Robert Maton, Candidate for Ancaster-Dundas-Flamborough-Westdale in Ontario Provincial Election 2011

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Candidate Details (top)

NameRobert Maton
ElectionOntario Provincial Election 2011
PartyFamily Coalition Party of Ontario
Email bobmaton@hotmail.com
Website http://www.familycoalitionparty.com/07_Application/31_Selected_Candidate.php?Members_ID=119
BioRobert was born in the UK, arriving in Hamilton when he was 7 and educated in the Hamilton Catholic school system. Upon graduating from Cathedral High in 1968 he went on to receive a BA from St. Michael's College in 1971 from the University of Toronto, then returning to the UK to care for his mother who was ill with multiple sclerosis. During his stay in the UK he worked as a Social Worker and received a MA in Social Work from the University of Wales.

In 1976 he came back to Canada and worked for the Workers Compensation Board in Toronto where he was involved both in Social Work and in Policy. In 1986, he earned a second Masters degree in Social Policy from McMaster, followed by a Ph.D. in Policy from the University of Toronto in 1991. Since then Robert has worked as a Senior Research and Policy Analyst in WCB/Health and Safety, and in Social Work with a focus on addictions, crisis, and home care. Currently Robert is a Psychiatric Social Worker with St. Josephs Health Care in Hamilton. Living in Ancaster, Ontario, Robert has three grown children, is a grandfather, and enjoys married life very much with his wife Sandy.

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Responses to Questions (top)

QuestionBrief ResponseFull Response
In 2007, the Ontario Government promised two light rail lines in Hamilton. Will you fulfill that promise to build light rail in Hamilton? Why or why not? Yes Yes, I would advocate building light rail in Hamilton, as part of a much broader plan to stimulate the Hamilton economy and bring in new industries to replace the dying smokestack industry.
Will you complete the job of uploading social services costs to the Province? Why or why not? Yes Certain cities have high costs for social services while others do not. Because they may provide fewer services, or have high residential costs, wealthier communities often export their social service costs to poorer municipalities where comprehensive services exist for the least advantaged. These are costly and currently largely paid for by the municipality providing the services. The province needs to upload and redistribute the costs of social services so that all municipalities pay a more equal share of the costs.
Hamilton has a lot of available office space in the downtown. Will you move any departments to Hamilton to boost the local economy and save on rent costs? Why or why not? Maybe I think the issue here is only in part moving government departments - some of these could certainly be considered for movement to Hamilton if their location in Toronto is not important. But government departments do not generate much economic activity. Economic growth comes from a dynamic and entrepreneurial private sector, and primarily the small and medium business sector. We need a dynamic entrepreneurial network in Hamilton which develops ideas and inter-business linkages. We especially need to encourage the movement of manufacturing, technological, financial and educational industries to Hamilton.

Toronto cannot manage its current growth and is gridlocked for most of the day. Development and improvement of transportation corridors between Toronto, Hamilton, and the US border - and including the Hamilton airport - are critical to the future development of Hamilton's economy. A great opportunity exists to take the pressure off Toronto by developing new industrial sites and transportation corridors in the Hamilton region. Industry needs access to transportation linkages, and will develop where these are available.
Do you support term limits for municipal politicians? Why or why not? Yes Yes, I would advocate a limit of two or three terms. In this election it is clear that entrenched interests and elected officials in some areas are able to work together to shape the agenda, reward supporters, and give themselves an advantage in elections.
The Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area has some of the worst traffic congestion in North America. What, if anything, will you do to alleviate the gridlock? Yes Develop transportation alternatives to assist industry in Toronto to move west - to Hamilton, Stoney Creek, etc. I would add lanes to highways, improve the accessibility and frequency of public transportation between Hamilton and Toronto. Further, we need to design roads and incentives to encourage more car pooling.
Hamilton has a large number of contaminated brownfield properties that present a risk for investors. What, if anything, will you do to make it easier to remediate brownfields? Yes I advocate public/private partnerships to remediate brownfields. Private industry in principle is entirely responsible for remediation, and this is reflected in the marketplace where investors in properties requiring remediation will pay a price for the property reflecting the costs of remediation. However, where risks are uncertain or risks to the surrounding community exist, the cost of remediation may exceed the value of the property and such properties may be difficult or impossible to sell. In these cases the only option seems to be for municipalities to take control of properties, remediate, and charge the costs back to the owners.

However, owners often disappear or initiate prolonged court proceedings in these circumstances. Further, it is not appropriate for municipalities to appropriate large tracts of toxic land which require high costs to remediate. Municipalities should not be the target of any lawsuits for health problems caused by brownfields. I advocate a stick and carrot approach, which would provide financial incentives and tax breaks to brownfield owners who collaborate, remediate, and meet standards set by the municipality. On the other hand, lack of collaboration with the municipal authority would attract legal action, and the full force of the federal, provincial and municipal regulations to legally require them to conform to standards.
Do you believe municipalities should have more powers to generate revenue? If so, what would you propose? If not, why not? Yes Road tolls between cities can be designed to encourage car pooling and use of public transport, and these are useful where public transport is easily accessed, fast and efficient; and where safe parking at the outer edges of the City is available. In a number of areas Hamilton has difficult gridlock, but we do not yet have excellent public transport and parking. The current municipal fee system which charges for recreational, cultural, conservation and naturalist activities is nicely balanced, fair and equitable. Hamilton Street Railway fees which are lower or eliminated for those who cannot afford them are fair. Fees in the City clearly do not cover the full costs of services. However, higher fees on services will discourage users, and lower fees will make people undervalue the services and reduce their quality.
Do you support completing the Mid-Peninsula Highway? Why or why not? Maybe The Liberals have put a hold on this project for 20 years, while the Conservatives want to build the Fort Erie-Hamilton Airport stretch as soon as feasible. The people of Flamborough are not in favour of this project because it would drive a major route through their farms and disrupt their rural community. Its location on the escarpment would also affect green space and cause environmental damage. The Mid-Pen would also lend support to development of the St. Mary's Quarry close to the 401, which could disrupt rural communities as well, and present environmental challenges. Meanwhile, however, Toronto is gridlocked by over development, while Hamilton, just a few miles away, needs development and industrial opportunities. This writer has talked about a vision of Hamilton like that of Pittsburgh, which successfully made the transition from heavy industry to manufacturing, health care, education, and high technologies 30 years ago. Because of the legitimate concerns of citizens along its proposed route, I believe the Mid-Pen should be put on hold while other options are explored. If other options are patently not feasible, then the Mid Pen should be brought back for further discussion.