Marc Rhéal Risdale, Candidate for Ward 13 in Hamilton Municipal Election 2014

Details page for this candidate.

In This Page:

Candidate Details (top)

NameRisdale, Marc Rhéal
ElectionHamilton Municipal Election 2014
AreaWard 13
Email marcrisdale@gmail.com
Website http://www.marcrisdale.ca
BioMy Roots

I grew up in Sudbury in the 70′s and 80′s, the son of Ken, a travelling salesman and Jocelyne, a developmental worker. My grandparents on my Dad’s side were British immigrants – Jim, a nickel miner and professional percussionist, and Kay, a dedicated Scout leader and foster Mom. My grandparents on my Mom’s side were “pure laine” French-Canadians – Léo, a nickel miner and lumberjack, and Jeanne, a school teacher. My godparents were Rhéal (after whom I am named), head of the Nippissing school board and Armande, a school teacher.

My Education

I did JK though grade 8 at École Félix Ricard and went on to graduate near the top of my class at Collège Notre Dame.

I earned a Bachelor of Applied Science in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Waterloo in 1995 and a Diploma in Industrial Design from Humber College in 1998.

I have also earned continuing education credits in Economics, Financial Analysis and Accounting from the University of Toronto.

My Career

I’ve spent the last 16 years as an Automotive Engineer for a Fortune 200 company. Early on, I was chosen to be part of a small team that grew a new branch of the company from a meagre $5 million dollar division into something that had nearly tripled in size by the time it was amalgamated with three other divisions to form a $200 million dollar arm of the company.

In my various roles in Management, Design, Sales and Quality, I’ve had the opportunity to work with nearly all the major auto makers and have travelled extensively, most notably doing extended residencies in Seoul, South Korea, and Nagoya, Japan.

I consider myself an inventor by nature. I have approximately a dozen patents to my name, either granted or pending.

My Background

Hard work and volunteerism were a way of life as I grew up. Both my parents were active members of our church and served several terms on the executives of a number of service clubs.

My decidedly middle-class upbringing meant that if I wanted something, I had to earn it. Through high school, I delivered newspapers, did my time at a fast food restaurant and ended up as an assistant baker in a grocery store all while maintaining excellent grades.

My program at university was co-op, which meant that every four months, I had to pick up stakes and move either for school or work. My jobs there brought me to all corners of Ontario, from London to Gananoque, Port Elgin and Toronto.

Despite, this hectic rhythm, I always found time to get involved. For instance, at Waterloo, I was editor of the engineering newspaper, the Iron Warrior, as well as holding various directorships in the Engineering Society.

Later, when we lived in Toronto, we volunteered as order-pickers and screeners for the Daily Bread food bank, which was a sobering look into the lives of those less fortunate than ourselves.

My Home

My wife Kim and I moved to Dundas twelve years ago so she could pursue her research and teaching career at McMaster Unversity as a member of the Faculty of Engineering following her doctoral work at the University of Toronto.

We fell in love with Dundas at first sight and bought the first house we were shown. We are very proud Dundasians and are thrilled that our young son Theo will grow up in this community.

Never one to gather any moss, I almost immediately volunteered with Dundas Community Services and was just recently awarded a 10-year service pin by the Province for that work.

Our early years here were filled with work and travel. Racing both dragon boats and bicycles at a high level, our adventures brought us to places as diverse as Vancouver, Montreal, San Francisco and even Hong Kong.

About five years ago, I led a grass-roots effort to build a sustainable recreational trail system at Christie Lake Conservation Area. I promptly joined the executive of the Hamilton Cycling Club and with the help of over 3,000 hours of volunteer work (not all my own!) and a Trillium Fund capital grant, we have a thriving and growing network that draws users from all across the City and the region.

Now, as Vice-President of the Hamilton Cycling Club, I still oversee our advocacy work as well our main fundraising event, the Good Friday Road Race, one of the oldest and biggest Provincial bicycle races in Canada. When I first became director for the event, we were barely breaking even and our relationships with the community and our sanctioning body were weakening.

I decided it was time for a radical change. I moved the race from Flamborough to the Ancaster Fairgrounds, completely reworking the event and its finances. The Ontario Cycling Association now considers it one of its flagship events. Plus, we’re now solidly in the black!

One of my many other volunteer “jobs” is as a Provincial Commissaire for the Ontario Cycling Association. Simply put, in the world of bike races, I’m a referee. Earning this qualification involves a lot of in-class training as well as practical “internships”, where we shadow senior referees.

Aside from learning all the rules involved, we also receive extra-curricular training in conflict resolution, mediation and effective communication. It’s been a great learning experience and it has given me a whole new insight into the world of competitive cycling (as opposed to my experience on the other side of the fence as a busy racer).

My work with the Club also led me to join the Hamilton Cycling Committee, an advisory committee to the City of Hamilton Public Works Department, where I represent Ward 13. It was here that I learned about the inner workings of the City and all the fantastic work done by Council and Staff. Slowly, almost accidentally, I was compelled to run for office.

So, here we are, at the present.

Now that I’ve gone on at such great length about myself, I want to hear about YOU!

← Back to Candidates

Responses to Questions (top)

QuestionBrief ResponseFull Response
Do you believe Hamilton should do more to protect and enhance its built heritage? Yes Yes. In addition to the city's 10 year Housing and Homlessness Action Plan, we need to advocate more forcefully both at the Provincial and Federal levels for more action on poverty reduction. In addition, we need to implement inclusionary zoning to promote greater diversity in all our neighbourhoods.
Do you support converting more of Hamilton's one-way thoroughfares into complete, two-way streets that support walking, cycling and transit? Yes Yes. One-way streets are few and far between in Dundas and I believe we are a model neighbourhood when it comes to walkability. While there are still several areas of concern, traffic along King Street is generally well behaved and people feel safe on foot. Motorists generally drive too quickly along the major one-way streets in Hamilton and it leads to far too many injuries and close calls.
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 Yes. I am proud to be the first municipal candidate in Hamilton to have taken the Active Communities pledge and I will hold myself to fulfilling their initiatives. These simple changes are key to reducing not only the number of deaths on our streets but preventing hundreds of costly injuries as well.
Do you support the use of participatory budgeting to allow ward residents to propose and vote on local capital projects? Yes Yes. Dundas has a long history of community consultation through our Community Council and I see participatory budgeting as a natural extension of our strong civic engagement.
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. I have openly supported LRT throughout my campaign. Based on the evidence I have seen, it is a vital key to the economic development of Hamilton and the renewal of the core. This is of great importance to Dundas as it is the most sustainable way to reduce our extremely high tax burden.
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 Yes. Ranked ballots are a concept worth exploring, especially in municipal elections were the number of candidates in a ward can mean that a Councillor could be elected with as little as 10 percent support. Ranked ballots would ensure that the eventual winner would represent the broadest possible range of interests.
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 Yes. I agree that the mid-peninsula highway should be reviewed more thoroughly and I also believe that in light of the recent closure of the Burlington Skyway due to an unfortunate accident that we think seriously about an alternative route to the QEW. As a major trade route in our region, it would be wise to look at some form of redundancy both as a safeguard against the type of closure we suffered but also as a way to ease volume on the QEW, which can be a very dangerous stretch of highway through Hamilton.
Do you support an expanded role for Hamilton to provide more affordable housing? If so, what should Hamilton do? Yes Yes. In addition to the city's 10 year Housing and Homlessness Action Plan, we need to advocate more forcefully both at the Provincial and Federal levels for more action on poverty reduction. In addition, we need to implement inclusionary zoning to promote greater diversity in all our neighbourhoods.
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. As Vice-Chair of the Hamilton Cycling Committee this issue is of prime importance to me. I fully support the Cycling Master Plan and intend on advocating for its adoption throughout Hamilton.
Do you believe City Hall should be more accessible to Hamilton residents? If so, what steps would you take to achieve this? Yes Yes. I stand for transparency, accountability and equity. I have also pledged a 100% open door policy as Councillor. I will maintain the current Councillor's office in Dundas and will continue to consult a new and improved Dundas Community Council. Furthermore, I plan to have a special resident's panel on responsible development in Dundas and I will publish a regular news letter outlining specific municipal and local issues.