Canada's Etobicoke Centre (Ward 3) city council candidates speak

Monday, October 30, 2006

Etobicoke North (Ward 1)
Etobicoke Centre (Ward 3, 4)
Etobicoke—Lakeshore (Ward 5)
York West (Ward 7, 8)
Parkdale—High Park (Ward 13, 14)
Eglinton—Lawrence (Ward 16)
Davenport (Ward 17, 18)
Trinity—Spadina (Ward 19, 20)
St. Paul’s West (Ward 21)
Don Valley West (Ward 25, 26)
Toronto—Danforth (Ward 29, 30)
Beaches—East York (Ward 32)
Don Valley East (Ward 33)
Scarborough—Agincourt (Ward 39, 40)
Scarborough East (Ward 43, 44)
Toronto from space

Toronto from space.

This exclusive interview features first-hand journalism by a Wikinews reporter. See the collaboration page for more details.

On November 13, Torontoians will be heading to the polls to vote for their ward's councillor and for mayor. Among Toronto's ridings is Etobicoke Centre (Ward 3). One candidate responded to Wikinews' requests for an interview. This ward's candidates include Doug Holyday (incumbent), Peter Kudryk, Lillian Lança, and Ross Vaughan.

For more information on the election, read Toronto municipal election, 2006.

53-year-old Lillian Lança is an Office Assistant, Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics, Faculty of Arts and Science, University of Toronto.

Q: Describe the three most important issues in your campaign.

A: Ward 3 in Etobicoke Centre, has one of the largest populations of seniors in Canada. There are many issues unique to seniors. Many seniors are on fixed incomes and are often property rich and cash poor. A better method than the present property tax assessment could be explored for collecting tax dollars easing seniors' financial burdens. Some other ideas such as allowing seniors to work part-time without the government clawing back benefits would enable more seniors to remain in their homes. An improved TTC system would maintain seniors' independence.
Community safety is an issue facing most urban communities, not just ward 3. We need to keep our children in school, off the streets and away from gangs. Parks and recreation, and after school programs need to be expanded and more accessible. I have learned of mentoring and tutoring initiatives in conjunction with community organizations, businesses and institutes of higher learning that have proven successful in reducing drop-out rates and absenteeism. A culture of achievement should be encouraged for our children. Keeping our youth in school will turn potential delinquents, criminals and welfare recipients into good citizens who will earn salaries and pay taxes.
Lastly, there needs to be more fiscal responsibility through better planning with our tax dollars, the money is there. Toronto is one of the main engines driving a booming Canadian economy. However, our infrastructure is deteriorating while taxes keep increasing. This is not good for business. Our public services are being eroded while our communities are suffering. Upper levels of government have been downloading responsibilities onto municipalities while decreasing funding, without allowing municipalities a voice in the decision-making process. This needs to change.

Q: What one election issue do you feel is most relevant to your ward in this election?

A: While ward 3, Etobicoke Centre, has one of the oldest populations in Canada, the demographics of this ward are gradually changing. Ward 3 is becoming more ethnically diverse particularly with a growing Somali community. This ward needs to be ready to accommodate these new Canadians with programs and facilities that will better integrate them into the mosaic that is Canada. Housing, English as a Second Language, health care, and so importantly, jobs are only a few of the ingredients needed to enable them to become active participants in making this country great.

Q: Why have you chosen to involve yourself in the political process?

A: I have been interested in politics even as a child. There were often good political discussions at our dinner table. I have lived most of my life in Etobicoke, graduating from what was then, Royal York Collegiate and after graduation, spent a number of years traveling extensively. After marrying, I lived in Portugal for five years with my husband and began our family. During this time of traveling and living abroad, I realized more and more how much I loved my country, Canada, warts and all. Upon returning, our family moved back to Etobicoke and I gradually became more interested and involved in politics. Now that our children are old enough to manage themselves I thought the time was right to give back to my community. I am convinced that politicians can once again be trusted to contribute to society and to think beyond themselves. Perhaps I am somewhat naïve, but I have good energy and believe that I, one woman, can at least begin to make a difference.

Q: Why do you want to represent this particular ward on council?

A: I've lived in Etobicoke most of my life. I've married and have raised two sons in this community. We are living in a changing ward and, I understand what work needs to be done in Ward 3 to keep it great. I also believe that it is time for a change and that Ward 3 deserves better representation at Council than at present.

Q: How are you currently involved in the community?

A: A number of years ago, I was involved in what was then called the Youth Line. The Youth Line phone number was broadly posted and was available to young people wanting to talk about anything from pimples to suicide. Later, as my sons were growing and attending Eatonville Public School, I became involved in the Eatonville PTA as secretary, organizing Fun Fairs, Pizza Days, Hot Dog Days, and all those events that brought fun and finances to the school. Presently, I am involved with an organization in South Africa called ‘Mother's Love Foundation'. This foundation feeds breakfast to children orphaned by AIDS. As well, this foundation brings women together and provides them work in beading beautiful, colourful South African jewelry and artifacts available for sale, while at the same time providing these women with invaluable information regarding AIDS prevention and the ability to feed their families and become financially independent.

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: I am most proud of the decisions this City Council made towards making our city ‘greener'. Toronto has received many awards from organizations and cities across North America for environmental achievements brought by this Council, including the pesticide by-law, the private tree by-law, the Deep Lake Water Cooling Project, the purchase of new hybrid diesel-electric buses and the implementation of the green bin. I would want to continue to make Toronto the 'greenest' city in North America.
Although I support the purchase of the new subway cars from Bombardier, and thereby keeping many jobs in Canada, I believe it could have been conducted more transparently.

Q: If you were elected as a "rookie" councillor, What would you bring to the table beyond the incumbent?

A: I would bring to the table, a better understanding of the realities of ward 3. I would establish a constituency office and make myself available and accessible to the constituents of ward 3. While I believe in fiscal responsibility, money needs to be spent wisely, to maintain our infrastructure and to keep our communities clean and safe.

Q: What does Toronto mean to you?

A: Toronto is my home. I was born and raised in Toronto. Toronto is the home of my family. I want to keep Toronto great. It saddens me to think of how Toronto once was and yet am inspired to think how great Toronto can once again be. Toronto will continue to be my home for a long while yet.