Amara Possian – Candidate Questions

Amara Possian
Amara Possian, Ontario NDP Candidate for Don Valley West

Candidate Questions: Don Valley West – Provincial Election – June 7th 2018

Amara Possian, Ontario NDP Candidate for Don Valley West


  1.     Many of the aging schools within the Leaside area are currently facing over-crowded classrooms and given the pending intensification because of development along Eglinton, the problem will only increase. Do you intend to allow the TDSB to collect Education Development Charges?

The Liberals and the Conservatives underfunded education for decades. Hundreds of schools have closed, and hundreds more are on the chopping block. We will invest $16 billion to repair crumbling schools through a 10-year capital plan, and we’ll fix the rules around education development charges so they can fund the new schools families need.

  1. What are your plans to maintain or improve class sizes and the quality of education?

We will overhaul the funding formula starting with a comprehensive review focused on equity and quality – a new funding formula will allow us to curb class sizes and support our most vulnerable students and their teachers.


  1. How does your party plan to protect the environment, limit the effects of climate change and reduce greenhouse gas emissions in Ontario?

We believe big polluters should pay – and that money should support families like those who are lower-income or live in rural and northern areas, as well as trade-exposed industries. Wynne’s system is punishing low-income, rural and northern families and letting big polluters off the hook. And Doug Ford’s plan to have the wild west of environmental policy will drag Ontario backwards.

We will ensure that workers in trade-exposed industries are protected as Ontario makes a just transition to a low-carbon economy, and we will make going green at home an affordable option for families, helping them make a manageable transition to a low carbon future, instead of simply imposing new costs on people then abandoning them.

  1. Will you help protect the Greenbelt?

New Democrats support Greenbelt policies that protect natural heritage while encouraging affordable, transit-friendly ‘complete communities.’ We will protect prime farmland from land speculators, and strengthen Ontario’s Greenbelt to expand economic opportunities for family farmers and local producers.

Development & Traffic

  1. What will you do to maintain the quality of life in Don Valley West as the riding faces intensive development along Eglinton, thanks to the Crosstown LRT?

The NDP understands and respects local government, which is the closest to the people and provides services and infrastructure that people depend on every day. Replacing the Ontario Municipal Board with the Local Planning Appeal Tribunal (LPAT) is a step in the right direction. An NDP government will ensure that the LPAT lives up to its mandate to ensure local communities and local planners are respected and supported when they invest time and resources getting support for updated land use plans and policies.

  1. Traffic congestion is a priority issue for most Leasiders. How can you help?

Transit all across Ontario has been squeezed, and many municipalities struggle to provide effective transit options for residents. We’ll build and expand transit to get Ontario moving smoothly.

  1. With Metrolinx already influencing transit decisions in Toronto with the Crosstown LRT, are you considering a greater provincial role in Toronto transit? Are you willing to fund more of Toronto’s transit needs, as you are with SmartTrack?

Ontario used to fund 50% of municipal transit operations, a successful funding formula that helped make the TTC and other municipal transit agencies the envy of the world. But in 1997-1998, the Conservatives cancelled funding for transit operations, and they stayed cut under the Liberals. Now fares are going up faster than inflation, and service is getting worse.

The NDP will restore the province’s traditional 50% funding for municipal transit and paratransit operations to ensure immediate improvements to transit and paratransit service and higher ridership throughout the province. That means spending more than $800 to improve transit and paratransit service across the province, including more than $330 million in Toronto.


  1. The healthcare system is being stretched often beyond its capabilities. Given that healthcare is the largest budgetary expenditure in Ontario, and with the challenging fiscal situation the province is in, how does your party plan to provide Ontarians with the level of care they require and how do you plan to improve relations with the members of the healthcare system?

Hospitals are overcrowded, and we have a hallway medicine crisis. It doesn’t have to be this way – we can change health care for the better! Andrea Horwath will end hallway medicine. We will invest in Ontario’s hospitals, lower wait times, and protect the health care that all of our families are counting on.

Our plan invests more than $1.2 billion in hospital operations this year alone. And takes longer term steps to make sure hospitals have the funding, staffing, and capacity they need to end hallway medicine. We will also invest at least $19 billion dollars over the next 10 years in hospital capital expansions and the new hospitals that our growing province needs.


  1. Real estate prices in Toronto and in the DVW riding have recently cooled, but many continue to struggle to find affordable housing. What are your party’s plans for better serving under-housed people? How do these plans impact Leaside specifically?

For 15 years, Kathleen Wynne and the Liberals watched the housing affordability crisis grow and did nothing. Too many people can’t afford to live – to rent or buy – in the neighbourhood they grew up in, Leaside included. The NDP have a platform that takes action on housing affordability because we believe safe and affordable housing is a right.

The Ontario NDP will make the necessary investments in affordable housing to build 65,000 new affordable housing units over 10 years, working with partners such as the federal government and the not-for-profit and co-op housing sectors.

Women’s Issues:

  1. What are your plans to ensure women in Ontario are fairly represented, fairly paid and are made to feel safe and equal in all aspects of their lives?

I’m proud to be part of a slate of candidates that is 56% women, and is truly representative of Ontarians. And we take the pay equity issue seriously.

This Liberal government has had 15 years to tackle the gender pay gap in Ontario. If it were a priority for Kathleen Wynne and the Liberals, they would have already done it. The last Conservative government cut funding the Pay Equity Commission and Wynne hasn’t restored it.

It’s time for changes that include funding the Pay Equity Commission, ensuring more women in the public service move into leadership roles, and immediately implementing the Equal Pay Coalition’s 12 recommendations to close the gender pay gap.


  1. Small and medium size businesses are the economic lifeblood of the Ontario economy. Governments bordering Ontario are reducing tax and regulatory burdens on SMB’s. What are your plans to ensure businesses in Ontario and more particularly Don Valley West can compete?

When small businesses grow and prosper, so does our province.

Liberal governments for the past 15 years have made decisions that impact small businesses without consulting them. Doug Ford and the Conservatives have no plan to help small businesses in Ontario, and corporate tax cuts will only help large, profitable corporations like his.

The NDP believes that the best way a government can support a small and growing business is by buying their goods and services. That is why a NDP government will work to provide greater procurement opportunities for small and scaling sized businesses with the goal of awarding 33% of government procurement contracts to small businesses. We also know small businesses struggle with skyrocketing hydro rates. Only the NDP will bring rates down by 30 per cent, and keep them down.

  1. What are your plans to manage Ontario’s debt?

After 15 years of Liberal governments, we need to invest in services like health care that have been cut and neglected.

Our fiscal plan does this while reducing the deficit year-over-year. We will ensure the wealthiest people and most profitable businesses pay their fair share for the services that make their success possible, and protect middle-class families from tax hikes and fee increases.

We will end the corporate tax giveaway, returning the tax rate to 13% on profits in a manner that allows businesses to plan, and close a loophole that’s allowing big corporations to qualify for a small business exemption. We will ask wealthy Ontarians to pay just a little bit more by raising income tax on amounts earned over $220,000 by 1% and on amounts earned over $300,000 by 2%.

Premier as MPP:

  1.   Currently in Ontario, the Premier must share her time between duties as Premier and as MPP. Is this helpful or hurtful to our riding? What will you do to give residents of DVW a strong voice at Queen’s Park?

If elected, I’ll be fully committed to listening, engaging with, and representing the residents of Don Valley West at Queen’s Park.

I have has seen that life keeps getting harder in our community after decades of Liberal and Conservative governments, and I don’t believe Kathleen Wynne can make life better for us. I’ll go to bat for the services that matter to people in Don Valley West, like health care, education, and affordability.

Diverse Leaside:

  1. Don Valley West is a large riding that is both culturally and economically diverse. It includes the affluent neighbourhood of Leaside and the densely populated, lower-income communities of Flemingdon and Thorncliffe Park. As MPP, how will you bring these communities together?

I’m an experienced community organizer with a long history of bringing people together to work towards something bigger. I’m a strong connector and convenor who sees connections between communities and can build meaningful relationships across political, cultural, and economic lines.

I value and listen to others’ sincere and considered opinions because they have had the courage to express them, regardless of whether or not I agree, and I know how to find common ground. I love meeting people where they’re at so they can engage in a way that makes sense to them.

I’ve worked with advocacy organizations that bridge many issues and interests, and coordinated the multi-stakeholder process that brought students, staff, and faculty together to develop McGill University’s sustainability strategy. I’m confident that I’ll be able to bring together the diverse communities of Don Valley West.


  1. Is there anything else you would like to say to the residents of Leaside voters in Don Valley West?

We keep switching between the Liberals and the Conservatives in Ontario, and life keeps getting harder. We are at a crossroads in this province. After 15 years, the vast majority of people are done with the Liberals and the paths that Andrea Horwath and Doug Ford have laid out in front of us couldn’t be more different.

We must choose between Andrew Horwath and the NDP, a party that’ll make our lives more affordable by bringing Hydro One back into public hands — and Doug Ford’s Conservatives, a party that promises to “leave no stone unturned” when it comes to privatization. We must choose between Andrea Horwath, a leader with a bold plan who tells it like it is, who has your back, and keeps her word — and party that hides pieces of their platform, led by Doug Ford, a man who can’t answer a simple question about how laws are made.

The stakes are high.

I want to wake up on June 8, knowing we did everything in our power to elect a government led by Andrea Horwath and the Ontario NDP. A government that puts the people at the heart of every decision. I hope you’ll join me.