Here’s a recap of the Hamilton ward 1 councillor candidate debate
The Ward 1 Councillor candidates sat down for a debate in The Silhouette office and here's what they had to say.
The Silhouette hosted a live-streamed debate between the Ward 1 councillor candidates running in the 2022 Hamilton municipal election. Ward 1 councillor candidates include Ian MacPherson, John Vail and current Ward 1 councillor Maureen Wilson. All three candidates attended the debate. The debate was guided by Silhouette Editor in Chief Nisha Gill and the main topics addressed included the most significant issues faced by Ward 1, the current housing and affordability crisis and detasking the Hamilton police force.
Following opening statements, candidates were asked to discuss what they perceived to be the biggest issue Ward 1 is currently facing and how they would plan to address it in office.
Vail deemed public safety and police protection as the most pressing concern and highlighted the need for more security outside of the McMaster University campus. Wilson discussed council decorum and established that fostering trust, confidence and transparency is of great concern. Lastly, Macpherson discussed street safety and proposed a greater need for law enforcement on the roads.
In rebuttal, Vail accused Wilson of not remaining transparent during Sewergate. However, Wilson explained that this decision was handled by a previous council, and, once elected, Wilson played a significant role in convincing her council to release the information to the public.
Candidates were asked to discuss the housing and affordability crisis and how it pertains to citizens and McMaster students living in Hamilton.
Wilson discussed her involvement in combatting the affordability crisis during her time as councillor and highlighted its significant impact on students and middle- and low-income families. Wilson then concluded by explaining how McMaster has not been doing its part in developing safe and affordable housing for students.
Lastly, Vail maintained that the affordability crisis has been a persistent issue over the course of many councils and cannot be solved in Ward 1 alone. Due to this, Vail suggests that McMaster students should commute to campus instead of renting student houses.
Issues with the Hamilton police force were first addressed by MacPherson after a conversation on the importance of student involvement in the election. MacPherson referred to the Hamilton police force as a hot topic, and expressed that money should not be reallocated away from the police department. During the free debate period, MacPherson asked Wilson to share own her stance on this topic.
Wilson discussed how police are currently tasked with noncore functions, such as dealing with mental health cases. For this reason, Wilson supports the modernization, realignment and detasking of police services. When Vail asked Wilson to differentiate between defunding and detasking the police force, Wilson maintained that what matters most is to steer front line officers away from being tasked with mental health and wellness jobs.
All three candidates discussed the importance of McMaster students getting involved in the election and casting their vote. Election Day is Oct. 24 and more details on how to vote can be found here.