As we indicated in our recent blog post, DECA posed the same questions to every Ward 19 City Councillor candidate with a published email address (on the city election website). We are publishing their replies in the order that we receive them.
Meet: Valérie Maltais
1. What makes you the best person to represent the Danforth East area?
I gained a vast array of skills and broad knowledge working in the private sector and volunteering with various organizations that support victims and marginalized communities over the last 15 years. With a degree in environmental science and a certification in project management, I will bring a data-driven and structured approach to solving problems and implementing solutions. Prior to my environmental and sustainability career, I was a funeral director (studied at Humber College).
My first job in Toronto was on the Danforth at the family-owned O’Connor Bros. Funeral Home in 2002. I am a shop-local advocate and supporter of small business. I have strong family values and a natural ability to bring people to the table to find win-win solutions. I love people and I love problem-solving. These are some of the reasons why I am confident that I can represent and serve the Danforth East area well.
2. What do you think is the most pressing issue for this area, and what is your plan to address it?
Residents are telling me that they are concerned about affordability, small business revitalization, and transportation. These form my priorities, but I see affordability as the most pressing. Solving affordability will have the knock-on effects of reducing crime and improving small business (as people have more disposable income).
The two main affordability issues are the cost of housing and the cost of childcare. My plan to address housing is to increase housing inventory by supporting gentle density including low-rise & mid-rise condominiums and apartment buildings; Remove barriers for creating laneway housing (currently approximately $40k for application); Ensure affordable housing units are included in new buildings. My plan to address child care is to make the Childcare Growth’s Strategy a reality (ensure 50 % of kids aged 0-4 to have access to licensed childcare – this currently sits at 34 %). We can achieve this by supporting a thriving workforce for early childcare educators, building capacity to meet the demand, and improving the affordability with public / private investment (for all income families) and fee subsidies (for families in financial need; Introduce measures that protect families from predatory business practices (e.g.: mandatory year-round childcare).
3. Who do you support for mayor, and why?
I am currently undecided who I will vote for in the mayoral race. I am still researching as the candidates continue to unveil their platforms. Regardless of who is elected, I will work with the mayor and the 24 other councillors to make our city more sustainable and prepare for the anticipated growth in population.
4. DECA took the position that changing the ward boundaries during the election was undemocratic. What do you think about that?
Changing the ward boundaries mid-election was anti-democratic in that it disenfranchised voters. One of the reasons that I decided to run for city council was because I see the inefficiencies when watching council meetings and I want to improve this from the inside. The ward boundary change has seen approximately 75 candidates drop out of the election across Toronto, many of these individuals would have brought fresh ideas and diversity to the municipal government. To encourage new candidates and diversity on city council, I have committed to serving no more than two terms.
5. We expect that our area will see a lot of development in the next four years. What do you think about that?
Development, done responsibly, is a great opportunity for Beaches – East York. Adding gentle density will reduce the cost of living for residents and provide additional patrons for the struggling businesses. It will be important that the character of the neighbourhoods are maintained, that developers are held accountable to meeting the Green Standards, that affordable units are mandatory (rather than incentivized), adjacent property owners concerns are considered and impacts are avoided and responsibly mitigated, and that the supporting infrastructure and services are advanced at the appropriate rate (e.g.: parking, transportation, sewage, childcare, and schools).
6. How will you contribute to a more diverse and representative Council?
I am a woman, a francophone, a scientist and a project manager.
I am the only candidate with a background in science and project management (a true rarity in politics). Beaches – East York has the opportunity to change the composition of city hall to bring a more data-driven and structured approach to our municipal government.
City council is currently composed of just 32% women. This number is predicted to drop during this election due to incumbent advantage unless we elected women in the two open wards, including Ward 19 Beaches – East York.
For more information, visit: www.vmaltais.com