This story is part of CBC Sudbury's series of interviews with Greater Sudbury municipal election candidates.


Jean-Raymond Audet

Age: 56

Occupation: unemployed, former railway conductor

Top three issues for the city of Sudbury:

  • To make Sudbury into an Official Bilingual City because 30% of the city are Franco-Ontarians and their language and programs have been cut back in the last few years by the Federal, Provincial and Municipal governments because of the Private Sector!
  • To move the Canadian Pacific Railway Yard and line out from downtown Sudbury and Lake Ramsey to a SAFE and SECURE Spot that will assure our Safety and Drinking Water!
  • To bring back the OLD Incremental Taxes for Business because the Rich and Well-off must pay their Fair Share of Taxes which are an Essential and Necessity for Our Municipal Social Programs that must stay in Public Hands and not transferred to the Private Sector for Profits of the Few at the expense of  Poor Sudbury

How would you have voted on the following resolutions from this past term?  Please respond with yes or no.
 
(From Feb. 10, 2011) Should the city scrap its bylaw 2004-204 regulating when retail stores are allowed to open and close?

No

(From Feb. 12/26 2012) Should the city remove the Ontario Ombudsman as it's closed meeting investigator and instead retain a firm called Amberley Gavel?

No

(From Dec. 5, 2012) Should the city continue to give each councillor a $50,000 Healthy Communities Initiative Fund to spend in their ward?

Yes

(From Oct. 9, 2013) Should the city fast-track plans for a new arena replacing the Sudbury Arena with the aim of having the project underway by the end of 2014?

No

(From Dec. 11, 2013) Should council approve the 2014 budget with a 2.9% property tax increase?

Yes


Brian Bigger

Age: did not answer

Occupation: auditor general at City of Greater Sudbury

Community Involvement: did not answer

Top three issues for the city of Sudbury:

  • Getting value for citizens tax dollars and Restoring the public's trust -   We need to act in an open and accountable manner so citizens can be confident in the spending of their tax dollars. 
  • Infrastructure Development. Fixing our roads is a must, but we need to ensure quality standards are being met and pipes are fixed first.  Our roads need to last to prevent the endless cycle of repair.  Band-aid solutions, are not the answer. 
  • Economic Development - We need to continue to have Sudbury grow and prosper. A thriving community where jobs are available, allowing our youth to stay in Sudbury, to have meaningful careers and raise their families.

How would you have voted on the following resolutions from this past term?  Please respond with yes or no.
 
(From Feb. 10, 2011) Should the city scrap its bylaw 2004-204 regulating when retail stores are allowed to open and close?

This issue is currently up for a referendum vote, it is not appropriate for me to answer. 

(From Feb. 12/26 2012) Should the city remove the Ontario Ombudsman as it's closed meeting investigator and instead retain a firm called Amberley Gavel?

No.

(From Dec. 5, 2012) Should the city continue to give each councillor a $50,000 Healthy Communities Initiative Fund to spend in their ward?

No.

(From Oct. 9, 2013) Should the city fast-track plans for a new arena replacing the Sudbury Arena with the aim of having the project underway by the end of 2014?

The city should be actively looking for partners, and community support for projects like this. I would not have supported a go it alone approach.

(From Dec. 11, 2013) Should council approve the 2014 budget with a 2.9% property tax increase?

No 


Jeanne Brohart

Jeanne Brohart (supplied)

Jeanne Brohart

Age: 51

Occupation: M.A., Finance - worked in Chicago for Fortune 100 company Ameritech/SBC Communications (now AT&T) and left to care for son who had autism. 

Community involvement:  I am a well known autism advocate and have communicated with top scientists, researchers, educators, parents, etc. from around the world in matters pertaining to autism, Alzheimers, etc. My research, the 4  books I have written, etc. are all posted for free online at http://www.autismhelpforyou.com 

Top 3 issues for whole city: 

  •  Sudbury is the epicenter of a province/nation wide building scandal - a NEW ONE - hidden from the public for over 4 years now by not only our entire city council but by several top administrators within CGS as well.   There are many who are now on the ballot who have also known - for years - of the fact that this building scandal existed in Sudbury and in my opinion, these persons did nothing to make these public safety issues known to the public and to voters. In addition, there are many in building code enforcement and/or administrative roles at the provincial and federal levels as well who have also known for years and have been hiding this from the public.   In my opinion, this ONE issue alone has the potential to change this municipality and province like never before in what it will reveal to the people of Sudbury, Ontario and Canada. 
  • Taxes and municipal spending are out of control.   In my opinion, there needs to be a position created looking solely at cost cutting in this municipality.  Spending limited resources on such a position would, in my opinion, be much more beneficial to the people of Sudbury than say an Integrity Commissioner because I am of the opinion that if a person does not have integrity, they should not be on council or a public servant in the first place.   I think voters, in this municipal elections, perhaps more than ever, will have a true opportunity to see who - via his/her actions - has integrity and who does not.  
  • Infrastructure.  Until we get the basic necessities cared for, everything else must wait because infrastructure is also in and of itself a public safety issue and you can only go on so long before you must address it.  

How would you have voted on the following resolutions from this past term?  Please respond with yes or no.

(From Feb. 10, 2011) Should the city scrap its bylaw 2004-204 regulating when retail stores are allowed to open and close? 

Yes.   Stores should be able to determine their own hours of operation.

(From Feb. 12/26 2012) Should the city remove the Ontario Ombudsman as it's closed meeting investigator and instead retain a firm called Amberley Gavel? 

No.   The Ombudsman should be the investigator of choice.  Amberley Gavel should NOT be our investigator in closed door meetings.   That said, I believe the province needs to give the Ombudsman "teeth" because as our council and legal department has already painfully shown taxpayers, no one is afraid of a big bad wolf with no teeth.   The Ombudsman needs to be brought back and he needs to have the ability to sanction municipalities that violate the law and request criminal investigations if necessary.   "Recommendations" are not enough.

(From Dec. 5, 2012) Should the city continue to give each councillor a $50,000 Healthy Communities Initiative Fund to spend in their ward?

No.   That money belongs to taxpayers and should go to projects that benefit the municipality as a whole.   The funds also need to go through proper channels for allocation to city wide projects.  We have huge issues that impact the ENTIRE city and that money would best be spent addressing those issues (i.e., flooding, infrastructure, etc.)  

(From Oct. 9, 2013) Should the city fast-track plans for a new arena replacing the Sudbury Arena with the aim of having the project underway by the end of 2014?

No.   Fast track projects often result in disaster with costs often under-estimated.   It is better to do this right than to do this fast!

(From Dec. 11, 2013) Should council approve the 2014 budget with a 2.9% property tax increase?

Tax increases should only be an option after careful consideration of expense cuts.


Ron Dupuis

Ron Dupuis (Yvon Theriault/Radio-Canada)

Ron Dupuis

Age: 63

Occupation: Ward 5 Councillor and local business owner

Community involvement:

I am a member of the Knights of Columbus Council 9922 in Blezard Valley and have held positions including Grand Knight, Deputy Grand Knight and Past District Deputy.

I love sports and have spent many years as a coach and supporter in minor hockey and baseball. I served as the President of the Valley East Mixed Slo-Pitch League and President of the Blezard Valley Playground Association for 10 years and a coach in the Felix Ricard Softball League.

I have been actively involved in municipal politics since 1997 when I was first elected to Valley East Council. I was elected as Councillor for the Greater Sudbury City Council in 2000.

Top 3 issues for whole city:

  • The Greater City of Sudbury needs a cohesive and results-oriented council and staff. My first priority as Mayor will be to bring council together as a team so we can effectively represent our great city for the next four years. I have an appreciation for all points of views and believe we can use our diversity to our advantage to create strong policies and programs for our city.
  • Economic development is an ongoing responsibility of council. I am committed to bringing new business to Sudbury by eliminating unnecessary City policies and continuing to be proactive in attracting new businesses and quality jobs to our city.
  • I want to create a City Hall that is more responsive to its citizens. We need to create a strategic plan through community consultations. There are so many great ideas around the city that we need to listen and build the momentum into an overall plan for the city. City Hall is there to serve citizens and should be open to everyone to get involved.

How would you have voted on the following resolutions from this past term?  Please respond with yes or no.

(From Feb. 10, 2011) Should the city scrap its bylaw 2004-204 regulating when retail stores are allowed to open and close?

I voted in favour of maintaining the bylaw at the time. After minimal opportunity for public consultation and meeting with business owners and there was no economic benefit identified for changing the bylaw. Since that initial vote I have moved the motion to hold a public referendum to allow the citizens of Sudbury to have their say through public debate and voting. I encourage all citizens to be engaged in the process and use this opportunity to voice their choice at the polls.

(From Feb. 12/26 2012) Should the city remove the Ontario Ombudsman as it's closed meeting investigator and instead retain a firm called Amberley Gavel?

I voted to remove the Ontario Ombudsman because the negative relationship was prohibitive to moving forward and was inhibiting function of council and staff. At the time council brought in private oversight from a firm that is utilized more frequently than the Ontario Ombudsman across Ontario municipalities. I would reinstate the Ontario Ombudsman in the future and work to ensure an effective working relationship is maintained by all parties.

(From Dec. 5, 2012) Should the city continue to give each councillor a $50,000 Healthy Communities Initiative Fund to spend in their ward?

I supported keeping the HCI funds and also supported the introduction of new guidelines for spending the funds. As a councillor I always sought staff input, specifically the playground liaison and the HCI administration, for allocating the funds and heeded their advice allocating funds within my ward. As Mayor I would like to see the funds revert back to staff administration as they are in place long term and can plan for better long term planning and capital project investment. Councillors would then make requests to support projects however staff would have final approval for funding in their individual wards.

(From Oct. 9, 2013) Should the city fast-track plans for a new arena replacing the Sudbury Arena with the aim of having the project underway by the end of 2014?

I voted to allow due process to continue and not to fast-track any plans for a new Sudbury Arena. Tax payers should not be paying for a new arena ahead of community recreational projects that are currently slated for repair or upgrades. I fully support the construction of a new arena in the future and as Mayor would champion the project by encouraging private investment and Council support where appropriate.

(From Dec. 11, 2013) Should council approve the 2014 budget with a 2.9% property tax increase?

I voted to approve the 2.9% property tax increase in 2014 as taxes were brought down to under 3% and we were still able to add enhancements to the budget. We all know what a 0% increase does to our community and 2.9% was the lowest increase without having to decrease services at that time. My priority is to ensure tax payers receive value for their dollar and we need to plan for long term investments in infrastructure, programs and city services. Although some cuts may have immediate tax savings, we have to look at the long term cost that would be cast upon the citizens of Sudbury. We have found small short term efficiencies in the budget and as Mayor I would begin the more effective process of identifying long term efficiencies that require policy and process changes. There are processes that could be used that are not currently being implemented and as Mayor I would work with Council and staff to bring about these changes.


Jeff Huska

Jeff Huska (supplied)

Jeff Huska       

Age: 51

Occupation: Biomedical Engineering Technologist - Employed at Health Sciences North for over 22 years, previously Sick Kids in Toronto

Community involvement: Since 2012,  I have been a Board Member at the United Way Centraide Sudbury and/et Nipissing Districts and sits on many of its subcommittees.

From Jan 2012 to May of 2012, I was an elected member of the Market Square Renewal Advisory Panel for the City of Greater Sudbury where he examined and made recommendations regarding the strategic direction of the market, market type, location, governance structure, functional program and financial plan. In addition, the Panel served as a link between the City of Greater Sudbury and the various stakeholders of Market Square and the community at large, ensuring that the facility continues to be an important asset in the downtown core.

From 2007 to 2012, I was a member of the Canadian Standards Association sitting on the Extracorporeal Circulation Technical Committee. As part of this national committee, he was responsible for approving all new and amended standards as they relate to field of Dialysis in Canada. 1992 - 1995 I was a member of the Board of Directors for the Sudbury Chapter of the Kidney Foundation. For almost 15 years I've been coaching hockey in Sudbury at the grass roots level in the Sudbury Playground Hockey League.

Top 3 issues for whole city: (no particular order)

  • Accountability/Infrastructure/Citizen Engagement,
  • Store Hours/New Businesses/Development,
  • Our Environment/Lakes

I believe the issues in each grouping are intertwined and that is why I've grouped them together

How would you have voted on the following resolutions from this past term?  Please respond with yes or no.

(From Feb. 10, 2011) Should the city scrap its bylaw 2004-204 regulating when retail stores are allowed to open and close?

Yes

(From Feb. 12/26 2012) Should the city remove the Ontario Ombudsman as it's closed meeting investigator and instead retain a firm called Amberley Gavel?

No

(From Dec. 5, 2012) Should the city continue to give each councillor a $50,000 Healthy Communities Initiative Fund to spend in their ward?

No however I do believe in the 4 Health Community Pillars and groups/associations should be allowed to apply for dollars under these pillars with the councilor having absolutely nothing to do with the decision making process. I believe the city should support/foster and nurture good ideas and good projects.

(From Oct. 9, 2013) Should the city fast-track plans for a new arena replacing the Sudbury Arena with the aim of having the project underway by the end of 2014?

Yes through a P3 funding module

(From Dec. 11, 2013) Should council approve the 2014 budget with a 2.9% property tax increase?

No, tax increases should be at or below the rate of inflation. Not higher.


Richard Majkot

Has not returned CBC's questionnaire.


Dan Melanson

Dan Melanson (provided)

Dan Melanson

Age: 59

Occupation: Business owner

Community involvementPresident, Greater Sudbury Taxpayers Association - 2011-2014

Top 3 issues:

  • Holding the line on taxes - until the City of Greater Sudbury has exhausted all possible means of increasing efficiencies and is receiving the maximum value for the current tax dollars being spent there should be NO increases in taxes to property owners. One example, divesting services - continual yearly tax increases are not acceptable when there are literally millions of tax dollars being spent on services that are not the City's responsibility.
  • Investing in infrastructure for future growth - our deteriorating infrastructure and underserviced industrial parks prevent growth. A KPMG report indicates an immediate roads infrastructure deficit of $700 million and further annual requirement of $6.2 million per year over the next 10 years. We have been forced to rebuild roads in small sections while not properly addressing the infrastructure beneath the road surface due to lack of available funding. We need a plan to renew the roads that is comprehensive, affordable and properly financed with sufficient independent oversight to ensure we are getting a quality finished product. I believe that Council should do what many other municipalities facing similar dilemmas have done and issue a publicly traded municipal bond. Typically in Canada, municipalities issue bonds where both the principal and interest are secured by the general revenues and assets of the city. For example a $700M Municipal Bond at 4.25% interest would have a $29.7M annual interest requirement and a $17.5M cash flow requirement to repay the debt over 40 years totalling $47.2M annually. This is within currently allocated funding dedicated to infrastructure expenditures. An investment into our infrastructure is an investment in local jobs and local businesses.
  • Ethical, accountable, transparent, affordable and functional local government - working together to create a sustainable future. I would establish a whistleblower policy for city staff and build a collaborative team environment between, Mayor, Council and staff. Create the Mayor's Action Committee on red tape, support the Office of the Auditor General and vote to bring back the Ombudsman.

How would you have voted on the following resolutions from this past term?  Please respond with yes or no.

(From Feb. 10, 2011) Should the city scrap its bylaw 2004-204 regulating when retail stores are allowed to open and close?

Yes, businesses should have the right to choose when they want to be open or closed.

(From Feb. 12/26 2012) Should the city remove the Ontario Ombudsman as it's closed meeting investigator and instead retain a firm called Amberley Gavel?

Absolutely not, that is why I took the initiative to create a petition so citizens could have their say. Through this petition almost ten thousand citizens asked for the decision to be reversed and this Council would not listen.

(From Dec. 5, 2012) Should the city continue to give each councillor a $50,000 Healthy Communities Initiative Fund to spend in their ward?

No, my position has been very clear on this issue. The HCI funds should not be in the hands of Councillors, it's unethical. The funds should be managed by staff.

(From Oct. 9, 2013) Should the city fast-track plans for a new arena replacing the Sudbury Arena with the aim of having the project underway by the end of 2014?

This is more complicated than a yes or no answer. I do believe if the city found the right partner, from the private sector who has the available capital and is willing to build and operate a new arena the city should seriously consider fast tracking such a proposal. Realistically I doubt that that could be accomplished by the end of 2014.

(From Dec. 11, 2013) Should council approve the 2014 budget with a 2.9% property tax increase?

No, I know Council could have done better. As the President of the GSTA, I brought forward suggestions of efficiencies and savings. Council is elected to make the tough decisions. I believe a new Council can do much better and I'm the person who can lead that Council.


Ed Pokonzie

Ed Pokonzie (provided)

Ed Pokonzie

Age: 65

Occupation: Retired truck driver

Community InvolvementPrefer to help people individually rather than get involved in organization known in Sudbury for running for political office federally, provincially and municipally multiple times since 1991

Top 3 issues for the whole city:

  • environment
  • social issues
  • monetary issues
  • city administration

How would you have voted on the following resolutions from this past term?  Please respond with yes or no.

(From Feb. 10, 2011) Should the city scrap its bylaw 2004-204 regulating when retail stores are allowed to open and close?

No

(From Feb. 12/26 2012) Should the city remove the Ontario Ombudsman as it's closed meeting investigator and instead retain a firm called Amberley Gavel?

No

(From Dec. 5, 2012) Should the city continue to give each councillor a $50,000 Healthy Communities Initiative Fund to spend in their ward?

Not sure, would have to see guidelines for funds first

(From Oct. 9, 2013) Should the city fast-track plans for a new arena replacing the Sudbury Arena with the aim of having the project underway by the end of 2014?

Yes

(From Dec. 11, 2013) Should council approve the 2014 budget with a 2.9% property tax increase?

No


David Popescu

Has not yet returned CBC's questionnaire


John Rodriguez

John Rodriguez (provided)

John Rodriguez

Age: 78

Occupation: Mayoral Candidate, Board Member of the Sudbury Symphony Orchestra

Top 3 issues for the city:

  • Taxes
  • economic development
  • physical infrastructure (roads, etc.) 

How would you have voted on the following resolutions from this past term?  Please respond with yes or no.

(From Feb. 10, 2011) Should the city scrap its bylaw 2004-204 regulating when retail stores are allowed to open and close?

I am not sure that I can respond to that. 

(From Feb. 12/26 2012) Should the city remove the Ontario Ombudsman as it's closed meeting investigator and instead retain a firm called Amberley Gavel?

No

(From Dec. 5, 2012) Should the city continue to give each councillor a $50,000 Healthy Communities Initiative Fund to spend in their ward?

 Yes, with provisos 

(From Oct. 9, 2013) Should the city fast-track plans for a new arena replacing the Sudbury Arena with the aim of having the project underway by the end of 2014?

No, too tight a time line    

(From Dec. 11, 2013) Should council approve the 2014 budget with a 2.9% property tax increase?

Yes