Aidan Johnson, Candidate for Ward 1 in Hamilton Municipal Election 2014
Details page for this candidate.
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Candidate Details (top)
|Election||Hamilton Municipal Election 2014|
|Bio||Aidan Johnson is a long-time West Hamilton community activist. He is known for his commitment to civic engagement – and his passion for making Hamilton a better place to live, work, and play. A hard-working lawyer with deep roots in West Hamilton, Aidan has extensive knowledge of the issues that matter. He is a proven leader, dedicated to building stronger neighbourhoods for everyone.
The son of two Hamilton teachers, Aidan grew up in Westdale and attended George R. Allan, Dalewood and Westdale Secondary schools. Aidan emerged as a highly-respected leader at a young age, working with his peers and local officials to raise awareness of social justice issues and speak up for vulnerable members of the community. His efforts to combat stigma made a significant impact on Hamilton school board policies to ensure safety for LGBTQI students. In 2003, Maclean’s magazine recognized Aidan as a “Young Canadian Leader to Watch For” in its annual listing.
At age 16, Aidan began writing for the opinion pages of The Hamilton Spectator as a member of the Community Editorial Board. This led to a long involvement with the paper’s op-ed pages. For the past 18 years, his Spectator articles have driven local debate on a range of issues – from safer neighbourhoods to economic prosperity and jobs. Aidan’s articles on law, politics, and culture have also appeared in The Globe and Mail, The National Post, and The Toronto Star.
Aidan’s extensive track record of volunteer work includes roles as an HIV-AIDS outreach worker, fundraiser for PEN Canada and two years as President of a West Hamilton riding association. He is a member of Ward One’s Participatory Budget Advisory Committee and an active supporter of Cootes Paradise conservation efforts.
Aidan lives in the Kirkendall neighbourhood with his partner Stefan, an ecologist and farmer. Aidan and Stefan were married in 2013. They are the proud uncles of Ava and Lily, two young Ward One residents who inspire Aidan’s commitment to making Ward One an even better place to grow up. Aidan’s infectious laughter and compassion for others are qualities cherished by his family and friends.
A barrister and solicitor by training, Aidan is a lawyer employed by Legal Aid in Hamilton. He previously worked in corporate law at the national firm Borden Ladner Gervais (BLG) LLP) and in Aboriginal Law with Ontario’s Ministry of the Attorney General. Aidan studied at the McGill University Faculty of Law. He was a Fulbright scholar at New York University (NYU) and a graduate student at the University of Chicago. He is fluent in both English and French.
Responses to Questions (top)
|Question||Brief Response||Full Response|
|The City's Cycling Master Plan is up for review. Do you support improving the plan to speed the installation of cycling facilities and provide more high-quality protected infrastructure like the new Cannon Street cycle track?||Yes||Yes. We need additional cycling infrastructure, delivered in a way that actually produces complete streets (i.e. not at the expense of pedestrians, street scape, and motorists). It is essential that we tackle these infrastructure opportunities in a way that does not further divide groups (for example, cyclists and motorists).|
|Do you support implementing a Vision Zero for Hamilton, with a goal of eliminating all pedestrian and cyclist deaths on our streets? If so, what specific actions would you take to implement this policy, and if not, why?||Yes||I absolutely support the intention behind Vision Zero and the need to ensure that no cyclists are harmed or killed on our streets. I will vote in favour of actions to calm traffic and identify high frequency accident zones. I will also work with city staff to identify areas within my ward where poor visibility or untended infrastructure could increase risk. Lastly, I will hold a roundtable to hear from concerned citizens including cyclists to determine which initiatives are the top priority.
|Do you support the use of participatory budgeting to allow ward residents to propose and vote on local capital projects?||Yes||Yes. I have served on Ward 1’s Participatory Budget committee, and all of its sub-committees. I would work to deepen the consultation process to determine how we should spend the ward’s $1.5 million budget.
|Do you support converting more of Hamilton's one-way thoroughfares into complete, two-way streets that support walking, cycling and transit?||Yes||Yes. Two-way streets are generally better - for safety, complete streets and sidewalks, economic growth, and the prosperity of businesses facing onto the streets. I believe in creating two-way streets on a case-by-case basis. I am fully in support of the south part of Queen Street becoming two-ways. This position is substantiated by years of research by councillors Farr and McHattie, by smart city planning, and by strong support from residents heard in my door-knocking. In other cases, I would want to see comparable business cases and public support. Two-way conversions must be validated and decided upon through community engagement in affected communities.
|Do you support an expanded role for Hamilton to provide more affordable housing? If so, what should Hamilton do?||Yes||Creating a diversity of neighbourhoods with mixed housing is a key way to build an inclusive and vibrant city. I will support zoning by-laws that require a proportion of new housing developments to be affordable to low-income families. I will encourage the City to continue to look at evidence-based practices for reducing homelessness as it implements the 10-year action plan for reducing homeless. (Introducing a Mental Health Strategy in Hamilton is one key way to combat the many negative effects of homelessness, given the disproportionate impact of mental illness on our homeless / street-involved communities.)
|The Province has shelved a proposal to build a mid-peninsula highway from Niagara Falls or Fort Erie around Hamilton to connect with Hwy 401 or 407 north of Burlington. Do you agree with the Province's decision to put its development on hold?||Yes||I believe that creating a highway through vibrant Ontario farmland would have little if any benefit to Hamilton, and would not address transit issues as the bottleneck does not begin until well-past the point at which this proposed highway connects with the 407. I prefer a mass transit solution to highways through beautiful green space.
|Do you support the city's plan to build an east-west light rail transit (LRT) line with full capital funding from the Province?||Yes||Yes - for economic and environmental reasons. A key condition for my support is the provision of full provincial funding.
I will also fight to bring into place the “missing piece” of our rapid transit/LRT equation: fair and adequate funding for Hamilton transit from Transport Canada (the federal ministry of transportation).
|The Province plans to allow municipalities to use ranked ballots in future elections. If so, will you vote to adopt ranked ballots in Hamilton?||Yes||I believe when done correctly ranked ballots can add depth to our democracy by giving a fuller voice to voters. I am likely to support a ranked ballot vote on condition that it is well-researched and consistent with how it has been adopted successfully elsewhere.
|Do you believe City Hall should be more accessible to Hamilton residents? If so, what steps would you take to achieve this?||Yes||I believe open and transparent government is crucial, especially at the municipal level. As Ward 1 councillor. I will use town halls, online and face-to-face forums, and regular consultation in every Ward One neighbourhood as a means of work-shopping municipal ideas for West Hamilton. The ward belongs to residents. We should have every opportunity to work together to make decisions.
|Do you believe Hamilton should do more to protect and enhance its built heritage?||Yes||Absolutely. Our City’s historical buildings are one of our best assets. Not only do these buildings tell the story of how Hamilton became a vibrant city, they also highlight what makes our City unique. Our beautiful, historic heritage architecture needs to be preserved for both aesthetic and economic reasons. (Beautiful cities are generally more prosperous, and livable.)
It has taken a long time for City Hall and Council to flesh out an effective, strategic approach to heritage buildings, working with the public and developers. We need additional citizen engagement as we make decisions, and we need to be clearer on how we will use the law to protect buildings of significance.