Suman Roy, 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?
Some of my most recent accomplishments are that I am the: Chair for the Board of Directors for Scarborough Arts, a member of the Community Police Liaison Committee, and a Member of the Toronto Board of Health.
During the pandemic I founded Feed Scarborough in my backyard and we have grown to running six food banks that feed almost 8,000 people a week. I have also been a successful author, Professional chef and am a Proud Father. Through my experience founding Feed Scarborough I have seen first hand the tremendous inequities in this city and I believe that I can be the voice we need to speak up for those who can’t.
I will not treat this role like a stepping stone to another position or be the type of politician that will always follow the will of a political party or mayor. I am here to serve and represent the residents of Ward 20. We need a leader with a clear vision of support for 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?
There is a shortage of affordable housing in Ward 20 and Toronto as a whole. We can’t stop development, but we can do it in a Scarborough way. I’m committed to bringing city officials to the community through meaningful consultations and holding the city to account for the changes.
I have successfully advocated green and community spaces in the past and will continue to advocate for the city to develop comprehensive master plans that consider all aspects of development, including infrastructure, amenities, housing, and employment.
Through consultations, this plan should align with the community’s vision and address growth equitably and sustainably.
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?
First and foremost we need to look into the city’s spending and make sure that we are appropriately distributing our resources while maintaining services.
I have a proven track record of negotiation with all levels of government. While a member of the Toronto Board of Health from 2011-2015 I secured funding from the province and the city for Toronto’s Student Nutrition Program. When I returned to the Toronto Board of Health in 2023 my motion to increase funding after eight years of neglect was brought to council by Mayor Olivia Chow and passed unanimously. I am confident I can replicate these and other successful results while encouraging the city to be innovative and creative in its approach to funding as I have had to be as a not-for-profit executive.
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?
As a resident of Ward 20 I understand the needs of the community and the importance of responding in a timely manner. I pledge a three-business day meaningful response time for calls and emails to my constituency office in order to ensure timely assistance and feedback.
I’m committed to ensuring our community’s voices and needs are heard and promptly addressed. We’ll hold regular town halls to ensure meaningful consultations and facilitate open and direct communication. This guarantees your concerns will not be left unattended.
Your involvement is crucial in shaping the policies and initiatives that affect our community, and by prioritizing transparency, accessibility, and responsiveness.
Some of my other priorities are: addressing inequities in accessing services; ensuring proper and timely increase in services to match the coming density, and safer neighbourhoods.
For more candidate answers, please go to https://beachmetro.com/