In his own words: Ward 3 candidate Tony Head

Tony Head is running for city council in ward 3. Photo courtesy Alisha Head

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? The role of a councillor is to voice the concerns and opinion of residents whether we personally agree or not. I am very respectful of people’s opinions and would have no problem being a voice for residents in Ward 3. I realize that some of the decisions made by council will be scrutinized and some may disagree with the outcome. Nevertheless, it is important to explain the rationale of the decisions being made. It is also important to be well informed and consult with people those decisions will impact. I think the important thing here is to be transparent with the residence you represent and to always have their best interest at heart. I also think public criticism is a good thing. This type of thinking allows the people we elect to be held accountable. I think any criticism, whether, will be used as a learning experience.

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? I think it is important that we discuss those priorities with the staff and the individuals actually doing the work and providing those services. They would know firsthand what is more important to address, and we would be able to prioritize those repairs based on the information, data and research provided from the front line workers along with senior management. There is a lot of work that is required and definitely needs to be addressed. There are taxes collected for this type of maintenance work and should be spent appropriately without accruing a mass amount of debt over the next four years. I think consultation is key here when prioritizing such massive endeavours.  

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? I would point out that we are 3rd on the list of the highest crime rates in the country, so decreasing spending is not an option. We need to support our police services and ensure they have the proper resources to do the much needed work to protect the residence of Prince Albert. Gang violence is a grave threat to the safety and prosperity of our communities. Providing law enforcement, the proper resources they require to stop it is a critical part of the solution. I also believe a lot of the crime is due to social issues that haven’t been addressed by previous elected council. Some of our resources should be spent on addressing homelessness, addictions as well as gang prevention. I also believe working along side our police force and community groups to address these issues is key. We also need to lobby the Federal and Provincial governments to ensure that we are well resourced. Community safety is one of the main concerns being echoed by the residence of Prince Albert, we need to ensure our police services are well equipped in order to keep our city safe.

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? Absolutely! You can not turn a blind eye to this issue. We see it everyday in our downtown streets and it is an issue that is worth addressing.  We need to get to the root of the problem but we can not do that alone. We need to partner with agencies that are equipped to handle these issues. Addictions, poverty, mental health are all factors that contribute to the homeless population we see in Prince Albert. We need to stop trying to manage the problem of homelessness. We need to examining both how to prevent it and how to end it. Communities around the world are adopting Ten Year Plans to end homelessness, engaging in homeless counts and publicizing their results in report cards. We need to look at the success other municipalities have done and adopt a plan that makes sense for Prince Albert. Homelessness prevention doesn’t only make sense financially; an affordable, safe, and adequate home is also a human right.

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? This is a critical part of our role as elected leaders. We need to ensure that we are containing the dialog with residents through out our term to ensure we are on point and are accountable for the decisions we make. Elected officials are in the positions they are in because of the people. We need to communicate with the residence we represent. This can be done through various forms such as: social media, local newspapers, emails, or simply having a conversation with your neighbours and friends.

6) What, to you, is the biggest issue facing the city/ward? What do you propose as a solution?

Community safety is what I’m being told from residents as the biggest issues that needs to be addressed. Residents want to feel safe in their own neighbourhood. They want to feel their home and their property isn’t a target for vandalism or theft. Supporting the good work that are police are doing and engaging the neighbourhood watch groups is key. I also think looking at what has been successful for other municipalities and apply those best practises to Prince Albert is worth looking into. Investing in crime prevention initiatives will be key to our success.

7) Why should people vote for you?

I will be a strong voice for Ward 3, the city of Prince Albert and for the Indigenous community. I am very approachable and I have taken an active role in listening to the concerns of my constituents. I have heard what they have to say and I am willing and ready to represent them at the table. I realize this role comes with its challenges, but I feel with my hard work ethics and my life/work experiences will allow me to do this job and do it well. We need to be accountable, transparent, and work together to ensure we are representing the residents properly. I am able to find solutions in tough situations and feel I am the only choice in this ward.