Toronto mayoral candidate Ana Bailão said today that “she is a product of the Portuguese community” and wants to bring the brand to city management.
“I am not a person who goes into politics because I like politics. I come in through my community work, what I do and learn, the values I derive from my community work. I am a product of this community, I am an active member of this community and I hope that the community sees itself in my plans, sees the services it wants to improve,” he said, in an interview with Agência Lusa.
Born in Vila Franca de Xira (Lisbon), Ana Bailão has been in Canada since she was 15 years old.
All this means “that I can bring my life and professional experience to the benefit of today’s suffering cities and classes”, he explained, promising concrete policies.
People “suffer from the effects of inflation, like housing is getting more expensive, with services being more expensive. We have to have a very strong focus on providing good service and making sure that people get the right value for what they pay,” he added.
The Portuguese-Canadian was a member of the council from 2010 to 2022, representing the constituency of Davenport, and recently the 18th ward, due to reformulation of the constituency, won almost 84 percent of the vote.
About 50 percent of Toronto residents, who weren’t born in Canada, are people who came to the country looking for “opportunity, security, a city that works perfectly,” he recalls.
“A lot of people feel that, I felt that when I arrived in this city. But today, after this big pandemic, cities are struggling to get back to normal, and to provide the services that citizens deserve and that they pay for,” he confirmed.
A graduate of the University of Toronto majoring in Sociology and European Studies, since 2010 he is in charge of the city’s commission on affordable housing, also being vice president of the municipality for five years, until 2022.
The Portuguese-Canadian also promised to focus on “service provision”, especially in “housing”, an area where many people currently “find it difficult to get or rent a house in Toronto”.
By 2031, Canadian municipal governments expect to build around 281,000 new homes, an insufficient number due to immigration.
“We are in a difficult financial situation, the federal and provincial governments have helped us a lot during the pandemic with subsidies, but we need a sustainable solution,” he stressed.
One of Ana Bailão’s priorities in her election program was ‘returning’ management of the Don Valley Parkway (DVP) and the Gardiner Expressway to the provincial government of Ontario led by conservative Doug Ford.
The candidate also pointed out that the city government must have a smarter solution because Toronto residents “pay for the maintenance of these highways through property taxes”, which is not the case in other cities in the county where they are administered by the government.
“The city of Toronto spends approximately 200 million Canadian dollars (134 million euros) per year on the maintenance and reconstruction of the Gardiner Expressway,” he complained.
Another issue Ana Bailão has defended is public safety, lamenting that other candidates are defending cuts to Toronto’s police budget, which is administered by the city government, wanting “better trained, well-financed” security forces, and even with programs to support public safety, mental health and for the homeless.
The City of Toronto is expected to elect a new mayor on June 26.
The midterm elections were scheduled after ‘Mayor’ John Tory’s resignation last month, following a scandal, after the mayor confirmed he had maintained an intimate relationship with his former employee during the pandemic.
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