Municipal Election 2010

Candidates Tackle Poverty

RTH asked candidates whether poverty is the most critical issue facing Hamilton. Of the 38 respondents, 37 or 97.4% answered Yes, and one or 2.6% answered No.

By Ryan McGreal
Published October 25, 2010

We asked candidates the following question:

Do you believe that poverty is the most critical issue facing Hamilton today? If so, please outline your solutions. If not, please explain your reasons.

As at this writing, 38 or 45.8% of candidates responded. Of the 38 respondents, 37 or 97.4% answered Yes, and one or 2.6% answered No. You can read all the candidate responses on the RTH election site.

Eleven mayoral candidates provided responses.

[Michael Baldasaro](] would restore the economy and provide jobs by "growing Hemp (English), Chanvre (French), Marijuana (Mexican), Canvas (Dutch). Jobs, Jobs, Jobs in the food, fuel, cloth, paper and medicine Industries ad infinitum."

Bob Bratina calls poverty "a sympton of dysfunctional governance and should not be isolated from decision making throughout the municipal framework." He also notes that people living in poverty in different circumstances have different needs: "A senior living alone on fixed income, perhaps in City Housing will have different needs than a homeless high school student".

Mahesh Butani criticizes the "poverty industry of Hamilton" for "profess[ing] to explore and understand this issue at a large cost of time and expense to the taxpayers - in the hope of finding solutions." He would establish Hamilton GreenPort to revitalize the economy sustainably, attract "large scale local, regional and foreign private sector development financing" and provide a variety of jobs.

Fred Eisenberger supports "community revitalization projects" and supports a plan to "establish a group of community developers who can concentrate on Hamilton’s high priority neighbourhoods." He supports the Hamilton Roundtable for Poverty Reduction, wants to implement a "universal nutrition program" for school children, and implement a living wage in Hamilton.

Pasquale Filice says, "Education is the key for prosperity."

Andew Haines believes "the deliberate avoidance of public involvement in the process of guiding the actions of City Councillors" is the real issue. He argued that Hamiltonians care about each other more than politicians care about us, and a more democratic city governance would be more effective at alleviating poverty.

Glenn Hamilton emphasizes "Jobs Jobs Jobs" and would create a Hamilton Stock Market, a movie studio and arts incubator, improved health facilities and support centres. "I also believe greater help must be given to individuals who are trying to get in a position to get work or just maintain a decent living standard or education standard to be ready when positions are made available."

Ken Leach says poverty is a cycle and "not an issue that we can address through simply increasing funds." He believes education provides the best "avenue of escape". "To impact a child during their educational cycle and create the possibility of growth is far more important than funneling monies towards their family."

Gino Speziale would make his first priority to "ensure that the standard of living for ALL seniors across Hamilton and Region are elevated over and beyond the national standard." He would also waive all medical expenses, taxes on seniors' energy bills, and parking, bus, DARTS and Taxi expenses for seniors.

Steven Waxman would "work with all levels of government to solve this problem created by downloading and a soft economy. Education can offer encouragement for youth to hopefully break cycles."

Ryan McGreal, the editor of Raise the Hammer, lives in Hamilton with his family and works as a programmer, writer and consultant. Ryan volunteers with Hamilton Light Rail, a citizen group dedicated to bringing light rail transit to Hamilton. Ryan wrote a city affairs column in Hamilton Magazine, and several of his articles have been published in the Hamilton Spectator. His articles have also been published in The Walrus, HuffPost and Behind the Numbers. He maintains a personal website, has been known to share passing thoughts on Twitter and Facebook, and posts the occasional cat photo on Instagram.


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