110 Laurier Ave. West Ottawa, ON K1P 1J1
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Jim.Watson@Ottawa.ca

Responses to the Mayor’s Questionnaire for Ottawa-Vanier Federal by-election Candidates 2017

Responses to the Mayor’s Questionnaire for Ottawa-Vanier Federal by-election Candidates 2017

1)   The city is embarking on an ambitious Light Rail Transit project, including Stage 2 that sends light rail further East, West and South. If elected, will you, and your party support Stage 2?

Green Party of Canada candidate Nira Dookeran

Yes
Comments: As a representative of the Green Party of Canada, I will and do support Stage 2 of the Light Rail Transit project, which will extend the LRT west to Moodie, east to Trim, and south to Riverside and the airport.

Greens support the extension of efficient and affordable public transit systems, including such ambitious projects as Ottawa’s LRT line.

Ottawa’s visionary 21st-century urban planning, which includes planning safe, well-planned cycling lanes, more pedestrian walkways and bridges (such as the beautiful new bridge linking Sandy Hill to River Road), and improving OCTranspo bus service, is key to Green goals of reducing traffic congestion and carbon emissions, making our streets and neighbourhoods cleaner, greener, safer, and more beautiful places to live, work, and play.

This is the Green vision of sustainable urban planning and we wholeheartedly support Stage 2 of the LRT as a significant step in the right direction.

Liberal Party of Canada candidate Mona Fortier

Yes
Comments: Ottawa’s LRT Phase 2 is an exciting project for the people of Ottawa-Vanier, and it is one of the reasons why I am proud that in Budget 2016, the Liberal government introduced the Public Transit Infrastructure Fund through which the City of Ottawa has already received more than $155 million for 57 transit projects.This included $45 million for LRT Stage 2 early works and preliminary engineering.

By investing in infrastructure now – in the projects Canada needs and the men and women who can build them – we can strengthen and grow the middle class and make Canada an even better place to call home.  Helping communities to become cleaner and less reliant on sources of energy that pollute the air, harm the environment, and compromise our health is critical to investments going forward.

Budget 2017 includes $20.1 billion over 11 years through bilateral agreements with provinces and territories to support the next phase of ambitious public transit projects. This funding will make it possible for Canadian communities to build the new urban transit networks and service extensions that will transform the way that Canadians live, move and work.  I committed to fighting for Ottawa-Vanier’s fair share of infrastructure investments and am excited to work with my city and provincial colleagues to see Ottawa’s LRT projects funded.

Conservative Party of Canada candidate Adrian Papara

Yes
Comments: If elected, I will support Stage 2 of the city’s Light Rail Transit. I truly believe that the construction of public infrastructure such as the LRT with 5 stations in Ottawa-Vanier, creates jobs and helps business prosper now and into the future. Making strategic investments into public transit infrastructure will also help reduce traffic congestion and the cost of gridlock in Ottawa-Vanier, and will facilitate access for Ottawa residents to jobs, education, health care services and social activities.

New Democratic Party of Canada candidate Emilie Taman

Yes
Comments: I am in full support of Stage 2 of the Light Rail Transit project as an important way to improve commute times and help reduce the influx of traffic on many road in Ottawa-Vanier. More transit options in the riding will definitely improve the lives of Ottawa-Vanier residents.

For years, the New Democratic Party has been pushing the federal government to invest more in transit and to provide municipalities with stable funding.

 

2)   Truck traffic in the downtown core, particularly on Kind Edward Avenue, Rideau and Waller Streets, is often unsafe and takes away from the quality of life of residents and visitors. The city has approved a plan to conduct an Environment Assessment (EA) on a proposed truck tunnel that would remove the majority of trucks from the downtown core. Will you and your party support 1/3rd funding of the EA in this next fiscal year so that work can begin the study next year?

Green Party of Canada candidate Nira Dookeran

Yes
Comments: As a representative of the Green Party of Canada, I will support 1/3rd federal funding of the Environmental Assessment (EA) on a proposed truck tunnel to remove the majority of trucks from Ottawa’s downtown core.

This is a problem that has persisted for more than 5 decades. It’s high time for a solution. I will support 1/3rd federal funding in this next fiscal year to match the funds already committed at the municipal and provincial levels ($2.5 million each) to conduct an EA on the proposed King Edward truck tunnel.

Liberal Party of Canada candidate Mona Fortier

Yes
Comments: We need to ensure that any new transportation infrastructure projects reflect an integrated system-wide approach. The City of Ottawa has undertook a feasibility study, which reported to council, that a tunnel is indeed possible.

If elected, I am committed to working with my provincial and municipal colleagues to ensure funding is available to the city for a proper environmental assessment. In the meantime, I would commit to working on creative solutions to help mitigate the truck traffic through Lowertown and down King Edward Ave.

Conservative Party of Canada candidate Adrian Papara

Yes
Comments: I agree that the truck traffic in the downtown core is often unsafe and environmentally unfriendly. If elected, I will support funding of the environmental assessment so that work can begin on a study on the proposed truck tunnel. It is a project I support and one that eases concerns over alternatives such as bridge projects that would disrupt local communities. The truck tunnel is a viable idea because it reduces not only truck traffic in the downtown core, but traffic in general as over 3000 cars and trucks would be able to use it on a daily basis. What makes this project feasible is that no new major infrastructure is needed on the connecting Quebec side and it would link directly to highway 417. Improved infrastructure is key for businesses to get their products to market faster and more efficiently and cut commute times for residents so they can get home and be with their families or to their jobs faster.

New Democratic Party of Canada candidate Emilie Taman

Yes
Comments: Having lived on St Patrick St. in Lowertown, I am well aware of the problems with heavy truck traffic on King Edward. The level of traffic has been putting the lives of people in Lowertown at risk for many years. It’s time to stop talking about fix this problem and actually get on with doing it. Both the NDP and I fully support providing federal government funding for one-third of the cost for the Environmental Assessment. I will also do everything I can to ensure the necessary funding required to move this project from talk to reality.

 

3)   Will you and your party join with the Provincial Government and the City of Ottawa in adding additional funding for affordable housing? If so, what kind of support do you envision?

Green Party of Canada candidate Nira Dookeran

Yes
Comments: As a representative of the Green Party of Canada, I will advocate strongly for federal funding to support municipal and provincial efforts to create adequate affordable housing for all Canadians.

As a party committed to collaboration among all levels of government, the Green Party sees the need for strong federal leadership in the area of affordable housing across the country. This is why we support a National Housing Strategy. We support working collaboratively in good faith with the Federation of Canadian Municipalities to ensure that all Canadians have safe, affordable, and long-term housing.

Federal commitments for subsidised and affordable housing across the country stand currently at $1.7 billion, projected to be reduced to $1 billion by 2020, and to be eliminated by 2040. This is not acceptable.

The City of Ottawa projects that 150-200 units of affordable housing will come online this year. However, the current waitlist for affordable housing across the city approaches 10 000. Clearly, the City requires significant, substantial, and sustained funding commitments from the federal government to be in a position to plan proactively to meet the housing needs of Ottawa citizens.

The Green Party of Canada supports a National Housing Strategy that includes such significant, substantial, and sustained funding. No Canadian should be without safe, affordable, and long-term housing. It is the responsibility of all levels of government, working together, with strong federal leadership and support, to make sure this goal becomes a reality for all Canadians.

Liberal Party of Canada candidate Mona Fortier

Yes
Comments: All Canadians deserve a safe and affordable place to call home and that is why the Liberal Government is working towards establishing National Housing Strategy to renew federal leadership in housing. In Budget 2017, more than $11.2 billion was allocated for a National Housing Strategy to help ensure that Canadians have affordable housing that meets their needs.  This strategy will have an integrated approach to address the entire continuum of housing challenges across the country, including homelessness.

Of the total funding, $3.2 billion will be provided to province and territories to support key priorities for affordable housing through a new, expanded, multilateral investment framework that will replace the existing Investment in Affordable Housing initiative.

I will work hard to ensure that investments into affordable housing benefit residents of Ottawa-Vanier and work to address homelessness, and increase support for vulnerable groups.

Conservative Party of Canada candidate Adrian Papara

Yes
Comments: The Conservative Party of Canada believes that all Canadians should have a reasonable opportunity to own their home and to have access to safe and affordable housing. As a candidate, I have made a commitment that if elected I would work to reverse the Liberal government’s “one size fits all” mortgage rules aimed at the Vancouver and Toronto housing markets that are eroding the purchasing power for would be home owners by up to 20% here in Ottawa-Vanier. The riding is home to almost 2/3 of Ottawa’s affordable housing units, and much of the money the city receives from the federal government is mostly used on maintaining existing units leaving little in terms of the creation of new units. That’s a disappointment for the almost 10,000 people currently on a wait list for affordable housing. While I am glad to see that the Liberal government has put aside billions for affordable housing across Canada, most of that funding only comes after the next election. That delay in the majority of the funding is unacceptable and I will work to make sure more of that funding will be available now when it’s needed.

New Democratic Party of Canada candidate Emilie Taman

Yes
Comments: With 10,000 people on the wait list for housing in Ottawa, building new affordable housing in the city must be a priority.

While Budget 2017 announced money for investments in housing, close to 90% of the promised funds is not scheduled to be spent until after the next election. Right now only $10 million will be provided for the entire country, which does not come close to meeting the needs of our city.

 

4)  As you are aware, Ottawa, along with other cities across Canada, is dealing with an unfortunate crisis with our youth around the usage of opioids. Public health officials estimate there have been about 20-25 overdose related death in Ottawa in a one year period. The City of Ottawa, joined by many partners, held a public meeting on February 27 2017 to discuss ways we can work together to combat this issue. Will you and your party commit to more funding for addiction treatment facilities, more beds in those facilities and more timely statistics to help address this crisis in our community?

Green Party of Canada candidate Nira Dookeran

Yes
Comments: The current opioid crisis requires immediate and urgent attention. As a representative of the Green Party of Canada, I support funding measures to address this crisis, including addiction treatment facilities, more beds in those facilities, and more timely statistics to help address this crisis among our youth. These measures should be implemented with leadership and collaboration by Ottawa Public Health.

In addition to addressing the current crisis, however, I support improving public education, especially among youth, regarding drug and alcohol addiction, street drugs, abuse of prescription drugs, and related risks. A long-term approach to healthy choices for our young people must focus on education and prevention.

Liberal Party of Canada candidate Mona Fortier

Yes
Comments: The current opioid crisis is having a devastating impact in many communities. The Liberal government is committed to a comprehensive, collaborative, compassionate, and evidence-based response to the crisis and will exhaust every possible avenue in addressing this crisis.

In total, the Liberal government has announced $81 million in funding to address the ongoing crisis. In addition to the announced emergency funding for Alberta, $10 million in emergency funding has been provided to British Columbia, and $65 million over five years has been announced for federal initiatives, including to support the federal government’s ongoing implementation of the Opioid Action Plan.

No single action can end the crisis, but this funding is an important step toward addressing immediate and longer-term needs.  If elected I am committed to working with my provincial and municipal counterparts to ensure treatment and prevention programmes are available.

Conservative Party of Canada candidate Adrian Papara

Yes
Comments: I am very concerned about our opioid crisis in Ottawa among youth. It is my understanding that the federal Health Minister made a $65 million commitment to support better lab testing, better toxicology, better data and surveillance across Canada. While I welcome this news, I believe the federal government should have also committed funding to our province and our city to increase access to the overdose-reversing drug Naloxone and create overdose prevention facilities. If elected, I will be a strong voice in Parliament and will work to keep the Liberals accountable and make sure that committed funds reach our communities that depend on it. I think it’s also important to commit federal funds to programs that engage youth and educate them on the consequences of unsafe opioid consumption.

New Democratic Party of Canada candidate Emilie Taman

Yes
Comments: The opiod crisis must be tackled immediately. It must include a harm reduction strategy that incorporates solutions like safe injection sites to ensure no one falls through the cracks before they are able to get the treatment they need.

It was the NDP that first pushed the government to study this issue and has been pushing to get necessary legislation through as quickly as possible. We cannot afford to lose any more people to these horrible drugs. I will push for the necessary federal funding to make sure the support is there for people where and when it is needed.

 

5) The City of Ottawa has embarked on an ambitious plan to revitalize the Byward Market, Canada’s oldest continuously operating farmers market. As part of the revitalization effort, the City plans to invest $10 million to improve the public areas around the Byward market Building, including improving pedestrian and cycling connections and public gathering spaces. The City has already invested $1 million in this project.  Will you support the City’s request to the Government of Canada for 1/3rd funding in support of the Market Revitalization initiative?

Green Party of Canada candidate Nira Dookeran

Yes
Comments: Canadians’ growing awareness and concern for food security, healthy, clean food and support for local farm produce dovetails elegantly with the City’s Byward Market revitalization plan. Improving pedestrian and cycling connections and public gathering spaces in the Market will take us “back to the future” with a thriving, bustling market, free of excessive traffic congestion.

This is an essential component of the Green vision of our cities of the future – a return to relatively car-free, community-rich hubs where we gather to work, shop, play, dine. As a representative of the Green Party of Canada, I support the 1/3rd federal funding contribution to the Byward Market Revitalization initiative.

Liberal Party of Canada candidate Mona Fortier

Yes
Comments: The Byward Market is an important historic and tourist area of Ottawa-Vanier. If elected, I will work tirelessly to ensure Ottawa-Vanier gets its fair share of investments for cultural and recreational centres. The Liberal Government is committed to improving access to public spaces that contribute to vibrant and healthier communities. The Byward Market revitalization will improve an already spectacular district of our riding. 

Conservative Party of Canada candidate Adrian Papara

Yes
Comments: If elected, I would support the City’s request for federal funding to support the Market Revitalization initiative. I had the opportunity to learn more about this great initiative while on a walkabout with the other candidates and Councillor Mathieu Fleury. The Market is An attraction visited by hundreds of thousands of tourists and with the opening of the new LRT station on Rideau it will attract even more local visitors. Improving pedestrian access and public gathering spaces just makes sense. Businesses in the Market are now facing competition from new entertainment districts like Lansdowne Park and we must preserve the attractiveness of the Market so that businesses that create local jobs continue to grow and prosper.

New Democratic Party of Canada candidate Emilie Taman

Yes
Comments: I absolutely believe the federal government must cover a third of the cost of the Market Revitalization Initiative. I also believe investing in the revitalization of the other parts of Ottawa-Vanier. To this end, I believe the federal government should move toward a more stable, efficient and transparent funding model based on population and need, rather than forcing municipalities to continually beg for infrastructure funding.