Two of the four mayoral candidates have experience in dealing with public transit issues as councillors and, in the case of Rick Goldring, as mayor. Rick has done much to promote transit through events like lectures and his support for the annual Transit Users’ Forum, and it was his administration that hired our new Transit Director. But his voting record is weak. Marianne Meed Ward has been on the losing end of too many 6-1 votes as a transit supporter. For continuing to promote transit against a wall of implacable opposition, and for her past work with BFAST, we give her our endorsement. We also give credit to Mike Wallace, whose well-thought-out positions on transportation recognize the role of transit in promoting sustainable growth and keeping the roads budget at reasonable levels. On the whole, however, Marianne has been in the trenches for better transit and deserves our support.
Four candidates answered all questions in the survey very favourably from the perspective of public transit: Vince Fiorito, Kelvin Galbraith, Marty Staz and Judy Worsley. Vince Fiorito is probably the most familiar with the issue, having attended the Transit Users’ Forum and been a BFAST supporter. We endorse him with the recommendation that he be very cautious in his support for privately-owned ride-sharing services that pay no taxes to Burlington. Arlene Iantomasi commented that she expected transit, unlike roads, to pay for itself through the farebox. As this only happens in the crowded cities of Southeast Asia, we can only hope to meet with her if she is elected to demonstrate that initiatives like free fares for seniors are well worth the small investment.
Despite a few non-supportive answers, every candidate in Ward 2 seems positive on transit. Three — Lisa Kearns, Gerard Shkuda and Roland Tanner — answered all of our questions in a transit-positive way. During the campaign, we’ve had meeting requests and correspondence from both Tanner and Kearns. We found them both to be excellent potential advocates for transit on Council.
As a key member of BFAST since its founding, Gareth Williams has experience and knowledge on the transit file that simply cannot be matched by other candidates in the ward. He’s been a committed and active transit supporter for the past decade, We endorse him for those reasons. We note that both Lisa Cooper and Rory Nisan are also strongly pro-transit. But Gareth’s experience and knowledge gives him the edge.
Shawna Stolte is the transit supporter in the Ward 4 race. She has met with BFAST on transit issues and would support pro-transit measures on Council. Incumbent Councillor Jack Dennison has a near-perfect record in voting against pro-transit measures over the past few terms. The choice for transit supporters is a simple one in this ward. It is Shawna Stolte.
Once again, the incumbent’s voting record could not be classified as pro-transit. Although he did make a number of comments, Councillor Sharman would not commit to answering any questions in the survey. The ward’s other four candidates — Wendy Moraghan, Daniel Roukema, Mary Alice St. James and Xin Yi Zhang — all made strong commitments to transit. While we would be pleased to see any of these four elected, we lean towards Daniel Roukema because of his experience in community development, his youth, enthusiasm and new ideas.
While incumbent Blair Lancaster provided positive responses to half of the questions on the survey, her voting record does not speak of a positive attitude towards transit. Angelo Bentivegna has researched transit and has attended BFAST meetings. We are confident he would be supportive of transit as a councillor.