1) Council can be divisive and public reaction to controversial decisions critical. How would you handle dissenting opinions on council or public criticism, and can we count on you to respect all opinions, whether you agree or not?
I believe that it is important for all opinions to be shared. Once those opinions are considered, however, it is important to then work on building alliances and consensus which result in balanced and informed public policy that meets the interests of our community. Part of the reason I’m running is to contribute towards a collaborative policymaking environment within our City. Too often with our current Council, progress has been held up because of politicized factions within the Council. That shouldn’t be happening as often has it has lately.
2) The city is facing several major urgent infrastructure needs, such as the new recreation centre, roads in need of repaving, the central avenue replacement and aging water and sewer infrastructure. How would you prioritize what work needs to be done without breaking the bank? What do you think the top infrastructure priorities are?
Infrastructure in our City should be prioritized based upon the breadth and cost of not doing the repairs/upgrades (e.g., watermain breaks). In other words, if a project is hypothetically not completed, and it has a high cost impact on the community, then it should be seen as a priority over lower impact projects. A positive alternative to that rationale would also be to support investments into infrastructure that draws people and investment into our City (e.g., shopping districts, entertainment, recreation).
3) One of the biggest line items in the city’s budget is the police budget. Do you support increasing or decreasing the police budget? If increasing, where will that money come from? If decreasing, where will it go?
Policing is an expensive service that is incomparable in many ways to any other public service. I support providing a police budget that meets the needs and affordability of our City.
4) The city is facing rising rates of crime and poverty. While enforcement is part of the picture, so is prevention, including supporting the most vulnerable. Should the city play a bigger role in fighting poverty and homelessness? If so, how?
Our city should certainly be a partner and supporter of efforts aimed at addressing poverty and homelessness. However, we should defer leadership of these initiatives to our charitable sector who is much better positioned, informed, and equipped to respond to the changing needs of our community’s most vulnerable residents.
5) The city has come under fire recently for poor communication with residents. Do you see this as a problem? How will you address this?
I believe that our City can do a better job communicating with residents. If elected, I will provide monthly communication to my Ward on issues related to our Ward and the broader City. It is really important to engage residents throughout the year, not just during elections.
6) What, to you, is the biggest issue facing the city/ward? What do you propose as a solution?
I’m not comfortable with media always asking about “the big issue”. While it certainly makes things neat and tidy for reporting in the press, public policy is not that simple. Governance of our City requires significant attention to multiple issues, not just one. There are many files that are important across our City, and each of them holds a different value for our diverse resident-base. Our job, as Council members, is to tend to those various interests equally and effectively.
7) Why should people vote for you?
Because I am hard working, willing to listen and support the interests of voters, and I do not come to the table with a pre-determined agenda. I believe that municipal governance is most effective when it is driven by solid relations between decision-makers and residents. I feel that I can provide that strong linkage with our community and maintain that relationship throughout my term.