Talking Toronto

Hamish Wilson Talks Toronto

With less than a month until this city's municipal elections, it's not hard to miss the deluge of campaign signs that are littering neighbourhood lawns. With 275 people running across Toronto for the position of City Councillor, finding out about each and every single candidate (even out of the few running in your own ward) can get daunting.

In an effort to learn more about the people trying to run the future of this city, I sent out dozens of emails to candidates trying to learn about their motivations and aspirations. A few responded, many didn't. Over the next few days, I'm going to take a look at the few that did.

Today's candidate: Hamish Wilson, Ward 29.

Why did you decide to run for city council?
Case Ootes is anti-bike and we're in a carisis. A climate carisis too.

What are the significant issues that people in your ward are facing, and what do you plan to do to address those issues?
Transport is one big issue. Taxes are likely another.

One effort to change the mess is found on the takethetooker.ca site: we're working towards a cross-town bikeway to advantage bikes beside the subway. Bloor/Danforth is flat, long, direct and without streetcar tracks and cyclists need to have a higher degree of consideration, respect and safety, though there are dangerous selfish dorks on bikes.

With taxes, we subsidize the car too much. Sure, they are quite costly to operate and get, but I think there's a wide range of ways that they don't pay their freight, well beyond what the TTC and GO transit gets. One estimate by a citizen indicates there's maybe $400 million of avoided cost that is picked up by the broader public.

What are some of the city-wide issues that you feel most engaged with and why?
I've been very active in fighting the Front St. Extension for maybe 4.5 years or more. It's a costly, car-based folly that hasn't looked at whether transit options can fix the problems. Somehow, the civic NDP are supporting this Metro-era road project (see Fe. 21.05 21-19 council vote). A quarter billion bucks is a lot of money to give to cars and we should spend in all on transit instead as there are about 6 options instead of the road.

This ties into our horrible record on greenhouse gas emissions. We're not as green as some of us tell us nor as we think being about 20% above the stabilization target instead of anywhere below it by the target date.

See also takethetooker.ca, and there's an int'l day of action on Nov. 4th. With incineration, doesn't make sense, we're already using the atmosphere as a garbage dump and there's a bit of evidence that energy from recycling is actually greater. Housing remains pressing, energy issues are horrible. It's all a lot of work and expense.

What is your larger vision for Toronto in the next few years?
A Front St. transitway instead of a car-based folly. Maybe push it up the Don Valley too?!

The takethetooker is a living legacy for Tooker Gomberg and respectful cyclists are there in droves. Instead of fighting for one lane, council is debating whether to turn all of Bloor into a bikeway and we have serious pressure to make all the area south car-free between High Park and the Don Valley at least for car-free day. Tolls have been imposed on SOV motorists on the limited access hgihways and bus and truckways have enhanced our access by goods and people.The air is better, and we're starting to see green rooves and healthier trees. Just as a start.

blogTO does not necessarily endorse any of the candidates profiled. Candidates were selected based on the ease of finding their contact information on the web, their willingness to reply to my first email, and a bit of random serendipity.

The Toronto municipal elections take place on November 13, 2006. To find out more on how to vote or how to get involved, visit the city elections website.

(Image: Payam Rajabi)


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