Learn more about why you should vote for Laura Ip on Monday, October 22, 2018, to represent St. Catharines at Regional Council for the next four years.
It’s time to Reset the Region.
Given the current state of regional politics and how the corporation has been managed, there is a lot of work to do to restore integrity, ensure open communication is the norm, and improve working relationships with staff, other agencies, and the community. With all of that in mind, Laura’s main priorities are:
Integrity and Transparency
This shouldn’t have to be listed as a priority, and Laura has never listed either of these in previous campaign materials, because they both should just be a given; however, the last four years have been rife with corrupt behaviour, a blatant disregard for citizens and taxpayers, and brazen entitlement.
This kind of behaviour cannot be permitted to continue.
Laura has worked in government relations (serving the Region and several municipalities), for the City of Welland, and is certified by the AMCTO in Municipal Administration. She knows full well how important transparency and integrity are to the effective management of a municipal government.
Laura commits to communicating openly and honestly at all times and standing up to mismanagement, corruption, and disrespectful behaviour.
Having worked with and in the non-profit sector for several years and sitting at Niagara Poverty Reduction Network‘s Wages and Work working table for almost five years, Laura is well-versed in Niagara’s housing needs and other issues related to poverty.
Niagara can’t do well as a region when so many people are not prospering. We are in a housing crisis in Niagara, and Laura will work hard to help rectify that, so that everyone can have access to safe and affordable housing.
An efficient, reliable, integrated transit system has been a long time coming in Niagara, and while we’ve made some headway, it has taken us far too long, and we still don’t have a system that appropriately serves the people who rely on transit.
We need a robust transit system that gets people around the Niagara region in an efficient manner. Buses need to run frequently and regularly throughout the day, evening, and on weekends. We need transit that is effective at getting people to work, school, medical appointments, shopping, or wherever they want to go without having to plan excessive additional time to get to and from their destinations.
Laura commits to working to make transit more accessible throughout the Niagara region, including integrating the transit system between municipalities and avoiding unnecessary duplication.
Usually, when people read ‘fiscal responsibility,’ they assume cutting services to save money. Laura means she will work to ensure that Council is being responsible about how taxpayers’ dollars are being spent.
From suing private citizens to golden handshakes to outrageous expense claims, this term of Council and its representatives has been anything but responsible with taxpayers’ dollars.
Laura commits to ensuring that Niagara is provided with appropriate services (waste management, snow removal, seniors’ services, etc.) whilst also ensuring that taxpayers are not paying more than is necessary to sustain the appropriate and necessary services for Niagara to prosper.
Police Services Board
It is Laura’s opinion that this board has been grossly mismanaged and she wants to help get it back on track.
We need people on the Police Services Board who respect our officers and their role in the community whilst understanding their role as a board under the rules of the Ministry of Community Safety & Correctional Services. It is the role of the Police Services Board to ensure that Niagara has the appropriate policing needs (i.e., mental health nurses travelling with officers to assist people in crisis), rather than to manage the actual police force.
Should Laura be appointed to the Police Services Board, she will take an active role in restoring a positive working relationship with Niagara’s officers and ensuring that our communities policing needs are appropriately met.
Should Laura not be appointed to the Police Services Board, she will hold those who are on the board to account to ensure they are doing their jobs effectively and in the best interest of the citizens of Niagara.
Promises made to date:
- Bring a motion to have regional councillors paid based on a formula and remove their ability to vote for raises for themselves.
- Publicly post expenses; never charge for driving to Niagara regional headquarters.
- Bring a motion to have an expense policy put in place that more clearly details how councillors can spend Niagara Region money, what they can and cannot spend it on; outline how expense records shall be kept in order to be reimbursed, and implement a procedure whereby all expenses are to be approved by the Regional Clerk before they are paid out.
- Provide citizens with an at least bi-monthly opportunity to have coffee/tea and discuss Regional concerns. Dates will be posted to my website, and the location will change throughout St. Catharines.
- Bring a motion forward that encourages staff to cooperate with all reasonable information requests.
- I will work to ensure we become members of the Canadian Coalition of Municipalities Against Racism and Discrimination.
- As the Municipal Act mandates that we are to undergo a governance review in this upcoming term of Council, I will work tirelessly toward us having a directly elected Regional Chair in the 2022 election.
- I will bring forward a motion that all staff who serve the Chair be hired through an open competition and that the reporting structure of those positions be clarified to indicate that they, ultimately, report to the CAO.
- Work for the development of a Niagara-specific poverty reduction strategy, so that we can know we are spending NPI and other dollars where it will make the biggest impact.
- Work to improve the Code of Conduct, making it more robust, so that citizens can hold elected officials to a higher standard.