Here's why Hamilton's mayoral candidates think you should vote for them
While some candidates have released detailed platforms, others have very little information available.
For more of our municipal election coverage:
- Want to get elected in Hamilton? Study finds campaign success doesn't come cheap
- Everything you need to know about voting in Hamilton's 2022 municipal election
- How Hamilton candidates with disabilities get the message out when they can't go door-to-door
There are a lot of differences among the nine people running for mayor of Hamilton. But many of them have things in common — an interest in changing housing, infrastructure, and the culture at city hall. And while some of these ideas may sound familiar to voters, others aren't even within the mayor's power to enact, falling under provincial or federal jurisdiction.
Here are some highlights of what the city's mayoral candidates, listed in alphabetical order, say they'll do if they get elected on Oct. 24.
The 77-year-old former mayor, liberal member of parliament and Ward 2 councillor is among the more prominent candidates in the race.
Here's a summary from Bratina's website of what he promises to do if elected:
Culture at city hall
Work with the city manager to perform a review of all city departments to ensure the city is functioning in the best interest of its residents.
Work with city council and local stakeholders to implement an independent oversight office to increase transparency and accountability across all city departments.
Create a direct line to the mayor's office that will be made available to all city employees.
- Work with the province to declare unused provincially-owned property in Hamilton as "surplus" to allow developers and non-profit housing organizations to obtain properties at discounted rates, only if they keep a large percentage of affordable dwellings, geared-to-income rentals, and offer pathways to affordable ownership. The city would also offer reductions and deferrals of development charges for qualified partners.
- Review CityHousing Hamilton to improve its service — with the potential of restructuring the organization.
- Hamilton's light-rail transit corridor would have an inclusionary zone that would require 30 per cent of all new and refurbished housing be affordable housing, within required guidelines.
Propose to incrementally change our industrial development charges to bring in an additional $50 million to $75 million, based on already existing lands to be developed.
Strengthen the working relationship between the mayor's office and Hamilton's anchor institutions to responsibly grow both the Hamilton Airport Lands and Stelco Lands.
Introduce a new model of support for the arts and culture community.
Agriculture and Industry
Implement a dedicated staff member to liaise between the agricultural industry and the city, to identify how to better support our farmers.
Ejaz Butt started driving a cab in Hamilton in 1989.
Butt is the former president of the Muslim Association of Hamilton and the founding president of the Ontario Taxi Workers Union.
He has no website and hasn't posted a platform online, but he makes several promises in a poster that include:
Culture at city hall
- Hosting meet-ups with the mayor every Saturday and Sunday.
- Creating a committee tasked with investigating corruption at city hall.
- Publicly disclosing all lawsuits against the city.
- Hosting a referendum about whether to allow Burlington to annex Waterdown.
- Maintaining the urban boundary.
- Advocating the capping of rent for privately owned rental properties.
- Advocating for public housing that subsidizes up to $500 for rent for low-income residents.
- Building overhead flyovers and underpasses at busy downtown intersections.
- Add an extra lane on the Red Hill Valley Parkway and more lights.
- Expanding bus service across Hamilton.
- Removing speed cameras and only installing them near schools and hospitals.
- Creating a master plan for LRT across Hamilton.
- Improving sidewalk cleaning.
Offer between three and 12 months of property tax relief for small businesses impacted by COVID-19.
- Improving police response to hate crimes and hate incidents.
- Withdrawing police from all unnecessary social programs.
White nationalist Paul Fromm is running for mayor again after failing to win in 2018.
He has advocated for whites-only immigration, marched with Nazis and spoken regularly on the white nationalist radio show Stormfront.
He also runs the Canadian Association for Free Expression, a non-profit that has intervened in several human rights cases across Canada, including on behalf of websites encouraging homophobia and Holocaust denial.
His candidacy website includes derogatory terms for Black people and also says he supported the convoy in Ottawa this year. He also says immigration is partially to blame for traffic gridlock.
According to his website, Fromm says he wants to change the culture at city hall to allow people with white nationalist views to delegate and he wants to fight equitable hiring practices. He also has thoughts on COVID-19, housing and transit.
Jim Davis previously ran for mayor in 2018 and says he's running again, on the same platform.
A Facebook post on his page has promises including:
Establishing more city-owned, low-cost housing, daycares and sports facilities.
Building more roads and, potentially, tunnels for cars.
Reverse the conversion of Main Street to two-way traffic.
City hall culture
Have fewer staff working on the clean up of Chedoke Creek.
Improve collaboration between departments.
Andrea Horwath is the only woman in the race and the former leader of the Ontario NDP, a former Ward 2 city councillor, and member of provincial parliament for Hamilton East and Hamilton Centre
The NDP was the official opposition twice under her leadership.
Horwath said that transparency at city hall needs to be improved, especially after the events of Sewergate and Red Hill Valley Parkway.
"These things really create a sense of distrust and I think that's what people are grappling with. We need to be really upfront with folks when it comes to their health and safety and wellbeing."
Here's what she promises to do as mayor:
- Create a dedicated department at City Hall to streamline the building process for all.
- Set clear targets for housing starts to increase the supply and options for market value and truly affordable housing.
- Overhaul housing and development approvals by giving projects clear online tracking and dedicated staff with proactive mandates to avoid delays.
- Increasing housing supply in Hamilton to bring market costs down, including development of "Missing Middle" housing.
- Tackle homelessness and creating supportive housing, by working with affordable housing providers and private developers to assure adequate supply of housing.
- Leverage well established relationships at Queen's Park and in Ottawa to deliver provincial and federal investments to Hamilton through a Team Hamilton approach.
- Working alongside other municipalities and the province to explore a "use it or lose it" policy for development to avoid lots sitting empty or underused.
- Ensure development charges support the parks, infrastructure, health care, libraries and public services that will build communities, not just houses.
- Evaluate, improve, renew, and resource Hamilton's 10-year housing plan in 2023.
- Develop a comprehensive four-year plan within the 10-year capital program and work with council to meet annual infrastructure funding and construction targets.
- Approaching projects with a focus on environmental sustainability, with special emphasis on meeting community and neighbourhood unique needs across the municipality.
- Evaluate quality of work to determine whether contractors continue to qualify for city projects.
- Strike a diverse Public Advisory Committee in the first 90 days, tasked with recommending improvements to access, transparency and accountability at City Hall.
- Develop a collaborative Team Hamilton Leadership Table with members of all orders of government.
- Focusing on high-quality investments and procurement, instead of the lowest cost, that delivers the best value for communities.
- Strike a Mayor's task force on affordability charged with boosting revenue generation, and rebalancing residential property taxes versus industrial and commercial property taxes by augmenting the capacity of the economic development department.
- Address the rising living costs due to inflation by diversifying new innovative revenue streams, and re-balancing residential properties versus industrial and commercial.
- Investing more resources into city's film and studio office to establish more film projects.
- Support and develop expansion of digital industries and education in the field.
- Encourage the research and bio-tech sector as established by connection with McMaster University and Mohawk College and facilitate future initiatives.
- Ensure the farming and agribusiness sectors are taken seriously at city hall and harness the growth of the sector's rural affairs.
- Explore development of a Cargo Superhub at Hamilton John C. Munro Airport.
- Renew Hamilton's transit plan to take us beyond 2025, and focus on increasing HSR frequency and service levels.
- Expand Hamilton's transit routes, convenient Presto access, and accessible for persons living with disabilities.
- Keeping the LRT on track with a communications strategy to keep Hamiltonians, businesses and stakeholders informed and engaged.
- Ensure Hamilton is included in Go Transit's Two-way, all-day Regional Express Rail network for commuting to and from the city.
- Champion Hamilton's Vision Zero action plan to further improve roadway safety including new pedestrian crossovers, community safe zones and traffic signage.
- Implement relevant recommendations of Red Hill Valley Parkway Inquiry to ensure roads are safe.
- Focus on improving safety of roads, expressways and connections to provincial highways as part of updating infrastructure.
Green Livable Neighbourhoods
- Make progress on all aspects of Hamilton's Climate Change Action plan, with transparent progress on the plan.
- Ensure city hall actively engages and works with BIPOC, 2SLGBTQIA+, people with disabilities, women, seniors and communities of faith to build policies to make the city safe and welcoming.
- Implement Hamilton's Urban Forest Strategy to prioritize adding more trees in neighbourhoods.
- Resource and champion the existing Urban Indigenous Strategy and undertake an Indigenous-led review of implementation.
Solomon Ikhuiwu is a pastor, youth soccer coach and participant in the convoy in Ottawa earlier this year.
He previously described himself to CBC Hamilton as a conservative voice, a Black person with a young family and a Christian, representing people that "feel marginalized as the established political machinery forges ahead speaking tolerance, but rolling out agendas opposed to their words."
His platform posted online includes the following planks:
- Freeze property tax.
- Work to reduce crime.
- Provide homeless transition programs.
- Empower youth.
- Advocate for health workers.
- Supporting the arts.
- No urban extension into farmlands.
- Cancel LRT and use funding for affordable housing.
Hermiz Ishaya says he's the "youngest mayoral candidate" in the race. Born in Iraq, he moved to Hamilton as a child and lives in Ward 8. The platform he emailed to CBC Hamilton includes plans to improve the quality of the roads, add more bike lanes, generate solar power on city property and build more housing.
"We have to build new bike trails in Hamilton because it will create more viable ways for people to move around within the city using a very affordable way of transportation," he says. "Parks could also be improved by having weekly/monthly maintenance. A lot of the time the grass is uncut and there is a lot of waste/hazards laying around."
He also supports the following proposals:
- Clean neighbourhoods daily/weekly.
- Create more employment centres to help people find secure jobs.
- Hire city staff who have fresh and new ideas.
- Stabilize public transit costs and hire more bus drivers.
- Inspire young people to enter the political ring.
- Create more opportunities for people to open up with their concerns.
- Reducing carbon emissions.
- Teach and counsel people to accept our diversities.
Keanin Loomis is the former chief operating officer of the Innovation Factory business accelerator and former president and chief executive officer of the Hamilton Chamber of Commerce, where he spent the nine years prior to his run for mayor.
His platform focuses on four areas: transparency, growth, "a responsive City Hall" and a safe and healthy city. Here's a summary of a longer platform available on his campaign website.
He has also changed his position on some issues throughout the campaign. Earlier in the year, he said he would eliminate area rating — now he won't, though is platform says there will be an area rating review.
He also said he would take the money given to CityHousing Hamilton and distrubte that to affordable housing developers like Indwell. Loomis issued a statement the next day saying he misspoke and wouldn't touch the money CityHousing Hamilton gets.
Truth, trust and transparency
- Introduce a rule that all council and city staff members must adhere to zero tolerance for bullying, abusive language or disrespectful behaviour. Failure to adhere could result in a ban from city hall.
- Host a mayor's town hall in every ward throughout the year to meet with residents, gather feedback and ensure every community has an opportunity to make their voice heard.
- Introduce a hybrid council meeting model where council meetings will be held in local communities such as Dundas, Ancaster, Flamborough, Stoney Creek and Glanbrook at least once a year to improve community awareness.
- Lead the city to actively collaborate with the community to encourage meaningful support and resources for Indigenous citizens and leaders and restore community partnerships and relationships.
- Commit to implementing Hamilton's Urban Indigenous Strategy.
- Make anti-racism training compulsory for councillors and city staff.
Growing Hamilton, smartly
- Build 50,000 new homes across the city, creating jobs and increasing the supply of housing with the goal of bringing down costs for renters and buyers, and building healthy and complete communities.
- Change municipal bylaws to speed up construction.
- Hiring staff to speed up approvals of new housing, implement new housing along major transit lines, and bring gentle density to established neighbourhoods while respecting and preserving the character, heritage and aesthetic of our communities.
- Commit to a firm urban boundary, intensify housing within our existing municipal boundaries to protect our farmlands, combat our infrastructure deficit and keep property taxes low.
- Repair, onboard, and build a total of 1,000 affordable or supportive housing units per year over the next term of council through key collaborative actions with community partners.
- Freeze development charges on affordable housing developments.
- Create 5,000 new jobs in the first term by attracting new industries and facilitating the expansion of existing initiatives. Also, increase the economic development budget by $1 million to facilitate and attract new investment.
- Implementing strict penalties for road work that fails to live up to contract obligations, including temporary bans from procurement on select projects.
- Updating the City's roadway maintenance protocol and introducing a 311 service to Hamilton.
A responsive City Hall
- Implement a new policy that allocates one-half day per week for residents to have direct access to the mayor and create the space for citizens to share their concerns.
- Invite Premier Doug Ford and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to Hamilton in the first month in office to collaborate on issues, projects and partnership opportunities.
- Set a priority list with both levels of government following consultation with Hamilton-area organizational leaders to discuss community needs.
A safe, clean and healthy Hamilton
- Immediately implement the tiny shelters proposal and support other shelter pilot projects.
- Immediately implement Vision Zero recommendations and engage a third-party evaluator to develop an annual report card to track progress and benchmark future efforts.
- Establish a task force to oversee our homelessness efforts and initiatives, and appoint one Councillor to chair the committee.
- Study the implementation of free transit for our aging population based on the successful experiences of other jurisdictions.
- Prioritize the pursuit of green development and procurement standards for all city contracts.
- Prioritize investments in protection against stormwater contamination and strive to eliminate all bypass events into Hamilton Harbour.
- Prioritize our houseless population in encampments by removing systemic barriers to housing and establishing accessible mental health supports.
- Create a Clean Tech Hub to maintain our competitive advantage and attract new clean-tech jobs.
- Study the implementation of free transit for our aging population based on the successful experiences of other jurisdictions.
- Make Hamilton a welcoming and safe place to live by working with community leaders to create and implement a new Community Plan of Action Against Racism and Hate.
Michael Pattison has previously run for mayor. His Instagram account describes him as a "lifelong Hamiltonian, business owner [and] civically engaged citizen." It also lists a campaign office at 64 James St. N., which CBC Hamilton visited and found to be an empty storefront. His website did not include platform details when this article was published.
He also said he isn't accepting any donations.
Based on his website and social media, Pattison's planks include:
- Incorporating Indigenous values within the city's overall decision making processes.
- Finding shelter space for people experiencing homelessness before winter and ensure no one dies because of the weather.
- Ask the province to revisit a five ward system in Hamilton, matching our provincial and federal ridings. There would be three elected councillors for each ward.
All of CBC Hamilton's election coverage can be found here.
With files from Michael To