The Labour Council asked me to fill out this survey and based on it they endorsed candidates for Regional Council. Based on my answers they decided not to endorse me. Not sure what their reasons were but I suspect that my unwillingness to make broad commitments to hire only from unions and consider to bring all services back in house to the region were leading reasons. In general I am a supporter of unions and want to ensure that workers receive a fair share but when it comes to my duties as a Regional Councillor my first duty is to the residents of Niagara and I cannot make broad assertions and promises without knowing the impact on the budget and on our residents. I look forward to working with the Labour Council to make Niagara a better place.
Niagara Regional Labour Council Survey
The labour movement is proud to be an active participant in the upcoming 2018 municipal and regional elections. Union members and their families live work and play in Niagara’s communities. Therefore, municipal issues concern us all and we share a desire to elect good people who will work to build vibrant and sustainable communities.
Candidate Profile for Mayor or Municipal/Regional Councillor or Regional Chair
Application for endorsement Date: August 12, 2018
Name: Rob DePetris
Political Office for which you are running: Regional Councillor
Please complete the following questionnaire, using a separate sheet if necessary. Please include a brief bio with your response.
1. Have you been a candidate in a previous municipal, regional, provincial or federal election? N
If so, please give details:
2. Have you volunteered in an election campaign? Y If so, in what capacity?
I helped Walter Sendzik in his mayoral race in 2014 and am helping him in the current one.
3. Describe your volunteer work and/or positions you have held in any community organizations.
I would invite you to see my website www.voterobdepetris.ca
a) BRING HONESTY, INTEGRITY AND COMMON SENSE BACK
I promise that if elected, every action I make will be done for the benefit of those who I serve and not myself. Every decision I make will be well thought out, supported by reason and facts which I will convey in a transparent way to all my constituents. I will use my accounting, legal and analytical skills to try to make the best decision for Niagara.
b) FOCUS ON ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT
We need more jobs and economic prosperity in Niagara for everyone. I want a place where our kids have an opportunity to stay in Niagara. I believe the way to do this is to concentrate on ways to help those of us who are entrepreneurs and the 10,000+ businesses in Niagara.
c) increase affordable housing / reduce poverty
We have far too many people living in inadequate housing and often this is tied to poverty as well. In the long run if we can increase our prosperity, poverty and housing issues will be alleviated. But we cannot wait for the long run. We need to find new ways to encourage the building of more affordable housing.
d) lower property taxes
We need common sense to develop ideas to spur economic development and find solutions to alleviate housing and poverty concerns. And we need to be able to do this within an affordable budget so that we do not over burden our residents and businesses with high property taxes and other fees.
e) bring back professionalism / bring in term limits / remove party politics
Councillors have sat on council for years and let the Region become mediocre. If you cannot institute your ideas over 12 years, I think it is time to let someone else try. As well, it is time to elect independent councillors who have no hidden agenda. It is time to let the employees of the Region provide the advice and professionalism they are being paid for.
5. Would you favor your municipality and the Niagara region buying local, Canadian and union-made products and services? Y N
My answer on this is it depends. I believe that if all things are equal that we should endeavour to buy locally. And we should only buy from employers who treat their employees fairly, that does not necessarily mean that the employees need to be members of a union.
I note that we need to do right by the employees and organizations we buy from but we also need to be cognizant of the costs to the residents of Niagara. All factors need to be considered for all decisions. And facts and evidence for each decision need to be considered.
The questions below will help us get a clearer picture of where you stand on certain issues.
6. Contracting out of public services: Do you support contracting out public services? Y N
Support your answer.
Again this is not a yes or no answer. In general I believe we need the Region providing services that bring the highest quality and efficiency to our residents. That said I am not sure what one defines as “public services”. I will consider whatever is best for the residents of Niagara. Each service that is provided we need to review and analyze who is best to deliver the service and how do we ensure that the people providing the services are treated fairly but also the residents are considered in the equation as well.
7. Economic Development: What role do you see for the city/region around economic development, protecting and/or creating good jobs?
I think this is one of our most important jobs and the key to ensuring prosperity for all residents of Niagara. I believe in helping the businesses that are in Niagara making the next steps and adding quality jobs for residents. I am not looking to help employers make profits on the backs of employees but to provide support for businesses that provide quality jobs to our residents. I think this is done by supporting organizations such as Innovate Niagara, our educational institutions and employers who have stepped up and invested in good employment opportunities in Niagara. Only if we can add businesses to our property tax base can we find new revenue to fight poverty and provide better care for those in need in Niagara.
8. a) Do you think that it is appropriate, if elected to liaise with the Niagara Regional Labour Council on important community/regional matters? Y
I think the Niagara Regional Labour Council and other labour organizations are key members of what makes our community work well. I would always want to understand the Council’s position on issues to help inform me of the issues and provide me with guidance. That said, I believe in listening but I also believe in making rational decisions based on the evidence in front of me. In all decisions, I will take the evidence in front of me and make rational decisions. My decisions will be backed by this evidence and will be transparent. It will never place an ideology or a political party ahead of what is best for the residents in which I serve. It will be what I think is in the best interest of the residents of St. Catharines and of the Niagara Region.
b) If offered, would you accept an endorsement of the Niagara Regional Labour Council? Y N
I am not sure what that entails. I would be honoured if organizations support my belief in being transparent, removing political parties from the local decision, getting rid of corrupt politicians and bureaucrats and always making sure that decisions are based on fact and with the understanding of what is best for the residents on St. Catharines and Niagara. That said, I will not be subservient to any organization that requires me to sway from my commitment to do what I think is best for our residents. So if the Labour Council thinks this view is worry of endorsement then I welcome it.
Thank you for taking the time to complete this survey. It was most appreciated.
Completed surveys must be received by August 13, 2018