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.”
Note: This is the first of a series of posts where I will share my responses to some of the questions that residents of Ward 4 have been asking me throughout my campaign process.
As a resident of Ward 4, I would like to know how you plan to address serious concerns displayed by parents with respect to drastic changes in childhood education at the public school system? If elected, what changes do you plan?
A- Thank you for your email. I, like many parents, am equally concerned about my children’s education. I am aware of the issues and am independently engaged in dialogues and strategies to improve the quality of public education in Ontario as well as ensuring that diverse voices are heard in response to curriculum concerns.
However, education is a provincial portfolio and school board trustees are your local representatives. Your local city council has no authority over education beyond zoning matters. Please feel free to contact me to talk further if you wish at 647-479-8871.
Some more thoughts on this:
As a mother of 4, I care about education. I have been involved in teacher training and presentations at schools for years trying to foster inclusive learning environments to ensure every child belongs. In recent years, I have been involved in private meetings and consultations with officials addressing diversity and inclusive education. I use to coordinate A.M.E.N.O. –the Antiracist Multicultural Educators’ Network of Ontario- to advance equity in school boards across Ontario. I have chaired the School Council at the Valleys for about 3 years. I have also served a term on the Peel District School Board Parent Involvement Committee when it was first mandated as well as the Accessibility Working Group.
I have been speaking to many parents in my personal and community networks and know that parents from many different communities are very concerned about the curriculum changes being implemented this September. I am also concerned. I am concerned about the timing of topics introduced and want clarification as to how these determinations were made. I am concerned about the line between fundamental human rights and individual values and morals and who is responsible to teach what to our children. As someone who is a product of public education right here, I am also aware that I was exposed to more than what my parents would have wanted as a child. My parents were not aware of the system and did not have the capacity to be involved at the time.
The one good thing this concern has sparked is the fact that parents are actively seeking information to understand what their children are being taught and they are reaching out to other parents. I am asking the ministry and school boards to invest in reaching out to parents and ensuring that they are fully informed about the curriculum and to address their concerns. The ministry sets teaching guidelines and provides tools to support the implementation of these guidelines. It is important that parents build relationships with their local schools and their children’s classroom teachers to understand each other’s values and expectations. As parents, these changes have reminded us of our role in the education of our children. We are equally responsible for what they learn and must be involved hands-on after school to make sure that they are understanding what values we are raising them within. On a daily basis, we have to make time to have a conversation with each child about what they learned at school and to discuss any particular topic from our cultural and spiritual perspective.
As Canadians, we have the right to “believe” but our “behaviour” in the public arena has to respect the Ontario Human Rights Code and Charter. This is a fundamental Canadian value.