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Chamber of Commerce questions/answers

October 7, 2010

Here are the questions sent by the Greater Sudbury Chamber of Commerce to candidates. Of course, my answers are also posted. 🙂

If elected, how will you ensure that your ward activities and responsibilities will not eclipse the collective success of the community and more importantly, Greater Sudbury’s economic
development?
I understand the delicate balance between representing my ward, and representing the Greater City of Sudbury community as a whole. I believe that Ward 8 is an important ward, as it is one of the prime locations for business in this city. I believe that promoting business in Ward 8 will be a great thing for the city’s economy, and whenever I can I will strive to improve the economic strength of the ward, and city in general. That being said, I understand that some decisions I will have to make will be aimed at improving the entire city, rather than just my own ward, and am prepared to discuss any economic opportunity that will boost the city’s economy. It is critical that Sudbury begins to embrace a new economic role as a knowledge-based economy. I feel that Laurentian University opening the School of Architecture, Living with Lakes Centre, to go along with the already-opened Northern Ontario School of Medicine and Teacher’s College.
How important is the Greater Sudbury Chamber of Commerce to our community? If elected, how do you see yourself working with the chamber?
The Greater Sudbury Chamber of Commerce is vital to our community. They are the Voice of Business in this city, and truly understand the needs of businesses in the community. I have been a proud member of the Chamber of Commerce since 2001. That being said, I plan to work closely with the Chamber in order to understand the role Ward 8 can play in strengthening this city’s economy. I would be open to working with the Chamber to promote economic prosperity in Ward 8 through any projects that seem beneficial for the residents of my ward.
Regarding the privitization of city services:

The privatization of city services is a very complex issue. It has the potential to save the city money.
On the other hand, we must be careful that the quality of city services stays up to par. It is also important that no one loses their jobs as a result of the privatization.
Each city service that is being considered for privatization has to be studied on a case-by-case basis. A strong city council would be able to determine which privatizations are worthwhile for the community, and which are not beneficial.
In conclusion, I support it if it’s beneficial for our city and if it saves us money in the long run. The money the city saves could then be redirected into other city services, infrastructure, or special projects. It is important that we are not so gung-ho about saving money through privatization that additional costs will be pushed onto our citizens by the new private owners.
As far as which services could be privatized, one would have to study the budget carefully and the possible savings of privatizing the service. It’s difficult to pick a random service and say it would be better if it was privatized, prior to doing specific research on it.

Last year, the city was able to secure last minute, temporary bridge funding from the province for shortfalls tied to grants given under the Ontario Municipal Partnership Fund (OMPF). The city went several months without knowing what amount – if any – it would receive from the province. This forced council to consider tax increases. It is expected that the city will need to find savings of $12 million this year. As a councillor, how would you propose addressing this shortfall?

Considering my strong business background, I’m familiar with being economically efficient. I think it’s important for any City Council to look at ways to save the city money. I think that approaching the city’s budget with an eye for business is critical in this age of economic responsibility. I plan to approach each budget by looking at ways to make the city more fiscally responsible in these trying times. Innovation will be the key, as it always is with economics. This challenge is a great opportunity for the community to band together and decide what we want our future to look like. That being said, the city needs to look at the valuable business opportunities from within our community. There are some great opportunities locally, which would provide the community with additional income supplies. We can also focus on attracting events to our fabulous city, which would generate a lot of revenue.

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