On August 7, 2014, John Moskalyk sat with the New Pathway to discuss city matters and his campaign to be elected as the representative of Ward 3 in the City Council of Toronto.
NP: Who are your main rivals in this election?
JM: Currently I only count the rivals that are running in the election and there are some who may join the race later…I wish everyone the best of luck but I won’t lie, I hope the constituents of Ward 3 pick John Moskalyk on October 27th.
NP: What are the main issues you are running on?
JM: There are four main points that I’m using as the basis of my platform. The first is respecting and being responsible for tax payer dollars and making sure that everyone gets their fair share. The second is community input into local development projects. The third is expanding public transit and improving infrastructure. The fourth is finding and routing out inefficiencies at City Hall…
All of this is in tandem with providing steadfast and excellent constituent care and service so when people have issues they can reach me directly. On my marketing documents, I provide my personal cell phone so you can reach me…I live in that ward and my parents live in that ward, so it is home. I lived abroad for some years but at the end of the day, there’s no place like home and Toronto is a great place to call home. I’ve put down my roots in Ward 3 and I intend to stay there for a very long time.
NP: Are any of these points a priority?
JM: No, they’re interchangeable and they all work together. Tax dollars: we live in the largest city in Canada and it's also the fourth most liveable city in the world and for that we pay a premium. We pay very high property taxes for that reason and we have to make sure that taxes are not raised. Also, where money is spent on social programs, we do not always see. So it’s important to make sure that if taxes are raised – which I don’t think they should be – that we the constituents of Ward 3 are seeing the effects of those tax dollars.
NP: Can you provide any examples?
JM: Social programing for less privileged – half-way houses for example – that don’t affect our area, not because we don’t want them but because they’re not there, programs like that that the city wants to finance – I don’t think our taxes should go up to support these. Taxes for us should be used for good roads…It’s also important to have good transit. And these are issues that concern me. Programs for young families – keeping good parks, keeping day care programs and breakfast programs available. That’s what’s important.
NP: Can you explain the tax issue a bit more?
JM: If taxes are being raised it has to be across a broad spectrum to make sure that everyone whose taxes are being raised is receiving a portion of the goods from the taxes. They simply can’t be raised for programs specifically for the downtown core that have no effect for Etobicoke or Scarborough….What I would like to see ideally is for taxes to remain where they are – in Ward 3.
NP: What kind of community input into development projects are you talking about?
JM: There are a number of condo developments that are going up in the ward, where essentially residents were not contacted about nor were they asked their input and this led to one very unpleasant situation where people felt they were being hoodwinked…The community was very upset by this and this led to many town-hall meetings which led to the developers scaling down the design. What I would like to do is to create a due-process where there has to be a certain number of meetings with the community and where the community can appeal to the City…And in this way, the community can work in tandem with the developers to make sure they get the development they desire without affecting the bottom line of the living space of the inhabitants.
NP: What kind of transit initiatives do you have for Ward 3?
JM: It’s more general for the City of Toronto. Traffic and transport go hand in hand but now we have a serious inefficiency. There needs to be something similar to the Metrolinx that would allow people to get on at one stop and go from the outreaching areas into the downtown core. That would cut down on vehicle traffic, alleviate the problems for our roads and it would generate money through fares. And it would be better for the environment.
NP: And rooting out inefficiencies in City Hall? What are you proposing?
JM: That’s really something I can fully discover only when I’m at City Hall. It seems to be a well-oiled machine but again, we have to find out how to better the system…
I would also like to thank the Ukrainian community for bringing me to this because it was through a life of activism that I’ve learned the value of public service…it’s really given me a sense of community responsibility and that’s something that I now want to do on a broader scale for the citizens of the City of Toronto.
Furthermore, something that I would be very interested in doing…is to work on a sister city program again. The last major conference was held in 2005 in Kyiv when the Kyiv mayor hosted Chicago’s and Toronto’s mayors. Due to unforeseen circumstances in Ukraine, nothing took off with that but seeing as Ukraine is in a state of rejuvenation now, it would be nice to see a rejuvenation of that…And I really think we can do that. What we can lend to Ukraine is that once they do restructure their bureaucratic offices, we can show them our model…but we can learn something from them too, like the Kyiv Metro model which is cost-effective, timely and effective.