Hamilton Mayoral Candidate: Michael Pattison
C/O Michael Pattison
Pattison has built his campaign on affordability, transparency and food insecurity
The Silhouette sat down with mayoral candidate Michael Pattison to reflect on his current campaign and the most pressing issues for the upcoming election.
Pattison is running as a mayoral candidate for the third time in his political career, having previously campaigned for the position in 2014 and 2018. He is running again this term to address issues involving affordability, transparency and food insecurity in the municipal government.
Affordability is the biggest point of Pattison’s platform. He discussed the importance of funding mental health initiatives as a key part of his affordability plan.
“The worse that our mental health slides down and the harder that finances get on people, I believe [that] is one of the biggest precursors for mental health [challenges]. When you are terrified of losing your home, not being able to eat or not being able to pay your bills — these things weigh on people so heavily on a common scale. Whether it is through more therapy or having different social meeting groups, [mental health initiatives] can help the overall city of Hamilton as a whole,” said Pattison.
As another key aspect of affordability, Pattison highlighted the importance of addressing the housing crisis in Hamilton.
“From a city perspective, my number one thing is: winter is coming. We have to have safe, secure spots for those that are homeless or are becoming homeless or we're going to then have a death issue on our hands,” said Pattison.
Pattison also advocated for transparency in city spending. Discussing the allocation of funds from residential taxes, Pattison claimed the largest allocation is towards an unknown department listed as “other” in the 2021 tax distribution report.
“When you go through the city budgets, they give you an average residential tax rate and they break it down by department. And if you were to look, you'll see where social services comes in, you'll see where education comes in, policing, and things like that, but yet the largest piece of the pie is just listed as ‘other’. And after going through line by line of our overall budget, I am yet to figure out what the ‘other’ is,” said Pattison.
However, the City of Hamilton’s annual tax dollar distribution chart only mentions “other” for other city services. After reaching out to city hall, other city services was explained to encompass the capital levy, where tax dollars are used to finance capital projects for all city programs and services, as well as smaller dollar value city services. Additionally, policing services were found to be the largest allocation, followed by education services, and then other city services.
“We're going to come into a food crunch. I believe that this winter is going to be a very unfulfilling time for people . . . We've done nothing as a city to work on our food security issues. Even dealing with local farmers, we haven't put anything in place. We haven't helped them with green housing, we haven't done anything to come up with a local supply of guaranteed food,” said Pattison.
When asked about the potential challenges of mayorship, Pattison foresaw the learning curve that comes with the position as the biggest hurdle.
“A mayor basically has three distinct roles and mastering those three roles is something that I'm game for. I have the ability to maintain all three levels: within city council, you're basically a moderator; within the city executive, you're the CEO and in the public, you need to be a role model. So, trying to master those three, coming from just a blue-collar background that was just born and raised in this city,” said Pattison.
Addressing the McMaster University community, Pattison wanted students to become more engaged with the election and municipal government.
“I believe that you're our future leaders. And you know, it's the choices that are made today that set up tomorrow. You guys are the future and you need to be involved now. If you're not involved now, then you're going to let old coots make all the decisions; they're going to be detrimental. Whereas the fresh new ideas, the fresh new perspectives on life, give me different perspectives that we don't see in our lifetime,” said Pattison.
Michael Pattison 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.