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Oshawa votes 2018: Candidates for mayor and regional chair

The Oshawa Express continues its in-depth coverage leading up to election day with a look at the candidates for mayor and regional chair. We have reached out to all candidates and ask them what they see as the main issues in the city and in the region.


Dan Carter

Profession: City and regional councillor, local business owner and former broadcaster

Your views on addressing Oshawa’s financial situation:

We need to continue to keep the city’s finances strong while managing the affordability factor for every family.  Following our financial strategic plan by continuing to pay down debt building our reserves maintaining a competitive tax levy and continuing to invest in the city will provide a strong financial foundation which are keys for the ongoing success of the entire community.

Displaying sensitivity to everyday living and recognizing the overall impact that families face in day to day living is essential in the making of prudent financial decisions.

Your plan for continuing the growth Oshawa is experiencing, and how to continue it:

By continuing to reduce debt, building reserves, and investing in the city while controlling spending, Oshawa will have the strongest finances in all of Durham Region.

A strong financial base attracts investment, jobs and innovation.  An example of such is the regional innovation hub for entrepreneurs.

Working with the auto industry, the education sector, healthcare, energy and agriculture allows us to continue to build upon existing relationships and opens the door to the development of new opportunities and initiatives that will further strengthen the city’s employment opportunities, development and growth. That adds to our strong healthy safe affordable and vibrant community.


Joe Ingino

Profession: Editor/Publisher of Central newspaper, CEO Durham City Central Radio (World’s First Internet radio) founded in 1997. CFO INGINO Productions 2000, Director of Central Distributions Inc.

Your views on addressing Oshawa’s financial situation:

Oshawa is one of Canada’s cities with the most potential for quantative growth.  Unfortunately, we have had 20 years of administrators as city leaders.  This is proof in the state of our downtown core and our lack of positive growth.   Positive growth incorporated good paying jobs for our citizens.  A progressive downtown and housing for all levels of income.    As it stands we have a huge problem with the homeless, drug addiction and affordable housing.  This can’t be.  Not to mention the fact that GM is gone.  The token jobs remaining are an insult to every taxpayers as GM has financially raped our landscape. Left us with a huge environmental problem and no one at city hall stands up to GM and demand retribution.    We need to bring opportunity through partnerships.  It can be done.  Other municipalities are doing it.  We will in Oshawa.

Your plan for continuing the growth Oshawa is experiencing, and how to continue it:

The growth we are experiencing is over flow from Toronto.  It was coming and we failed to prepare.  Now we are faced with wasting good farming land to erect subdivisions that in time will cost us dearly.  It is already has in some of these complexes fire services can’t enter…the city has failed us in planning and preparation.  Under my administration, I will plan for 30 years ahead.  We need to be prepared and not act out of desperation.  The current administration acts after the fact.  This will not happen under my mayorship.   We need to bring world class developers to bring Oshawa to world stature. It will be done.


Adam Kunz

Profession: Durham College professor

Your views on addressing Oshawa’s financial situation:

Oshawa’s financial situation could use improvement. We’re not paying the highest taxes in Durham because we’re flush with cash. I think the best step to take should also be the easiest, and that’s to reinstate the office of the Auditor General. This office was closed in 2013 amidst allegations of improper processes and overspending on the property to build the Consolidated Works Depot. Prior to this closure, the Auditor General had saved the city almost $6 million over four years through value for money audits. Once reinstated, the first order of business will be to perform a forensic audit to see how much damage has been done since that time.

Your plan for continuing the growth Oshawa is experiencing, and how to continue it:

Oshawa is currently growing dramatically; however, I think that growth is happening organically. Residents are moving in from Toronto and commuting to work every day, I think people are attracted more to the location than anything else.  Most of this growth is happening in the far north of the city and is being fuelled by the new 407 extension and the continual expansion of Durham College and UOIT.  This area already has some services planned and in place, including a 66-acre shopping centre and easy access to highway transportation.  One thing that needs improved in this area is broadband access which could be addressed with our current service providers, as well as the currently unused fibre network put in place by OPUC.  Transit lines should be reassessed once both the GO Extension project and the shopping centre have been completed.


Sara Lear

Profession: Senior manager project and estimator construction

Your views on addressing Oshawa’s financial situation:

There are two ways to improve any financial situation: generate money or spend less money. I will build a team of public servants with a learning mindset, who will look for new opportunities rather than sticking with the way we’ve always done it. I also support freezing property taxes for at least two years. I’m confident we can uncover additional revenue opportunities (e.g. civil marriages) and reduce expenditures. Budget management is a straightforward concept we all use; it’s time to implement it in Oshawa. I’m specifically focused on reforming the procurement process away from favouring the so-called “low bid.” Oshawa is missing out on countless opportunities to reinvest this money in its own people and economy. Let’s reform the city’s procurement process to give preference to Durham registered businesses – local businesses staffing local projects.  “If you want an Oshawa for Everyone, the choice is clear – Sara Lear”

Your plan for continuing the growth Oshawa is experiencing, and how to continue it:

An Oshawa for Everyone means a city that attracts developers, without alienating existing constituents. My construction experience will make sure we are building where it makes sense and not just because there is vacancy. There are many large developments scheduled for occupancy in the next four years and we need to make sure that there are services available for our new residents, without burdening our existing citizens. With the explosive growth we have seen in the last five years we have failed to make traffic alleviation a priority. We must continue to install additional traffic lights, street lights, stop signs and speed bumps to protect our community and our citizens. Furthermore better integration and development of our transit systems must continue. With the additional GO Train station operational by 2024 we must keep pressure on the provincial government to continue with this development so it completes on time and on budget.



Tom Dingwall

Profession: Sergeant within Durham Regional Police Service for the past 26 years. Currently on a five-month unpaid leave of absence from the service in order to run for Durham regional chair

How do you plan to maintain the current growth in Durham and make sure that it continues?

Growth is about prudent planning for people, business and the environment. That is, balancing affordable housing and secure jobs in a safe and sustainable environment. Providing the proper conditions for growth enables positive development.

Growth is also change, which can often be difficult. But having a clear, consistent and balanced region-wide approach to growth provides the greatest flexibility and adaptability to leverage our resources with the least resistance.

Durham Region’s community of communities presents complexities for preserving what makes this region so enviable, but it also provides a very broad cross section of opportunities.

As regional chair, I will work together with regional councillors from all communities on a strategy of creating and maintaining the conditions necessary in each community to deliver positive, sustainable and measured growth throughout Durham Region.

What do you see as Oshawa’s role in the overall success of Durham Region?

Oshawa is, was and will continue to be an urban and employment centre and Durham Region can be proud of the legacy that Oshawa represents. We must build on that legacy to support sustainable growth.

As the GTA continues to expand eastward and communities even farther east also expand, Oshawa represents an opportunity to become an anchor of renewed opportunity, a focal point for major cultural and creative activities, a hub for upscale retail, finance and professional services and a desirable downtown location east of Toronto.

An enviable urban centre that attracts good people and good jobs and helps to maintain the sustainability of Durham Region as it experiences significant population growth.

As Durham regional chair, one of my major goals is to ensure that Durham Region is the future of the GTA east, and Oshawa is pivotal to that objective.


John Henry

Profession: Former small business owner, lifelong volunteer, current Mayor of Oshawa

How do you plan to maintain the current growth in Durham and make sure that it continues?

Currently our peoples’ talent is growing Toronto’s economy. I want to turn this around. I want our people to grow Durham. If we’re going to live up to our full potential, we need to ensure that our kids are able to go to school here, work here, and raise their families here. As Team Durham, our new council needs to get serious about jobs and opportunities by: 1) Selling businesses, small and large, on the prospect of moving their operations to Durham; and, 2) Encouraging our own businesses to expand, grow and hire here. I want to see life in Durham become more affordable, healthy, and hopeful for everyone by delivering new jobs for our children closer to home; tackling tough challenges such as transit and longterm care; keeping taxes low, providing policing that works for all of Durham; and, better connect our rural communities with increased broadband availability.

What do you see as Oshawa’s role in the overall success of Durham Region?

I’ve always believed that there’s no ‘me’ in ‘team’. And the same applies to Oshawa’s position within our broader region. Oshawa will continue to play a leadership role at the

regional table and in Durham’s economy. But we also have a responsibility to act as respectful consensus builders who listen to, learn from, and value the perspective of our neighbouring lakeshore, northern and rural communities. Each of Durham’s eight municipalities have their own challenges – ranging from policing and social issues, to transit, road maintenance and construction, long-term care access – or even the pace and scope of residential expansion. At the regional level, we must look at the entire pie, not just one slice, when determining what’s fair for all of Durham. Though some other candidates often miss this point, I also understand that our regional councillors and mayors take direction from their own constituents, not the council chair.


Muhammad Ahsin Sahi

Profession: Real estate and business lawyer in Toronto

* Note – Mr. Sahi did not respond to specific questions posed by The Oshawa Express, but provided the following measures he supports:

– building the Pickering Airport

– providing free transit rides to our students and under 16 youth.

– building more daycare facilities.

– amalgamation of municipalities if province chooses to do so.

– surveillance security and fewer cops.

– spend less more money on roads to the north and tell the province to put money for infrastructure.

– expand our university to include regular professional training.

– streamline transportation with a regional approach in consultation with Toronto and York.

– help our vulnerable with shelter and skill training.


EDITOR’S NOTE: The Oshawa Express reached out to all candidates for mayor and regional chair/CEO. Mayor candidates Ken Carruthers, Rosaldo Russo and Bob Rutherford, and regional chair/CEO candidates Peter Neal and John Mutton did not respond as of the Oshawa Express’ press deadline.