As a working candidate and a champion for fair wages and labour rights, I am proud to have the endorsement of London and District Labour Council for Ward 12! The following includes my answers to their survey, which I am happy to share with you.

1. A) Do you agree that unions and organized labour play a part in the success of the London community and should be considered a partner in municipal affairs? 

Unions are central to building capacity as a community and must be considered a partner in municipal affairs. Organized labour represent working people and workers are the backbone of our community.

B) Would you as a municipal leadertake the time to meet on a regular basis with union representatives to hear the realities of work from the front lines, given the large variety of work done by our Members?

As a municipal leader, I will ensure that all voices are consulted and heard. I believe that organized labour has the insight I need to lead. I value union principles and share in the desire to strive for more equitable communities.

2. Do you know and understand the process available to resolve a labour dispute? ​​​​​​​​

We must improve labour laws, policies and procedures to better support fair labour relations, particularly during a labour dispute. I understand the process, but feel I can always learn more in order to better support working people in London.

3. Would you support employers bringing in replacement workers to do the work of those who have been locked out or are on legal strike as allowed under the Ontario Legislation?​​​​

Scabs erode at the collective bargaining process and not something I would ever consider supporting. Respect for workers means respect for the process that unions have fought for. During a labour dispute, I will reach out to see how I can support workers.

4. What are your thoughts on the ongoing situation with the Toronto Municipal Council and Premier Ford’s intent to unilaterally cut the number of city councillors​​​​​​do you agree or disagree? Why?

The Premier’s austere and arbitrary leadership is a direct and eminent threat to Ontarians, particularly workers.  Municipalities thrive when they are fairly represented. Smaller government at the municipal level will hurt us all. Too much power in the hands of a few will only divide communities. I am confident that, just like you did with Hudak, organized labour will lead the movement to fight back against Ford.

5. Please give an example of a time you have taken a progressive stance, voted for a union positive motion, lobbied, taken direct action, or made equity and union related change serving on a committee, or coalition? 

Beginning with my student activism, I have grown to align even more strongly with organized labour on many issues, if not most. I am able to take part in setting the agenda for workers on a political level through my participation with the NDP. The last historic convention brought forward platform issues such as fair wages and pharmacare

I have always been very outspoken, particularly about protecting marginalized people. At a community forum on racism in 2015, I challenged the Mayor of London to do better in responding to race-based discrimination in London. This call to action brought forward the Community Diversity and Inclusion Strategy.

Over the years, I have supported labour through several labour disputes by walking the line with workers and hearing their plight for fairness and equity. From the Unifor/Electro-Motive dispute to CUPE city workers picket, to the front of Fanshawe College with OPSEU workers, I have stood along side working people and our collective principles.

6. Do you support the expansion of City work & services?   Examples are: improved garbage collection, future municipal arena staffing models that include unionized city employees, more city owned / driven snowplows on the roads during the winter, more crews maintaining and addressing water, sewer and infrastructure issues?

I believe in expanding city work and services. I believe we must do this while protecting good jobs and keeping service public. That means no contracting out. I am familiar with labour’s Stronger Communities Together campaign and am behind your issues.

7. After seeing various examples of public private partnerships fail or cost significantly more than estimated, where do you stand on integrating P3’s into our City’s future projects?

We must eliminate P3’s. Services must be delivered through good paying, unionized city jobs. Protecting public services is also about protecting good jobs.​​​​​​

8. With infrastructure issues a major concern for all residents in the City of London, how do you propose to support the continued renewal and improvement of our City’s infrastructure?

I support strategic infrastructure spending. Thriving cities have good infrastructure, including social infrastructure like affordable housing. Strong and strategic infrastructure supports people engage in, contribute to, and maintain their communities and their economy. Infrastructure in investing in the community.

9. How will you address the range of poverty issues and needs in our community?

I believe that fortifying social safety nets helps improve the outcomes of individuals living in deep rooted and generational poverty. I believe that city lead harm reduction strategies are necessary, wrap around services tied to affordable housing is needed, and better supports for mental health is long overdo

I also feel that municipalities can support pharmacare as a component of a poverty reduction strategy. 

I firmly believe that solutions for marginalized people must be informed by individuals with lived experience. This means collaboration and consultation with people living in poverty and the advocacy groups entrenched in this issue, is imperative.

10. How do you think the City can improve on equity and inclusion and provide services for refugees?

All communities should be sanctuaries for those seeking refuge in Canada. 

Refugee rights must be protected and services expanded. 

London, in many ways, is a hub for newcomers. We need better wrap around services for newcomer families, regardless of status, to feel safe and live in London with dignity and respect.

London developed a Community Diversity and Inclusion Strategy. We must work together to have the city, employers, businesses, and unions to formally adopt the strategy and begin implementing it.