CBC mayoral candidates questionnaire 2018

This survey was emailed to all 12 candidates-for-mayor by Joanne Chianello from CBC Ottawa. The responses will be on the CBC Ottawa website until the Oct. 22 vote.

The original deadline was Wed. Aug. 29 but many of the 12 guys who want to be mayor pleaded for more time or objected to the questions, so the new deadline is Fri. Sept. 21.

2018 CBC Mayoral Candidate Questionnaire
Craig MacAulay, how many years have you lived in Ottawa? 36
How do you identify?
__ Female
X Male
__ Non-Binary
Do you identify as part of a minority group?
__ Yes
X No
__ Prefer Not to Say
How old are you? 66

How many council or committee meetings have you attended since Sept. 1, 2017?
I watch meetings online and read everything written by journalists about City Hall deliberations and decisions.

When was the last time you took public transit? Choose the statement that best describes you:
X I take transit more than once per week. (if piloting the bike-taxi counts)
__ I take transit more than once per month.
__ I take transit less than once per month.

City Issues
In the last term, what was council’s single greatest accomplishment? What was council’s biggest failure? (Limit answer to 150 words.)

If the main goal of most council members is to get themselves re-elected, developer-financed incumbents can congratulate themselves on being in a good position to stay on the gravy train for another four years.

That’s quite an accomplishment considering that many of them don’t deserve it!

Not surprising: look at how they spend their million dollar “office budgets” to pork-barrel and spread misinformation.

Time for some fresh faces on council. The People (the ones I talk to anyway) want more transparency, accountability and integrity. They’re fed up with politicians in general, but will they bother to vote?

Council’s biggest failure? The developer-financed politicians voted against considering ranked-choice voting, a small simple change that would make Ottawa’s elections fair and friendly. With fairer elections and limits on the power of big money and incumbency at City Hall we’d have better politicians making better decisions.

2) In the past four years, property taxes have increased about two per cent each year. Do you have a target for future tax increases?
_ Yes
X No
2a) What is your target for future property tax increases, as a percentage?

3) Does Ottawa have an adequate level of policing?
__ Yes
X No

3a) Would you increase the police budget by more than two per cent?
__ Yes
X No

3b) Please explain why. (Limit answer to 150 words.)

Staffing shortages on the front line are a serious concern, especially when morale is low and nearly 11 per cent of the entire force is either doing modified versions of their jobs or entirely different jobs because of medical restrictions.

Before increasing the police budget the new council should first look at using existing resources more efficiently and dealing with the issues of low officer morale, lack of confidence in the leadership, and lack of trust and cooperation in some neighbourhoods. The rank and file have many suggestions as to how they could work more effectively to combat crime and protect the innocent.

A big step forward would be a new chief, a new chair at the Ottawa Police Services Board and a new strategy of community-based policing supported by councillors focussed on addressing the root causes of crime. I’d also like to see more police on bikes!

4) Do you support cannabis retail shops in Ottawa?
__ Yes
X No

4a) Where should they be located? (Limit answer to 150 words.)

4b) What role should the city have regulating this new industry? (Limit answer to 150 words.)

A decision on the cannabis issue will be up to the 24 people sitting around the table after the election, and they should all consult their constituents and the experts fully to get it right (and not just look to the mayor to tell them how to vote).

It’s important that the price be low enough so that unscrupulous dealers who sell potentially lethal adulterated pot be put out of business. It’s important that the children (and everyone else) be protected.

Maybe make it only available online from government-regulated sources with delivery by Canada Post? Wouldn’t it be more efficient and less problematic than expensive bricks-and-mortar stores? Maybe sell it in pharmacies? It would be easier to control the safety of the product and keep it out of the hands of the underaged. Do we really want pot marketed like booze?

5) LRT is the single largest infrastructure project in Ottawa’s history. As the city moves into Stage 2, what would you do differently to improve the plan? (Limit answer to 150 words.)

We need to encourage the use of public transit by providing better service at a lower cost. The long-term goal should be community-friendly sustainable intensification near existing infrastructure.

Shame on Watson. Bungling, incompetence and bus route madness. Backroom deals, delays, lower ridership, angry commuters in both suburban and urban areas!

The taxpayer didn’t get a good deal with the RTG or on Landsdowne. It’ll be worse at LeBreton Flats.

Council should limit car-dependent suburban sprawl and spend less on building new infrastructure to serve it. Shared mobility services and pedestrian, cycling and transit connectivity near transit hubs should be a top priority.

Many incumbents are financed by the very business interests that profit from suburban sprawl. We need politicians working for the entire community, not just for the 1%. We need a plan for the future of our children, not higher short-term profits for the developers.

6) How much public money, if any, should the city invest in redeveloping LeBreton Flats? What should the money be spent on? (Limit answer to 150 words.)

ZERO Ottawa property tax money should fund the 1%’s private sector’s redevelopment scheme until all the details are revealed.

If we had a plan that was worthy of support it is reasonable that public money be spent on infrastructure like the internal road network, underground pipes and parks, things that development charges and new property tax revenue would help fund over the long term.

7) Do you support supervised injection sites (SIS)?
X Yes
__ No

7a) If the province retracts funding for SIS, would you support the city paying for their operation?
X Yes
__ No

8) Do you support inclusionary zoning as a tool to improve the supply of affordable housing units in Ottawa?
X Yes
__ No

9) Residents often complain about traffic (speeding, congestion, etc.). What would you do to improve traffic in the city? (Limit answer to 150 words.)

If we make the transit system more affordable and reliable and do more to encourage cycling there will be fewer cars on the road and less need to spend massive amounts of public money on serving the car. 

Suburban sprawl, widening highways and building new roads will do little to alleviate traffic congestion in Ottawa.

Photo radar is the most efficient way to reduce dangerous speeding.

Shame on the councillors who didn’t spend their traffic-calming budget except to use it to pork-barrel at election time. Councillor Chiarelli was the worst offender but other incumbents played politics with traffic-calming and public safety.

10) How would you encourage residents of your ward to recycle more, especially green-bin organics? (Limit answer to 150 words.)

I think we took a step backwards by permitting plastic bags in the green bins. The best way to encourage their use is more effective education: Ottawa only spends 50¢ per household.

I endorse Waste Watch Ottawa’s recommendations: rescinding the previous council’s decision to allow non-compostable plastic bags in the green bin, a target to divert 65% of waste to recycling and composting by 2022, tripling spending on promotion and education for the recycling and green bin programs to a level commensurate with that of other large Ontario municipalities, a partial or full user pay system for garbage, obligatory clear garbage bags, a reduction in the number of bags/bins of garbage that can be set out bi-weekly for collection and a commitment to engage residents in constructive consultations. For multi-residential buildings: required green bin composting and a concerted effort to improve recycling program performance.

10a) Do you support a city ban on single-use plastic?
X Yes
__ No

Leadership Issues
11) What do you love most about Ottawa? (Limit answer to 150 words.)

Some of us are living in great misery in disgraceful conditions, but for the most part we aren’t undeserving of our reputation as a fat-cat city: life is GOOD in Ottawa!

Most of us voters are quite happy living in Ottawa, for obvious reasons: what a great city!

Compared to almost any other place in the world we’re SO lucky to live in the National Capital region. We’re diverse, affluent, tolerant, compassionate and exciting: we have huge potential to make our city even greater IF we can get some better politicians at City Hall making smart decisions in the interest of the ENTIRE community.

We all have our complaints about City Hall but are we outraged enough to take a chance on someone new instead of Uncle Jim and his gang?

I worry that after the election we’ll have the same old bunch of compromised professional politicians in charge.

12) What do you think the mayor’s job is?
The mayor’s job is to lead the city by first setting a good example and inspiring confidence in the citizenry. I call on Mayor Watson (and all other candidates) to reveal the sources of their campaign funding over $100 BEFORE the election. This is important information that the voter needs before deciding who deserves a vote.

Many incumbents (including the mayor) flaunt the rules about using taxpayer funds and taxpayer-funded employees to campaign. They should STOP using their million-dollar “office budgets” as gigantic slush funds to indulge themselves, reward their friends, promote their lucrative political careers and show their disdain for the taxpayer.

13) The city has an infrastructure gap of about $60 million. What would you do to close this gap, and in what time frame? (Limit answer to 150 words.)

It’d be tough to close this gap in four years, even with “efficiencies” and a crackdown on wasteful spending at City Hall, but it’s doable.

Some tough decisions would have to be made that would hurt some people: developers, top management, career politicians, and the many residents who benefit from Jim Watson’s reign.

Others would benefit: all those who long for a sustainable, liveable and compassionate city ready to face the challenges of climate change and economic and political uncertainty.

13a) Are you in favour of “asset rationalization” — or closing facilities — to close that gap, as the city’s most recent long-term financial plan suggests may be necessary?
__ Yes
X No

14) The recent council approval of a 65-storey tower near the Bayview Station was controversial, in part because it went against a community design plan and secondary plan for the neighbourhood. How would you gain the trust of the public that their voice will be heard in planning issues? (Limit answer to 150 words.)

The public’s voice has been all but ignored on planning issues. We need honest squeaky-clean politicians who are not beholden to the developers in order to regain the trust that has been lost.

When a respected Conservative journalist/politician like Randall Denley is arguing convincingly that the 65-storey decision is BAD, and that something smells rotten at City Hall, shouldn’t voters at least listen to his arguments? 

Right-wing Denley agrees with left-wing Clive Doucet’s analysis of why Jim Watson and other developer-funded councillors don’t deserve your vote: “The real test of development is the liveability of the communities it produces, not the maximization of developer profits.”
15) What would you do to improve the diversity of city staff? (Limit answer to 150 words.)

It is essential that we have a plan in place to ensure that an equity lens is applied to the City’s services and programs, and that the lived experiences of all citizens are captured in the way our city is run.

I totally support the goals and suggestions of CAWI: in order to have City staff and managers representative of Ottawa’s population we need increased hiring and advancement of people from equity-seeking groups including Indigenous people, women, racialized people, LGBTQ, people with disabilities and newcomers. 

As mayor I would live up to my solemn zero-means-zero promise: ZERO compensation from the taxpayer for me and ZERO personal power. I would act more like the Speaker of the House, doing my best to ensure that the collective wisdom of councillors and the voters they represent help us find the best solutions to the many thorny problems that face us.

16) Do you support a women’s bureau? Why or why not? (Limit answer to 150 words.) I’ve listened to all the arguments for and against and I’ve concluded that it’s a good idea.

17) The city is planning to undertake a ward boundary review. Do you think the city has too many wards, too few or the right number? Why? (Limit answer to 150 words.)

We spend WAY too many tax dollars on politicians! Each councillor gets a million-dollar “office budget.” Many developer-funded councillors spend a large chunk of it on pork-barreling, permanent-campaigning and self-indulgent luxuries.

That doesn’t mean we have too many politicians. We need BETTER politicians who respect the taxpayer and take on the job to serve the public, not to enrich themselves and serve their friends. 

Politicians should listen to and respect the collective wisdom of progressive organizations like Ecology Ottawa, Bike Ottawa and the Healthy Transportation Coalition.

Legitimate democratically-elected community associations should play an important role in governance. Leave the boundaries alone but slash the overall cost to the taxpayer by dealing with the many abuses that the developer-funded councillors should be ashamed of. 

I won’t be taking any salary at all, and I would encourage other councillors to vote big pay cuts for themselves.

A Bit More About You
18) Which municipal figure, alive or dead, do you admire? Why? (Limit answer to 150 words.)

There are many local politicians whom I admire. With power comes temptation; there must be transparency, accountability and, as much as possible, decentralized decision-making where EVERYONE gets a chance to provide REAL input, not just special interest groups looking to line their pockets.

Some people I admire: David Reevely, Matthew PearsonRandall Denley, Joanne Chianello (and all the professional journalists who have the smarts, the courage and the tenacity to speak the truth to power), Paul and Marion Dewar, Clive Doucet, Jeff Leiper, Shawn Menard, Rob Campbell, James O’Grady, Valérie Plante, Alex Cullen (and all the smart politicians who are in the game for the right reasons), Eric Darwin, Alex-the-Puffin, Heather Shearer, Clayton Dignard, Colum Grove-White, Hans-on-the-bike, Centretowner, Trevor Haché, Manjit Basi, Kevin O’Donnell, Stephane Pressault, Rob Barnes, RichardBartek Komorowski (and all those who work for a kinder, gentler, greener sustainable city).

19) Tell us about any formal education, training or other credentials you think are relevant to the job of being the mayor. (Limit answer to 150 words.)

After my first two degrees I took a teaching job in Arnprior. During my 30-year career as an overpaid/overworked classroom teacher I spent fifteen years as a grade 5 immersion teacher at Lakeview P.S.

For many years I ran arguably the BEST outdoor rinks in the city before Rick Chiarelli fired me as president of the Lynwood Village Community Association.

I put in MANY hours of volunteer labour for the local bike coop, Ottawa123, the Healthy Transportation Coalition and many other worthy groups.

I’m fully trained as a bike-taxi pilot registered with the Human Powered Vehicle Operators of Ottawa (HPVOoO). I’m proud of my 7-year perfect safety record piloting the Bells Corners Free Bike-taxi (no tipping allowed) and the tens of thousands of genuine smiles I’ve helped produce.

I run Ottawa’s silliest but most popular blog, https://bellscorners.wordpress.com.

20) If elected, what single greatest change do you hope to have made in Ottawa four years from now? (Limit answer to 150 words.)

Convincing politicians to vote yes on ranked-choice voting to limit the influence of big money at City Hall would be a real game changer!

I’m lucid enough to know that my chances are fairly slim. Not zero but almost. I’m not spending any money and I don’t pretend to be anything other than an ordinary Joe-the-plumber. NOT the sharpest tool in the shed!

Will I vote for myself?! If I think Mr. Doucet has NO chance of putting Mr. Watson out to pasture I might vote for myself or somebody else.

By mid-October we’ll know.

If I wake up on Oct. 23 as mayor (didn’t a pig once get elected as mayor in Iceland?) I promise to respect my solemn zero-means-zero pledge: zero compensation from the taxpayer and zero personal power for me.

My first rule will be: do no harm/tell the truth.

Craig MacAulay
Why I’m running riding for mayor
Bike-taxi pilot
Citizen/Sun questionnaire
Campaign blog (who’s going to win?)