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 2 | Etobicoke North

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Click for candidates who did not complete the survey

Candidate ↓ Childcare Transportation Employment Affordable Housing Newcomers
George Singh
Email
416-674-1485
I think that women play a great role in the business place today and as a result it would be great for the city to assist with their child care needs. I think that these options, once offered to all Torontoians would be a great idea. I think that it is a huge mistake promoting cycling in Toronto, the reason is that it sets up a very dangerous situation and frequently causes fatal accidents. As a resident of Toronto I would NOT ride a cycle down town because of the danger. I think that walking is great for all of us and we should encourage more walking.Transit is great but our current system is riddled with problems. The TTC needs to be streamlined in order to yield more efficiencies. I am concerned that the city currently does not appear to be focused on reducing the unemployment rate, with the frequent road closures and restriction to vehicular traffic in the city, it appears that the current plan is very unfriendly to business. I would suggest that we should be as welcoming to business as possible however we still need to be cautious as we move forward so as not to sacrifice too much in terms of workers rights and benefits. I think that the city should play a role in ensuring Torontonians have access to affordable housing, However I also think that there has to be a limit on spending towards this end. At the end of the day, there is only so much money to go around. My platform welcomes newcomers to Toronto after all I was also one of those newcomers thirty five years ago. They are the folks that do the tough jobs in our city for in many cases a minimum wage.
Andray Anthony Domise
Website
Email
647-556-5924
The cost of childcare in this city is flat-out prohibitive to many families. I want to speak out for them and help their voices be heard. Licensed daycares cost as much as a mortgage payment; many families can’t afford a first mortgage, let alone a second. This goes beyond helping parents spend more time with their children. If the City can help make childcare more affordable, then it can help working families establish stable finances and a positive and healthy work-life balance. Transit: Support approved LRT plans; GO fare integration; Express buses on Islington; New local community bus route.
Cycling: Lanes to Ward 2 schools & public libraries; connection to E-W route along Eglinton Ave. W
Driving: Pothole map posted to http://www.toronto.ca/; Expansion of TTC to reduce road congestion.
Walking: Increase walkability by attracting retail developers, yet holding them to account for neighbourhood & infrastructure improvements. Beautifying local parks & ravine spaces.
There are no miracle solutions to job creation. We need to play the long game in this area. My proposal for an Innovation Hub represents the City taking employment & civic engagement seriously. By offering Rexdale access to mentorship & industry networks, we’re creating a generation well-equipped to enter the job market. Furthermore, we need to invest in people, infrastructure, and public transit. The Innovation Hub, paired with closing Ward 2’s development gap, will help boost employment. The City has a moral imperative to help those who need affordable housing. Having lived in TCHC I get the importance therein. The City’s role is not only landlord, but as civic leader. Residents deserve more than just a roof over their heads. They deserve homes they can be proud of, and knowledge that the City will fight for them. It’s up to all levels of government to help manage TCHC’s backlog, and the City must fight to have them acknowledge and respect that. Ward 2 is extremely welcoming towards newcomers. Etobicoke North recognized in the 2011 National Household Survey that almost 60% of its residents are immigrants to Canada. I also support the services of Toronto Public Library wholeheartedly. This includes the Library Settlement Partnership program, aimed exclusively at helping newcomers to Canada improve their language skills and to integrate into Canadian society. The Innovation Hub will also help young newcomers develop industry skills.
Luke LaRocque
Website
Email
(647) 785-8740
The City should join the Rethink Childcare campaign, calling for a national public system of childcare and early childhood education. However, the City should also continue to operate its early learning and childcare services, increasing funding to meet the needs of Toronto residents with children. Transit must be planned based on population needs, not on political agendas. Short term, we need more buses, especially in the outer suburbs mid-day and later at night. Buses must be reliable so residents know when they will actually arrive. Medium term, we need convenient, affordable ways for residents to get around—better transfers to GO and rapid transit. Long term, transit planning should be done by experts so that the transit strategy is planned well and doesn’t change with every election. Business districts must be places where companies actually want to operate. By investing in neighbourhood improvements—from roads to transit to trees and parks—areas like those in Rexdale will become easier and better for workers to get to, attracting higher-paying jobs to the area. Beyond expanding public housing stock, the City could take three concrete steps to increase the availability of affordable housing. First, amend the definition of "affordable housing" to only include units that have a charge below the going market rate. Second, 10 percent of all new residential developments should be reserved as affordable units. Third, a portion of Section 37 funds should be used to clear the affordable housing waitlists. Moving to a new city or a new country can be very difficult, and newcomers often have no support or help finding the services that are available for them. Toronto's services for newcomers can be better coordinated and promoted, and a welcome package should be delivered to those who move into the city.
Theo Lagakos
Website
Email
(416) 746-0672
Childcare is an issue that affects many in the City of Toronto as well as the country. I believe the only real solution is at the federal level. At the local level the City of Toronto can expand after-school recreational programs and make better use of schools and library facilities to help those in need of childcare services. City planners have allowed skyscrapers to go up anywhere without first planning how this would effect traffic flow. I believe it is the developers of high-rises that should pay an additional level to the city in order to fund mass transit since they create urban congestion. I don’t agree LRTs are the long term solution for Toronto, the only long term solution are more subways. As for Cycling paths in Ward 2 lets follow the Lakeshore design bike path and put them on sidewalk level. Specifically in Ward 2, there should be more training and co-op opportunities for students and those who wish to upgrade their skills. The City should work with Employers to help identify the skill sets needed for the future workforce. Small businesses create many jobs and the City ought to look at ways to reduce red tape. The City should revisit the expansion of a Woodbine casino entertainment complex, that would create thousands of jobs in Ward 2. There are several ways to tackle the affordable housing issue, improve basements apartments by giving homeowners a significant tax incentive to make them legal and safe. This can potentially add 1000s of units. Require developers to set aside a percentage of new development towards affordable housing. Sell prime real estate space of some affordable housing units and take the profits from the sales to build increased number of newer units in up and coming neighbourhoods. The City of Toronto is the main destination for many newcomers to Canada. Utilizing our libraries and schools we can assist newcomers adjust to Toronto life by offering English classes as well as basic computer skills. Also the City of Toronto can improve networks with various community groups to assist newcomers into our community.
David Caravaggio
Website
Email
(416) 992-0113
I believe a child care program, which enables women to re-enter the workforce, is truly an investment into our economy.
Toronto is in the midst of a child care crisis.
The City must pressure the Federal and Provincial governments for a proper child care program to ensure access to all families.
Driving - One of my main campaign points is titled "Better Roads" . We must coordinate and hasten road construction, road repair and timing of traffic lights.
Transit - One of my main campaign points is titled "Efficient TTC". We must tackle and correct the mismanagement of the TTC and make firm plans on future transit.
Cycling - In certain areas of the city we must eliminate street parking to allow bike lanes.
Walking - I support the implementation of "slow zones" for certain residential roads.
One of my main campaign points is titled "Job Growth" as seen on my simple and direct web site that I launched promptly in February. I believe we must revive manufacturing industries as well as maintain and attract new business, including service and retail. I will use my 25 years of business experience to promote and attract business opportunities in the city. Firstly, in conjunction with the homelessness crisis, we must ensure adequate outreach, community planning, counseling and awareness to people in need.
Secondly, we must support initiatives such as "Close The Housing Gap" campaign to keep pressure on Federal and Provincial governments to increase and maintain adequate funding to repair and create social housing.
Forty-six per cent of newcomers to Toronto are living in poverty.
I support a poverty reduction strategy for the city, working closely with community leaders, social activists and charity organizations.
In addition we must ensure proper funding to community based organizations that act on human rights, equity, discrimination and accessibility.
Munira Abukar
Website
Email
(416) 825-1191
I believe City council should be active in offering comprehensive childcare options to families within Toronto. Childcare has significant impacts on working parents’ lives and supports these parents in participating in the workforce to remain economically stable. The city council should work to provide affordable daycare services for parents while ensuring that the proper regulations are in place to ensure that quality care can be accessed, regardless of what parents can afford to pay. We need to get Ward 2 moving! As a commuter, I believe in the expansion of both our subway and the LRT – however, the debate to establish either mode of transit in Toronto has derailed this ward from currently moving forward. As councillor, I intend to increase bus service in Etobicoke, restore terminated routes, and reinvest in safety initiates on transit for women, and children , as well as bike lanes, safer walking routes, and less construction to make traffic easier. I would be an advocate in getting the government to stop cost cutting on the "Youth Employment Strategy'. Further would be to increase spending on paid internship programs for Gold work, more investment in creating hubs to cultivate small-medium sized business creation for commercially under served and food desert stricken areas and greater involvement of nearby Post-Secondary Institutions in community programs. As councillor, I will advocate for provincially funded public housing, as well as federal housing strategy. I will work to reduce hydro, electric, maintenance fees, and mortgage rates in Toronto, and expand mixed model housing complexes, as well as revitalize existing housing portfolios, and build new housing in the city to alleviate the long wait times for affordable housing. Ward 2 has a diverse populations, and I want to make sure that this is reflected in the homes of our neighbourhoods. As the daughter of two immigrants from the war-torn nation of Somalia. I fully understand the struggle faced by newcomers. I hope to get Ward 2 moving by creating more programs that link with employment opportunities. Newcomers face difficulties in entering our employment system, so closing that gap and providing easier access to a job would definitely ease the burden of supporting ones family. I would also like to create bridging programs for newcomers.
Benn Adeoba
Website
Email
The future belongs to our children. All levels of government should endeavour to regulate child care options at an affordable rate for the city of Toronto residents and nation at large. The long term approach is to liaise with MetroLinx to resume the continuation of Eglinton Crosstown train from Mount Dennis towards the airport. In the interim, we need to increase the fleet of buses on the road to increase frequencies and reduce commute times. Our roads must be upgraded and properly maintained to prevent vehicle damages and traffic congestion. The city should continue its promotion and maintenance for pedestrians walkways/sidewalk and bike lanes. We need to sustain a world-class status city through safety, cleanliness and livability to attracts investors and investments that will create job. The council should promote entrepreneurship and innovation through small business and start-up incentives and programs to transform citizens from job seekers to job creators. The Council should maintain their current mandate to provide affordable housing. It is imperative that the city improve the conditions and rectify the backlog of repairs to improve quality of life. The council should also find solutions to help people improve their financial situations, so they are able to overcome their need for affordable housing. This can be done through educational aid and community involvement. As an immigrant, I understand the challenges that we face as a community and the value of the Canadian dream. The municipal council should continue to foster educational aid to help newcomers overcome the hurdles of moving to a new country.
Edmund Bueno-Bradley
Website Email
(647) 774-9614
In terms of after school programs and daycare I would say its an imperative of the city to get kids on the right paths early. Cycling can ease congestion. we need bike paths that are direct & safe options for riders. Walking puts people in a vulnerable position. we need to make sure people feel safe walking through parks Through policing & the development of emergency reporting system like on university campuses.
Transit: we need an all of the above strategy. A rapid transit in the northwest, a relief line downtown and a more extensive service to get people in and out of the city to get cars off the roads.
I am supportive of an innovative tax policy for new and developing businesses. A break at the start of the business in tax policy with a gradual increase, to normal rates to give startups a better chance at the beginning. We also can't forget the Canadian and global economic climate is not such that can afford a great deal of growth in sectors that align with our training gap. The city has a part in affordable housing but we need help from all levels of government. But there is certainly a toll to play from the municipality. Social housing should be a stepping stone from an unstable economic setting to a more prosperous life. as much as we need to be aware of the need for social housing we must remember the ultimate need is to create an economic climate that allows for people to create an indepent life for themselves. I have a strong focus on getting newcomers information about devices provided in our ward. We have an amazing health and community center but not enough people seem to know it even exists. The knowledge gap is our primary issue as my ward is the first stop for a lot of future Canadian citizens. Community outreach flyers and local media campaigns in several languages need to be a,major focus
Gary Paterson
Email
(647) 720-1047
The city has an obligation to provide childcare to those who absolutely require the service. Some may be able to afford an equitable charge where others may not. This would be a determination by the agency involved. Motorists need roads that are in good repair.
Transit needs more subway and replace streetcars with buses to ease traffic as buses are not taking up the centre of the road.
Streetcars are last century technology for a time that has past.
Subways are for world class cities and we should not have stopped building them.
I have no answer for cycling.
For walking - the sidewalks need to be maintained.
I will work with council and the mayor to explore avenues to make a very clear case to the business community that Toronto is open to business. If we are speaking of rental housing the city needs to monitor the cost to the people residing there. There are many in the city requiring assistance which is another consideration to be factored in. The bottom line being that everyone must have a safe and healthy residence. I will be honest and say I do not know at this time. I will work with those more knowledgeable of this.
Candidate ↓ Poverty Public Services Taxation Infrastructure Major Ward Issue
George Singh
Email
416-674-1485
My platform would encourage donations to the food banks in the city in addition to volunteerism to the different agencies that support the poor. It is difficult to provide the services required in the city with the limited resources available. The city should solicit/encourage the assistance of more businesses in the delivery of services in Toronto. I think that Toronto Council needs to find creative ways to keep taxes to a minimum. If we continue to raise taxes, what would we be leaving for our children? how will they be able to afford their own homes? We are already experiencing a wage freezes or reductions in the workplace so how will we justify tax increases.
Introducing other taxes or revenue tools is a matter of smoke and mirrors at the end of the day you are still taxing the public.
The city should be playing a leading role in developing and supporting community infrastructure since these are the places that we would like to encourage our youths to frequent. There are huge gains to be had in this area especially since they do a great job of keeping our kids away from the horrible things out in the world. I think that a very critical issue for me is funding for disaster. It appears that the weather pattern seem to be more unpredictable and extreme, a good example is the ice storm of last winter. I am very concerned that we do not have a rainy day fund that we can access in case of a majoe disaster.
I would propose investing a portion of our operating budget into a rainy day fund.
Andray Anthony Domise
Website
Email
(647) 556-5924
With my support for Toronto Community Housing Corporation, Toronto Public Library, and affordable child care, we can seriously and maturely address the issue of poverty in Toronto. Poverty is an issue that requires difficult decisions, and I’m prepared to make them. By providing vulnerable residents with affordable options for residence, child care, technology, literacy, and democratic engagement, we can address poverty at its source. Toronto needs to be the leader in service delivery. We do this with TTC, TPL, Waterfront Toronto, Exhibition Place, and many others. I encourage private sector investment in public services; what better way for a corporation to show citizenship than to give back to the communities supporting them? Nuit Blanche, the Caribbean Carnival, Luminato, and the many sponsored services at TPL are made possible by private involvement. Invest in Toronto and you’ll reap the rewards of a world class city. Property taxes should be notched to inflation except for necessary infrastructure investments. We aren’t going to fix the billion dollar infrastructure backlog by making them pricier. That said, we need to be mindful of taxation without representation. What good are claims of billions of dollars saved or “respect for taxpayers” if Ward 2 doesn’t see tangible change? We’re all paying taxes, yet Ward 2 is massively underdeveloped. We can’t just take and take and take from our residents. The City should always be in control over its public spaces and community infrastructure. Private companies are more than welcome to produce publicly-available spaces on private property, but the City must play a leadership role in their development. Through developer funding, we can work with private partners to develop & renovate welcoming spaces for the public. Park lands, splash pads, recreational centres, even public libraries benefit from these partnerships. Ward 2’s underdevelopment is an issue that affects me personally. I’d like to create a welcoming environment for developers, and collaborate on creating better neighbourhoods. The extent of Rob and Doug Ford’s investment in Ward 2 over the last 14 years is a big hole in the ground across from Woodbine Racetrack. I know that residents deserve better. I want to create a ward where residents can live and work, where we are inspired to create, where we can be active, and where we can have fun.
Luke LaRocque Website
Email
(647) 785-8740
Toronto needs a comprehensive poverty reduction strategy that is developed in collaboration with residents, schools, community service organizations, and local businesses. By improving the services available to help communities lift each other out of poverty—like language and skills training—the City can make sure that all residents have the tools they need to avoid and escape poverty. Municipal services should be public. While there is a role for private-sector contracts, the management of public services should be done by the public sector in order to ensure transparency and accountability. Property taxes should reflect the budget needs of the city, which should be developed to reflect and represent the needs and expectations of city residents. New taxes and fees often complicate the tax system and are a frustration for residents, so it is better to keep the system as simple as possible. As fundamentally public spaces, the City should play an intimate role in the development and maintenance of this infrastructure. That said, there should also be significant partnerships with the local community to ensure all public infrastructure meets the needs of the community in which it is located. The public interest should always drive public projects. Residents are frustrated with, and disconnected from, City Council because of an absent councillor. Our Ward needs someone who will listen to residents and keep them connected to what’s happening in the city. From road maintenance to taxes to community safety, residents want to know that their concerns are heard and that something is being done about it. We need a councillor who will be present, will answer calls, go to their doors, and be connected to the rest of the city.
Theo Lagakos
Website
Email
(416) 746-0672
Having lived in Toronto all my life I have seen the number of homeless increase, many people cannot find full-time work, and many children in schools require a breakfast program and schools now need to have fundraisers for basic school supplies. The role of City Hall should be to make sure no community is left behind. I will not pretend I have the solution for the poverty, but I will do all in my power to make sure this city remains compassionate to the plight of those who live in poverty. Lately most public sector employees have been demonized in the media for simply belonging to a union and having a job with benefits. I do not believe public sector employees cost the taxpayers any more, I believe the taxpayer looses more when private enterprises win a large monopoly contract from government. Just look at the 407. If we are to have private-public partnerships in the future the private sector should never be given more than 49% control of any government project. In principle I do believe property taxes should remain low. In an unforeseen circumstance there is always the possibility of an increase greater than the rate of inflation. I vow that I will do my best to always keep our property taxes as low as possible. I don’t believe we should keep going after homeowners to pay for city services, there are alternatives. The City should pay more attention to designs from developers and make sure their building designs fit with other projects in the community both new and old. Parks and public spaces should have multiple uses so that more people can have a better experience while utilizing them. We need to incorporate new ideas in community infrastructure and make sure we get the best bang for the buck. Any developers making proposals for community infrastructure should do so in a transparent manner. The top concerns at Ward 2 is transit and unemployment. As for transit, we definitely need more buses and we especially need buses that run all-night as many people work night shift. We should expand parking at the GO station at Kipling and have more trains available. In regards to unemployment, City Council should look at ways to reduce red tape for small business. The City should work with employers to help identify the skill sets needed for the future workforce.
David Caravaggio
Website
Email
(416) 992-0113
"I support a poverty reduction strategy. We must work closely with community leaders, social activists and charity organizations to coordinate front line services in the city. I also support a living wage policy for City workers and those employed by City contractors. " For the most efficient, effective and innovative programs, I believe it is imperative for a modern and world class city such as Toronto to look to private sector partnerships for the delivery of services. "Fair Taxes" is one of my main campaign points as seen on my simple and direct web site that I launched promptly in February. I believe it is fair for Council to keep property taxes in line with inflation. The City needs new revenue tools to pay for critical public services and aging infrastructure. I will study road tolls on major highway arteries in the city to bring additional funding. " "I support initiatives such as "Toronto Strong Neighborhoods Strategy" that aim to ensure equitable resident opportunities. As the city grows, I believe we must maintain consultations with residents, businesses and community agencies to accommodate long term initiatives and ensure healthy and functional neighborhoods." The top issue affecting Ward 2 is jobs. One of my main campaign points is titled "Job Growth". The rate of unemployment in Ward 2 is 10%, slightly higher than the City average. I believe we must revive the manufacturing industry, as well as maintain and attract new business, including service and retail. I will use my 25 years of business experience in Etobicoke to promote and attract business opportunities in Ward 2 Toronto."
Munira Abukar
Website
Email
(416) 825-1191
My Ward has a poverty rate of 24.8%. That is exorbitantly high.We need to use more progressive evaluative metrics in regards to tracking neighbourhood and district development - we need more emphasis placed on job creation and poverty alleviation rather than on increased housing prices, that most usually benefit a small slice of the population; as we are becoming a City of renters. i.e. focus on women and how we can support them ( they suffer more poverty than men) A non-negotiable is keeping essential services public. Improved Healthcare (I think you have a lot of policy info on this, use at your discretion).selling public assets the communities are hurt (sold highway 407 to a foreign company that makes millions off of something the public built) p3 (public/private partnership) taking money out of public coffers and put it into private pockets ( only benefits corporations, and those who are wealthy) I believe Council should keep property taxes at inflation as there has just been a recent increase for 2014 to fund transit expansion. I believe council should introduce a revenue tool that creates a sliding scale for property taxes based on income. Many people especially in Ward 2, have worked long and hard to establish themselves as proud home owners and should not have to continue to experience the hardships of shelling out for rising taxes while living on a stretched income. We can enhance our city's image and create safer spaces for the residents. I am a big supporter in new recreational spaces for communities that do not yet have one. For example, the Dixon community in Ward 2 has many residents but no community centre. By building a space for communities. we create opportunities for residents in our city to gain access to beneficial programs that can build new skills and enrich lives. A major and alarming issue in Ward 2 is community safety and gun violence. Time and time again, countless youth have lost their lives to gun violence in Etobicoke North. This has led to a vicious cycle of retribution for lost loved ones, entire communities living in terror, and excessive policing that has not lead to creating safer communities. As such, I believe that Council must actively address the issues in Ward 2
Benn Adeoba
Website
Email
Fixing the inequalities of public housing and fostering business development and employment will help combat poverty. Giving people a helping hand to integrate back into the community will always help build a stronger community and nation. Social outreach is highly important. Public service has the role of working for the wishes of residents of the community in a fair and balanced way. Services should be delivered by both the public and private sectors. The private sector has the role of creating jobs and serving the best interests of the community. The council should ensure a property tax cap that is equivalent or below the inflation rate. Many Ward 2 senior residents rely on pensions to sustain their household expenses. There is urgent need to relieve tax burdens from residents. This can be done through cutting wasteful spending, finding service efficiencies and spending wisely. Amidst population and economic growth, which are increasingly overburden our infrastructure--the council needs to play a significant role in making momentous progress to keep pace with the demands of these growths. The council should ensure that our community infrastructure is properly and proactively maintained. The need to improve transit efficiencies and frequencies is of a paramount priority. While many residents have also noted safety and crime preventions, road maintenance and the need for community infrastructure, it is safe to say that the community has been under-served and under-represented.
Edmund Bueno-Bradley
Website Email
(647) 774-9614
Well with the designation of the old rexdale and elms area as a priority neighborhood, focusing on developing community projects that can help provide essential services to those in economically depressed situations is a major focus. Making sure people are healthy and fed is the first step in helping ease the effects of poverty. Again a large focus of my campaign is getting people in touch with services already in place. The role of the public sector in providing services needs to be in the areas where the incidents of corruption and hazy intent can not be risked at all. When it comes to the private sector it is very issue dependant, and where a profit margin is not necessarily a conflict of intrest, we need to consider private sector services as tool that allows the tax payer to get the best bang for their tax buck. We should try to keep taxes as close to the rate of inflation as possible. If we need a small raise in taxes in not completely opposed as long as a service increase is proportional. I believe this to be one of the Major roles of government on a municipal level. The money tax payers invest should be put into making the city a more livable place. In my neighborhood (ward2) transit is a major issue, people needing to get to and from work are loosing family time and wasting their most productive hours of the day on stressful transit rides and insanely long drives. Even if we can't create jobs in our immediate area we at least need to create a transit plan that can allow for the movement of our primary resource (labour) to where they can find employment and help elevate the level of economic prosperity of our residents.
Gary Paterson
Email
(647) 720-1047
I will be honest here also and say I do not know . I will work with anyone more knowledgeable to assist. The city has very good staff in place to do the required jobs that only the city should do. There are projects that should be done by private sector companies that require a large number of trades etc to complete. By this I refer to capital construction. There are also projects where a public private partnership could be a sound business but will require serious monitoring. Taxes should never exceed the rate of inflation. There are other revenue generating methods that would not come from general property taxes Ward 2 is in need of infrastructure repair and upgrade.
There are many seniors requiring services.
Transit could be much improved.