An All-Candidates Meeting, organized by the Concord West Ratepayers Association and the Concord West Seniors Club, for the Thornhill candidates in the upcoming Provincial Election, took place on September 14, 2011, at the Fontana Gardens Banquet Hall. The candidates present were Peter Shurman (PC) and Cindy Hackelberg (NDP). The Liberal candidate, Bernie Farber, claimed a previous engagement and didn’t attend – which was regrettable but not unexpected, considering the disregard that the McGuinty Liberals have demonstrated for the Concord West community by their conduct in the matter of the Concord West greenspace and headwater lands that should belong to the Bartley-Smith Greenway.
The meeting, chaired by Dr. Paulo Correa, was characterized by an atmosphere of down-to-earthness and mutual respect. It began with an update, given by Dr. Correa, on the GO/Metrolinx developments and other issues of local and provincial significance affecting the Concord West community. The community’s present main concerns were identified to be: (1) Relocation of the proposed GO/Metrolinx hub to the north side of Highway 7, away from the greenspace and headwater lands where it is currently planned to be built; (2) Transfer of the greenspace/headwater lands to the TRCA or another environmentally responsible authority; (3) Restoration of the residents’ traditional right of access to these lands; and (4) Pushing for the construction of a Langstaff extension as a bridge over the CN yard.
Each candidate gave a 5-minute initial address, after which both candidates answered questions from the CWRA and from the audience (with 1 minute allowed for each question and 2 minutes allowed for each answer). In response to the CWRA questions, both candidates pledged themselves to supporting the community’s struggle to preserve its greenspace, and to putting that support in writing before the election. Questions from the audience touched upon a wide variety of issues, among them healthcare, transportation, mental health services, government spending, govermental accountability and transparency, excessive political prerogatives, and the rampant displays of Jew-hatred at York University.
See also Kim Zarzour’s report in YorkRegion.com.