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 7 | York West

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Click for candidates who did not complete the survey

Candidate ↓ Childcare Transportation Employment Affordable Housing Newcomers
Scott Aitchison
Email
Again tax dollars should not be given away or pay for Elected Officials to receive 100% medical, Dental, And vision benefits, Let the less fortunate keep their money for their needs. We should build transit for the City we want not build the City we want and hope to provide transit... Roads and transit before condos.
Bike lanes should be added when we redo a road not added to the roads now for political points when we all know every road needs to be redone. Pedestrians should not have to push a button, (the button is just as added cost), to get the walk signal to come on... It should come on when the signal turns green.
I don't believe Government at any level can create jobs.
A good infrastructure and people with disposable income in my opinion will lure business to the area creating employment.
Government should quit giving money away in donation rebates, Refund, And deductions and apply that money to needed services and/or not taxing the poor so we can afford to pay for housing and food It doesn't... I believe we are all equal and should be treated as such.
Let's be honest... Some people are just more successful than others.
They should have the same access to service as everyone else.
By the way I'm not one of the more successful and have been unemployed since 2010... I know it's tough out there for the majority of people.
Larry Perlman
Website
Email
(416) 556-6407
The need to provide childcare options is important and allows those with children greater work flexibility. Current City programs help low income families but more needs to be done. Toronto is unable to provide childcare to all families due to limited financial resources. The best solution is to have national childcare, similar to Quebec, with a "per diem" rate. Until then, Toronto should pressure Ontario to provide the necessary funding to help all families access affordable childcare. At this time, access to effective transit is the greatest priority for the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area (GTHA). Provincial Agency Metrolinx is in the process of providing a regional transportation strategy that addresses all transportation modes and I am in favour of allowing these professionals to finish. In my opinion, road tolls, greater automobile costs, greater transit opportunities and the promotion of cycling and walking will be the end result on a regional basis. The major factor in a successful employment strategy is EDUCATION. Education gets one's foot in the door, speak with confidence, and build a long-term career that follows their passions. Ward 7 is blessed with quick access to TWO post secondary institutions, York and Humber College. The City should promote an education strategy to promote attending or enhancing their existing education. I am also an advocate for EFFECTIVE internships and my Councillor office would begin the process for Ward 7. The City of Toronto should take a leadership role in providing access to affordable housing for those individuals and families in financial need. Toronto is a cosmopolitan, diverse and progressive city that must be able to balance its economic and financial successes with its respect for those who are less fortunate. Housing is a primary need, is it not? Ward 7 is home to many newcomers and we are fortunate to have them. Most newcomers however arrive with little support or guidance, an unfair disadvantage. Newcomers need to feel welcome and connect with those having the desire and ability to help. Over the years I have organized many community events that promote that connection: Agency tables, children playing together, learning about City services, all the while learning about their decision to come here. It is VERY effective...
Keegan Henry-Mathieu
Website
Email
(647) 560-1532
First, we should demand a National Childcare Strategy, because we've fallen behind the rest of the world. Parents need reliable child care for their kids; that is not a major inconvenience to get to, where the staff are properly trained, certified, and paid. Right now parents are getting on wait lists years ahead of time, and it is unacceptable. For now, we can accomplish this and other service increases with savings from the bloated Police Budget, and surplus dollars. Big, costly mistakes were made in the last 4 years. As far as getting around Toronto, the removal of the Jarvis bike lane and denying Scarborough a 7-stop, fully-fund, grade-seperated line of rapid transit, were wrong. Public money was wasted. Derailing $1B of rapid transit for Finch would be yet another unacceptable boondoggle. If you're running for Council and didn't read David Hulchanski's 3 Cities, you're doing it wrong. Padestrian safety is a top priority. We need Complete Streets. Youth unemployment is a serious problem in our City. We hear a lot in this campaign about measures that would open up opportunities for small business loans, and other entrepreneurship initiatives, which I support. But that isn't enough. We need to support trades jobs on the local level for new developments. Further, not everyone wants to start a business or build - we need a more diversified strategy that looks at other sectors, including the arts - like The Graffiti Transformation Program. Affordable housing is at the core of my campaign. We need a mandatory percentage of units in new developments to be affordable. Abolish the dysfunctional Ontario Municipal Board and bring planning back to local level with an evidence-based, community-influenced process. We must also improve the Tenant Defence Fund, ensuring it's more widely accessible. Silly cosmetic repairs shouldn't lead to massive rent increases, meant to price residents out of their homes. It is very important to me that everyone - regardless of status - be able to participate in building a livable city. I was very supportive of the movement to make Toronto a Sanctuary City, so those with precarious status could safely access critical programs like Women's Shelters without fear of being reported. If elected, I will make an inclusive atmosphere, ensuring everyone is represented equally. I want to see Permanent Residents given the right to vote in Municipal Elections.
Harp Brar
Email
(647) 964-0995
Generations have instilled in us that the children are our future. The legacy that we leave behind should not be a step back, but a quantum leap forward. Each and every child should be provided equal access to the best services that our city’s professionals can offer on a pro-rated household resource basis. No child should be left behind. No child should have to endure hunger. Every child should be cared for with a nurturing, safe, and environmentally stimulating educational facility. Forty-four Counsellors and one Mayor should not be engaged in overriding the expert opinions of over 100s of experts. Councillors aree lawmakers’ not urban developers. Let’s keep it that way while contemplating that why has anyone not thought of building a Finch West – Humber College –Pearson SKYTRAIN like Vancouver, Delhi, Athens, and may world class cities have done. Does our Mayor and City Council lack world class experience and class. Pundits have always said that the key to a prosperous economy in limiting monopolies and engaging capitalism with a close collaboration between labour and management. In a global economy we need to attract diversified commercial, industrial and service investments. We need to attract and retain a diversified work. And last but not least we, need to have diversified programs to retain and reincorporate all those residents willing to work to make Toronto the great city it has become. There is a fine balance between providing affordable housing and sustainable housing. To all residents of the City regardless of race, religion, creed, economic or immigrant status. Those in need should be provided it. Those whose abuse it should be denied it. I will push for fair and just system to provide those in need affordable housing while amending the Municipal Act to rid the pariahs of our society from affordable housing. The arrivals of the South Asians, West Indians in the 1970s and 80s, and more recently the arrival and welcome of every African, Asian, European and Pan American nation in our world in making our City a contender for the most desirable places to work, live, study and raise a family in the world. will provide supportive programs
Candidate ↓ Poverty Public Services Taxation Infrastructure Major Ward Issue
Scott Aitchison
Email
I believe Government for the last 30 years has been taking our money for their own purposes... 100% benefits... Expense accounts galore... Council has an expense account... Councillors have an expense account... Every A,B,C has an expense account... A months pay for each year of service in the way of severance pay, (Even if they quit for run for another Office and get Elected), Some will take a leave of absence to run in the next Election whether they got Elected for Council or TDSB/TCDSB If it can be provided by a private sector business it should be contracted out... Exceptions being Hydro... Water... Drainage... Etc. and even those things have departments that could contract out.
For instance trimming back trees so as not to interfere with hydro lines.
It is me belief that property taxes should never exceed inflation and if at all possible be lower than inflation... Including water, hydro, waste removal, Etc.
That means those things should be included in the property tax increase not extra increases... Water increase is 9% and waste removal is 3% annually on top of the property tax increase... NO NEW revenue tools... Enough is enough... Government needs to live within our means
Infrastructure is one of the biggest roles Government has... That's one of the main reasons they tax us unfortunately they prefer to uses taxes for Election promises on what they made during an Election. Lack of respect... I see a problem and when it needs an Elected Official due to being above the average residents ability to deal with it themselves they should either answer their phones or return one of the 5 messages you left because they didnt answer, (Personal experience), Not flag you as a complainer because you report problems. Applies to our Mayor too.
P.S. I use my personal email, Can't afford a website, Can be found on facebook and twitter and do not have a phone # to be reached on.
Larry Perlman
Website
Email
(416) 556-6407
We can not be an advanced society unless we are able to take care of those less fortunate. Poverty is a vicious downward cycle that strikes at the heart of one's being (and their children). My platform addresses poverty in two ways. First, those living in subsidized housing MUST live in dignity, with MIMIMAL STANDARDS of care. I will fight for that, period. Second, those living in poverty MUST have access to food banks and nutritional guidance, especially those with children. Both the public and private sectors have a role to play in delivering services to Toronto. The move towards contracting out services to the private sector is an important one, since it can be less expensive than in the public sector (such as garbage collection). As long as the public sector can deliver efficient and effective services to the City, there is a benefit to keeping those services in-house. Overall, I am greatly in favour of contracting out, as it saves taxpayer's money. The City of Toronto Act provides additional revenue tools that diversifies our revenue base and minimizes the reliance on property taxes to fund expenditures. Of course, keeping property taxes at the rate of inflation is the optimal goal of property tax increases. However, additional tax tools would be less painful to homeowners and much fairer to Torontonians overall. The only problem is selling those extra tax sources to Toronto voters. The development and support for community infrastructure begins at the Planning Department. I have been to meetings and receive mailings on the City's "Official Plan" and I like what I see. Jennifer Keesmaat brings experience and ideas to the table; she is a great leader for our infrastructure strategy. Unfortunately, Council politics get in the way of her initiatives. Economic benefits have their place when considering infrastructure, but we need to appreciate city spaces as well. The greatest issue in Ward 7 today is complacency. Many residents and businesses believe that positive change in the Ward is not possible under the current environment; such bad elements are then allowed to continue unabated. I have been addressing this problem by promoting community activities and festivals that bring together families and seniors to celebrate our strengths. I wish to continue this method of dialogue throughout the various communities in Ward 7.
Keegan Henry-Mathieu
Website
Email
(647) 560-1532
Kids that participate in breakfast programs are proven to perform better in class. It doesn't cost much to feed a healthy morning meal to hungry Toronto kids. Ensuring our shelter support budgets are adequately funded to address the need -especially during emergencies- is important. We need to change the way we treat low-income people suffering from mental illness. Finally, we need to address poverty through an equity lens. More outreach workers are needed. The Core Service Review proved this is a highly efficient City, & we love our public services. As co-Chair of the Toronto Youth Cabinet I fought against reckless cuts. I successfully helped save over half of Toronto's youth outreach workers, as well as The TYC and other advisory bodies. Contracting out proved more headache than benefit, expected savings came far below projections. Residents assume lots of their tax dollars are saved, when it only amounts to fractions of pennies. 8% of all tax revenue goes to municipalities, and in Toronto almost 40% of our revenue comes from property taxes. A reformed Vehicle Registration Tax that offers owners of compact or hybrid vehicles a discount on the fee would be a green option. I would also like to see a more progressive Municipal Land Transfer Tax that ensures that it doesn't become a deterrent to purchasing a home for anyone in this city. In the longterm we need to discuss other fees or road tolls to generate revenue. The need to interact in public space with others is part of our DNA. Good cities invest in basic things like safe playground equipment, street furniture, garbage cans, etc... but great cities build splash pads, community gardens, outdoor exercise equipment, and other innovative initiatives. We must do better at negotiating with developers, and improve community input in local growth. Section 37s can fund projects locally, where appropriate. Lack of real local representation. Things need to be done - permits, zoning, development meetings, etc... I've heard from many at the door that all we have is a direct line to the word "no" - depending on who you are. Very few residents are treated with dignity, and that cannot continue. Traffic congestion, flooding, reliable service from Toronto Hydro, more youth programs, policing, state of TCH homes, lack of cycling infrastructure - these are all top local priorities. We need change.
Harp Brar
Email
(647) 964-0995
To understand this poverty and to find a solution we must first understand the source of the ailment. Abusing, single mothers, drug and alcohol addicts, mentally challenged residents, or just the old dirty free loading bastards, we as a city need to rid with. Funding for our aged, respectfully infirm and single mothers in need should not be hindered by the abuse of a select few who take advantage of the system and hence our children, our elders and our society and city as a whole. Efficiency. Transparency, and Integrity. All City services should be delivered in an efficient and cost effective manner. If the public sector is not efficient then let the private sector contract the services through a fair and simple transparent competitive bidding process. And finally, have all contracts reviewed by the City’s integrity commissioner. Council’s job is to balance the budget, provide services, and raise revenue for these activities. Council needs to shift the tax burden from tax depleted vacant properties in the suburbs to income generating and progressive communities.Residential taxes should remain in bay with inflation, but it is my position that commercial taxes should be apportioned according to income potential. The City should retains experts to study, develop and support all community infrastructure The role of City Council should be to take an independent view at the suggestions of the retained experts and come to an educated and voted compromise that serves the residents of our City for generations to come. Forty-four Counsellors and one Mayor should not be engaged in overriding the expert opinions of over 440 experts. Councillors are lawmakers’ not urban developers. Let’s keep it that way! Suburan Tornto's industrila areas are becomeing ghost towns. Over taxxing commercial and industrial properties have left a large void in the City's main employment areas. It is time that we invite Businesses back to our city.It is time that business welcome to employee our residents.

Candidates who did not fill out the Position Primer: