2014 City Council Election: Ward 38 – Scarborough Centre

The Incumbent:

Glenn De Baeremaeker

The Race

Switching from the Scarborough LRT plan to the subway expansion plan seems to be a very contentious issue in Ward 38. This issue came up several times in the responses we received from candidates. The question is – will this hot button issue have an impact on Glenn De Baeremaeker’s re-election bid?

Candidates Who Did Not Participate: Councillor Glenn De Baeremaeker, John Lewis, Justin Reid, Ganga Sasthrigal, Aysha Sidiq

The Breakdown

  • Candidate Response
    Kalafatis, Theo No
    Rueckert, Theodore Yes
    Shah, Rajesh Will consider reform
    Shah, Tushar Yes
    Thomas, David No
    Winson, Kevin No


  • Candidate Response
    Kalafatis, Theo Cancel Scarborough subway expansion in favour of LRT.
    Rueckert, Theodore Toronto Police Services  and any agency (waterfront, pan-am games). Also responsible spending decisions.
    Shah, Rajesh Staffing
    Shah, Tushar  Not specific any region but overall budget.
    Thomas, David No savings. Need more revenue support from Federal Government.
    Winson, Kevin  Toronto Police Services.


  • Candidate Response
    Kalafatis, Theo No
    Rueckert, Theodore Will consider
    Shah, Rajesh Yes
    Shah, Tushar No
    Thomas, David No
    Winson, Kevin No


  • Candidate Response
    Kalafatis, Theo Yes
    Rueckert, Theodore Yes
    Shah, Rajesh Yes
    Shah, Tushar No
    Thomas, David No
    Winson, Kevin No


  • Candidate Response
    Kalafatis, Theo Will consider
    Rueckert, Theodore Yes – eliminate
    Shah, Rajesh No
    Shah, Tushar No
    Thomas, David Yes – eliminate
    Winson, Kevin Yes – reduce


  • Candidate Response
    Kalafatis, Theo Education (the fundamentals) and transit getting people to and from work.
    Rueckert, Theodore Less government interference in business.
    Shah, Rajesh Improve transit to attract more investors and more investors mean more jobs. Need to increase more social programs, more public parks and gardens, more recreation facilities and recreation programs. Homelessness should be removed since witnessing the homelessness gives a bad message to the society and this is hampering factor for new investors visiting the city.
    Shah, Tushar Give business people more opportunity to start new industry or get more investment in production sector.
    Thomas, David Toronto transportation system have to help the people Mobilize well then our city's business will allow Unemployment rate reduce.
    Winson, Kevin Help encourage the businesses in the city to hire more people and for new businesses to come into the city.  Specific examples would be to make it easier for the film industry to come film here.


  • Candidate Response
    Kalafatis, Theo Planning process is not the issue, politicking is the only issue with regards to transit
    Rueckert, Theodore Development fees. We need a change in transit planning, transit can not affect traffic congestion by reducing traffic lanes, build SUBWAYS.
    Shah, Rajesh Borrow the loan, no matter we may have to borrow loan from International Monetary Fund or World Bank .
    Shah, Tushar Funding from federal or provincial government. If not, try privatization of transit for period of 20 years or so. Other country like India doing to same.
    Thomas, David Ontario federal tax must help this city one time or more time to the changes.
    Winson, Kevin Cancel Scarborough subway expansion in favour of LRT. Tax Increment Financing could be used for some additional revenue. Additional revenue sources need to conceived and implemented.  One possible source could be to reintroduce a casino and use the subsequent hosting fees. I’m a big fan of things like this that are voluntary taxation, luxury items. Part of the problem with the planning process is that there is too much opportunity for Council to ignore the advice of experts.  If someone believes that there is a flaw in the recommendations made, or that something has been over looked, there should be a process to question why and how that data was gathered so that Council can be better informed.  Only in extreme cases should council be able to go against the expert opinion.


  • Candidate Response
    Kalafatis, Theo Contract negotiations should be not about incremental increases, but rather a linkage to finances and productivity.
    Rueckert, Theodore City Councillor's toke a 1 . 2 percent cost of living raise this year, any Labour negotiations  will not have a pay increase more than 1 . 2 percent.
    Shah, Rajesh Members of the unions are themselves the taxpayers.  We need to advocate the facts from their side to in order to understand them better. City must have the contingency plan for privatization in case the union and the City Council do not get along well.
    Shah, Tushar Reduce heavy paid staff and get new staff in with less pay or try new comers from rest of the world to join the team at lower rate.
    Thomas, David yes Labour negotiations according to the situation and the demand  which is the best deal come up we go for it.
    Winson, Kevin  "The city’s team needs to go into negotiations looking at it as an opportunity to work with the unions on improving service and not as a battle with them. "


  • Candidate Response
    Kalafatis, Theo  "Administrative staff at Toronto Police Services can be privatized. Some TTC services can be privatised and profit generating ideas can be explored for future TTC planning of any extension to the system."
    Rueckert, Theodore The only one I know about is with Metro Links, that has to do with Eglinton LRT. The( P3s)would have to save taxpayer's money and be transparent with expenses.
    Shah, Rajesh No
    Shah, Tushar No
    Thomas, David No
    Winson, Kevin  "I am not opposed to them under the right conditions.  Should a company propose a partnership it needs to mutually benefit both parties."


  • Candidate Response
    Kalafatis, Theo Taxes & transit. Let the real numbers(costs) determine transit choices. As the city grows so will the demand on the city administration, whether public or a private extension, so we need to look  at the ratio of service to cost and strive to ever increasing that ratio to a positive number.
    Rueckert, Theodore TRANSIT. It is the Subway and LRT debate. I want the political aspects taken out of it. I support Subways and I can't see how a LRT will cut down traffic congestion when you lose 2 lanes of traffic and then add bicycle lanes as well.
    Shah, Rajesh Top issue is that most residents are the tenants living in multi-storey rental apartments and these multi -story rental apartments are not in sustainable conditions to provide better living environments to the tenants. I want to improve the resolution of complaints in the expedited manner and will introduce the strict implementation and the enforcement measures against the landlords so as to improve the living environment and more recreational facilities for the tenants. We have traffic congestion problems during rush hours. So I want to increase the number of buses for the riders and want to introduce prohibition of use of car one day per week in order to defuse traffic congestion.
    Shah, Tushar Top issue is crime and need more attention of police and any other special task force.
    Thomas, David Tax and maintenance of the street.
    Winson, Kevin Changing Scarborough transit plan from LRT to subway.

 

The full responses

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

    No, because caps are dumb constraints that can be easily manipulated for political gain. I advocate a closer look at a productivity ratio of any one given service from  start to finish.

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

    The proposed Scarborough Subway is currently priced by the TTC at $3.56 Billion for 3 stations not including delays. I would cancel this proposal and quickly start on the original LRT solution.

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

    No, because roughly speaking at 44 councillors for a city population of 2.7 million it means each councillors represents 61 thousand residents. For municipal government I feel this is about right. The cost tot he city is approximately $4.4 million plus expenses. The issue with city council’s dysfunction is in the personalities of council and this is unfortunately something that cannot be structured out of the system.

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

    Yes! There is no reason why we should have this inhouse.

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

    Again it is all about the truth in our finances. Are we ready to receive less from the city? I think the city can’t do everything but must do what makes sense for city government to do. Current administration saves pennies with one hand and throws billions away with the other. This problem sits squarely with our politicians not the city administration.

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

    As a city the only and most impactful action that we can take is with education (the fundamentals) and transit getting people to and from work. Anything more than that would be at a much smaller scale and less costly to make sense on a value per dollar ratio.

    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?

    Planning process is not the issue, politicking is the only issue with regards to transit, and I have already stated that I would go directly back to the LRT solution for Scarborough, but additionally I would expedite the downtown relief line.

    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 negotiations should be not about incremental increases, but rather a linkage to finances and productivity, which means they could go up, but also they could go down. (politically difficult, but city deficits and debt needs to be addressed and quickly.

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

    Policing is the major opportunity here. The job about policing should be strictly in law enforcement an its administrative staff can be privatized. Some TTC services can be privatised and profit generating ideas can be explored for future TTC planning of any extension to the system.

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

    Taxes & transit. Let the real numbers(costs) determine transit choices. As the city grows so will the demand on the city administration, whether public or a private extension, so we need to look  at the ratio of service to cost and strive to ever increasing that ratio to a positive number.

  • 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?

    Police force department and any agency (waterfront, pan-am games)

    We must keep a closer eye on the agency spending habits, get value for tax payers money.

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

    That one depends.

    I believe in a stronger Scarborough, if it means downtown would get more councillor’s then Scarborough. No, but if the percentage stays the same between downtown and Scarborough councillor’s then reduce the amount of councillor’s.

    Part2:There are only a few good councillor’s at City Hall, and it depends on who stays.

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

    Yes I would contract out garage East of Younger.

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

    Yes I would get rid of it.

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

    The City of Toronto gets to involved with rules and regulations that have to do with businesses (food trucks) is an example. Look at Porter, City Hall has put so much restrictions on Porter how can they expand. Private business will survive on it’s own without the city’s involvement.

    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?

    Any new condominium development should pay a Transit development fee.

    We need a change in transit planning, transit can not affect traffic congestion by reducing traffic lanes, build SUBWAYS.

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

    City Councillor’s toke a 1 . 2 percent cost of living raise this year, any Labour negotiations  will not have a pay increase more than 1 . 2 percent.

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

    The only one I know about is with Metro Links, that has to do with Eglinton LRT. The( P3s)would have to save taxpayer’s money and be transparent with expenses.

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

    TRANSIT.

    It is the Subway and LRT debate.

    I want the political aspects taken out of it.

    I support Subways and I can’t see how a LRT will cut down traffic congestion when you lose 2 lanes of traffic and then add bicycle lanes as well.

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

    I will support a property tax cap equal to the rate of inflation with respect only to the residential property of up to $ 40, 0000.00 and from then on, property tax should increase in relation to the residential property at the rate of 0.25 % for worth of every $50,000. I don’t believe in property tax rate freeze. The higher the capital, an owner has, to invest in property, the higher the property tax the owner would pay. With respect to the commercial property, there should not be any co- relation between property tax and rate of inflation. The criteria should be that how much the city can view property tax as one of the revenue tools to contribute to its expenditure. There is no harm to increase property tax over and above the rate of inflation as long as the impact of ‘property tax increase’ on rate of inflation is not much significant.

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

    First of all, I perceive a restructuring of the organisation of the total staff of the City Hall has hired. This is to make sure that there is no excess staff and no excessive salaries being paid to the employees. By excessive staff, I mean the disguised unemployment (Meaning to say that we cannot afford to hire more people than necessary). I believe in increasing the efficiency of city employees and workers and in adoption of measures to increase efficiency. I am in search of true comparison; spending on hiring the contractors and spending on city workers on public works. For a restructuring of a staffing, I would support job analysis, job description and jobs specifications of every position.

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

    Yes, I’m in support of reducing the City Council from 100% to 75%. And accordingly, all wards should be re-sized and reorganized. My ultimate position is to reduce the size of body of city council to 65%. But in order to take the calculated risk, I would prefer to go to 75% for two terms beginning from 2018. I don’t see any negative effect the decreased body may have on efficiency of city Councillors due to increased area. Reducing the body would certainly decreased expense of City Council.

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

    I support the privatization of garbage collection for two reasons. 1. If the garbage collection is by the city employees, it would give rise to union demands, more supervision, and more attention of the City Hall. 2. If you go for privatization, competition would regulate the price and there is always competition among contractors to get the contract. They would provide better services in order to renew the contract for the next year. This would reduce the supervision aspect of the City Council, as well as better services for the public. I don’t see any other services which could substitute either of the two services. There is one suggestion and that can save expenses with less effort and expense per head. If the residents remove their dry garbage by themselves in their vehicles packed in white plastic bags and dispose the dry garbage at the dry garbage collection center located in every designated area, there would be only wet garbage collection contract and it would substantially reduce the garbage collection expenditure. For the residents living in the rental apartments, the owner of the rental apartment would be liable for disposition of garbage at his own expense.

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

    I’m not in favour of reducing or eliminating municipal land transfer tax. Land transfer tax is paid by those people who have enough money to buy the property. There is nothing wrong in collecting land transfer tax, and thus increasing municipal revenue. We are in constant need of funding our projects, maintaining the city. We have already a transit problem. Being the biggest city of Canada, Toronto has substantially longer transit time. We have already a traffic congestion problem. We are already left behind by two decades in raising transit infrastructure. So, I am always in favour of increasing the taxes for the higher income group and tax freeze for the lower income group.

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

    If we spend more on raising infrastructure for speedy transportation and shorter transit time, we can attract more investors and more investors mean more jobs. Investors always look for better life for their employees. So we need to increase more social programs, more public parks and gardens, more recreation facilities and recreation programs. We should increase more awareness of places for tourist interest citywide, province – wide, nationwide and worldwide through different publications and advertisement media in order to increase number of tourists so that the City Council has more revenue and more jobs. Homelessness should be removed since witnessing the homelessness gives a bad message to the society and this is hampering factor for new investors visiting the city.

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

    First of all, transit means space. We cannot create space except we build over- bridges or underground tunnels and to do this, we needs a huge fund. So, we need huge fund, long time and space to implement extensive public transit system. I am in favour of increasing public transit and reducing private vehicles. We need to borrow the loan, no matter we may have to borrow loan from International Monetary Fund or World Bank . We all must acknowledge, being the Torontonians, that from the transit point of view, we are already in trouble. We are left behind by two decades. If you see major highways like 401 or 404 in the morning and evening time, we will realize that we are stuck. We need immediate action and an immediate action plan. I am in favour of underground tunnels to build subways in addition to Yonge University line and Bloor line. To build the infrastructure, it takes time. We need more express buses during rush hours in the morning and in the evening with the third Lane specifically reserved for express buses. This interim relief is necessary until we complete the infrastructure for transit systems. My plan basically is to have underground subway under Victoria Park Avenue from Steel and Victoria Park to Queen and Victoria Park. Another subway is an extension from Kennedy and Eglinton to Kennedy – Markham Road. I am also in favour of putting 407 free for all vehicle users. This can release pressure off the busiest highways during rush hours.

    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?

    First of all, members of the unions are themselves the taxpayers. What we need is to consider the consumer basket and the Torontonians consumer basket must be used as the bargaining ceiling by the negotiating team for City Council. We don’t want to be unreasonable while dealing with the unions. We need to advocate the facts from their side to in order to understand them better. But at the same time we need to have higher efficiency level, restructuring organisational plan every year in order to avoid disguised unemployment and we need to have legislative measures  to curb paying excessive salaries. We have no place for unreasonable demands and negotiating team is not going to place a premium on any luxury demands. City respects taxpayer’s money. And therefore city will strike the balance both the ways. City must have the contingency plan for privatization in case the union and the City Council do not get along well. I’m in favour of creating a list of essential servicesso that the unions cannot go on strike without observing the rules and the procedure so that the public must suffer. Presence of union should be constructively taken as long as they are maintaining the constructive role and help improving the organisational health.

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

    I don’t see any public-private partnership concept. I see it in the absolute sense; either public or private. I don’t want to mix privatization. Privatization is meant to save time and money of the city and consequently money of the taxpayer and at the same time better and efficient services for the public. That is the principal purpose to go for privatisation. If public and private partnership is perceived, I would see the introduction of corruption menace which is normally observed in the mixed economy in the third world countries. Privatization will increase more attention and more time for the city to concentrate on more important issues. If the city wants to go for the public Administration, I am in favour of constituting the board or the commission to handle the particular discipline; Toronto transit commission. In the similar way I can name myself like Highway Authority Of Toronto or Garbage Collection Authority of Toronto or Toronto Electricity Board. But of course, I am not in favour of public and private partnership. Both these concepts are diverse and therefore they cannot co-exist or sustain together.

    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 in my ward is that most residents are the tenants living in multi-storey rental apartments and these multi -story rental apartments are not in sustainable conditions to provide better living environments to the tenants. Numbers of complaints to the city made by the tenants against landlords are not resolved. So, I want to improve the resolution of complaints in the expedited manner and will introduce the strict implementation and the enforcement measures against the landlords so as to improve the living environment and more recreational facilities for the tenants. Ward 38 has more TTC users and I can see the people riding on the crowded buses. We have traffic congestion problems during rush hours. So I want to increase the number of buses for the riders and want to introduce prohibition of use of car one day per week in order to defuse traffic congestion. I can see many people waiting for the bus during wintertime inside the bus stop in a chilly wind with the snow under their shoes. I want to introduce the bus stops, which can prevent the Snow deposition inside the bus stops and the extensive sitting arrangement inside the bus stop at the major bus intersection with the digital indicator showing the approximate arrival time of the next bus. We must not forget that we are in Canada and Canada is a G8 country and we cannot afford to be stagnant; we need to move forward without a break. So we have to make it possible and we will do it.

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

    Tax cap always benefits residence but for development of City require tax money, hence according to inflation rate or less than that possible, will be good.

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

    Not specific any region but overall budget.

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

    Not supporting reducing number of city council which create high burden in operation.

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

    No I will not support contracting to any specific region of city. Also not supporting contracting out other services.

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

    I think land transfer tax require to grow city services.

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

    Give business people more opportunity to start new industry or get more investment in production sector.

    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?

    Try to get more fund from federal or provincial government. If not possible any thing try privatization of transit for period of 20 years or so. Other country like India doing to same.

    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?

    Reduce heavy paid staff and get new staff in with less pay or try new comers from rest of the world to join the team at lower rate.

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

    Not really seen.

    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 is crime and need more attention of police and any other special task force.

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

    No

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

    Current city budget I can’t do anything but if I am Councillor I will try to get more revenue support from the federal Government.

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

    Toronto city map is same but operating system is increasing so we need to keep our council size same.

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

    no I don’t want anything going to private.

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

    yes I support for eliminating it.

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

    First of all Toronto transportation system have to help the people Mobilize well then our city’s business will allow Unemployment rate reduce.

    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 for man kind we needs basic things first so number one is now transit service that one for Ontario federal tax must help this city one time or more time to the changes.

    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 Labour negotiations according to the situation and the demand  which is the best deal come up we go for it.

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

    I don’t want this is happen.

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

    my ward residents are concern about tax and maintenance of the street.

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

    My platform is Responsibly Investing in Our Future.  I believe that keeping property taxes at the rate of inflation should be the city’s goal.  However as evidenced by the recent Institute of Municipal Finance and Governance report on the state of the city, we need to invest in our infrastructure.  If we want to keep a state of good repair and expand we will need to make investments.  I fear that if we put a hard cap on ourselves and we are unable to find new revenue streams we will handcuff ourselves.  If we find that there is a project that will make the city a much more livable place and benefit everyone, but need to raise property taxes slightly above the rate of inflation, then we should do it.  If we as a city make good investments that give us a high rate of return then there should be no problem keeping property taxes at or near the rate of inflation. This is why my platform is Responsibly Investing in Our Future. You can see my entire platform on my website at www.kevinwinsonward38.com.

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

    I believe that there are a number of places.  One of the largest is in the Police Services Budget.  It is one of the single largest operating costs that the city has.  Seeing as policing is an essential service I do not want to cut the service and see crime rates rise.  I do believe that there are a lot of things we can do however to trim the budget, such as David Soknacki’s new shift model that is projected to save $25 million a year.  I also believe that front line officers have the best view of the job and can help us find further efficiencies.  This approach of having representatives from all levels, from front line through management to council can be applied to many different city departments.  This is another cornerstone of my platform.

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

    No, I do not support this.  As it stands every councillor represents about 50,000 to almost 80,000 people.  A Councillor has to be responsible and accountable to all of those people.  As it stands I don’t believe that many Councillors do a good enough job of staying in contact with and helping their constituents, let alone if they had more. To help deal with questions and complaints a councillor would have to hire more staff and it would end up growing government rather than shrinking it.

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

    Currently, having the dual systems keeps both in check. Both Green for Life and CUPE Local 416 know that they need to keep service levels high to keep their job.  I worry that if all garbage collection was privatized to one company they would hold too much power and we could end up dealing with poor service until the end of their contract, or even another strike by the workers of the company.

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

    Yes, I would like to slowly reduce it.  We cannot simply eliminate it without looking at the consequences.  When the Vehicle Registration Tax was eliminated we ended up with higher user fees and higher TTC fares.  As we recognize more savings and new sources of revenue then we can and should start to reduce the tax.

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

    Without the city directly hiring more staff, the best way to create jobs is to help encourage the businesses in the city to hire more people and for new businesses to come into the city.  Specific examples would be to make it easier for the film industry to come film here.  Not only do they need to hire crew, they also make use of hotels and restaurants. Another preliminary idea is to try and create an entirely new industry in the city by offering tax rebates for installing green products.  This will bring new businesses into the city and as more and more people act so that they can receive the tax breaks, the companies providing the service will need to hire more installers and maintenance staff.  I understand that there are a lot of other factors with this idea -many numbers would need to be crunchedand the nuances more thoroughly assessed, but ideas like this may be the best thing to get more people working.

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

    This goes back to my platform of Responsibly Investing in Our Future.  The first thing is to not waste money.  I would first ask council to reaffirm the Scarborough LRT plan that is still in the master agreement.  This saves the city more than $85 million on cancellation fees, another $1.4 billion that would have been wasted on the Subway Extension option, and yet another $30-40 million a year on operating costs. The tax increase that has been put in place to fund the extension as well as the $660 million from the Federal Government could be used as initial funding to further other projects, for example a downtown subway relief line. Tax Increment Financing could be used for some additional revenue but I feel that there needs to be a long term funding plan.  Additional revenue sources need to conceived and implemented.  One possible source could be to reintroduce a casino and use the subsequent hosting fees. I’m a big fan of things like this that are voluntary taxation, luxury items.  The cost of all transit is so high that we need all three levels of government on board to fund it.  Having a long term funding plan proves to the other levels that we are serious about building transit.

    Part of the problem with the planning process is that there is too much opportunity for Council to ignore the advice of experts.  If someone believes that there is a flaw in the recommendations made, or that something has been over looked, there should be a process to question why and how that data was gathered so that Council can be better informed.  Only in extreme cases should council be able to go against the expert opinion.

    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 not a labour negotiator, but I do believe the city’s team needs to go into negotiations looking at it as an opportunity to work with the unions on improving service and not as a battle with them.  They need to go in with a clear goal of making sure everyone leaves happy.  As I stated earlier I think that a front line worker needs to be present since they may have insight about what they can do without in favour of something else, and how they could save the city money.

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

    At this time I do not know specifics of any public-private partnerships involving the City of Toronto.  I am not opposed to them under the right conditions.  Should a company propose a partnership it needs to mutually benefit both parties.  The city needs to have a measureable success rate and have the ability to back out should the targets not be met.  There also needs to be a backup plan in place to replace the company for a six month to one year term, depending on what the partnership is, until a suitable replacement can be found.

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

    The biggest concern for my riding is moving away from the Scarborough LRT plan to the purposed Scarborough Subway Extension.  There are so many things that the current Council and especially current Councillor of Ward 38 seem to have ignored. The first thing to note is that we need transit and we need it as soon as possible.  The time it will take to even start the Environmental Assessment is longer than we should be waiting.  The second issue I have is that the Subway option completely ignores more than half of Ward 38 – everything east of McCowan Road, including several priority neighbourhoods.  It also means no rail transit to the Centennial College campus.  The next issue I have with the Subway is the locations of the stops.  The first stop at Lawrence and McCowan is in an already established low density neighbourhood.  There is no room to build new, or redevelop the area without tearing out park land. There is also no available parking there and people will end up using these neighbourhood streets as their parking lots.  I have a number of other issues with this stop that you can view on my website. The second stop at Scarborough Centre will actually not be at the Town Centre Shopping Mall -it will be where the current McCowan RT stop is.  I fear that this will harm the mall and the businesses there that thrive on the commuters coming through.  This could do a lot of damage to the riding, as I know having grown up there that a lot of youth rely on the mall for their first job. (I feel this point is a little dramatic as the station is still only a 5min walk away) The last point I will discuss is the financial implication of going to the much more expensive Subway.  We have all seen the tax increase needed to help pay for this unnecessary subway. This tax only helps to pay back debt that the city will incur to fund the project.  This may not put us over the debt service ratio of the city, but it puts us much closer to it.  The pressure we will be under will increase as the ratio does, and our ability to invest in other important projects will diminish.  This is the perfect example of why I am running, to Responsibly Invest in Our Future.  You can see my entire platform on my websitewww.kevinwinsonward38.com.