I believe in giving the community a detailed look at my vision for Waterloo Region. That’s why every 5 days between September 12 and October 12, I am releasing a new section of my platform. The gap in between each announcement gives us time as a community to discuss our ideas for a better community. Share your ideas online using the hashtag: #30DaysForABetterWR.
You can find all of my ideas for a better Waterloo Region on my ideas page.
Your Voice – Making Regional Government Work For You
Working with all levels of government
There is so much added complexity for citizens in Waterloo Region due to our two levels of local government. Often, related issues or services are divided up in inconvenient ways for residents. Sometimes it feels like the left hand doesn’t know what the right is doing. It can be frustrating for citizens to get answers on issues, navigating the jurisdictional maze between the region and the city.
- As a Regional Councillor representing the City of Kitchener (and all of Waterloo Region’s interests), I will build relationships with councillors at the cities and townships. It’s important that both levels can sit with residents to hear concerns and ideas to see how we can work together to improve our community.
- I will work with other councillors from city and township councils to hold joint town hall meetings, where appropriate.
Engaging with the community
As an experienced community developer, I will bring a community engagement perspective to Regional Council. I will promote improved community engagement:
- by encouraging greater community presence of Regional Council;
- by being accessible to community members;
- by supporting earlier and deeper consideration of resident concerns;
- by seeking engagement on improving our local democracy;
- by encouraging us to hold sessions throughout the Region;
- and, most importantly, by seeking new ways to not only accept feedback – but to actually have conversations with people.
Supporting citizen ideas
One aspect of regional government from which citizens feel alienated is the budget process. As someone who has been a keen observer of this process and has addressed council as a citizen delegate, I know how complicated and intimidating this experience can be.
- As a regional councillor, I will encourage the Region of Waterloo to engage with community partners and coalitions to bring the diversity of our community together to draft a citizen’s budget. This citizen’s budget, along with the current delegation process, will be a tool for council to use as they draft the official regional budget.
Bringing the budget to you
Another area of concern is geographic accessibility. I have heard from a number of people that regional council seems a far off thing, less connected to the local community. As Waterloo Region is a large community with 3 cities and 4 townships, holding all budget meetings at regional headquarters in Kitchener hardly provides accessibility for the many communities within our region.
- As a regional councillor from Kitchener, I will be pleased to support my colleagues from other cities and townships in scheduling public input sessions in locations outside of regional headquarters to reach more people in our region.
Making our democracy work for us
There is a saying I love: “The most dangerous phrase in the English language is ‘we’ve always done it this way.’” In these cynical days of politics, with voter turnout in decline and younger voters getting increasingly turned off of our political system, it’s essential that we assess our electoral system to ensure it allows for the best representation of our community. I believe in electoral reform at the federal and provincial level, and I believe in electoral reform at the local level, as well.
- As a Regional Councillor, I will support a citizen-led review of our local electoral system to explore ways to make our governments more representative, accountable, and accessible.