Hamilton Mayoral Candidate: Bob Bratina
A former Hamilton mayor, Bratina has built his campaign on transparency, affordability and security
The Silhouette sat down with mayoral candidate Bob Bratina to discuss his current mayoral campaign and the most pressing issues for the upcoming election.
Bratina served as Hamilton’s mayor from 2010 to 2014 and has once again thrown his hat in the ring to serve his city.
Bratina has criticized the current government’s handling of issues like Sewergate, where 24 billion litres of sewage were dumped into Chedoke Creek over four years, and the Red Hill Valley Parkway lawsuits, where the road’s slipperiness has caused a large number of crashes in the area.
“Right now, there's so much that's done behind the scenes that is not open and transparent. You know, when you're leaving sewer gates open for four years and when nobody's explaining exactly what happened to the slippery pavement. And I could go on and on but you don't need anything more than that for the average person to understand that something's wrong in the way the city's being administered,” said Bratina.
He also hopes to address affordability by controlling residential tax rates and working with the province on affordable housing.
“In terms of affordability, it's a broad issue, because if the taxes continue to go up and people in modest homes with modest and perhaps fixed incomes, like an elderly person living on a small pension, if we allow the taxes to go up, the last number we heard was 6.9% for the city, that puts you out of your house,” said Bratina.
Another part of his plan to tackle affordability includes increasing transparency for the city’s LRT project. Bratina, who has strongly opposed the LRT decision for a decade due to its costs and maintenance, plans for increased financial transparency and unionized HSR employees.
“What we need to do is to make sure that the [LRT] program is open and transparent in terms of what the costs are and how we're going to operate it . . . And I think that council needs to look at everything we do, put things into a priority and ensure that we're living within our means,” said Bratina.
Bratina has advocated for increased security in Hamilton, citing that Hamilton is below the national median for the ratio of police officers to the population.
“Do we have sufficient resources to provide adequate and effective policing? And if you break the numbers down, the answer is no,” said Bratina.
Before his earlier term as mayor, Bratina served as Ward 2’s city councillor for six years, from 2004-2010. Bratina highlighted his accomplishments as a councillor, including when he worked to reconstruct the Beasley Community Centre in the Beasley neighbourhood, one of the poorest urban neighbourhoods in Canada.
Additionally, during his time as mayor, Bratina constructed the Tim Horton’s stadium, allowing Hamilton to host the 2015 Pan Am games. Bratina also worked with the late David Braley to build the $84.6 million McMaster Health Campus.
However, his mayoral career was not without controversy. Bratina was often criticized for being unprofessional and found himself at the centre of the Peggygate scandal when he gave a $30,000 raise to his chief of staff, Peggy Chapman, and wrongfully blamed it on the human resources department.
Bratina was also elected as a Liberal member of parliament for the Hamilton East—Stoney Creek area for 2015-2021. He opted out of running for MP again due to the Liberal government’s decision to fund the Hamilton LRT.
Bratina encouraged McMaster University students to vote in the upcoming election.
“I want [students] to be proud of the city they've come to. And hopefully they’ll find their life's work within the city. Or if not, if they go elsewhere, that they'll still talk to people in Calgary or Johannesburg, or wherever in the world that they may end up, that Hamilton was a great place. Because right now, if you walk around downtown on a Saturday afternoon, you won't be impressed. So we've got to continue the work that we've started,” said Bratina.
Bob Bratina is running for mayor in the Oct. 2022 municipal election. His candidate profile has be posted as part of a series the Silhouette is running to build student awareness about the municipal election. Candidate profiles will continue to be posted in alphabetical order over the next few weeks. Election Day is Oct. 24 and more details on how to vote can be found here.