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October 30, 2006

Winner of New Zealand Idol announced

Filed under: Archived,New Zealand,Original reporting — admin @ 5:00 am

Winner of New Zealand Idol announced – Wikinews, the free news source

Winner of New Zealand Idol announced

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Monday, October 30, 2006

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The winner of the third series of New Zealand Idol was announced by host, Dominic Bowden during a live two hour special at a packed Saint James thearte and the winner was Matt Saunoa from Levin, 21-years-old, who cried when the announcement was made.

Matt beat other finalist, Indira Moala from North Shore, Auckland, who is also 21-years-old.

Matt Saunoa receives more prizes than the other two idols before him, including NZ$50,000 cash, a Daihatsu Terios car and a recording contract which includes a guaranteed single release.

Matt said: “I just want to thank everyone so much. I didn’t think I would make it past the first round and I won the competition.” Matt was lucky to make it past the first round one of the judges, Frankie Stevens, only allowed Matt to progress on in the competition after Matt assured Stevens that he would win the competition. He also didn’t make it past the first round in the first season of NZ Idol.

Before the announcement Indira said: “I had no idea I’d make it this far. You have no idea how excited I am. Whatever happens tonight I’m going to rock it out.” And then Matt said: “If you make me New Zealand Idol I will work my ass off to make sure there are singles and albums out there that do it justice,” referring to past winners, Ben Lummis and Rosita Vai who both had no commercial success.

Centrebet, online betting service, said that their odds on Matt were $1.90 while Indira’s were at $1.80, the first time Matt hadn’t been favoured since September 18.

The Prime Minister of New Zealand, Helen Clark, made an appearance and applauded the success of the two for getting this far in the competition. And the rest of the final ten also made a brief appearance.

TVNZ, the broadcasters of NZ Idol, are yet to confirm a fourth NZ Idol even though the ratings were excellent. TVNZ will be speaking to South Pacific Pictures of the future of NZ Idol.

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Wikimedia chair Jimmy Wales steps down

Wikimedia chair Jimmy Wales steps down – Wikinews, the free news source

Wikimedia chair Jimmy Wales steps down

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Monday, October 30, 2006

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Florence Nibart-Devouard, the new chair of the Wikimedia Foundation, speaking at Wikimania 2006.

Following the Wikimedia Foundation’s retreat in Frankfurt am Main, Germany the Foundation made changes to the organization of the Board of Trustees. The board, which consisted of Jimmy Wales, Tim Shell, Michael Davis, Florence Nibart-Devouard and Erik Möller voted unanimously to elect board member Nibart-Devouard as the new Chair of the Wikimedia Foundation.

Founder Jimmy Wales said, “I nominated Florence to be the Chair of the Foundation in recognition of her outstanding service for the past few years and her unsurpassed passion for our goals. Having such a trusted community representative elected as our new chair demonstrates the growth and strength of our organization.”

Nibart-Devouard, 38 and currently living in Clermont-Ferrand, will still be working with Wales.

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Wal-Mart cuts ties with PR consultant over controversial Republican TV ad

Wal-Mart cuts ties with PR consultant over controversial Republican TV ad

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Monday, October 30, 2006

Wal-Mart severed links with Terry Nelson, a Republican strategist, last night because he had connections to a controversial Republican Party advertisement in Tennessee. The ad’s purpose was to blast Democratic Senate candidate Harold Ford Jr, who is running against Republican Bob Corker.

A blonde woman in the ad says, “I met Harold at the Playboy party”. As the spot ends, she winks and says breathily: “Harold, call me!”. The ad also “criticised” Canada. “Canada can take care of North Korea,” a man in the television ad says. “They’re not busy.”

Nelson and his company, CrossLink Strategy Group, were hired by Wal-Mart last year in an attempt to help the company.

Jesse Jackson, an American politician, and other leaders signed a letter distributed by WakeUpWal-Mart.com, asking the company to end its relationship with Nelson.

In an interview with the Associated Press Nelson said, “There was no intention to offend anybody and it’s unfortunate if people took offense. That was certainly not what people planned for or hoped for.”

A spokesman for Wal-Mart, David Tovar, issued a statement saying Nelson’s company had “sent a letter to Wal-Mart ending its working relationship with our company.”

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Voting ends in landmark Congo election

Voting ends in landmark Congo election – Wikinews, the free news source

Voting ends in landmark Congo election

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Monday, October 30, 2006

The final round of voting has ended in the first free elections in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) in over forty years.

The runoff is between incumbent President Joseph Kabila and Vice-President Jean-Pierre Bemba, who led a field of 33 candidates in the first round of polling held on July 30, but failed to achieve the required majority vote. The voting has been largely peaceful, though isolated incidents of violence and voting fraud have been reported.

Contestants Bemba (left) and Kabila, August 2006.
Credit: MONUC/Myiram Asmani/IRIN

Jean-Pierre Bemba Joseph Kabila
44 years old 35 years old
One of four Vice Presidents President
leads Movement for the Liberation of Congo leads People’s Party for Reconstruction and Democracy
polled 20% of vote in first round polled 44.8% in first round
Main support base in western Congo Main support base in eastern Swahili-speaking Congo
son of a prominent businessman, who was close to Mobutu Sese Seko. backed by Ugandan army during the war. retains considerable business interests. son of former President Laurent Kabila, grew up abroad, received wartime backing from Rwanda.

Polling day

Voting was largely peaceful, with isolated incidents of violence in the north-east. Two people were reported killed amidst protests over alleged irregularities in polling. Turnout is expected to be lower than in the last round.

Thunderstorms and a five-hour spell of rain dampened early morning voting in the western Bas Congo province and the capital Kinshasa.

Bemba supporters protested against alleged ballot-stuffing in Lisala, and looted polling stations and burnt ballot boxes in Bumba. Two people were reported killed and four others injured when “naval forces” and police fired on the protesters.

A Human Rights Watch observer estimated that between 15 to 25 thousand people were prevented from voting by Congolese army troops, who blockaded roads and demanded money from voters going to the polls, in the north-eastern Ituri district.

Polling was open between 6:00 a.m. local time and 5:00 p.m. (0500 GMT to 1600 GMT) in the west, and one hour earlier in the east. Polling was extended beyond the closing time in some areas.

80,000 police personnel and 17,000 U.N. peace-keepers backed by 2,000 E.U. troops were deployed to secure the polling. The peace-keepers staged “flag-marches” in Kinshasa and other cities.

Over 1,000 international and 40,000 Congolese observers monitored the elections in the 50,045 polling stations. Counting is to begin immediately, but provisional results are not expected before November 19.

Kinshasa was reported as “tense”, with over 5,000 armed supporters of Kabila and 600 fighters loyal to Bemba reportedly present in the capital. Both Kabila and Bemba voted in Kinshasa, but did not speak to reporters. A joint statement issued by their parties called for people to vote “in a calm, orderly and peaceful manner”.

Transition from war

Mineral rich Congo has remained largely undeveloped, despite possessing rich reserves of gold, diamonds, coltan and Uranium.

Following independence from Belgium, Congo underwent a turbulent political history, enduring a 32-year dictatorship under Mobutu Sese Seko. The 1994 Rwandan genocide sparked strife in neighbouring Congo, and Sese Seko was overthrown by Laurent Kabila in the First Congo War.

Kabila was challenged by Rwanda and Uganda backed rebels, but drew on support from troops from Zimbabwe, Angola, Namibia, Chad, and Sudan. The resulting Second Congo War, the deadliest conflict since the Second World War, killed an estimated four million people and displaced another five million.

A peace accord was signed in 2002 and a transitional government set up, with Joseph Kabila as President and two of the rebel leaders, including Bemba as Vice Presidents. A new constitution was approved by referendum held in February this year and the first multi-party elections began on July 30, 2006.

A UN peace-keeping force, MUNOC has been deployed in Congo since 2000 and was charged with keeping security during the elections. The elections, funded by $460 million of international aid, are conducted by the Independent Electoral Commission.

Kabila has won the support of third and fourth placed candidates, Antoine Gizenga and Nzanga Mobutu – the son of Mobutu Sese Seko, following the first round of elections. Clashes between Kabila and Bemba supporters have left at least 23 people dead, following the announcement of the results of the last round of elections.

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Democratic Republic of the Congo general election, 2006
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UK Foreign Secretary Beckett breaks ranks over Trident

UK Foreign Secretary Beckett breaks ranks over Trident

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Monday, October 30, 2006

Margaret Beckett, British Foreign Secretary

Despite commitments already made by the British Prime Minister Tony Blair and Chancellor Gordon Brown to replace the Trident missile system and the Royal Navy’s Vanguard class submarines, Foreign Secretary Margaret Beckett is calling for a public debate on the decision.

The Prime Minister has committed to holding a debate in Parliament over the issue.

Beckett told the Sunday Times that it was the Cold War that prompted the Trident programme but that the security situation now is very different.

Though Trident is not due for replacement for 20 years, Tony Blair has promised that there will be decision on Trident this year, due to the long lead time for design and construction. The costs involved may be between 10 and 25 billion pounds.

Beckett said that the public should be informed and should think about the issue themselves.

Her opinion will be welcomed by back bench Labour MPs who are concerned that any opposition to replacing Trident will be suppressed.

Beckett has also taken an independent line before, on Iraq, by expressing ‘regrets’ over the war and saying she did not disagree with General Sir Richard Dannatt, who said that British troops in Iraq were provoking trouble.

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Sokoto mourns after plane crash that killed Sultan

Sokoto mourns after plane crash that killed Sultan

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Monday, October 30, 2006

Thousands will gather outside the palace

Thousands of mourning Nigerian Muslims have gathered outside the temple of the late Sultan of Sokoto, Muhammadu Maccido, waiting to pay their last respects following his death in a plane crash on Sunday, along with 95 others on board. He was a widely respected man to whom 70 million Muslims looked to for guidance and leadership.

The crowds are being let into the palace in small groups to meet the surviving family of the Sultan, and other traditional rulers. Figureheads such as President Olusegun Obasanjo paid their respects on Monday, along with a host of other dignitaries, including two former presidents. Among those who died in the crash are former President Shehu Shagari’s son, as well as the son of the Sultan, Mohammed, and one of his grandchildren. A northern senator was also recovered from the site.

The possibility of pilot negligence is now circulating the investigation, however a final conclusion as to what has caused the crash of ADC Airlines Flight 53 is not yet available. The investigation on the Boeing 737 is expected to be concluded over the coming weeks.

Successor to be decided

Within the next couple of days, the kingmakers will assemble and draw up a list of three possible candidates to be the next Sultan Sultan. This list is then presented to Sokoto State Governor Attahiru Bafarawa, who will choose the next Sultan from the list of three. He is expected to choose the person who is placed at the top of the list. The list from the Kingmakers could come as early as Tuesday, and a decision by the State Governor by the end of the week.

The crowds outside the palace are expected to increase after the appointment of the next Sultan, and they will mix their condolences with congratulations for the new Sultan.

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Lula re-elected as President of Brazil

Lula re-elected as President of Brazil – Wikinews, the free news source

Lula re-elected as President of Brazil

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Monday, October 30, 2006

Brazilian president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva

Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva has been re-elected with more than 60% of the votes against Geraldo Alckmin in Brazilian general elections, 2006.

61-years old Lula received 58,295,042 votes while Alckmin received 37,543,178 votes, or 39.17%.

Lula was the candidate of Partido dos Trabalhadores (PT) with support from 5 other parties, the Partido Comunista do Brasil (PCdoB), Partido Republicano Brasileiro (PRB), Partido Liberal (PL), Partido Socialista Brasileiro (PSB) and Partido Progressista (PP).

Alckmin was the candidate of Partido da Social Democracia Brasileira (PSDB) with support from three other parties.

In a victory speech, Lula said he would govern for all Brazilians and intensify efforts to alleviate poverty during his second four-year term. Silva promised a much better second term than the first. The President-elect has made income redistribution the priority of his first four years in office.

Lula campaigned on a platform of championing the cause of the country’s poor, highlighting a 19 percent decrease in poverty, minimum wage increases and millions of new jobs.

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Interview with Bill Bousfield, Regional Council candidate for Wards 1 & 5 in Brampton, Canada

Interview with Bill Bousfield, Regional Council candidate for Wards 1 & 5 in Brampton, Canada

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Monday, October 30, 2006

The upcoming 2006 Brampton municipal election, to be held November 13, features an array of candidates looking to represent their wards in city council or the council of the Peel Region.

Wikinews contributor Nick Moreau contacted many of the candidates, including Bill Bousfield, asking them to answer common questions sent in an email. This ward’s incumbent is Elaine Moore; also challenging Moore is Janet Hamilton and Tejinder Lamba.

Interview

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Q: List the three most important issues in your campaign.

A:
  • Door-to-Door transit geared to the senior citizens
  • Increased Police presence in our school zones and parks
  • Eliminate the current waste of our tax dollars

Q: What one election issue do you feel is most relevant to your ward in this election?

A: With the elimination of wasted tax dollars, the savings would fund these and other initiatives.

Q: The Rose Theatre recently launched. What are your thoughts on this facility? Have you had a chance to tour it yet?

A: Although the theater is a beautiful building, I could not in good conscience have approved funding while there is a twenty-one year waiting list for affordable housing. I feel 65 million dollars is too high of a price to pay when there are so many without affordable housing, not to mention the location brings even more congestion to an already overcrowded area.

Q: How do you feel about Brampton’s rate of expansion? Council recently capped the annual amount of new development; do you agree completely with this decision, would you have slowed development even further, or not have imposed a cap at all?

A: I think new development should have been capped even further. With development to continue before the infrastructure is in place to handle the increased volume will obviously add to our already over congested roadways.

Q: What service is most lacking in Brampton?

A: Many of the seniors in that I’ve spoken to in Brampton are literally almost shut ins. They don’t have the means to get out in this great community and enjoy what they helped to create. As the Region owns equipment to provide a door-to-door transit system for them, I feel it is a shame that no one will put in the effort to help get them out and about. As we are all aging, I shudder to think that as we approach our senior years, we also will be neglected by our elected officials of the day.

Q: What are your opinions on Brampton’s congestion and the level of public transit funding?

A: I think back to when my family moved here, there were only 35,000 people in Brampton. My visions of Queen Street and Main Street as a youngster are relatively the same as they are now, two lanes each way. Here we are 40 years later, same roads but ten times the volume. Municipal government must continue to apply pressure for more transit funding from the province.

Q: Why have you chosen to involve yourself in the political process?

A: I have always felt our elected officials should be leading by example as they are in their position not only because of us but also more importantly, representing us as a whole. I for one have had quite enough of being represented by dishonest, self-serving, immoral people as hopefully, they aren’t a reflection of the people they serve. I want to give people the option for truth, honesty and integrity.

Q: What qualities or experiences do you possess, that make you more desirable than the incumbent?

A: I offer honesty and integrity. It’s no secret these are qualities that are lacking in all levels of government. It’s something we all know yet continue to tolerate it. I can’t fault people for continuing to vote for it as it shows we still have hope however, how many times, how many elections pass before we say Enough?

Q: Much of Brampton’s existing council is quite seasoned in the civic political process. What could you bring to the table as a “rookie”, above and beyond the current roster of councillors?

A: A realistic, private sector approach to spending. I feel that even though experience is important much of council has been out of touch with real world spending for far too long to be effective. Although the current council is “seasoned” it’s that seasoning that has created our shortcomings and issues that have come to light during this 2006 campaign.

Q: Why do you want to represent your ward on council?

A: I live in this ward; I’ve lived in this ward since my street was at the northern most point in Brampton. Now, forty years later my street is central Brampton, in some areas, there have been many changes while in others very little. As my wife and I are raising my two young children here, I have a great interest in this ward. My children attend school here, attend the recreational centers and parks here and I want to insure these areas remain accessible and safe for all. I’m tired of seeing the Police run into the park at the end of my street, I would like to see increased Police patrols of the parks.

Q: Of the decisions made by council since the last election, which one would you have changed, and why?

A:I wouldn’t have awarded $400,000 to an outside contractor, the Red Cross, to purchase equipment followed by a multi million dollar contract to provide service for dialysis patients without putting that contract up for tender, thereby at least saving the taxpayers the original $400,000 and possibly reducing the cost of that service. The Region of Peel already has contractors under contract providing transportation service. To not include them as well as any other interested contractors doesn’t provide the best options available and that is what the bid process is intended to do.

Q: What does Brampton mean to you?

A: No matter where life leads me, after 40 years here, Brampton will always be “home”. I’ve watched Brampton grow from a small town to a thriving city, which has retained its small town feel with the tree lighting at Christmas and the beautiful Gage Park.

Notes

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Death sentence to Santosh Singh in Priyadarshini Mattoo case

Filed under: Archived,Asia,Crime and law,India,Politics and conflicts — admin @ 5:00 am

Death sentence to Santosh Singh in Priyadarshini Mattoo case

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Monday, October 30, 2006

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The Delhi high court awarded the death sentence today to Santosh Kumar Singh, who was convicted of rape and murder of a 23-year old Delhi University law student, Priyadarshini Mattoo on January 23, 1996.

The order by the High Court Division Bench comprising Justices R. S. Sodhi and P. K. Bhasin came after three-hour long arguments by defence lawyers and prosecutors over the quantum of sentence. Singh, Matoo’s senior in the law faculty of Delhi University, was convicted on the rape and murder charges by the Delhi high court on October 17, 2006.

The court said, “Santosh Singh had been given many chances to reform by the police when Priyadarshini had complained that he was stalking her. However, he didn’t mend his ways and eventually raped and killed her at her Vasant Kunj flat in Southwest Delhi.”

The Bench further observed, “We are of the opinion that a case of this kind in which the crime is committed in a pre-meditated approach and grotesque manner, the convict deserves nothing other than death penalty.”

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Canada\’s York West (Ward 8) city council candidates speak

Canada’s York West (Ward 8) city council candidates speak

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Toronto municipal election, 2006

Etobicoke North (Ward 1)
Etobicoke Centre (Ward 3, 4)
Etobicoke—Lakeshore (Ward 5)
York West (Ward 7, 8)
Parkdale—High Park (Ward 13, 14)
Eglinton—Lawrence (Ward 16)
Davenport (Ward 17, 18)
Trinity—Spadina (Ward 19, 20)
St. Paul’s West (Ward 21)
Don Valley West (Ward 25, 26)
Toronto—Danforth (Ward 29, 30)
Beaches—East York (Ward 32)
Don Valley East (Ward 33)
Scarborough—Agincourt (Ward 39, 40)
Scarborough East (Ward 43, 44)
Toronto from space

Toronto from space.

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Monday, October 30, 2006

On November 13, Torontonians will be heading to the polls to vote for their ward’s councillor and for mayor. Among Toronto’s ridings is York West (Ward 8). One candidate responded to Wikinews’ requests for an interview. This ward’s candidates include Hau Dang Tan, Garry Green, Peter Li Preti (incumbent), Abdulhaq Omar, Anthony Perruzza, and Ramnarine Tiwari.

For more information on the election, read Toronto municipal election, 2006.

Garry Green

34-years-old, Garry Green is a Contracted Services Specialist (employment programs), Toronto District School Board.

Q: Describe the three most important issues in your campaign.

A:
1. Housing: I wish to re-design Edgley Village to make it safer. Former Mayor of Toronto and former head of MTHA (now TCHC) John Sewell proposed the redevelopment 30 years ago and it has died off due to a lack of advocacy. I will get this back on the map and get it done.
I also want to ensure that all people in the ward live in housing that safe, well maintained and that they know they have a champion if they need help. I will be there to listen and act on their behalf. Adequate housing is critical if we wish to raise healthy children and if we want to put people in a position to become employable.
2. Employment
I have worked in the employment field for several years and wish to use this experience to help people in our community. I have helped youth, newcomers and even seniors gain employment and it would be my pleasure to help the residents of ward 8. I will encourage employers to hire locally, I will try my best to build a mega-hospital in our ward and I will have an internship program open for youth and newcomers out of my office.
3. Childcare
The local councillor voted against childcare subsidies in 2003. I have one young child and one on the way in November so I know the importance of getting children off to a healthy start. I will fight for families; not vote against them.
4. Crime
I feel that if we improve the housing, employment and childcare needs of residents, crime will be significantly decreased in coming years. The community will also benefit from far more positive press but we first need to heal on the inside before the external forces (press) are supportive.

Q: What one election issue do you feel is most relevant to your ward in this election? Housing. How can we ask people to go out and get a job when their home environment is unsuitable?

A: I am also concerned with the growth of development in my ward. We need a councillor free from the strings that come with accepting dollars from developers. I have vowed not to accept dollars from developers or labour because I want to act in the best interests of my community at all times. I live in ward 8, will raise my family in ward 8 and will always look at the impact of all decisions on our community.

Q: Why have you chosen to involve yourself in the political process?

A: I was very discouraged by the fact that our councillor voted against childcare subsidies and with the rise in influence of local developers. I want the community to have more of a say and as a local resident, I feel that I am in the best position to do something.
I also grew up in a family that did not have any influence politically. I can remember not getting chosen for hockey teams after winning the Most Valuable Player in house league one year and not making the all-star team the next year because people with more connections made it. This was very troubling to me and I always wanted to be someone who could make a difference for people and to treat all people equally.
My dad is a truck driver and my mom worked with developmentally challenged clients and so seeing their strong work ethic was an inspiration to me. I was the first person in my family to gain a post secondary degree (Masters in Public Admin in local government) and vow to use everything I have learned and experienced for the benefit of my chosen community.

Q: Why do you want to represent this particular ward on council?

A: I worked with Toronto Youth Job Corps serving Jane and Finch, starting back in 1999 (until 2003) and I just loved the sense of community that existed here. Despite all of the negative press, I couldn’t see what all the fuss was about. The clients were great, the agencies were fantastic and I just wanted to be a part of the community. As a result, I bought my house in the area and look forward to raising my family here.

Q: How are you currently involved in the community?

A: I was a member of the Board of Blacksmith Childcare Centre for 2 years, I am still the President of my former condominium board, a former Big Brother and I have started a youth serving agency entitled Big City Youth Services. While it is just starting out, we have already formed some excellent relationships with other local agencies and look forward to expanding the organization in the coming years.
I am also a resident in ward 8 and will be for my entire time in office.

Q: What does Toronto mean to you?

A: Toronto, ideally, is a place where anyone from any part of the world can come and feel at home. This is the dream that I have for Toronto. However, there are still many issues that need to be addressed such as systemic biases in hiring, lack of representation by minorities and women and the need to improve housing conditions for our residents throughout the City of Toronto.
Toronto so far is just a dream. We all know that the waterfront needs to be dealt with better. We all know that developers are having too much say in how our building is done. We all know that parties are playing too big of a role at city hall. We all know that local issues are getting lost in the size of the megacity. We all know that newcomers with excellent experience and knowledge come to our country only to be sent to inferior social housing and to work at jobs well beneath their skill levels. The question is what are we going to do about it?
A group of six council candidates including John Sewell, Adam Vaughan and myself have proposed getting more minorities and women on agencies, boards and commissions, providing more local authority for community councils and have them meet with greater frequency and our presence together is an example of how people of different political stripes can come together for common goals. I have also proposed the re-design of Edgely Village and many other measures to get housing improved in my community.
Toronto is a dream not yet fulfilled and awaiting new ideas and visions that can make it what we all know it can be.

Q: Which council decision (since the 2003 election) do you feel the city/your ward should be most proud of, and which was least desirable?

A: The bylaw that was actually implemented since 2003 that I agree with is that “all bars, billiard halls, bingo halls, casinos and the racetrack must be smoke-free, or provide an approved designated smoking room”.
With what we know about the hazards of smoking today, I feel it is imperative that we protect the workers who work in these environments.
In March 2003, the local city councillor for ward 8 voted against restoring childcare subsidies. This is shameful in any area but in Jane and Finch and surrounding areas, this is a huge need.

Q: If you were elected as a “rookie” councillor, What would you bring to the table beyond the incumbent?

A: I would bring a passion that has never been seen in this ward before. I would bring equal representation for all constituents. I would bring a fresh approach and an attention to the residents of my area. I would also bring a vision for the area that starts with looking after people’s housing, employment and childcare needs as a means to gaining a safer and more prosperous community in the coming years.
I am also a collaborator and I will work closely with all councillors, regardless of their political stripes in order to bring positive results to our community.
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