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 6 | Etobicoke—Lakeshore

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Click for candidates who did not complete the survey

Candidate ↓ Childcare Transportation Employment Affordable Housing Newcomers
John Letonja
Email
647-785-5055
The city should be active we should have childcare for working single moms and dads or people that have emergency situations on there hands I like to see better faster cheaper public transit and transportation make more one way streets if possible for snow cleaning and emergency vehicles plus less traffic on smaller streets on cycling make more trails on hydro land for walking and electric scooters so people can take short cuts to where they what to go. Make everyone contractors and give them jobs that need to be done around the city. As a contractor you can wright almost everything off on taxes. And this will save more money for the city of Toronto so you can employ more people to work for this city. Less Taxes on properties, less increase on rent, and better management like putting family's in the right size apartments that they have and if it is a big family you put them in a 3 bedroom apartment and if one or two member of family leaves the nest that family apartment is down size to a smaller apartment this will help other families that need an apartment. Toronto should show them where you can go to get help if you need it and show the things you can do here in Toronto
Michael Laxer
Website
Email
(416) 251-5576
Very. We need to fight hard to get the revenue tools in place to allow for city run affordable daycare as the province is simply not stepping up to the plate. This could be financed, in part, through the introduction of dedicated revue streams like a municipal progressive income tax. My transit priorities are centered around public transit (especially the fight to make it fare free), the expansion of bike lanes & routes and making the city safer for pedestrians.
The city is far too car "friendly", an ultimately unsustainable and environmentally irresponsible situation that we need to work against as opposed to pandering to.
"My platform stands in complete opposition to the current city council climate of austerity and cutbacks.
Properly funded city programs and infrastructure are not only what the city needs to remain livable and to meet the needs of residents, they also provide employment!
Program and service cuts are job cuts.
"Toronto needs a serious housing strategy with the building of more co-op and community housing and fighting to get the province to implement stricter rent controls.
We need to bring in landlord licensing so that landlords who consistently fail to keep units in good repair and meet basic standards of conduct lose their right to be landlords.
Public housing, which has been neglected and allowed to fall into disrepair over the past 20 years must be raised to a higher standard."
"When we welcome new residents to the city but fail to provide a city where affordable housing, livable wages, police accountability, tenant rights, affordable transit and comprehensive public services are a reality, we are not really welcoming them at all!
My platform supports these policies directly and forcefully.
Russ Ford
Website
Email
(416) 251-0001
Very active. Waiting lists for subsidized spaces need to be reduced. Many families do not work traditional nine to five work hours yet there are few options for those parents. The solution is the expansion of home day care and workplace care. The lack of adequate public transit is choking the city. We need to move away from our reliance on the automobile. I favour the electrification of existing CN lines which could then be used to offer a cost effective, above ground subway like system. I support LRT expansion over costly subway expansion. Low income communities need access to fast reliable transit and that will only happen through the LRT expansion. We need to promote bike lanes and other cycle friendly initiatives. The city is responsible for zoning. We must stop rezoning employment lands to allow for residential development. We are giving plant owners a financial incentive to close up shop and build condos.
The city must stop outsourcing. We do not need more low wage jobs without benefits. Outsourcing depresses the price of labour resulting in more people earning subsistence wages. That is not a sound long term economic or social policy.
The city has the ability to create affordable units and ensure their quality. The city can create units by making developers build a percentage of affordable units if and when they want to build high end housing. This will also encourage the development of mixed income neighbourhoods, The city can ensure quality by being more aggressive in its enforcement of property standards by laws. The city has thousands of residents who do not have OHIP. Toronto Public Health has an obligation to ensure all residents get services. The city currently relies on community health centres to address the needs of the non insured. That is inadequate and Toronto Public Health has the resources to provide health services to this population.
Mark Grimes
Website
Email
(416) 251-0002
The city is constantly looking for new ways to increase the number of daycare spots available and voted to increase the number of afterschool programs to better meet the needs of the community. I strongly support this. I have also worked in my community to ensure that when the school boards sell properties, daycare spaces are not lost. There does remain a need for the City other levels of government to coordinate their efforts and funding to find long term solutions. To make sidewalks wider we require the room. The solution is for all modes of transportation to work together in the complete streets model designed for all ages, abilities, & modes of travel. This means safe, comfortable access for pedestrians, bicycles, &transit; users & the mobility-impaired is an integral planning feature. This policy ensures that transportation planners & engineers consistently design & operate the entire street network for all road users from pedestrians to truck drivers. In Ward 6 I continue to advocate for new business to locate in our employment lands, particularly to repurpose brown fields. As a result we have net positive number of jobs created. I am also supporting Humber College's development of their entrepreneurship hub in our community as the small business owner creates the most jobs. Council has supported me this term in taking a firm stand in retaining jobs on the former Christie bakery site and opposing whole sale conversion to residential uses. Toronto City Council must advocate to the Provincial and Federal governments to ensure we are receiving adequate funding to meet the demand for new affordable housing. Councillors must find creative solutions, such as the use of Section 37 funds and looking at repurposing city lands or buildings, for affordable housing options. Council must ensure that overall numbers of rental units are not lost through development and wherever possible increased Creating jobs ensuring equitable access to services and encouraging entrepreneurship amongst our newcomers, and giving them the tools to achieve their goals helps to support those who join our community. Ward 6 has numerous affordable housing option’s that help newcomers to settle and thrive in our area.
Tony Vella
Website
Email
(416) 255-8669
I believe that childcare for parents is extremely important. The City of Toronto operators a number of child care facilities and all should remain open. I believe there should be more bus service in the city as a short term solution. In long term plan, I would support subways and utilizing a water ferry taxi service.
I do support the cycling community.
One of our main goals is to ensure that businesses are kept alive. We will encourage new development which translates into jobs for my residents. The City must ensure additional subsidies are available. I do not want to see anyone sleeping on the streets. I do like the strategy of rent to own. It's important to provide residents with the pride of ownership. I would support anything to reduce the long waiting list for applicants. Ensuring there are more cultural events throughout my community and to offer more programs to assist them.
Dave Searle
Website
Email
Transit is Priority at the forefront and much more urgent for resources No plate renewal fee increases, of gas taxes, or other fees that kill automotive sector jobs vital in Ontario, better g.p.s. spacing of streetcars and honouring TTC stop schedules which are presently anything but correct from my experiences taking the TTC weekly No new taxes and tax cuts equate to greater disposable income on services and products from Toronto employees Minimal, as Margaret Thatcher would likely concur. It advocates a doctrine of work hard and prosper amidst abundant opportunities in our great city of Toronto
Candidate ↓ Poverty Public Services Taxation Infrastructure Major Ward Issue
John Letonja
Email
647-785-5055
I will try to create new jobs here so people can live a normal life without being in poverty. The public and private sectors we should work together and develop a better services for the people in Toronto. I hate Taxes but we need them to pay for our services but we can reduce them and not asking property taxes to go up and the way to do this is create and make new money for the city like a business. I will try to make new money on some ideas that the tax payers do not have to pay for, and I will give it to the city so we all can benefit from it.. We have to try something new, we can not go like this any longer. I see it like this Taxes is the Last resource not the First resource. City of Toronto should have learning centres in parks hands-on actives in parks like exercising stations, child play grounds, master mind games for adults and children plus shows entertainment stations like plays or concerts or karaoke to create new talent. I like our community to be a one community which means people can work and buy sell get help from people in the community without going outside the community if possible.
Michael Laxer
Website
Email
(416) 251-5576
The foundation of my platform is addressing the grotesque reality of poverty wages and people living in poverty in Toronto.
I support a $15 an hour municipal minimum wage, transit fare reduction with the goal of free transit as in Tallinn, Estonia, affordable housing, landlord licensing and tenant rights, and other initiatives.
No more liberal lip service to fighting poverty. I intend to confront it head on.
A fundamental part of the right wing austerity agenda is to make public services private. They would like to see all government privatized and run for the profit of corporations and Bay St. instead of for the needs of the community.
I will fight not only against the further privatization of any public services, including garbage collection, but also to put back into public hands all services that have been privatized.
Taxes should be increased, but in a progressive way. We should look at a surtax on luxury houses worth over a certain amount, the reintroduction of the vehicle registration fee, the implementation of a city income tax and more.
The city does not have a spending problem. It has a revenue problem!
The City must play the primary role. "Infrastructure" is the day-to-day backbone of what makes our city a livable city. It is the foundation of community.
Cutbacks to infrastructure and its maintenance are an attack on the people of Toronto.
Transit is a central ward issue as my neighbours and friends note regularly.
We need real access to central Toronto and the possibility of becoming a destination that the original Waterfront West LRT plan would bring.
We need to put this back on the agenda.
Russ Ford
Website
Email
(416) 251-0001
Income inequality is a big issue. We need to apply an equity lens to all city initiatives. Every act must be measured as to whether it makes us a more or less equitable city. If it does not promote equity it must be rejected. I support free recreation at all city recreation facilities. I support the expansion of public transit in low income areas like the proposed Scarborough LRT and unlike the Scarborough subway extension. Low income residents should have lower transit fares. The public sector and the non profit sector are responsible for the provision of public services. The private sector provides the resources for the public and non profit sectors to provide services. The provision of these services allows for the development of a city that creates an environment for economic growth. Tying tax increases to inflation is far too simplistic a formula. Toronto has the lowest property tax rate of any city in the area. Residents of Oshawa pay double the tax rate of Toronto. Failure to bring in realistic tax increases has resulted in a declining city infrastructure that must be addressed. We need a better revenue sharing deal with the other levels of government. The property tax is not progressive so we need new sources. I would add community service grants and arts grants to your list. Toronto's success is due to the viability of its neighbourhoods. We need to not only create standards but actually implement them. The Etobicoke waterfront has been developed without any design standards or any of the services required for a viable community. We not only need standards they need to be enforced. People have become distanced from city government. We need to change our governance structure to create more opportunities for real civic engagement. People should have a real say in what goes into their parks and what programs are offered at their local recreation centre. Planning consultation should happen at the front end of a project not at the end when everything has been decided.
Mark Grimes
Website
Email
(416) 251-0002
I fully support the affordable housing strategy passed at council this term. As well the increased access to recreational programs through the welcome policy, no cost public swimming, and better access for local community programming in our area with a new priority centre are all things I have supported and will continue to support. City council should ensure that services are delivered to set standards regardless of whether they are delivered by the private or public sector. City council has an obligation to the public to ensure that services are delivered in the most affordable way possible, while still meeting the necessary standards. This may mean services are delivered by the public service or private industry. Property taxes must remain affordable and City council should continue to bring taxes for those who rent their homes in line with home owners. City Council should strive to pay for new services from tax assessment growth and maintain taxes at the rate of inflation where possible. If revenue tools, or new taxes are required to address regional issues, like GTA and area public transit expansion, they should be applied to the whole region. Toronto should not have to bear that burden alone. The city must take the lead in developing community infrastructure & ensure that facilities meet the demographics of the area. Up to date designs using accessible playground & other equipment for all ages must be considered. In Ward 6 we have brought new life to our parks while adding much needed new facilities, including a skateboard park, a world class skating trail & new community centre. With the largest part of the waterfront Ward 6 has the destination parks that are the envy of the city. Ward 6 has a traffic problem. Unlike other wards, to access ward 6 you come over a bridge or through an underpass, with water on 3 sides & the Gardiner Expressway to the north. There are no alternates to our main thoroughfares. Although we are already a great walking community, we need better, more accessible, transit & cycling options, as well as traffic congestion relief. To achieve this, we need to leverage the assets we already have such as the Lakeshore GO line and proximity to the subway.
Tony Vella
Website
Email
(416) 255-8669
The poor must have a voice at city hall. I believe in public and private partnership. Anytime we can seek the assistance of the private sector to assist with tax increases, I will consider it. I think tax increases should be at the inflation rate. I do believe that City Councillors' wages should be freezed for a few years. Infrastructure must go hand-in-hand with development. New development must include a focus on the environment and outdoor space to enhance the lifestyle of my community. To have more focus on infrastructure and more community input prior to development. Ensure more parking and social infrastructure needs are met.
In all areas of my platform, I will ensure tax dollars are invested with great care, in both the long and the short term.
Dave Searle
Website
Email
Appeals to Premier Wynne and P.M. Harper to increase the basic income tax exemption which is much higher out west. Pay per use "A "revenue tool" is a tax as Premier Wynne's liberals have thought us and anything beyond the inflation rate is unconscionable when tax freedom day is mid-year. We don't need brick walkways, beach umbrellas courtesy of the city and other excesses The Humber Loop Walkway Tunnel is too narrow and makes passing of wheel chairs, walkers, baby carriages, grocery buggies impossible on this over 1/2 century old infrastructure that impedes consumer access from Humber Bay Shore to the Sobey Plaza retail outlets on the other side of the Gardiner Expressway.

Candidates who did not fill out the Position Primer: