I’m not running for Ward 13 Councillor because I want a job. I haven’t knocked on upwards of 6,000 doors in Dundas and the communities of Greensville, Freelton, Rockton, Upper Sydenham and Antrim Glen because I want a job. I have a great job as a secondary school teacher at Dundas Valley Secondary School, and it’s a job I love dearly.
But I also love our community and wish to serve it. Dundas has given so much to my family and I over the last 21 years – it has given us a place to live, a place to work, a place to learn, a place to play, a place to grow, and a place to belong. For all of that, I am incredibly grateful.
I believe that it is time for me to give something back to this amazing community of ours. Not so that I can have a job as a councillor, but so I can have the privilege of working on a daily basis with the residents, community organizations, and businesses of Dundas and Flamborough, and representing your interests at City Hall.
While it is indeed a great privilege for any councillor to serve, this comes with an enormous responsibility. Whoever voters choose will owe this community a great debt of trust and an obligation of service:
1) an obligation to be accountable and transparent;
2) an obligation to communicate and engage in regular and meaningful consultation with residents;
3) an obligation to demonstrate leadership and integrity.
Transparency and Accountability
Every constituent should be able to, with a simple click on a website, access the attendance and voting record of their elected representative at Council and Committee meetings. The City of Hamilton has the technology in place to allow for this, but it has not been enabled by previous Councils. If elected, I will move a motion that Council and Committees implement, as soon as possible, a “recorded vote” and attendance tracking system.
Communication and Consultation Every constituent has the right to expect a timely and effective response when they have questions or need assistance from their local Councillor. Municipal issues can be complicated and may require careful research and/or staff assistance to resolve, and it would be dishonest to suggest that every question can be answered and every issue resolved immediately. However, every resident deserves to know that their inquiry has been received and that someone is working to address their issue as quickly as possible. If elected, I pledge that all calls and emails my office receives from constituents will be returned as quickly as possible, and always within a 24 period.
I believe our democracy is best served where we have an engaged and informed citizenry. It is my belief that a councillor-appointed “community council” is not an effective means by which to engage citizens. Local engagement should be organic, grassroots and free of councillor manipulation. I believe the local councillor should be the “guide on the side” rather than the “sage on the stage” when it comes to empowering neighbourhoods. The collaborative neighbourhood association model that flourishes in other parts of the city is a sound one and ought be embraced in Dundas and Flamborough.
Leadership and Integrity As someone who believes in the values of public service and the ability of smart government policies to make a positive difference in our communities, it saddens me to see political cynicism flourish at the same time as voter turnout dwindles. In this campaign, the positions I have taken in support of light rail transit (LRT) and on transitioning from an area rating for transit funding to an urban/rural split have certainly not placed me on the path of least resistance. It would have been a lot less risky to trim my sails to the prevailing wind, as some have, and tell people what I think they want to hear, but that wouldn’t be honest, it wouldn’t be authentic, and it wouldn’t demonstrate leadership and integrity.
On these, and all future issues, I promise that I will do my homework, get to know the issues, speak to people in our community, speak to policy experts, and then take a position based on what all available evidence indicates is most beneficial path for our community. I will not court controversy for its own sake, but I will not shy away from tough issues and tough conversations because there are more politically expedient paths available.
I believe we need more elected officials who are thoughtful, consistent, and have the courage of their convictions. That is the very least a councillor owes their constituents.
That is why I am asking for your support on Monday.