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 35 | Scarborough Southwest

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Click for candidates who did not complete the survey

Candidate ↓ Childcare Transportation Employment Affordable Housing Newcomers
Michelle Berardinetti
Website
Email
(416) 519-7668
The City is very active in offering support in terms of childcare for families in Toronto. It should be the City's objective to continually move forward in support of childcare but as with affordable housing, the provincial must continue to increase its financial commitment for affordable and quality childcare and the federal government needs to support a national childcare strategy similar to that which was being proposed near the end of the Paul Martin Liberal government prior to its defeat. Transit issues are among the most important for residents in my Scarborough Southwest community as they are for residents across the City. I have worked diligently to secure a subway for Scarborough, configure traffic lights for more efficiency, supported and promoted cycling infrastructure and improved pedestrian infrastructure. I will continue to work for these priorities. My objectives are several fold. The private sector is of course the primary creator of employment in the City and we as a municipal government need to all that is possible to encourage investment in the City that will create quality and secure employment for residents. We also need to protect public service jobs which are crucial to maintaining public services. The City is and should continue to be the foremost partner in ensuring that residents have access to afforable housing. However, it is imperative that moving forward the province increase its support for quality affordable housing and it is also imperative that the federal government return to the table in the context of a national affordable housing strategy. My Ward 35 community is home to many newcomers to our City and I have supported City programming that provides support for newcomers as well as working with a wide variety of local organizations in our community. I will continue to support the provision of these services to assist newcomers in their new home here in Scarborough Southwest and across the City.
Paul Bocking
Website
Email
(647) 949-7285
I believe our goal as a city should be to have subsidized child care spaces available for all low income families that need it. Over the next four years, I advocate doubling the number of subsidized child care spaces, in part by increasing the number of municipally operated facilities. Increase TTC operating budget & push prov. government to contribute. Increase bus service to 10min or better w/ 2 hour transfer. Upgrades signals on Bloor-Danforth to increase subway frequency. Build relief subway from Thorncliffe through Pape to downtown & replace SRT with LRT from Kennedy past Sheppard to Malvern. Freeze adult fares, reduce metropasses, senior & student fares, new low income fare. Free fares on public holidays, reduced from 4-7am. Design streets to support walking and cycling. I support increasing pre-apprenticeship programs for youth and additional courses for industrial workers transitioning into the service sector. I support the City of Toronto adopting a living wage policy. I would like to see Community Benefit Agreements covering local employment and procurement on all city infrastructure projects over $20 million. I advocate creating a fund to support the start-up of cooperative social enterprises in areas with high unemployment, that could bid on City projects. I oppose any cuts to the Toronto Community Housing budget or selling off TCHC property. I would campaign for provincial and federal housing strategies. For tenants in private buildings, I would raise awareness of rights to clean, safe accommodations. I would promote the formation of independent tenant's associations in my ward. I support landlord licensing and hiring more housing inspectors for a proactive approach to ensuring quality housing, and a more rapid response to identified problems. Community benefit agreements for major City infrastructure projects could insure hiring prioritizes the most marginalized and underemployed communities, especially newcomers who cannot find work in their field. I would also work to ensure existing equitable hiring practices are enforced. Removing barriers such as user fees, or a lack of staff speaking diverse languages is also vital to ensure all residents can access city services.
Saima Shaikh
Website
Email
(647) 793-4808
I think city should be very active in offering effective and helpful childcare options to families in Toronto through a variety of programs and services. My transportation priorities are: affordable, reliable, safe, and clean public transportation, safe roads for drivers (less traffic congestion and potholes on the roads),safe and wide sidewalks for pedestrians, disables with scooters and other modes of bikes/scooters, and safe bike paths/lanes for cycling off sides of the roads. We need to create a healthy mix of public and private employment opportunities in Toronto, attracting local and non-local investments. We also, need to change our thinking about our expectations about the role paid work/job play in our lives. I believe in shorter work days 5-6 hours per day instead of 8 plus hours per day, better hourly wages, and a healthier way of living for Torontonians. City should play a major rule in ensuring that Torontonians have access to affordable housing. Newcomers to Toronto should be supported and helped by: language classes (when needed), local community centres programs, job search helps through employment centres keeping in mind the unique needs of new comers, support of multi-cultural events, education, and programs, by host families programs, and by continue to fund Newcomers Settlement organizations.
Christopher Upwood
Website
Email
416-929-0002
As a stay at home father, I am well aware that the cost of child care can easily eat up the majority of a person's income. And those who wish to stay home to raise children are often not able to do so financially. As a proponent of self reliant communities, I support private day care centres and in-home day care providers. As Councillor, I will meet with providers, and parents to find ways to increase safe, constructive and healthy child care availability in Ward 35 and throughout the city. The number one traffic issue is the future of the decaying and gridlocked Gardiner Expressway. We need a long term solution, not another band aid. The next priority is closing loops on the existing subway system – with subways. Kennedy station must be connected with the Sheppard subway line for a continuous ride on one subway vehicle. I don't support a downtown relief subway line. I am in favour of separated bike lanes. E-bikes are a growing component of traffic and must be included in plans. Necessary infrastructure upgrades will create jobs. However, more importantly, we are at the mercy of economic trends that City Council cannot control. Building resilient communities is crucial to weathering any future economic downturn. Employment and Social Services is 12.1% of the operating budget. If it's programs aren't working, they need to be fixed or scrapped. Employers need to voluntarily support local youth by giving them meaningful employment opportunities. When the City gets involved in housing, we are making a promise to the residents. A promise of adequate maintenance and liveable conditions. We haven't been keeping this promise. There is an unacceptable backlog of repairs. Until this backlog is addressed and a state of good repair is achieved here in Ward 35, I will not support more City sponsored affordable housing in the Ward. Language barriers exist not only for newcomers, but many long time residents who have owned homes in the ward for decades. My office will be open and proactively accessible to all residents of the ward, so that the newcomers of today might be the long term residents of tomorrow. I will create a Ward 35 Helpers database to match those in need with other community members who can lend a helping hand. This will make life easier for newcomers and build links between cultures.
Jason Woychesko
Website Email
416 3880-7444
Childcare is important for many families to maintain a lifestyle necessary for proper growth and education of the children. Subways, subways, subways. This is the most important as this is for the future. any other solution is near sighted and poorly implemented. We need to encourage companies to relocate personnel so they are closer to where they work within toronto. This eases stress off of existing infrastructure but also means people will have a healthier outlook and be more available to their families. This is of primary concern. More important then subways is families have a home they can afford. It's not right people have to sacrifice food or other things to keep themselves safe and warm. Welcoming newcomers (new generations of existing torontonians or 1st generation torontonians) in toronto is very important. The city needs new blood and fresh thinking.
Candidate ↓ Poverty Public Services Taxation Infrastructure Major Ward Issue
Michelle Berardinetti
Website
(416) 519-7668
Like many major cities the issue of poverty continues to be a challenge that we must work diligently to eliminate. I have worked as a Councillor and on Budget Committee at City Hall to support programs that combat poverty including for example the expansion and continued support of the Student Nutrition Programs in our schools to ensure that our children are well nourished. I will continue my work in support of programs such as this that are effective. As a City Councillor I have always worked to keep as much as possible the delivery of public services in public hands. As an example I worked successfully to ensure that the Warden Hilltop Community Centre was retained in public hands and staffed by City staff to ensure that a high level of service. There is clearly a need for balance in the area of the delivery of public services but I am committed to protecting the public services that the residents of this City need and deserve. Fundamental to this isssue is the financial pressures facing City residents. Taxation levels need to be maintained at a level that is affordable for residents while ensuring funds are available to provide public services that residents require. We would all prefer to reduce taxes at all levels of government. The City is, and should continue to be, the primary level of government in encouraging, creating and protecting community infrastructure. In my Ward 35 community this has and continues to be a major focus of my work as a Councillor. I have worked with City staff to reviatlize a number of parks in my ward, supported and secured public art projects, had the City initiate water infrastructure renewal, and worked in support of more broad based infrastructure like the waterfront. Once again, transit is a major issue for Ward 35 residents. There is considerable change taking place across Scarborough in the area of transportation that will directly affect our community. I championed the Scarborough Subway and other improvements to our transportation system. We as a community and a City face many more pressing transit issues and I am committed to work for the best possible transportation options for our community and City moving foward,
Paul Bocking
Website
Email
(647) 949-7285
Neighbourhood Improvement Areas can equitably distribute city resources to communities which are most in need. This program needs more funding, to expand free after school and recreation programs, and boost library resources. I would further expand the Student Nutrition Program to all schools which express an interest, prioritized according to community need. I would further explore the creation of a universal hot lunch program in elementary schools that would be 'pay what you can' for families. Public-private partnerships in Ontario (the 407 highway, the ORNGE air ambulance, and Mississauga’s cancelled gas power plants), have cost taxpayers hundreds of millions in inflated costs, legal fees and lost revenue. Contracting out more garbage collection and selling off City facilities and equipment would give more leverage to private companies negotiating with the City. Since experience has demonstrated that the business case for P3s is weak, I oppose further out sourcing and privatization. I support raising additional revenue from large property developers and big businesses, such as the financial sector. I also support taxing large parking lots utilized by big box retail stores, and raising the land transfer tax on homes worth over $2 million. I support increasing property taxes at the rate of inflation. I would also raise the increase exemption for seniors from $38 000 to $50 000 yearly income, to help prevent seniors from being priced out of their own homes and neighbourhoods. I would work to expand the number and range of parks and recreation programs while keeping them affordable, and ensure more are available for free. City rec funding must be sufficient to ensure our community facilities are clean, safe and open to the public. I would use regular ward and neighbourhood community meetings to obtain resident input on preferred recreation programs. I support a multi-year plan for restoring funding to the public library. Many more trees need to be planted. Major issue is how neighbourhoods will change and grow over coming years. More could be done to give residents a meaningful voice, such as town halls on major issues like the city budget, transit, roads, parks and street lighting. Participatory budgeting could allocate money for ward infrastructure improvements, with residents developing & voting on proposals. We can develop a plan for how we want our ward to grow and change that truly represents the interests of local residents.
Saima Shaikh
Website
Email
(647) 793-4808
We have a large number of poor people (women, men, children, and their pets) in Toronto. And there are many systemic and life style causes of poverty in Toronto that affect various sections of our population. My platform is aware and mindful this reality, and support community food banks, subsidized and affordable housing, food share and food security programs, community centres and YMCA, affordable public transportation, public educations, and employment creation opportunities and programs. Both public and private sectors have and should continue to play a strong role in delivery of various services in Toronto. City council should work to keep our property taxes low and affordable, and be open to other revenue generating tools to fund various municipal services and projects. City does and should play a major role in developing and supporting community infrastructure. In my view, one of the pressing Ward 35 issue is road safety (Development) and crime prevention, followed closely by integration of newcomers, affordable housing, and well paying jobs creation.
Christopher Upwood
Website
Email
416-929-0002
Ward 35 has an average family income well below the City's average. However, poverty must not be measured solely in dollars and cents (or lack thereof). My Ward 35 Helpers database will enrich all people by building community and friendships, increasing self reliance and giving people self respect that comes with helping others. My Urban Farming plan will produce food, on rarely used portions of park land, that will be available to residents at below retail prices. Privatization of garbage pick up has been successful West of Yonge, and I support future privatization in the East. However, this does not mean that all services are suited for privatization or public private partnerships. I am not strictly opposed to P3s but would be very cautious in entering into such arrangements. When partners have differing motivations and priorities, problems can occur. To accomplish the infrastructure upgrades that are on the table in this election, revenues need to increase. Unfortunately this means in one form or other taxes must increase. I strongly oppose increasing the Municipal Land Transfer Tax, but I don't think it can be cut at this time. Property taxes must increase but as little as possible. The increase must be based prudently on need and ability to pay, not the rate of inflation. Tolls may be inevitable but I will fight to keep them small. Urban Farming is a major part of my election platform. I propose using large portions of rarely used parkland to grow vegetables, produce fresh eggs that can be purchased by residents and grocery stores at wholesale (or lower) prices. I Will study how and where to implement this, conduct initial soil tests etc. and propose a referendum in 2018 on this idea. I also propose to downsize the Toronto Zoo and donate a large portion of Zoo land to Rouge Park. Drivers in Ward 35 pay excessively high auto insurance rates. I will work to discover the reasons why rates are so high and find ways to address them in order to reduce rates. I will work with the insurance industry, police and any other parties involved to bring fair rates to our residents. We are predominantly a working class ward with an average income much lower than the city average. We have better uses for our hard earned money than paying unreasonable auto insurance rates.
Jason Woychesko
Website Email
416 3880-7444
We need to encourage more programs for existing City dwellers. In many ways we focus on newcomers exclusively allowing our current population to be forgotten or made to feel like no one is supporting their goals. We should find a way to incorporate both into future plans for increased efficiency. Taxes should never exceed inflation but should meet the needs of a growing city. I want a city where nature is integral to it's growth. Parks, public spaces, waterfront development are the things that make living in toronto worth while. Government housing needs to revolutionized. We need to seriously look at it's shortfalls and address these issues.

Candidates who did not fill out the Position Primer: