Malika Ghous, a Toronto Council candidate in the Scarborough Southwest byelection on Nov. 30, answers four questions from Beach Metro Community News.
(EDITOR’S NOTE: Candidates were instructed to keep their answers to approximately 200 words, and some of the responses have been edited to keep them as close as possible to the agreed word count.)
QUESTION 1: Please tell our readers a little bit about yourself and why you decided to run in this byelection?
My name is Malika Ghous, I’m the Toronto District School Board (TDSB) Trustee for Scarborough Southwest. I was born and raised in Scarborough, graduating Ontario Scholar from Sir Wilfred Laurier Collegiate Institute. I received my Bachelor of Commerce degree from Ontario Tech University.
In 2022, I was the youngest person elected TDSB Trustee in Toronto. I’ve since fought for low-income students to have access to vital public programs and services. I also dedicate my time to supporting new residents and empowering young people to work hard and to succeed. I decided to run in the Scarborough Southwest byelection because City Hall needs generational change. Residents need fresh ideas and bold initiatives to address the changing demographics of our community.
QUESTION 2: If elected councillor, how will you address concerns regarding increasing density along Kingston Road through the Birch Cliff and Cliffside areas that is seeing affordable, low-rise rental apartment buildings being replaced by condominiums of nine storeys and more?
I will only support development projects that have been approved by the vast majority of local residents, including all projects along Kingston Road. Our public consultation process is inadequate – the consultation process informs residents who live within 300 metres of a proposed development.
We need to increase the radius so that more residents are better informed. We also need to increase the number of public meetings for every development proposal. If a developer needs to go back to the drawing board ten times to get it right, then that’s what should happen, because if we don’t get it right, then local residents will be impacted the most.
Scarborough is facing a housing crisis while residents have seen a spike in their rent payments and property taxes. We must work to build more affordable housing, not big condominium developments.
QUESTION 3: How do you view potential measures, including but not limited to property tax increases, to address Toronto’s budget deficit, and what alternative strategies would you propose for the city to navigate its financial crisis?
I believe in prudent fiscal responsibility. We cannot upload further city services onto the backs of taxpayers. If I’m elected City Councillor, any increase to residential property taxes will be at or below the rate of inflation.
I’ve been speaking with residents about my economic plan. We need to find ways to stimulate small businesses here in Scarborough Southwest. For this reason, I don’t believe in a municipal retail sales tax because small businesses will leave Scarborough. On the contrary, local job growth will generate more tax revenue to help balance the City of Toronto’s budget.
QUESTION 4: What is the most important issue that you think you will be able to have an influence on if elected as the new councillor for Scarborough Southwest?
The safety of Scarborough Southwest residents will be my top priority. We need to invest in our partnership with the Toronto Police and our communities. As City Councillor, I will direct city staff to explore ways to expand the Neighborhood Community Officer Program so that more police officers patrol the Birch Cliff community.
Density and development are also important issues. I’ll put a stop to the proposed development at 150 Clonmore Drive. We also need to finds ways to redress what was lost with the Quarry Lands development. I’ve heard from many residents of the Birch Cliff community who for years have been demanding an off-leash dog area and less density to go on that site.
I’ll work hard to represent residents, not special interests. As City Councillor, I will make City Hall accessible to all Scarborough Southwest residents, regardless of age, orientation, gender, disability or ethnicity.
For more candidate answers, please go to https://beachmetro.com/