2014 City Council Election: Ward 36 Scarborough Southwest

The Incumbent:

Gary Crawford

The Race

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

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

The Breakdown

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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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

 

The full responses

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    No I believe Council has accomplished alot in rapid transit ue. Theconstruction is to come in futre years. I suppoer the Kennedy Station subway extension to Malvern. I support that Sheppard line extension from Do Mills to Scarborough Town Centre should be subway.

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

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

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

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

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

    No Response Given

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

    Yes, Absolutely.

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

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

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

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

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

    Yes,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    1. Better Transit

    2. Improved Infrastructure

    3. Municipal Land Transfer Tax – Phased out

    4. Traffic  Congestion

    5.  Street Parking

    6.  Lower Taxes

    7. City Jobs for City Residents

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    YES

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

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

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

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

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

    YES/ Not at this time

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

    I feel the Land Transfer Tax should be reduced to a flat rate of 1.0 per cent for homes with a value of 500 thousand or more. It should be eliminated for homes under that amount.

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

    I believe that taxation on business should be lowered dramatically and that the province should be lobbied by the city to follow suit. It is foolish for a city with high unemployment to scare away businesses that want to set up shop in Toronto and give jobs to Torontonians, by over taxing them. Doing so makes them go to other cities and give those jobs to other people. People with jobs tend to buy goods, services, and invest, that is what Toronto needs.

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

    I have long made the argument that the TTC has millions of dollars in untapped revenue it is not taking advantage of. The city needs to open up subway stations to a wider array of vendors including big name chains like Rogers/Bell/Fido kiosks, Tim Horton’s, and Wendy’s to name a few.  I also think looking into corporate sponsorship of stations would be prudent as well. While the idea may not be popular, I think in the long run we need a funding plan that for once, doesn’t solely focus on hitting the tax payer’s wallet. As for the planning process, I think it needs to be more resident focused. Too many on Council have a vision for the TTC and seem uninterested in the opinions of the millions who use it every day.

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

    The best  advice I can give is to be patient and never forget who you are negotiating on behalf of – the people of Toronto. I believe many Councillors need to be reminded of that fact.

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

    Aside from the privatisation of garbage pick up city wide, I feel that at this time any further privatisation or public-private partnerships consideration should be subject to intense public scrutiny prior to proceeding.

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

    The people I have spoken to in Ward 36 say accessible transit is a big issue for them. I live on Warden Avenue and late in the evening the bus runs infrequently. Kingston Road needs an all night bus service like Eglinton Avenue has or at the very least, like Yonge Street has after the subway shuts down. The impression I get from residents is they feel because they don’t live Downtown or in Forrest Hill, the City couldn’t care less about them. That’s why as City Councillor, I will fight to make accessible transit for ALL Torontonians a priority.