Position Primer: How we did it


Once a week from mid-July to mid-September, Women in Toronto Politics sent an online survey to every Toronto City Council candidate whose contact info we could find. The survey requested candidates’ positions on 10 issues in 500 characters or less. Our team also followed up with candidates by phone and Twitter, and encouraged our Twitter and Facebook followers to ask their candidates to do the Position Primer.

The Position Primer features answers from all candidates who completed the survey. Women in Toronto Politics did not edit the answers in any way - we present candidates’ views to you exactly as they were presented to us. Think of it like a megaphone for candidates’ voices!

WARD 10 | York Centre

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Click for candidates who did not complete the survey

Candidate Childcare Transportation Employment Affordable Housing Newcomers
James Pasternak
Website
Email
(416) 398-8257
Toronto is a city of opportunity. For Toronto to live up to this commitment it has an obligation to be a strong and active childcare partner. Toronto must continue to partner with local school boards to build new day care centres in school facilities. As a member of the Budget Committee, we expanded the Area Recreation Care program in 2014. We have also fully engaged the provincial government in providing the funds necessary for subsidies for working families. Toronto must expand its transit system by digging annually. The only way to address this crisis is to make sure we have the capital resources for expanding and improving our existing network of surface and subway transit. We have 1,300 new busses on order and the new street cars are arriving. While having partners at Queens Park and Ottawa are preferred, Toronto must be willing to “go it alone.” Roads must be kept in good repair so that drivers, pedestrians and cyclists are safe. My platform continues to call for the major expansion of transit, which is a significant job creator on the capital and operating side. I also advocated for the filling of over 1,800 vacancies at the city and with police and fire services. We must continue to keep corporate taxes low so that businesses will invest in Toronto and create jobs. As a member of the Budget Committee I worked with colleagues to toward a $25 per capita funding of the arts, which is a major employer. Cities are defined by their affordable housing. Toronto plays a vital role by operating one of the largest portfolios of public housing in North America. Some things it does quite well and in other areas there is more work to be done. The City should continue to expand its housing portfolio to assist the 85,000 or so on the waiting list. And as a Budget Committee member, I support the expanding our capital repair account to ensure our housing stock is safe, dignified and expanded. I helped make the Antibes CC a Priority Centre, making all programs free in an area with a high percentage of new Canadians. We also opened the community HUB at Bathurst and Finch, a facility that houses agencies for newcomers. I have committed to supporting the arts so our multicultural community can flourish. With two of the fastest growing newcomer communities in Toronto, Ward 10 is resourcing to ensure a soft landing.
Igor Toutchinski
Website
Email
(647) 925-0397
I would like to see the city focus on making it easier to allow private operators to lease public facilities for child care centres (community centres, schools, TCH facilities). I believe in leaving the delivery of the service to the professionals in the field. Perhaps we could offer expedited and subsidized lease arrangements through a particular agency at City Hall. We must complete the Sheppard Subway loop from Yonge to Downsview. This will encourage our residents to leave their cars at home, and thus reduce the gridlock problem, while eliminating carbon emissions in the process.
I will champion bicycle dividers to protect our bicyclists from trucks, buses and the problems of dooring. I strongly believe our city needs a plethora of transit options in order to deal with our traffic gridlock.
We must also synchronize our traffic signals, it is crucial.
I will reduce our business taxes to encourage our companies, and the jobs to stay here, at home.
If you drive around any industrial area in this city, you will see a vast amount of empty work space that could filled with productive workers.
I will eliminate the commercial property tax rebate program for vacant properties, a handout to landlords who would rather let their properties sit vacant for years, than take less money from a business person who wants to locate here and create jobs.
We must keep a good, healthy mix of diverse housing options available in our city. We have far too many affordable options being removed, and far too many luxury high-rise condos replacing them. I also will always vote against property tax increases, because low-income and elderly residents should never be forced to leave their family homes due to tax increases making them unaffordable. I came to this country over 20 years ago from the Soviet Union in search of better opportunities for my family and children.
I will work towards making our city affordable, cultured and free. My platform will reduce taxes to encourage foreign investment and new jobs in Toronto, new infrastructure to accommodate the needs of our residents and championing rich cultural events that speaks to the heart of our diversity.
Candidate ↓ Poverty Public Services Taxation Infrastructure Major Ward Issue
James Pasternak
Website
Email
(416) 398-8257
Toronto must get behind our poverty reduction strategy, which means giving opportunity to those who seek it. At the same time, we must work harder in the social services field by helping families deal with the challenges of mental health, substance abuse and a lack of employable skills. Early intervention is essential but supports along the tree of life are vital. This Council expanded Priority Centres, Youth Spaces and Area Recreation Care, all strong tools in fighting poverty. When the city amalgamated it inherited a solid waste system that was both private and public. It remains a mixed system to this day and seems successful. Our forestry division, relies heavily on third party trimming and tree planting; the city subcontracts to third party snow removal services; and most capital projects are outsourced to private construction firms. However, vital services such as transit, social housing, planning, among others are often best left in the public sphere. As a member of the budget committee I worked to keep property tax increases below the rate of inflation. This was supported by almost all of Council. It is vital that seniors, young families and others on fixed incomes should be able to take the extra savings and determine their own spending priorities. That being said, I won't support a tax freeze or roll back. This will result in the cutting of cherished programs. Parks and public spaces are an essential part of life in Toronto. As a member of the Parks Committee, I drove park and playground improvements in every area of Ward 10. We also made public realm improvements at three major intersections between Wilson Avenue and Finch Avenue. I also believe that the city should be robust in improving community centres and striking the high notes in urban design. My theme in the upcoming election is Investing in Communities. The biggest issue in Ward 10 is the need to drive capital investments in our local communities. In areas where there is basement flooding, for example, we are targeting capital for extensive sewer and storm water upgrades.
In areas where parks and playgrounds have fallen in disrepair, I have sought new equipment and amenities. Champlain Parkette, Hidden Trail, Robert Hicks Park and Wilson Heights are examples. The same can be said for community centres, trails and roads.
Igor Toutchinski
Website
Email
(647) 925-0397
I strongly believe that by creating a pro-business environment in our city, we can attract new jobs for our citizens. By encouraging businesses and entrepreneurs to create jobs through my fiscal plan, I believe we can liberate those out of poverty, into a life of success, prosperity and independence. As someone whose parents were teachers, I have a lot of respect for those working in our public sector.
At the same time, as a private entrepreneur working in a leading media company, I value the contributions of our private sector businesses and the innovation they bring.
Having seen the best of both worlds, I believe both the public and private sector can work together in a harmonious fashion, to benefit the people of Toronto as a whole.
I care about our seniors and young families trying to make it through every day. I will vote against every tax and fee increase proposed on city council and where possible, push for reductions in our overall tax rates. With the costs of electricity, transportation and rent going up, the last thing I want to do is add more costs to our taxpayers. We need to keep our residential communities livable for all types of families and individuals, and to do this, there's nothing more important than parkland and community centres. This is a huge priority for the city and a top priority for me, especially in Ward 10 where we have so many great long-standing traditional family neighbourhoods like Bathurst Manor, Wilson Heights, Armour Heights, Hidden Trail, and more. Our ward has a major drainage infrastructure problem.
Thousands of basements in our ward get flooded repeatedly through drainpipe backups, because the city's infrastructure is inadequate to handle today's torrential downpours.
I pledge to work with the Federal government to tap into federal emergency infrastructure funds, as well as to work with the city's infrastructure budget, to more than double the spending on this project to see that our residents no longer have to live in fear of rain.

Candidates who did not fill out the Position Primer: