Every election we survey all candidates in Ottawa-Vanier about community issues and issues that face our City.  We believe it is an important way to inform voters and also to ensure that candidates and parties take a firm position on issues we face in Lowertown, Sandy Hill and Vanier.  We have canvassed all candidates and can confirm that participation of Mona Fortier from the Liberal party and Oriana Ngabirano from the Green Party. We have not received answers from Joel Bernard from the Conservative Party of Canada and Stephanie Mercier from the New Democratic Party of Canada.

Don’t forget to vote on Monday October 21st.  Where to vote: https://www.elections.ca/content.aspx?section=vot&document=index&lang=e

 Green Party – Oriana Ngabirano

Housing and Homelessness

Rideau-Vanier is one of the lowest income ridings in the city. Three of the city’s biggest shelters operate in the ward, and we have a large stock of Ottawa Public Housing units.

  1. To help address these concerns, how do you believe we can solve homelessness in this city, and how do you see this solution develop?

Homelessness, increased hygiene/diet related diseases and increased crime Rate are social consequences of poverty that are far too familiar in Ottawa-Vanier. People turn desperate means to survive in the face of poverty while it’s a problem we can fix.

When elected I will advocate to establish Guaranteed Livable Income as a preventive measure while fixing the policies that made the situation we’re facing today.

The solution to ending homelessness requires that we address income and the accessibility to affordable housing and social services such as mental health. Eliminating poverty requires systemic action on all these fronts with safe secure housing as a fundamental human right at its core.

We, the Green Party, have solutions to this problem, and for Indigenous housing.

A Green Government will:

  • Legislate housing as a legally protected fundamental human right.
  • Appoint a Minister of Housing to strengthen the National Housing Strategy so that it meets the needs for affordable housing that are unique to each province and oversee its implementation in collaboration with provincial ministers. This recognizes that housing is provincial jurisdiction. The target would be 25,000 new and 15,000 rehabilitated units annually for the next 10 years.
  • Address the egregious housing problem of Canada’s First Nations peoples, for example, the difficult situation faced by the Kashechewan First Nation, who were forcibly moved to a flood prone area.
  • Partner with Indigenous communities, cooperatives, non-profit developers, and the private sector to build low income rental units and introduce incentives for the conversion of existing properties for rental housing.
  • Work with the provinces to introduce measures to eliminate property speculation from the real estate market
  • Work with all levels of government to make land available for the construction of affordable housing
  • Promote intergenerational housing opportunities and ensure CMHC will innovate in supporting co-op and shared housing.
  • Change the Tax system to re-establish tax incentives for affordable, purpose built rental housing
  • Require the National Affordable Housing Plan to set an annual rate of building affordable housing so that lack of access to affordable housing is no longer a factor in homelessness by 2019;
  • Change the mandate of Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) to include responsibility, as it once had, for affordable, non-market, and co-operative housing;
  • Create a National Affordable Housing Program that provides sufficient funds annually through CMHC to community-based agencies across Canada to:
  • Ask the Government of Canada examine the laws, regulations, and tax system of Canada can change so as to encourage the development of housing cooperatives, which have historically played an important role in developing Canada’s economy;

It is essential that those measures are applied locally and nationally in a decentralized manner to allow residents to benefit from them in their hometown and also avoid creating ghettos as we’ve seen in Ottawa-Vanier.

  1. There are fewer and fewer affordable units and housing for families and individuals in this city. What will your role be to bring more affordable housing to this ward?

See response to question 1.

In addition, the current government has made the rash decision to use the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation (an insurer of residential mortgages) to co-own first-time home buyers up to 10% of the value of their home.  The CMHCs original mandate was to use some of the excess profits from insurance premiums to fund non-market affordable/rent housing.  The Green Party would restore this mandate and also appoint a Minister of Housing to oversee the development and implementation of a National Affordable Housing Strategy.

 

Transit priorities

The first phase of LRT is complete, but we are far from done. The city has worked well to build new infrastructure to address moving individuals faster, but we want to make sure no transit user is left behind – whether they ride the bus or the LRT.

  1. Will your party commit funding to help alleviate operation costs and make transit more affordable?

Yes, the Green Party of Canada, including myself, has always been supportive of municipal mass transit infrastructure and we continue to be.  As part of moving to zero-carbon transportation, cities will need good mass transit infrastructure and the federal government will need to play a significant role in funding these projects.

I support the following campaigns:

Equity https://www.healthytransportation.ca/para_parity

Affordability https://freetransitottawa.ca/

Sustainability https://www.plugincanada.ca/

 

Interprovincial Bridge

Trucks in the core continue to be a concern for Rideau-Vanier residents. Trucks have a significant impact on livability, noise, safety and pollution.

  1. What is your priority in addressing the issue of removing trucks from the downtown core?

The heavy truck traffic through the heart of our city is hazardous. It is harmful to health and quality of life. The solutions proposed so far only divert the traffic to other neighbourhoods, so the only viable option that has been presented so far is the tunnel running from Vanier Parkway/Coventry Road to the Macdonald-Cartier bridge. I would support moving forward with the appropriate studies. That being said, the end goal is to reduce the amount of polluting vehicles. We must implement a strategy that will expand the national rail system, for large distances, while concentrating on emissions free vehicles for short distances and within cities.

  1. Would you reignite the interprovincial bridge discussion to help remove trucks from King Edward Avenue?

As stated above, I would ignite any discussions necessary to explore all options that will not just divert the problem but solve it. Taking the leadership on this issue means telling people the truth and finding solutions together, I do not feel that has been done so far.

 

The Byward Market

The Byward Market is both Ottawa residents and Canadian tourist destination. Right now, the city is completing its Byward Market Public Realm Plan, which aims to beautify our public streets.

  1. Will you commit to investing in the Byward Market?

I believe that the Byward market is part of Ottawa’s heritage, and will ensure that its beauty is maintained and protected.

I also oppose to any discriminatory actions or measure that would stop the Market from being welcoming to all.

 

Payday loans 

Recently, the city council approved changes to how payday loan establishments operate in this city. However, the issue goes beyond the establishments to how banks operate and offer people in need short term loans.

  1. What will your government do to require the big banks to change their lending practices for anyone needing a loan?

The Green Party is committed to fighting poverty by addressing all discriminatory practices that perpetuate the poverty cycle.  A Green government will:

  • Work to have the Government of Canada examine the laws, regulations, and tax system of Canada to determine how they may be changed to enhance opportunities for co-operatives, including co-operative federations incorporating banks or credit unions, such as the highly successful Mondragon and Valencia co-operative federations of Spain. This will require revisiting and repealing changes to the tax treatment of Credit Unions in several recent omnibus bills.
  • Limit credit card interest rates to a maximum of 10 percentage points above the Bank of Canada prime rate.
  • Limit ATM fees to $1 per transaction and prohibit financial institutions from charging their own customers ATM fees.

Additionally, and more importantly, a Green Party has a plan to end poverty https://www.greenparty.ca/en/platform/renew-social-contract#ending-poverty.

  1. Will you require all employers to switch to direct deposit (which could help alleviate the need for small loans and holds on paycheques)

I will advocate for the transition for all employers to offer direct deposit. This will include legislating for banks to lower related fees.

 

Childcare needs

The cost of childcare keeps going up, and the amount of spaces available continues to be a struggle.

  1. Is your government committed to creating a national childcare strategy? If so, how will that help families in Ottawa?

The ability for a parent to access affordable, high quality childcare has been shown to be the fastest path out of poverty for the family and women in particular. The Green Party sees parenting as a valuable investment not only in the well-being of our children, but in the future of our society as a whole.

Ottawa is one of the cities in Canada with the highest cost of daycare, especially for pre-schoolers and 98% of daycare centres in Ottawa have a wait-list. The cost of daycare is exorbitant for families, with an average annual cost of $15,000 (based on a 2019 study by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives).

Greens also recognize that sparsely and unevenly available child-care services force parents to take out-of-their-way routes to child care and work, often by car. Green Party plans for child care take into account not only parents’ convenience but also climate goals. Location of child care must reflect the diversity of family needs and be placed along existing public transit routes, including neighbourhood schools, other local buildings, workplaces and transportation hubs.

A Green Party government will:

  • Immediately begin to ramp up federal child care funding to achieve the international benchmark of at least one per cent of GDP annually, adding an additional $1 billion each year until this benchmark is reached with a mature ELCC system. We will eliminate GST on all construction costs related to child-care spaces.
  • Ensure universal access to high-quality, affordable, flexible childcare through the restoration of the 2005 agreement reached between the federal government, provinces, and territories;
  • Promote the creation of workplace child care spaces through a direct tax credit to employers.
  • A Green Party government will follow the example of Quebec and other countries, improving and strengthening maternity/parental leave by making it more inclusive, more flexible and better paid.
  • Promote flexible work arrangements for parents and caregivers.

A Green government will also appoint a federal Children’s Advocate to ensure that children’s rights are protected. Far too many children are in care. Far too many children are in poverty. And far too many of those children are Indigenous.

 

Bilingual City

Ottawa is an officially bilingual city.

  1. How will the federal government help the city deliver services to the minority francophone community?

Toutes personne au Canada a le droit de vivre dans la dignité et ce dans la langue officielle de leur choix.

Un gouvernement fédéral vert va investir dans la création et dans le maintien d’institutions francophones comme les écoles, les universités et les hôpitaux et veiller à ce qu’on continue d’écrire et de parler le français dans les provinces à majorité anglophone. Pour ce faire il faut investir dans la francophonie plurielle, une francophonie d’un bout à l’autre du pays mais également une francophonie qui connait ses origines à l’extérieur du pays. La francophonie a plusieurs visages à travers le pays et un gouvernement vert veillera à ce que les financements soient distribués de façon équitable afin d’assurer la pérennité ainsi que le rayonnement de la langue française sur tout le territoire. Les députés verts vont notamment travailler pour assurer un meilleur financement à la formation dans les langues officielles (français et anglais langue seconde) pour les nouveaux immigrants, avec des transferts dédiés aux provinces, pour les écoles primaires et secondaires et l’éducation gratuite aux adultes.

Nous célébrons cette année le 50e anniversaire de la Loi sur les langues officielles. Les principes énoncés dans cette loi historique ont été le fondement de l’article 16.1 de la Charte canadienne des droits et libertés, qui reconnaît que la communauté linguistique française et la communauté linguistique anglaise ont un statut, des droits et des privilèges égaux. Le respect et la protection de la Charte et de toutes ses valeurs sont non négociables. Le Parti vert s’engagera à défendre les deux langues officielles du Canada dans nos collectivités et à l’échelle du pays en prenant les mesures suivantes:

  • Au cours de la première année de la prochaine législature, promouvoir et mettre en œuvre une Loi sur les langues officielles modernisée pour protéger les deux langues nationales.
  • Assurer un financement pour protéger les langues autochtones qui risquent de disparaître au Canada.

« Il importe de moderniser la Loi sur les langues officielles afin de réaffirmer sa raison d’être, soit la reconnaissance de la diversité dans l’unité, et ce, sous un principe d’équité.» L’Alliance des femmes de la Francophonie Canadienne

L’analyse comparative entrer les sexes + est un outil d’analyse dont se servira un gouvernement vert pour tenir compte des différences et des relations sociales entre les hommes et les femmes à chaque étape de l’élaboration, de la mise en œuvre et de l’exécution des politiques et des programmes.

 

National Capital Commission

  1. Do you feel the NCC is doing enough in capital spending for our city and will you and your government continue to invest in sidewalks, pathways and parks owned by the NCC?

Yes, a Green Government would continue to invest pathways, parks and sidewalks. We will also increase spending to expand pathways across the city and protect our beautiful parks.

  1. What do you think is the NCC’s role with city mobility?

“The NCC is the main federal urban planner in Canada’s Capital Region. In this role, the NCC works in collaboration with stakeholders to enhance the natural and cultural character of the Capital.”

 

Liberal Party of Canada – Mona Fortier

Housing and Homelessness

Rideau-Vanier is one of the lowest income ridings in the city. Three of the city’s biggest shelters operate in the ward, and we have a large stock of Ottawa Public Housing units.

  1. To help address these concerns, how do you believe we can solve homelessness in this city, and how do you see this solution develop?

Ottawa—Vanier has unfortunate high levels of poverty and homelessness, much of which is focused in our downtown areas.  Our government has made historic investments in housing with Canada’s first ever National Housing Strategy.  Through this forty billion dollar fund, we will remove 530,000 families from housing need, cut chronic homelessness by 50% and change the face of housing in Canada forever.

This fund has already invested in two large housing-first projects in Ottawa—Vanier, with funds given to Shepherds of Good Hope for their new 42 unit facility on Montreal Road, and the Multifaith Housing Initiative, Veterans House in Wateridge Village.

A re-elected Liberal government understands that addressing chronic homelessness goes beyond providing emergency and short-term housing needs, that is why we will continue to invest in Canadians and build off the over one million jobs already created over the past four years.  Additionally, through the Canada Workers Benefit we will support low-income workers with the income support they need, and the enhanced Canada Child Benefit supports 9 out of 10 families.

 

  1. There are fewer and fewer affordable units and housing for families and individuals in this city. What will your role be to bring more affordable housing to this ward?

A re-elected Liberal government will make it easier for more people to buy their first home. For many young people starting their careers, saving up enough to make a down payment on a home is a far-off dream – and for ten years, Stephen Harper’s Conservatives did nothing to address this growing problem. To help more people buy their first home, we will move forward with the new First-Time Home Buyer Incentive, which gives people up to 10 percent off the purchase price of their first home. As market dynamics change in different regions, the program will be adjusted to reflect those realities. To limit the housing speculation that can drive up home prices, we will also put in place a consistent national tax on vacant residential properties owned by non-Canadians who don’t live in Canada. And we will work with interested provinces, territories and communities to establish a national approach to beneficial ownership so that law enforcement and tax authorities have the tools necessary to crack down on financial crime in the real estate sector, while respecting Canadian privacy rights.

We also know that the investments made through the National Housing Strategy will help cities and municipalities create solutions to their local needs, including through the Affordable Housing Innovation Fund.

 

Transit priorities

The first phase of LRT is complete, but we are far from done. The city has worked well to build new infrastructure to address moving individuals faster, but we want to make sure no transit user is left behind – whether they ride the bus or the LRT.

  1. Will your party commit funding to help alleviate operation costs and make transit more affordable?

As the member for Ottawa—Vanier, I am incredibly fortunate to have the six LRT stops in the riding that I am so fortunate to represent.  For residents, this will transform the way that we get to work, school and even going out to see friends on the weekends.

Regional transportation issues are problems that our community has faced for decades now and is a concern for many in the riding. Steps 1 and 2 of the LRT will transform the way residents move around in our city. This will not only reduce the time needed for commuters to get to work, but also reduce congestion.

A re-elected Liberal government will also strengthen investments in public transit to shorten commute times, cut air pollution, and grow our economy. In the last four years, we have made the largest investments in public transit in Canadian history, but traffic congestion continues to be a serious problem in our cities, making it hard for families to spend time together, and costing our economy about $15 billion a year in lost productivity. To give cities the predictable transit funding they need to plan for the future, we will move forward with making the federal commitment to fund public transit permanent and will make sure that it keeps up with the rising cost of construction over time. This will mean an additional $3 billion more per year in stable, predictable funding for our cities’ transit needs, on top of transfers through the federal Gas Tax Fund.

By contrast however, the Conservative Plan will reduce the amount of money available to cities like Ottawa, cutting $18 billion dollars in infrastructure spending and threatening projects like LRT Stage 3. These dangerous and reckless cuts would not only put existing projects at rise, but increase the financial burden on cities and municipalities.

 

Interprovincial Bridge

Trucks in the core continue to be a concern for Rideau-Vanier residents. Trucks have a significant impact on livability, noise, safety and pollution.

  1. What is your priority in addressing the issue of removing trucks from the downtown core?

Addressing Ottawa’s regional transportation needs, must be done at all levels of government, understanding the regional impacts on communities throughout the NCR.  That is why I advocated for a regional transportation study led by the NCC that will incorporate the upcoming new Ottawa Master Plan as well as provincial and regional realities from across the community.

As part of our Government’s 2019 Budget, we are continuing this commitment and have outlined a plan to ensure that our interprovincial transportation infrastructure is well maintained and fits the needs of all residents of the National Capital Region.  This in conjunction with the immediate need to replace the Alexandra bridge, and find a tenable long-term solution to getting the heavy trucks out of our downtown core and off King Edward Avenue, has led our government to take steps to study the transit and transportation priorities for the NCR.  I have been advocating to have a Transportation and Transit Regional Strategy for our great region and not a piecemeal approach.

In the months to come, more details on the process for this study and the consultations that will come with it will become available.  I am committed to continue to work in partnership with elected officials, leaders of community associations and the residents of our community throughout this upcoming exercise.

 

  1. Would you reignite the interprovincial bridge discussion to help remove trucks from King Edward Avenue?

As part of the Budget 2019, our government committed to funding has been allocated to engage our communities, and study the transportation habits of local communities to provide us with the evidence needed to properly invest in our community.  Local decision-making is the driving force behind our plan, and I look forward to engaging stakeholders and communities across the national capital region to prioritize our investments, including working together to remove truck traffic from our downtown core.

 

The Byward Market

The Byward Market is both Ottawa residents and Canadian tourist destination. Right now, the city is completing its Byward Market Public Realm Plan, which aims to beautify our public streets.

  1. Will you commit to investing in the Byward Market?

Over the past two and a half years, I have been a strong supporter of the Byward Market as both a destination for Ottawans but also pearl of our tourist industry.  I have and will continue to support funding for the Byward Market and will continue to call on Premier Ford to open the funding streams that unlock Federal Funding.  Our government understands that investing in small business and our tourists attractions provide good middle class jobs that support our community.

 

 

Payday loans

Recently, the city council approved changes to how payday loan establishments operate in this city. However, the issue goes beyond the establishments to how banks operate and offer people in need short term loans. I am committed to working with local leaders to advocate for a common sense changes that ensure predatory lending establishments are unable to negatively impact our community.

 

  1. What will your government do to require the big banks to change their lending practices for anyone needing a loan?

I am supportive of changes to lending practices that will improve access liquidity for low income individuals and lesson the use of high interest loans.  Our government has taken steps to ensure that all Canadians have the support they need, including the Canada Child Benefit which supports over 15,000 children in Ottawa–Vanier, the Canada Workers Benefit which is a refundable tax credit that is automatically applied for low income workers, and reducing the age for Old Age Security from 67 to 65.  Additionally, we lowered income tax on the middle class.

We understand that there’s more to do, that is why a re-elected Liberal Government is committed to increasing the CCB for families with children under one, to investing in before and after school programs including 10% for parents who work non-traditional hours, and supporting students with increased grants for low and medium income families.

We know the best way to ensure families do not rely on high-interest loans is to invest in Canadians and not give tax breaks to millionaires.

  1. Will you require all employers to switch to direct deposit (which could help alleviate the need for small loans and holds on paycheques)

Addressing individuals income insecurities must go beyond expansive regulatory changes that have unintended consequences on our local small businesses. Proposing a change such as this is outside of Federally regulated workplaces this would require action of the Provincial Government.

Our Government has taken real concrete steps to support families and low-income workers to reduce the need of emergency funds.  Over the past four years, our government has supported over 900,000 individuals out of poverty through programs like the Canada Child Benefit and the Canada Workers Benefit that provide income support directly to the individuals who need it most.

 

 

Childcare needs

The cost of childcare keeps going up, and the amount of spaces available continues to be a struggle.

  1. Is your government committed to creating a national childcare strategy? If so, how will that help families in Ottawa?

Parents work hard to support their families and give their kids a good start in life, but as working parents know, the need for good, affordable childcare doesn’t stop when a child goes to school. For many families, before and after school are can be difficult to find and expensive to use. This is especially true for parents who work irregular hours due to things like overtime, late shifts, or multiple jobs. A re-elected Liberal government is committed to making before and after school childcare more accessible and affordable for families. That is why, we will lower fees by 10% for before and after school childcare spaces. More than a million families will benefit from these lower fees. For an Ontario family of four with two kids, it will mean about $800 back in their pockets, every year.

We’ve already created tens of thousands of new pre-schools childcare spaces and will move forward with creating up to 250,000 more before and after school spaces for kids under 10, with at least 10 percent of these new spaces set aside for care during extended hours.

We will also move forward with more support for our early childhood educators, to ensure that across the country, they are better paid and trained to take care of our kids. This means lower tuition costs for people getting their early childhood educator degree, and extra help to cover the costs for early childhood educators seeking further training.

And to ensure that every parent – no matter where they live – has access to quality, affordable childcare, we will work with provinces and territories to create a national secretariat that will lay the groundwork for a pan-Canadian childcare system.

 

 

Bilingual City

Ottawa is an officially bilingual city.

  1. How will the federal government help the city deliver services to the minority francophone community?

Along with Indigenous languages, Canada’s history is rooted in both English and French – our two official languages that helped to build a strong country and make us who we are today.

Whether spoken at home, at work, among friends, or online, our official languages continue to be important to our sense of identity and essential to our future success.

We will support minority-language rights and encourage more people to learn English or French as a second language. Across the country, strong, vibrant minority-language communities are continuing Canada’s proud tradition of linguistic duality, with both English and French as official languages. These communities need our continued support.

To protect and promote the rights of minority-language communities, we will move forward with:

  • modernizing the 50-year-old Official Languages Act
  • reviewing and strengthening the powers of the Commissioner of Official Languages;
  • appointing only bilingual judges to the Supreme Court of Canada;
  • and undertaking an enumeration of rights-holders and a thorough post-census survey to better account for – and better serve – minority-language communities.

If I’m re-elected, I will work to insert a clause in the modernization of the Official Languages Act to recognize the bilingual nature of the national capital.

Also, through the Action Plan for Official Languages, $2.5 million over four years will be spent on various projects led by partners such as community organizations that aim to increase the presence of the French language in the capital. We will continue these investments in partnership with Ottawa’s ACFO, community and business groups in the region.

 

National Capital Commission

  1. Do you feel the NCC is doing enough in capital spending for our city and will you and your government continue to invest in sidewalks, pathways and parks owned by the NCC?

Under our Liberal Government, we invested over $55 million in the National Capital Commission to help them develop, protect and refurbish our local parks and national historical sites.  As part of this funding, I successfully advocated for increased funding to the Ottawa New Edinburgh Rowing Club, to help re-establish the club as a meeting place for local residents, and a learning facility for our students.  I am also proud of the investments the NCC is making in Nepean Point to support the reanimation of one of Ottawa’s most beautiful urban parks.

Sous notre gouvernement libéral, nous avons investi plus de 55 millions dans la Commission de la capitale nationale pour l’aider à aménager, protéger et rénover nos parcs locaux et nos sites historiques nationaux. Dans le cadre de ce financement, j’ai plaidé avec succès en faveur d’une augmentation du financement du club d’aviron d’Ottawa New Edinburgh, afin de l’aider à rétablir son statut de lieu de rencontre pour les résidents locaux et de centre d’apprentissage pour nos étudiants. Je suis également fier des investissements que fait la CCN à Nepean Point pour soutenir la réanimation de l’un des plus beaux parcs urbains d’Ottawa.

  1. What do you think is the NCC’s role with city mobility?

In addition to the $55 million invested in parks, pathways and national historical sites, our Government supports the NCC in its efforts to better connect its network of parks and pathways.  This includes supporting the revitalization and reanimation of Nepean Point as well as ensuring the eastern and western pathway networks are better protected against the effects of climate change.

I have had the opportunity to meet regularly with the NCC to advocate for increased investment in the Eastern sections of their network and have successfully advocated for support for the Ottawa New Edinburgh Club, to repair and revitalize their facility. This includes bringing the club up to date with the local fire codes, and investing in accessibility infrastructure to ensure access is available to everyone year round.

 

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