Malik Ahmad, a candidate for Toronto Council in the Ward 20 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?
I am a small business owner and have been living in Scarborough Southwest, with my family, for a long time.
I am a community champion who cares about our community and want to reverse the current negative trends in our community. Like the rest of our community, who is fed up with the high cost of living in this city, I am running in this byelection because we need someone who will keep taxes at or below inflation, assist homeless people to get in a more sustainable accommodation, crime and public safety, assist people with substance abuse and mental health, build safe and reliable public transit and housing, building more walkable areas, more parks, more green spaces and focus Toronto Council on delivering city services we rely on every day, not expanding scope of services that strays from the city’s mandate.
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 not allow condo conversion and renovictions by enforcing the Rental Housing Protection Act! If a property is allowed to be redeveloped, I will make sure that appropriate affordable units are built when approvals are granted. This will ensure that both the tenants and homeowners needs are met.
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?
Toronto is the economic engine for both Canada and Ontario. We already pay more than our share into Canada and Ontario by more than a billion dollars every year. It is time for the both governments to invest into Toronto.
I would look for some savings, if any, in our city’s budget and minor tax increases like the Vacant Home Tax, but the rest, the majority of the deficit, should derive from the other two governments. Examples are; Canadian government can’t bring refugees and expect Toronto to pay for their shelter costs. Ontario must pay its commitment of 80/20 for its entire social and health related services that it has downloaded on the city.
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 most important issue is housing. We need more housing in general; it is about supply and demand; if we just concentrate on building affordable and not the range of all types of housing, we don’t increase the supply enough and the pressure on affordable housing will not subside.
Therefore, we must think outside the box. We must include both public and private sector in building housing of all kinds. We must allow intensification in some parts of the city where we plan to increase public transit.
Currently, building housing of any kind in the city is expensive, time consuming, almost not doable. Councillors don’t understand the basics of city building. We must utilize our land in a manner that would benefit all the people and be fair to the environment that we live in. We don’t want to build unsustainable urban sprawl. We need to make sure that the infrastructure is there for the people who are going to live there, like transit, schools, shopping, water and sewer, etc.
Councillors have forgotten their subsidiary duties of building the city to appropriately accommodate the new residents, while least impacting the current residents and most of all increasing the tax base to ease the budget deficit!
For more answers from candidates to our questions, please see https://beachmetro.com/