Press release: Khedr welcomes public transit enhancements
April 21 – Ward 4 Council candidate Rabia Khedr responded favourably today while attending the transit enhancement announcement of Steven Del Duca, Ontario Minister of Transportation.
Rabia Khedr at the announcement
Del Duca announced the province will pick up the entire $1.6 billion cost of a Hurontario LRT. The Hurontario LRT will transect Ward 4, running 23 km and includes 26 stops. Construction begins in 2018 with service online in 2022. Del Duca calls this a “transformational” investment “that will form the north-south spine of a regionally integrated transit system.”
“I applaud this announcement and congratulate Mayor Crombie and Mayor Jeffrey on advocating with the province to push forward regional transportation improvements. An affordable, efficient and integrated system of public transit will curb gridlock in the future. It will encourage our future generations and new residents of the region to use public transit as a viable alternative,” said Ms. Khedr.
“It is about time that Peel got its fair share of investment from the province. Kudos to the new mayors for getting the job done within their first four months in office. This will mean more jobs and more development opportunities,” Ms. Khedr commented.
“Residents along Hurontario will face the brunt of the inconvenience for some time once the project gets underway,” Ms. Khedr added. “These are the necessary growing pains we will endure, but improving public transit is necessary for our future generations. I am pleased they had the wisdom to avoid the massive expense of a subway line.
“Still, it is Council’s job to ensure that we stand firm on costs and that the work is completed on time and on budget.”
April 17 — Committing herself to taxpayer power, Ward 4 council candidate Rabia Khedr today became the only candidate to call for the introduction of an Auditor General for all of Peel Region.
“It’s not enough to have an auditing firm come through once a year and do a run through of the books,” said Ms Khedr. “As taxpayers we need the protection of an Auditor General who has oversight of every dollar spent.”
Citing the federal Senate scandal and the numerous cases of fiscal impropriety such as those experienced in Brampton, the Ward 4 candidate said she believes the only way to keep spending in line and limit inappropriate individual expenditure is all-year oversight. Ms. Khedr points out that Brampton had an interim auditor general during its recent fiscal impropriety crisis.
“Look, I run a not-for-profit independent business. I know as well as anyone that costs must be kept in line and council needs to be accountable for both short- and long-term spending plans. The introduction of an Auditor General will mean councillors and employees will have a nearby source authority on fiscal ethics and appropriate spending. This is how we protect taxpayers from over spending, and protect elected officials and employees from charges of mishandling of public funds.”
Ms Khedr consulted Ontario’s Ombudsman André Marin who gave his approval to the idea of Mississauga having its own Auditor General. Municipal oversight is not entirely new; Toronto introduced an internal auditor’s office after the MFP spending scandal of the 1990’s.
“I intend to introduce the proposal at council, while working behind the scenes to make sure we have this fiscal watchdog in place. With a gross annual budget nearing $700 million, we need a full-time auditor general.”
Ms. Khedr estimates that the cost of the office of an Auditor General will be easily offset by the savings that result from the office exercising its mandate. “It’s a value-for-money proposition,” she adds. “The addition of an Auditor General’s oversight will also eliminate costly duplication of services and costs.”