The FAQ should be able to answer most questions you have about my campaign, platform, and positions.
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Why are you running for Oshawa City Councillor of Ward 1? Since I moved to Oshawa in 2010, I have been an active voice in making Delegation Requests, submitting Correspondences, implementing the use of an assistant hearing device in Standing Committee and City Council Meetings, serving two terms on the Oshawa Accessibility Advisory Committee, and participated in the 2015 Toronto Parapan Am Games Torch Relay at Lakeview Park.
I enjoy being a part of the unfolding story of Oshawa. I love Oshawa. It’s not always bells and whistles, but those challenges are guiding a rich creative community base (The Livingroom Community Art Studio, YMCA, Their Opportunity, Core 21, Gallery 67, Backdoor Mission, Ask Me Why I’m Here, and First Firsts at RMG) in the processes that establishes a high standard that impacts the image and character of Oshawa.
My approach to local government is culture and community matters because it’s through cultural diversity that community learns and explodes new ways to solve pressing social-economic issues (poverty, affordable housing, victimhood, and healthcare.) Culture and community puts meaning into what we create. Having policies that create conditions that breaks down barriers to diversity, equity, and inclusion- leads to a thriving and prosperous citizenry.
With my experience and knowledge about local government operations and the grassroots movements, I recognize the opportunity for a new partnership between society and the City of Oshawa. As a City Councillor, I can bring in a community culture, open a clear channel for public debate and representation for accountable decision-making. A new Oshawa created by the hearts and minds of the constituents.
What does “Fighting the Good Fight” mean? I learnt this phrase from the book, The Pilgrimage by Paulo Coelho. “The Good Fight is the one that we fight in the name of our dreams.” And our “dreams” in life need a desire, faith, and perseverance in making it happen. I also like the quote, “Strength and growth come only through effort and struggle” (Napolian Hill). Fighting the good fight is having a strong voice & influence in seeing Oshawa shaped in the hearts and minds of the constituents.
What does “culture” mean to you? Culture is a share language, awareness, memory, and expression of how we relate to each other and the world around us.
What does “community” mean to you? It is living with like minded people- who come together with a shared purpose and limitation. It’s a lifestyle of combining each others unique talents to solve problems with minimal effort and maximum output. It’s a great group that respects each others differences, while learning new cultures, with the aim of evolving and expanding the productiveness and livelihoods of all.
What is your opinion on the role of Municipal Government? Municipal government is the closest of all governments to the people. City Councils make critical decisions that affect the every-day lives of all citizens. Municipal decisions impact the value of our homes, our outgoing costs (in taxes and for municipal services), job availability, our access to parks, recreational and cultural programs, the condition of roads and our personal safety. For our communities to be vibrant, we need a City Council that is accountable and transparent, and united in a strong community base. This requires collaboration, a new partnership for mutual benefit between the constituents and the City of Oshawa.
What is the difference between a Politician and Statesmen? A politician is an individual who studies the art of what it takes to get re-elected. Their position moves towards the centre, the right or left- and as does the rhetoric, counting on the fact that the citizenry will not remember their long-term record, but only the latest rhetoric.
A statesman on the other hand is concerned with truth, its conviction, and faithful adherence to it regardless of the consequences. most importantly a statesman will seriously consider the oath that binds them to a faithful loyalty to the Constitution & the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, Ontario Municipality Act, and Oath of Office when performing the duty of public service.
How will you manage to perform your duties as City Council being hard of hearing? The Accessibility Ontario Disability Act ensures the human rights of anyone in Ontario can participate barrier-free in the Public Sector and especially in socirty. There are technologies available for hard of hearing and deaf culture for civic engagement. One such technology is called Communication Access Realtime Translation (CART).
CART is the professionally translated transcription of speech to text through a third party. It enables culturally Deaf, oral deaf, deafened and hard of hearing people to have visual access to the spoken word. CART services can be provided on-site or remotely. https://www.chs.ca/canadian-hearing-society-position-paper-challenges-and-issues-regarding-communication-access
A politician and role model I have is Gary Malkowski.
Gary is a provincially and nationally recognized leader with an extensive track record of human rights, anti-discrimination, Deaf and disability advocacy work. Prior to joining CHS, Gary became Canada’s first Deaf parliamentarian and the first Deaf parliamentarian in the world to address a legislature in a signed language (American Sign Language). During his term as MPP for York East (1990-1995), he was the Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Citizenship. He was also Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Education and Training. He served as a member on numerous standing committees, including the Administration of Justice, Finance and Economic Affairs, Social Development, Resource Development, General Government and Public Accounts as well for the Select Committee on Confederation of Ontario. In 1994, he introduced a Private Member’s bill for the Ontarians with Disabilities Act. This action led to the introduction and implementation of the AODA in 2005 https://www.chs.ca/gary-malkowski-biography
As a hard of hearing constituent, I make delegations to standing Committees and City Council Meetings. I ask for an aid to assist me in writing voice to text of questions and comments City Council has for me. Nobody is disabled, we all have unique talents and different abilities.
Do you agree with Public Private Partnerships (P3) projects?
I do agree, but their should be a transparent framework in place to ensure contracts are honored, a mechanism to mitigated disputes, must be a return on investment, a registry of developer evaluations database to track past performance, open-market or hire local (depending on complexity of the project), and value in money to the taxpayers.
Do you agree with privatization of services?
This is a load question. There are essential services, like: water, energy, healthcare, police, and fire fighters that need to stay public to ensure social equity of health and safety. The other part of it is quality and value in money for services- and that comes from innovations and competition to deliver better services. Government tends to keep a mindset of doing the minimum that is expected or just doing things to a minimum standard. The growing urbanization of Oshawa suffers under that narrow view. Isn’t it better to demand high standards in the delivery of services. Let’s not sell-off our assets, but invest and improve them because we need value in money.
Do you agree with having only residents of Oshawa on the Board of Directors (BOD) of the Oshawa Public Utilities Commission?
No. BOD should be people with expertise and experience, and are vetted for cronyism and nepotism.
What will you do to ensure affordable housing for low income residents and seniors?
An open debate about urbanization, sustainable communities, and the impact of housing economics. Oshawa needs a long-term plan implemented to address the shortage of affordable housing for low income residents and seniors.
An Urbanization Study or Community Audit should be done to account for the extension urban development and enthnographics of the new social landscape of Oshawa. Furthermore, to recognize the essential needs of low income residents and seniors and pressure of new development has on marginalizing low income residents.
I’m a proponent of tiny houses, so whatever surplus lands (meeting certain criteria) should be allocated for the development of tiny houses that are self-sustaining for low income residents and seniors.
Another method is planning a forum or workshop with public, private, and not-for-profit housing experts for affordable housing for low income residents, seniors, and rental housing policy.
The conversation needs to start now for a long-term plan about affordable housing, sustainable communities with specific goals about how to use research to diagnosed the root cause(s) to identify the problem(s) to have a solution or remedy. Society needs a frank debate and discussion on pressing social and environmental issues, and inform policy development.
What is your position on property taxes?
It’s the City of Oshawa’s bread and butter. The City of Oshawa has admitted they don’t have many sources of income, so the City depends heavily on property taxes to function. Citizenry make a note that the cost of services go up, yet quality stays the same or decreases in other aspects. The rate of property taxes is a good indication of the cost of living in a City.