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Mayoralty Debate on Social and Environmental Issues, October 16, 2006

This Article is By: Elaine Reid    On  Oct. - 16, 2006

Mayoralty Debate on Social and Environmental Issues

October 16, 2006


by Elaine Reid

On October 16, the Sisters of Providence organized a mayoralty debate to be televised on TVCOGECO. The three panelists were: Professor Margaret Little of Political Studies at Queen’s, Dr. Adam Newman of the Kingston Community Health Centres and Eric Walton, local environmentalist and former Green Party candidate, who posed the questions to the mayoralty candidates: incumbent Harvey Rosen, Councillor Rick Downes and Councillor Kevin George.

The questions covered were: women and poverty, cosmetic pesticides, decent and affordable housing, wealth distribution, traffic congestion, affordability of electricity for the poor in the winter months, priority of this Council for LVEC, multiplex and the Grand Theatre.

The incumbent, Harvey Rosen, articulated poverty and housing issues with more depth than the other 2 candidates. He explained that each community has its uniqueness: therefore, problems and solutions are unique. It is not a question of money but a question of spending the money more effectively. Municipalities need more latitude from the Province to spend the money more creatively.

On the environment question posed by Eric Walton on cosmetic pesticides, Rick Downes proclaimed he was the only candidate to feature the environment issues in his brochure and he is the only candidate who takes the environmental issues seriously. He likened this issue to the smoking ban bylaw that he initiated. Rather than waiting for another level of government to move on the issue, Council should take action.

Following this discussion, there was a heated interchange between Mayor Rosen and Councillor Downes on the ethics of taking credit as an individual or give credit to a group who also was involved in the decision making. The Mayor said he gives credit to all who participate.

Councillor Downes was aggressive in his attacks on Mayor Rosen. He particularly repeated his message that Mayor Rosen’s priorities in the last three years has been to the advantage of the business class rather than address the social issues about clean water, poor kids and issues affecting everyone.

Mayor Rosen responded by saying that the priorities were not “his” but rather ones agreed upon by Council and acted upon. “There has been a lot accomplished in the pasts 3 years”. LVEC will be one of the economic engines, an investment in the community. Money spent on LVEC is not money that would have been spent on housing and the social issues. They are 2 separate issues.

Kevin George presented himself as a candidate who would consult the agencies and the people of the community to make decisions. But, a leadership quality, seemed to be lacking.

Please Note:

Reports on election events are provided by Kingston Electors to help further discussions and debate on municipal issues. The observations, comments or opinions expressed are those of the reporter and do not necessarily reflect those of Kingston Electors.

-- Kingston Electors