Canada's Toronto—Danforth (Ward 29) city council candidates speak
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 Toronto—Danforth (Ward 29). One candidate responded to Wikinews' requests for an interview. This ward's candidates include Diane Alexopoulos, Andrew James, Case Ootes (incumbent), John Richardson, Darryl Smith, and Hamish Wilson.
For more information on the election, read Toronto municipal election, 2006.
49-year-old Hamish Wilson is a writer, consultant, does house repair and is a candidate for Ward 29, Danforth, Toronto.
Q: Describe the three most important issues in your campaign.
- A: We're heading towards a very nasty changed climate and aren't doing much here to reduce both our emissions nor to alleviate impacts. Transport sector emissions lead our emissions growth yet the slim majority of NDP councilors are persisting with the Front St. Extension project, which hasn't looked at transit options, nor harm to transit from this $255 million 2 km roadway. We have to look at transit instead of cars, and not just on this waterfront project.
- I'm also very keen on making much safer passage for bikes east-west through the core. Bikes are a real part of solving many ills, though there are dork cyclists. Ensuring safe east-west passage on Bloor St. beside the subway is an important thing to do in all core wards; and it would be cheap to do. See takethetooker.ca. More safety for bikes might ease morning crowds on the Bloor subway a bit too. The incumbent doesn't like bike lanes and is fouling up our progress. Housing affordibility and conditions is another important thing.
Q: What one election issue do you feel is most relevant to your ward in this election?
- A: Actual leadership towards sustainable transportation, instead of reacting against bike lanes and trying to remove them. Peak oil, climate change, smog are all resulting from our inability to provide other options beyond the mobile furnace.
Q: Why have you chosen to involve yourself in the political process?
- A: We are all climate criminals to some degree, and to spend over a quarter billion on a road folly while lots of other things fall apart is wrong. The Feb. 21/05 21-19 council vote to keep alive the Front St. Extension and not to explore transit options meant we couldn't trust the NDP to be as progressive as they claim to be. Over time one person can make a difference and one can drag the debate towards certain issues and perspectives.
Q: Why do you want to represent this particular ward on council?
- A: It's where I live, though I'm recently in the area and the area deserves more aware and constructive representation to try to deal with the problems of the area. It's not simple, there's an awful lot of work and responsibility in such a position.
Q: How are you currently involved in the community?
- A: I've been deputing over the last four years about the Front St. Extension which is big tax money, I'm on the Toronto Cycling Committee (again - I took off a couple of years, but it's been nearly a decade of bike work, and I'm quite involved in the TaketheTooker.ca effort. I also have had a lot of time with transit groups, and previous volunteer community radio work led to numerous links to environmental and civic groups, such as C4LD, fighting the destructive "amanglemation" deemed by the Harristocracy. And I try to read some papers.
Q: What does Toronto mean to you?
- A: It's been a home, yet it's also been uncomfortable given housing costs and how gargantuan our energy and resource consumption is though there are many good people trying to do good things. It's a useful place, yet it's also frustrating.
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: That's a good question - likely working on the waste reduction side of things, but I've been very focussed on deflecting the Front St. Extension, so the 21-19 vote in Feb 21/05 stunk, moreso as most "progressives" kept this Dumb Growth alive.
Q: If you were elected as a "rookie" councilor, What would you bring to the table beyond the incumbent?
- A: A strong love, not hatred, of bicycles. I'd also be more willing to be harder on automobility but we also have to promote options - I have some ideas and am propositional, not reactionary. With the FSE, I proposed optional transit routes, not just saying No to Dumb Growth. I also have a deep understanding of all the environmental ramifications of our built environment and would try to turn back the thermostat and slow the throughput. I also have a degree of awareness of the political processes at City Hall and many of the politicians too, though part of me wants most of them tossed.