Canada's Scarborough-Agincourt (Ward 39) city council candidates speak

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Toronto municipal election, 2006


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Friday, November 3, 2006

On November 13, Torontonians will be heading to the polls to vote for their ward's councillor and for mayor. Among Toronto's ridings is Scarborough-Agincourt (Ward 39). Two candidates responded to Wikinews' requests for an interview. This ward's candidates include Wayne Cook, Mike Del Grande (incumbent), Samuel Kung, Lushan Lu, Sunshine Smith, and John Wong.

For more information on the election, read Toronto municipal election, 2006.

Wayne Cook

51-year-old Wayne Cook is a business consultant, regarding trade in China.

Q: Describe the three most important issues in your campaign.

A:
  • Crime: I support Mayor Miller's record, by adding 450 new Police Officers in the City, during the past 3 years. Further, as Ward 39 Councillor, I would work with Mayor Miller to add another 600 new Police Officers, over the next 4 year term. As a Council, we need to create recreation and job training opportunities hat help divert youth away from gang culture. This is our "Community Safety Plan".
  • Traffic Congestion/Public Transit: We need to make an investment into public transit and alternative ways to get around our city (bike, walking, etc.). TTC service must be improved to provide an alternative to cars.
  • Parking: Locally, I will work with Council, to remove driveway barriers, which serve no real purpose. Also, I do not support "Speed Humps", as proposed on Canongate. Finally, families who choose to rent out a basement apartment, should not be harassed by being identified as a "Rooming House". True "Rooming Houses" need to be removed, but within the legal definition.

Q: What one election issue do you feel is most relevant to your ward in this election?

A: Locally, traffic congestion, TTC service and driveway parking is the related issue raised most during our canvassing.

Q: Why have you chosen to involve yourself in the political process?

A: In my community, there is a sense that our neighbourhoods have deteriorated, over the past 3 years. I want to work with the community to turn this situation around.

Q: Why do you want to represent this particular ward on council?

A: This has been my home for 14 years.

Q: How are you currently involved in the community?

A: From 2004-2005, I was an intern in the Hon. Jim Karygiannis M.P.'s office in Scarborough-Agincourt. During that time, I was involved in community work in the Heathwood Community and on the traffic congestion issues on Steeles. For many years, I have been a volunteer with the Heathwood Ratepayers Association, delivering newsletters in our community. In 1997, I raised the issue that two residents had been killed, because there was no Railway Crossing at Passmore. After many weeks of canvassing door to door, the M.P., M.P.P. and City Councillors agreed to erect a Rail Way Crossing. Over my 14 years in our community, I have been active in a number of initiatives related to the environment, bikes paths, walking trails, saving trees slated to be chopped down, etc.

Q: What does Toronto mean to you?

A: Toronto means "Meeting Place" and this is true, as we are the home to so many people, from so many countries around the world.

Q: Which council decision (since the 2003 election) do you feel the city/your ward should be most proud of, and which was least desirable?

A: Proud: Decision to invest in new subway cars, which are made in Canada.
Least Desirable: A local issue related to removing street parking, which has resulted in front yard parking on grassy areas.

Q: If you were elected as a "rookie" councillor, What would you bring to the table beyond the incumbent?

A: I will listen to the community, NOT just send messages from City Hall. I want to see community driven solutions.

Mike Del Grande (incumbent)

52-year-old Mike Del Grande is the incumbent for this ward.

Q: Describe the three most important issues in your campaign.

A: Crime: This community has experienced a significant increase in violent crime. In addition, the number of unreported crimes is an issue. A number of constituents have told me that they have been victims but have been too afraid or ashamed to report it.
Traffic: Everyone wants speed humps as motorists are becoming more irresponsible with excessive speeds.
City Services: A general unhappiness with the level of service for the taxes paid.

Q: What one election issue do you feel is most relevant to your ward in this election?

A: The decay of the City is very self evident whether it be with crime, garbage/litter or general state of City services. Residents are frustrated that taxes get increased but no noticeable improvement seen.

Q: Why have you chosen to involve yourself in the political process?

A: As a 23 year resident and volunteer, it becomes evident that the same old gang at City Hall have not succeeded in their stewardship of the City. I want to use my experience and talents to try to break a log jam at City Hall in the way we operate and the way we provide service to our residents.

Q: Why do you want to represent this particular ward on council?

A: I live here, I volunteer here, I own a home here and I want to see the area become a neighbourhood that people want to move to.

Q: How are you currently involved in the community?

A: Community Association co-president, Volunteer with local schools, past volunteer with Boy Scouts, Neighbourhood Watch, Block Parent. Past School Trustee, Volunteer Treasurer with one of the local churches and Volunteer Teacher.

Q: What does Toronto mean to you?

A: Toronto is where I was born and raised. Toronto means being the envy of the world, prosperous, with safe neighourhoods, good transportation and a good business climate to create jobs and wealth.

Q: Which council decision (since the 2003 election) do you feel the city/your ward should be most proud of, and which was least desirable?

A: Council decisions have been inconsistent and unfairly applied. The Ward is happy that I take a tough stand to ensure sound management and policy practices.

Q: If you were elected as a "rookie" councillor, What would you bring to the table beyond the incumbent?

A: I am the incumbent "rookie councillor". What I brought and still bring is a passion to do the right thing in the right way for my ward and the rest of the City.
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