REGINA CIVIC ELECTIONS
WEDNESDAY OCTOBER 28 2009
9 QUESTIONS FOR CANDIDATES
1. Should Regina have a domed stadium?
What isn’t getting funded when you put $350 million into an arena? Safe, affordable housing? Early learning and child care programs? Libraries? Recreational facilities? Arts and cultural organizations? An improved public transit system? Where do we best put our limited resources to get the best return for our community?
2. What would you do about the lack of affordable housing in Regina?
●Saskatchewan’s “boom” is not benefitting everyone. Regina housing prices have skyrocketed, making home ownership impossible for many residents. Regina also has a low apartment vacancy rate (1.8%) relative to other Canadian cities. ●In 2008, 3,000 people slept in homeless shelters in Regina. Thousands more, unable to find affordable accommodation, have had to double up with friends or family members, leading to overcrowded living conditions. ●Contrary to claims by current City Councilors, affordable housing is not solely a provincial responsibility. The City of Regina can develop affordable housing units that would be managed by the Regina Housing Authority. City Council can also pass rent-control laws and reject condo conversion applications when the apartment vacancy rate falls below 3%.
3. Should Regina landlords be required to apply for a licence?
Slum housing is a huge problem in Regina. Adequate shelter is a fundamental human right. A landlord licensing program is a way to bring an end to slum housing. Landlords would be required to apply for an annual licence for every rental property they own. A licence would not be issued until city officials had inspected the properties to ensure they meet housing standards. When, in 2008, the North Central Community Association brought forward a proposal to Regina City Council to introduce landlord licensing, City Council chose to avoid taking responsible action and deferred the matter to a higher level of government.
4. Do you think the City of Regina should have a “buy local” policy?
The City of Regina spends our tax dollars on an array of goods and services: from pens and paper, to road repair and construction, to buses and infrastructure projects. A buy local policy will ensure that we maintain jobs at home and that Regina’s economy continues to grow. Despite claims to the contrary, a buy local policy is not against NAFTA regulations which clearly state that governments at all levels can dedicate their spending to locally produced goods and services.
5. How would you improve the Regina Public Transit system?
Did you know that Saskatchewan has Canada’s highest per capita carbon emissions? Did you know that there were 11,238 traffic accidents in Regina in 2008? Public transit use is a way to address both of these problems. To increase ridership, Regina Transit needs to lower fares, provide more frequent and earlier and later service, and offer holiday and full Sunday service. It cannot do so without more money from City Council.
6. Should cosmetic pesticides be banned in Regina?
The Canadian Cancer Society wants the potentially dangerous use of cosmetic pesticides to be an election issue in all Saskatchewan municipalities. (Go to www.cancer.ca, then click on “Saskatchewan.”) Some Canadian cities, including Toronto and Halifax, have already banned cosmetic pesticides. But not Regina. When the matter came before Regina City Council in 2002, the Council bowed to pressure from the lawn care business lobby and voted against passing a cosmetic pesticide bylaw.
7. When will Regina have a city-wide curbside recycling program?
Some Reginians already recycle by paying for curbside pickup services from private companies or driving their recycling to one of the blue-bin stations located in parking lots around the city. These limited recycling options do not suffice, especially when compared to other Canadian cities. Not everyone can afford to pay for private recycling services; and the free blue-box system requires users to own a car to drive the recyclables to the drop-bins, leaving those who make the environmental or economic decision not to drive out of luck. City-wide curbside recycling is the only way to go if City Council wants to reduce the amount of waste going to the landfill.
8. What’s your view of the Regina Public School Board’s 10-year plan?
Announced in 2007, the Regina Board of Education 10-year plan comes with a $96.5 million price-tag and involves closing and demolishing many smaller, neighbourhood schools and increased busing to larger, consolidated schools. If the plan proceeds, over 45% of elementary students will be bused to schools outside their neighbourhoods. ●As a trustee, would you support an alternative plan that would reduce busing and promote walking? ●As a trustee, would you stand up for communities that wish to retain their schools? ●As a trustee, would you oppose the current trend toward fewer classrooms, fewer schools, more overcrowded portable classrooms, and increased capital spending on endless cycles of demolition and construction?
9. What is your position on public-private partnerships?
Traditionally, public facilities, such as schools, hospitals, and libraries, are designed and built by the private sector, while governments finance, maintain, own, and operate them. The much touted public-private partnerships (P3s) involve a different financial and operational arrangement. For, under P3s, the private sector not only designs and builds public facilities, it also finances, owns, and operates them, leasing them back to the city or province for a specified period. ●P3s are a form of privatization. They involve a transfer of publically owned land and infrastructure into private hands. ● Under P3s, quality of service is often compromised because the profit motive takes priority. ●P3s are supposed to transfer risks to the private sector for financing and operating public projects. However, it has been demonstrated in other communities that P3s end up costing governments, and hence taxpayers, more money. One reason is that private investors want to receive a rate of return that is higher than the government’s bond rate. Another is cost overruns, which contracts normally require be paid out of the public purse. ●The current economic and financial crisis was caused by the same policies behind the push for P3s.
- A vote cast in a civic election counts for more than one cast in a provincial or federal election.
- Civic politics have a very direct impact on our daily lives, determining the kind of city we live in.
Polls are open from 9:00 am – 8:00 pm
MAKING PEACE VIGIL
until peace breaks out
From 12 noon to 12:30 pm
On Scarth Street at 11th Avenue
EVERYONE IS WELCOME
MAKING PEACE VIGIL October 22 2009