CANDIDATE QUESTIONNAIRE – Cam Guthrie for Mayor

Four years have gone by so quickly, and ow Cam Guthrie is asking Guelph to give him four more as Mayor.

1) In 200 words or less, why do you want to be the Mayor of Guelph?

I love Guelph! Being the Mayor has been an honour and a pleasure. I want the best for each and every citizen and business in this city.

I enjoy the challenge of balancing fiscal responsibility with maintaining and enhancing services. I continue to challenge the status quo, correct mistakes of the past, stand up for what is right, and buildsolid relationships to secure a strong future for Guelph. I’m proud to have accomplished all of that and more over the past 4 years,and I want to continue doing that for the next 4 years.

Guelph is on the right track, but there is still work to be done. We must immediately invest in Neighbourhood Public Safety and Crime Prevention. We must continue internal service reviews to find efficiencies, invest in infrastructure and community assets and spend local tax dollars on localissues.

A Stronger, Safer Community requires the whole community. Are you with me?

2) How do you understand the role of mayor in terms of the position’s role on council?

In my experience, the mayor is the leader and a consensus builder. The mayor sets the tone for council, the community and city staff. The mayor must be a constant cheerleader for the city and promote the well being of the community.

It is the role of the mayor to make council chambers a welcoming environment to all who enter it – respectful debate and discussion is at the core of our democratic system. It’s important for people to remember that the mayor is only 1 vote of 13 votes on council.

3) What is *your* issue? What is the one thing you want to accomplish during your term as mayor?

I believe that Guelph is on the right track. We have increased transparency and financial reporting. Strong leadership has restored relationships and eliminated ‘the Guelph Factor’, attracting many new businesses to our community. We have also examined city assets and operations, resulting in millions of dollars saved in efficiencies and future cost avoidances.

However, more and more I am hearing from residents who are concerned about increases in thefts, break-ins, drugs, speeding and indecent acts in our public spaces. Neighbourhood Public Safety and Crime Prevention is a key focus of my 2018 re-election campaign, A Stronger, Safer Community.

If re-elected, I will recommend an immediate investment of up to $750,000 per year to the Guelph Police Service for new officers, technology or prevention programs to address property thefts, drugs and speeding in Guelph neighbourhoods.

In addition to investing in our police service, I will continue to work with other levels of government and community organizations to address addiction and mental health issues.

4) What, in your opinion, was the most consequential decision on council last term?

My last campaign was focused on cleaning up the waste and financial mismanagement of the previous administration. For the first two years of this term, I led the fight against politicians and the previous administration to expose the reality of their failed energy vision.

In the end, we uncovered $17 million wasted with no environmental or economic benefits. By halting these initiatives we have also avoided more than $60 million in future costs.

Cleaning these issues up will allow us to continue to invest in local infrastructure like roads and sidewalks, transit and community assets like the South End Community Recreation Centre, the Baker Street redevelopment project and the expansion of the Guelph General Hospital.

5) Part of the role of mayor is to be an ambassador for Guelph, how would you “sell” Guelph? What are the city’s best assets?

I have always been, and always will be, the biggest cheerleader of our community! I’m proud that the Globe and Mail acknowledged me as “the young Mayor, who sells his city well”.

In my opinion, our best assets are our citizens. We’re community-focused, creative and care for each other. Guelph has a great vibe, a strong culture and chops to tackle issues that can not only make Guelph better, but also help make the worlda better place.

Our proximity to the 401 and our position along the Toronto Waterloo Innovation Corridor is great for business. The university and college are strong anchors for our city. I describe Guelph as a medium-sized city that has big city amenities.

I sell Guelph every day on social media and by connecting with other levels of government, community builders,business leaders and the media. My love of Guelph is authentic and I’ve found that my positive attitude spreads quickly when talking about this great community.

6) Should the mayor take transit to set an example for council, city staff, and citizens, even if it’s part-time?

No, I don’t think the mayor must take transit. I do believe that using city services can give insight into the user/citizen experience, but I also think it’s important to hear and engage directly with a variety of user groups. In the case of transit, I regularly speak with riders, drivers, city management and many other stakeholder groups about how our transit service is operating.

7) Growth in Guelph: are we managing it well? Are we trying to do too much? Should we be doing more?

I believe that Guelph is doing well to manage growth. Updating, reviewing and revising planning and development polices is important to manage growth and ensure it fits with our vision for the future, and we’ve been doing just that.

Affordable housing policies, urban design criteria, parkland dedication review, development charges updates, transportation master plan and commercial zoning updates are all feeding into our growth plans.

We have pushed back against the Province due to pressures of growth on our water supply and helped lobby the government on changes to the OMB (now LPAT). When we’ve needed to, we’ve even stood our ground on developments that didn’t fit our city’s character. We need to continue to do all of the above, yet also find ways of making the process easier for businesses that want to grow and invest in our city.

8) How can the mayor address issues of poverty in Guelph?

Addressing poverty requires bringing a diverse group of stakeholders together to look for solutions and opportunities. As mayor, I have lobbied both the provincial and federal governments to help Guelph with funding and resources to tackle homelessness, poverty and related issues.As mayor, I believe it’s important to be alongside community agencies and stakeholders to assess issues and care for our most vulnerable populations.

I’m proud to have joined the 20,000 homes initiative looking for ways of providing shelters to the homeless. I am also proud of the caring community we live in. Caring for those less fortunate than us is a value instilled in me by my parents and my faith, regardless of whether or not I am mayor.

9) What relationship is more important: southwestern Ontario mayors working as a group to deal with the provincial and federal governments collectively, or one-on-one relationships between Guelph and higher levels of government?

I believe that choosing one relationship over the other would be a disservice to our city. There’s a role for both relationships with other levels of government.

I was honoured to be appointed as the co-chair of the Large Urban Mayors Caucus (LUMCO) representing the 27 largest cities in Ontario. I’m also honoured to serve as the vice-chair of the Mayor’s of Southern Ontario (MOSO). There is the old saying that “there is strength in numbers” and this couldn’t be more true when each of our respective municipalities come together to discuss common issues we face like infrastructure, emergency services, transportation, economic development, student housing and more. A unified voice can often bring more attention to these challenges, and create opportunities for shared solutions.

For example, under my leadership we created the Sharing Economy Municipal Guidebook that other cities have now adopted into their local processes. Last year, we attracted millions in investments for municipal innovation in Guelph along with two other cities.

Of course advocating for Guelph-specific issues one-on-one happens regularly. It is imperative to have respectful, collaborative relationships with other levels of government. There is no room for divisivepartisan party politics at the municipal level.

10) Describe a time you had to make a tough decision, and the thought process you went through in order to reach that decision? (Doesn’t have to be political)

Setting up the dedicated levy to fund Guelph’s almost half a billion dollar infrastructure requirements was a major challenge.

For far too many years our deteriorating roads, bridges, pipes and buildings had been ignored. These aren’t glamorous issues, but they cost our community far more in the long run if they go unaddressed.

My thought process involved wanting citizens to understand the costs associated with ignoring these types of projects in favour of flashier pet projects. I wanted colleagues on Council to understand and support the difficult choices that would be required, and I wanted a funding solution that was affordable and sustainable, to protect the long-term financial future of our community.

11) Hypothetical: The City’s in a budget crunch, and a substantial tax increase is cost prohibitive for the average Guelphite, so a cut *has* to be made. What City of Guelph service do you look at and why?

In this hypothetical situation I would propose two solutions:

1. Speed up service reviews to find efficiencies
2. Reevaluate and prioritize capital projects with the option to delay the timing of some projects, as needed.

12) What’s the biggest issue facing Guelph in the next term of council? What about the next 10 years?

I believe that Guelph is on the right track. However in the short-term, I am concerned about increases in thefts, break-ins, drugs, speeding and indecent acts in our public spaces. As mentioned, Neighbourhood Public Safety and Crime Prevention will be a key focus of my 2018 re-election campaign, A Stronger, Safer Community.

If re-elected, I will recommend an immediate investment of up to $750,000 per year to the Guelph Police Service for new officers, technology or prevention programs to address property thefts, drugs and speeding in Guelph neighbourhoods.

Over the longer-term, I think managing growth, protecting the environment, growing the economy and maintaining a healthy workforce will be key. One issue I would like to see us make progress on is the ability to encourage more affordable housing opportunities.

We need a stronger, safer community. And I look forward to delivering it in Guelph.

13) Where can people learn more about you, or your campaign, and how can they get in touch with you?

As always, you can find me at community events, or by phone, email or on social media. I strongly believe in being accessible to you – the citizens of our great city!

Cell: 519-830-7625
Website: www.camguthrie.ca
Twitter: @reelectcam
Instagram: @reelectcamguthrie

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