourism and 'financials'
    French, Dean Listen to our existing business and trades communities so we can attract entrepreneurs, jobs, and opportunities.
    Holyday, Stephen Keep taxes low, cut red tape, and reduce traffic congestion.
    Hutcheon, Annette Keep the cost of living in Toronto and working in Toronto low. Attract knowledge-based industries through a livable city with quality parks, education, and cultural activities.
    Moskalyk, John Preferred hydro rates or lower taxes for new business. Promote programs in research and development such as the Ryerson University DMZ Zone.


  • Candidate Response
    Alvarez, Roberto Debt financing should be considered. Also new revenue tools such as gas tax, corporate income tax, development charges, and highway taxes.
    Comeau, Greg Supports John Tory's SmartTrack proposal. Then, build Downtown Relief Line.
    D'Urzo, Frank More funding from provincial and federal levels of government.
    French, Dean Possible transit tax. Pressure provincial and federal governments for more funding.
    Holyday, Stephen What can be done now is a city-wide electrified rail system using existing tracks.
    Hutcheon, Annette Planning process is not flawed, but the implementation is. Metrolinx is a good agency.
    Moskalyk, John Push the federal and provincial government for more subsidies for transit and a portion of the gas tax. The city should engage more with transportation engineers.


  • Candidate Response
    Alvarez, Roberto Independent evaluation of customer satisfaction with city services. Concessions should be tied to outcomes in quality and efficiency.
    Comeau, Greg Be firm with unions with respect to increases in benefits.
    D'Urzo, Frank Allow part-timers
    French, Dean Be firm but fair. There is a growing divide between private and public sector pensions, benefits, and job security.
    Holyday, Stephen Prepare service contingency plans to show you are serious about a negotiated settlement.
    Hutcheon, Annette Use the same strategy as we did in the last term as it appears to have been successful.
    Moskalyk, John There is a limit to what the city and taxpayers can sustain but look for a compromise in a non-threatening environment.


  • Candidate Response
    Alvarez, Roberto Yes. For example, get developers involved in improving mobility across the city.
    Comeau, Greg Will consider
    D'Urzo, Frank Yes
    French, Dean Will consider
    Holyday, Stephen Yes, for example in major infrastructure projects such as transit expansion.
    Hutcheon, Annette Yes, in policing, transit, and social housing.
    Moskalyk, John Yes, in traffic, transit, and real estate.


  • Candidate Response
    Alvarez, Roberto Poor services for higher taxes. Also childcare, garbage collection, road maintenance, library and recreational services.
    Comeau, Greg Improving transit, development, and reforming the OMB.
    D'Urzo, Frank Infrastructure, flooding, development, and transit.
    French, Dean Over-development and problems with the OMB.
    Holyday, Stephen Renew aging infrastructure, keep roads safe, provide clean drinking water, and good operation of wastewater and utility systems.
    Hutcheon, Annette Holding the line on taxes. Infrastructure replacement. Better management of roads and transit.
    Moskalyk, John Increased condo development linked with aging infrastructure. Expand current consultation requirements for future developments so it is more transparent for the residents of the ward.

 

The full responses

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

    Yes, I believe a property tax cap is fairly efficient in term s of tax equity.  I also believe that future tax hikes should be at or below the rate inflation.

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

    I am against cutting services in order to balance the budget. I believe we can find saving opportunities by simplifying the service-delivery processes and increasing organizational productivity based on specific quality indicators

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

    No, I don’t think City Council will be more efficient by reducing its size. Instead I advocate for organizational changes in order to make the city council decision-making processes more transparent and efficient and city council more accountable.

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

    I support contracting services out after a careful cost/benefit evaluation and always based on at least yearly-based evaluations to monitor quality service.

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

    I support the idea to raise the tax credit for first time buyers.  I believe that first buyers for houses up to a price of $ 600,000 should not pay the land transfer tax. Also, considering that Toronto property buyers pay two taxes (at provincial and city levels), I support the idea of gradually reducing the tax up to 10 %.

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

    At a macro level, we need to increase the city competitiveness to attract businesses, investments and tourism.  An essential component of this is a long-term investment strategy to improve the city’s physical infrastructure and mobility. Additionally, efficient and simple taxation, simple and transparent business regulation and proper policies protect producers, consumers and citizens are needed.

    At a micro level, City Council must lead initiatives to promote partnerships and collaborative strategies between Enterprise Toronto and local universities to implement startup initiatives (grants, training, mentorship, for example) focused on specific populations such as women, the unemployed, students and graduates.

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

    The problem is that the discussion of public transit has become so political and the arguments are based more political parties’ view rather than on what is best for people.

    Traditionally, the Province of Ontario used debt financing to build infrastructure and it seems feasible to use debt to finance public transit. Additionally, a set of dedicated revenue tools must be applied. Gasoline and fuel tax, corporate income tax, real estate development charges and high way taxes should be considered among other alternatives

    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?

    Before negotiations the city needs to have, if possible, independent evaluations in terms of customer satisfaction, coverage and service delivery efficiency.  An objective cost/benefit analysis should be the base to define the negotiation strategy.  In the same way, any concession should be tied to specific outcomes in terms of quality and efficiency

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

    Yes, specific transit project such as walking/cycling networks connected to the TTC services, for example, can be a very good opportunity to get real estate developers involve in the process of improving mobility in the city (which is crucial for real estate development)

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

    People are concern about how their taxes are being applied. Many people feel that they are paying more taxes but receiving not only less but also poor quality services.  Specific issues such as children care, garbage collection, road maintenance, library and recreational services are among the main concerns

    As a City Councillor I will be committed to monitor and most importantly to make the process of how the resources are being allocated more transparent and efficient.

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

    I will commit to keeping taxes below the rate of inflation.

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

    We need a line by line review of the various operating budgets. City Managers need to be tasked with finding these efficiencies. Green For Life has done a good job collecting garbage, and saved us money, in the West end of the city. We should look at privatizing garbage collection East of Yonge street. We need to look at middle management within city organizations. We need to root out our bureaucratic inefficiencies.

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

    A consolidation of wards would save Toronto millions of dollars, which could go towards reducing the Land Transfer Tax or re-invested in infrastructure and services. Fewer councillors would also make council meetings more efficient. It would be necessary, of course, to first determine if this size reduction would mean that constituents have a harder time accessing their councillor.

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

    Private garbage collection has worked well west of Yonge Street, so I will advocate for private garbage collection east of Yonge.

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

    The Land Transfer Tax needs to be phased out.

    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 continue to keep the non-residential tax rate low and invest in transit and other services to attract new businesses and development. We need to support development near planned transit growth so that new business hubs are created, generating jobs and additional revenues for 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?

    I support John Tory’s SmartTrack plan – which will connect the city, be finished quickly, and which the city’s portion of the funding has been found without adding burden to taxpayers. We need to stop debating transit and start building it. After SmartTrack we will have to look at a DRL.

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

    Be firm with the unions, because any large increase in benefits is borne by the taxpayer and could result in a loss of services, or an increase in taxes, to make up the difference.

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

    I support any mechanism that will deliver services in the most cost effective manner, while ensuring the quality of service remains the same, or increases.

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

    I’ve already knocked on thousands of doors and improving transit is the main issue – I support John Tory’s SmartTrack plan. Development is another major issue in my ward – people are fed up with the OMB and I think it is worth looking at reforming the OMB to make it more accountable.

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

    All efforts should be made to stay below the rate of inflation, the short answer is yes, there is still room to find efficiencies. One area to be considered is retiring employees and how to coordinate the introduction of new technologies and management that will reduce hiring.

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

    The police, fire department, EMS simply because of the size of their budgets. TTC, outsourcing one simple question to ask is why do our roads break up so fast.

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

    Twenty two councillors will be enough and I support assigning more powers to the mayor and speaker. We should consider a mayoralty ticket Mayor plus Vice mayor, there is simply too much work for one person. I would like to introduce the idea that a voter should be able to vote no for a candidate that he or she cannot live with; a no vote would count as a deduction.

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

    Yes as well as other services

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

    We have to keep it for now reduce it on less expensive homes following the reasoning or guidelines of the HST rebate on new homes.

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

    Boost those areas where we have lots of potential such as tourism, financials.

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

    The TTC spends an average of 100 000 dollars in wages and benefits for staff in turn Ottawa and the province’s enjoy Toronto’s largess, more funding has to come from these two levels of government.

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

    The present system is not sustainable, this is well understood by all, one simple step is to allow part-timers.

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

    It must be the rout to examine in all areas.

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

    Infrastructure and flooding as a priority, development, and traffic and public transit. Developers should pay more and in line with surrounding areas, they are needed but should not be subsidized; the building they build should be more environmentally friendly and rely less on an overburdened infrastructure. I have too many specific points on the two items.

  • 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?

    One of the first thing I learned 25 years ago when as a young business owner was that -what gets measured, gets managed. Voter’s expect us to be responsible with their tax dollars and city council needs to make sure that senior city staff know it’s not always about increasing tax revenue to solve problems. It’s also about spending tax dollars wisely and reducing our expenses. As a Councillor I’m committed to making sure that our city staff find across the board cost savings. Those that do should be rewarded and recognized like they would in the private sector.

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

    Yes. Reducing the size of council to line up with the Federal riding boundaries makes sense on many levels.

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

    Yes. Etobicoke voters expect that their city government to make wise decisions when it comes to spending or saving their tax dollars. Being the first part of the city to contract out garbage issomething we are proud of in Etobicoke and don’t understand why it’s taking the rest of the city so long to do the same.

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

    Eliminating Municipal Land Transfer tax over time as we find cost savings and efficiencies in our operations is important.

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

    Here’s what I’ve learned about job growth as some one who has been a business owner his entire working life. Entrepreneurs create jobs. Politicians don’t. Career politicians, or career government employees who pretend to understand job growth create more problems then they solve for our economy. History shows that Great cities attract Entrepreneurs. Entrepreneurs create jobs and opportunities. Together we need to make Toronto a great city so we can attract new business and increase opportunities for everyone, especially our young people. At the same time, we need to listen to our existing business and trades community on how to make a better Toronto. Any MP, MPP or Councillor who takes credit for creating jobs, or promises them has likely never met a payroll or created a job.

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

    It’s been said that all progress starts with the truth. The truth is that there is only one tax payer and we have 3 levels of government in Canada who have spent the last 30 years hoping not to be blamed for a Transit tax. At the same time grid lock is effecting our quality of life and economic productivity. As Councillor I would take a leadership role in helping Toronto and GTA MPs and MPPs put pressure on Provincial and Federal governments to take action and finally recognize that the economic engine of Canada needs Transit funding now. The truth is that getting Ottawa and Queens Park members to stand up for Toronto is easier said then done and we can’t avoid further delay. This reality means that the City of Toronto will have to take a leadership role and explore a Transit Tax.

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

    My advice is to the city’s negotiating team is to be firm but fair. There is a growing divide between the private and public sector when it comes to pensions, benefits and job security. In light of the economic realities and challenges that we all face, Toronto voter’s don’t have patience for unrealistic demands by public sector unions.

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

    Although I’m open minded about Public-Private Partnerships I’m more focussed on working with senior staff to find cost savings and improve city services.

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

    Residence rights need to come first and not last in the city planning process. Over development is a real issue in Etobicoke thanks to a an unelected Ontario Municipal Board (OMB) over ruling Toronto City Council decsions on height restrictions and density in
    our neighborhoods. Traffic, infrastructure, schools, property value and overall quality of life are all effected by over development and that’s why I got involved with city politics. As a member of an Etobicoke Residence Association I experienced first hand the time, energy and costs involved in the OMB process only to see our elected City council members overruled. We need a city that works for more than just downtown developers. As Councillor I will be committed to reminding Provincial Members of Parliament that the unelected and outdated OMB isn’t working for the voters that we are all accountable to working for. I’m also committed to working with residence associations from all over the city have to stand united and pressure our Provincial government to act. Although there are many important issues in Etobicoke Ward 3 the one the effects property values and quality of life the most is over development. There will always be room in Etobicoke for progress and responsible development but not at the expense of our neighbourhoods.

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

    Property tax hikes should be at or below the rate of inflation and are a performance indicator that your council is doing its job responsibly.

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

    Council must continue to look for opportunities for savings, including outsourcing, which lead to better service at a lower price. Outsourcing garbage collection in the West is a good example of a measurable service that has come at a lower cost with no impact to the service. Garbage has continued to be picked up as it always has, even though someone new is doing it at a lower cost.

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

    This is a matter I am open to debate, there is evidence for and against it. Simply cutting council size is only part of the discussion. It needs to be considered as part of a broader restructuring which may include boundary realignment and providing other forms of cross-city representation.

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

    Yes – contracting garbage collection East of Yonge Street is the next step. Other opportunities will come up over time and it will be important to evaluate the merits on a case by case basis. Services must be measurable, and the contract must deliver equal quality service at a cost savings to taxpayers.

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

    Yes – the land transfer tax should be reduced, it is a hidden tax that unfairly impacts homeowners and property values. However, before it may be eliminated a replacement source for the revenue will need to be determined.

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

    By keeping taxes low, cutting red tape, and reducing vehicle and transit congestion, Toronto will attract and retain businesses that provide 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?

    Transit funding is a complex mix which includes pledges from other levels of government, taxes, financing, and the fare box. Every source must be looked at and maximized to determine final mix.

    A long term vision of a wide network of subways may be the gold standard for transit, but there is a quick win to do right now to create momentum in one direction. A city-wide regional electrified rail system branching into the 905, but using existing railway tracks, is a logical next step which is affordable, provides immediate relief, and is a useful permanent legacy that will form part of the system of the future.

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

    Prepare service contingency plans now to show you are serious about a negotiated settlement, but ready for anything.

    Like the last contract negotiation, commence bargaining as early as possible to avoid the chance of a strike in the summer where it would have maximum disruption to citizens, with rotting garbage, closed park amenities and cancelled day camps. If a strike occurs, it is best to get it out of the way in the winter when the impact to citizens is less.

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

    Major infrastructure projects such as transit expansion are ideal candidates for public-private partnerships. This is an opportunity to leverage outside funding and expertise to deliver efficient works, and transfer risks of cost overruns to others. The city and its agencies can continue to focus on what they do best in their core operations rather than taking on the new business of major undertakings.

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

    Ensure Ward 3 is prioritized to renew aging infrastructure, to keep roads safe, provide clean drinking water and wastewater and utility systems operating. The summer floods and winter ice storm had a massive impact on us, and prove the urgency. Renewal of roads infrastructure and signals will go a long way to ease traffic congestion.

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

    Tax hikes over the next four year should be no higher than .25 basis points below the rate of inflation. Tax hikes have been above the rate of inflation for many years.  Thus, capping tax increases at the same rate as inflation does not give taxpayers the opportunity to catch up.

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

    I support privatization and contracting out non-essential services such as:

    1.  cleaning services on TTC,
    2.   lawn maintenance and landscaping in parks and works department.
    3.  I would vote against entering into agreements such as Bixi Bikes.

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

    If we reduce the size of Council – Ward/Councillor representation should be based on ‘per capita population’.  For instance currently Ward 23 has twice as many residents as Ward 9 One ward is arguably over-represented and the other is under-represented.    I also believe that the first order of business, before restructuring council, should be to change the Procedural By-Law with regard to the Council Standing Committees.  Committee members do lots of hard work, they listen to and learn from stakeholders as they deliberate on public policy.   They do the homework and get the best briefing form City Staff.  That work should be acknowledged and recognized in the Procedural By-Law.  Committee recommendations should only be able to be overturned by a ‘Super Majority’, eg. 2/3% or ¾% of Council.

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

    Yes – I do believe we should continue to contract out garbage collection east of Yonge Street.  This has proved to be successful West of Yonge St.   However, I could consider using different contractor for the East and West of Yonge St. so that we have managed competition.

    Other services that could be contracted out would include:

    1.  Lawn maintenance and Landscaping in our Parks and Works Department
    2.  Cleaning services

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

    Taxes are supposed to be ‘fair and equitable.’  The Toronto Land Transfer Tax is not!  I consider the LTT a cash grab from a Government that has not been able to manage budgets and live within their means.  For 170 years The City of Toronto managed without this tax.  This tax prevents city managers from finding efficiencies and delivering quality services.

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

    In my opinion the unemployment rate for Toronto will always be higher than the Provincial rate because we are the place where unemployed people come to seek work.  Those would include, but not be exclusive to, newly graduated students, people who have been laid off elsewhere, and immigrants.  Toronto also provides important support services that are not always offered or available in other parts of the Province.  We need to be more competitive by keeping the cost of living here and the cost of working here – low.

    New jobs and industries will be created by building the infrastructure that will attract ‘knowledge-based industries’ that require unique infrastructure.  Educated and trained workers and executives want to live in a live-able City with quality parks, quality education facilities, and quality cultural and social activities.  Government can’t create jobs per se, but government can create the environment.  The recent takeover of Tim Horton’s and the relocation of Burger Kings head office to Canada is an example of how a low cost regime will bring jobs and opportunity to our region.

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

    The Province has stepped in and created a Regional Planning Authority called Metrolinks, which is was the right thing to do because they are taking the tax dollars from across the Province and investing in the GTA.  The GTA is the economic engine which drives the Ontario Economy.  I believe it is not the planning process that is flawed – it is the implementation 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?

    The Negotiating Team’s job is to get the best possible deal, under the circumstances, for the taxpayers of Toronto.  Council did an excellent job in the last term to get one of the best deals ever. I would hope that the Negotiating Team would use the same strategy as last time, as it appears to have been successful.

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

    We should look at the 3 biggest expenditure items in the City Budget ie:  Policing, Transit and Social Housing/Social Services, and look for opportunities there.

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

    Taxes are the number one issue. I will work to hold the line on taxes.  Secondly Ward 3 was badly affected by the 2 big storms in 2013 – the July 8th rainstorm caused extension flooding and damage to peoples home.  The December ice storm especially affected those living in high-rise accommodation.  Those storms remind us that we have poor infrastructure in need of replacement.  As an inner suburban community traffic congestion affects almost everyone in Ward 3.  I would look to manage better roads and transit to fight congestions.

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

    Yes, I strongly a property tax cap that should never exceed the rate of inflation.

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

    Whilst I do not completely agree with the idea of a ‘gravy train’ existing, there may be areas of the budget that can be tightened, trimmed or re-adjusted. The city budget is submitted annually, and certainly priorities and projects change year to year.

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

    Not necessarily. While we have 44 city councillors, by having smaller territories than provincial or federal ridings, it allows councillors to become more intimately acquainted with their residents, their needs and concerns. It is akin to increasing class size. That said, our elected provincial and federal officials do a fine job representing increased populations. However, it is a matter of the issues they have to handle. Being a city councillor is very grassroots.

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

    In the 1990s, the city of Etobicoke began contracting out garbage collection, and it was very effective. I would certainly support a similar endeavour east of Yonge Street.

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

    I was not in favour of the Toronto Land Transfer Tax. This tax is directly based on the strength of the real estate market. Currently, the Municipal Land Transfer Tax generates approximately $350 million in revenue for the city of Toronto. Notwithstanding the hot real estate market currently, one does pay a premium to live in the city of Toronto. Should the market cool in coming years, Toronto City Council could consider lowering the Municipal Land Transfer Tax as an incentive to boost real estate sales.

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

    Toronto and the GTA account for over 50% of the entire population of the province of Ontario, thus the unemployment rate, when condensed, seems much higher. The city could certainly make concessions such as preferred hydro rates or deferred/lessened tax rates for new businesses within the city limits. As a businessman, I have always believed in the power of innovation. Programs promoting research and development or innovative process will lead to new entrepreneurial excellence in the city. An example of this is Ryerson’s DMZ zone an incubator/mentorship hub that allows high-tech businesses to flourish.

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

    The question of public transit is an on-going one, and will continue to be as Toronto continues to expand and welcome new residents each year. A strategy may be to approach the provincial and federal governments to give the city a greater share of revenues relating to transportation (e.g.- gas tax) to fund expansion and by finding efficiencies in our city budget. Currently, we get 0% subsidies from the provincial and federal government where as Montreal transit receives 10% and Ottawa 9%. The current transit process is not ideal. I feel strongly that Toronto can gain a great deal by engaging with transportation engineers who have had great success in other world class cities and simulate and adapt their models to our city.

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

    This is something I personally look forward to as an accredited mediator. I am confident that an alternative can be reached that will be both satisfactory to the unions and the taxpayers. People need to be compensated for the work that they do, but there is a limit to what the city and its taxpayers can sustain. My advice is to look for the best possible compromise in a non-threatening environment.

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

    Yes! Absolutely! P3s present a wonderful mechanism to begin projects, without the city fully funding them solely with tax payer money. It is a great way to attract business and industry to the city. While opportunities exist in all sectors, I believe there will be many in the traffic, transit and real estate areas.

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

    Within Ward 3 there has been a lot of consideration – and also conflict – surrounding condo developments, specifically in the 427 corridor and along Bloor street. While we all recognize the need for housing, many residents are apprehensive about having large blocks of condos being erected essentially in their backyards. This is compounded by problems surrounding aging infrastructure that became apparent during the rainstorm in July 2013 and ice storm in December 2013. It is important to ensure that concerned citizens receive an opportunity to voice their concerns or suggestions during the planning phases of future developments. There is a need for new developments in Ward 3 – it’s a great place to live! However, due consideration on existing residents and how to minimize the impact of new dwellings must be given. To address this issue, I plan to expand on the current consultation requirements the City has in place for future developments to ensure the process is more transparent. The process should empower the residents of Ward 3, instead of being controlled by the un-elected City planners and the OMB.