Information About You
Name: Raylene Lang-Dion
How many years have you lived in Ottawa? Over 25
How do you identify?
Do you identify as part of a minority group?
__ Prefer Not to Say
How old are you? 50
How many council or committee meetings have you attended since Sept. 1, 2017? 5
When was the last time you took public transit? Choose the statement that best describes you:
__ I take transit more than once per week.
__ I take transit more than once per month.
X I take transit less than once per month.
1) In the last term, what was council’s single greatest accomplishment? What was council’s biggest failure? (Limit answer to 150 words.)
The greatest accomplishment of the present council was the LRT and the biggest failure was the decision to move the Salvation Army to Vanier.
There are several considerations which led to the epic, contentious reality of the Salvation Army situation starting with ignoring the considerable evidence which shows that smaller facilities are much more effective than taking a larger institutional approach. I am concerned by the storyline of where the development location was determined, the lack of respecting the residents’ concerns and the indication that no strategic thought was given to having over 300 people in a shelter given the impacts that would have on a community daily. More disturbing is this return to big institutions as a means of solving an issue rather than addressing homelessness, affordable housing and focusing on the social determinants of health.
2) In the past four years, property taxes have increased about two per cent each year. Do you have a target for future tax increases?
2a) What is your target for future property tax increases, as a percentage?
Before talking about increases, I would first look at how money could be saved or used differently – specifically looking to savings, reallocations and cash-in-lieu before considering tax increases.
3) Does Ottawa have an adequate level of policing?
3a) Would you increase the police budget by more than two per cent?
3b) Please explain why. (Limit answer to 150 words.)
On the one hand, there are areas for investment given rapidly changing technological advances. It would be prudent to ensure that the police have modern tools to do their job better, focused on community feedback and evidence. On the other, legislative changes could be made to identifying areas – such as ‘deputized’ citizens instead of police officers at road work areas – where savings just makes sense.
There are also ‘unknowns’ such as the impact of the legalization of cannabis and what impact this will have on the current force.
Policing is one of the strongest foundations of a safe and well-functioning society. If more community hubs for police are needed, combined with an increased physical presence based on identified areas in need of assistance, then the investment is sound. Since there are an estimated 300,000 calls for service annually, we need to look at what can be handled by specially trained civilians.
4) Do you support cannabis retail shops in Ottawa?
4a) Do you support cannabis retail shops in your ward?
4b) What role should the city have regulating this new industry? (Limit answer to 150 words.)
The City’s top priority should be closing illegal dispensaries operating in Ottawa and in our Ward. The City should determine where cannabis retail shops can be located and how they will operate. To get cannabis retail right, the City should start with consulting with and listening to citizens and communities on these issues. If elected to represent Alta Vista Ward, consulting residents on cannabis retail is one of the first things I will do. I am convinced that getting cannabis retail right will help us keep organized crime out of our City and keep cannabis away from children.
5) LRT is the single largest infrastructure project in Ottawa’s history. As the city moves into Stage 2, what would you do differently to improve the plan? (Limit answer to 150 words.)
Holding the company to account on completion timelines and payment of late fees would be the first point for doing things differently. I would also hold more, broad community consultations to ensure we have the planned route and location of stations right for phase two of the LRT. The layout of the LRT will serve Ottawa for more than 50 years. It is essential that it be planned properly for the needs of all of the communities along the route. In addition, annual and public performance audits would ensure that targets are met and future requirements are clear.
6) How much public money, if any, should the city invest in redeveloping LeBreton Flats? What should the money be spent on? (Limit answer to 150 words.)
I would support the use of public money to fund the library, community centre and the kinds of public services and infrastructure that every community in Ottawa should expect. If a hockey arena is to built there it must not be funded by taxpayer funds.
7) Do you support supervised injection sites (SIS)?
7a) If the province retracts funding for SIS, would you support the city paying for their operation?
8) Do you support inclusionary zoning as a tool to improve the supply of affordable housing units in Ottawa?
9) What do you love most about your ward? (Limit answer to 150 words.)
There are many aspects of the Ward that I love and they are the reason why I have lived here for over 20 years. When we were ready to buy a house, we chose Alta Vista because of its closeness to the downtown core and its affordability. The green spaces were magnificent, the bike paths and parks were plenty, and there were many services in the nearby areas. Today, I love the same things, but more-so our neighbours and the people we have met over the past 20 years have been wonderful and kind. I love the diversity and the fact that people have a generosity to help each other that is inspirational. As much as I love Alta Vista, I know we can make it even better by working together on issues like road safety for pedestrians, seniors and cyclists to ensuring our infrastructure is good enough to meet future demands.
10) What is your top infrastructure priority for your ward?
As CBC has indicated, Alta Vista streets are the worst in Ottawa and after canvassing thousands of residents, hands-down the issue that needs to improve is the condition of and overall approach to our roads.
10a) What are two other priorities for your ward? (Limit answer to 150 words.)
Infrastructure and safety for cyclists and pedestrians with a special focus on school children and seniors. The city has and is trying different traffic calming measures, such as the 3D traffic calming measure on Othello in Elmvale Acres, which looks like something from Star Trek, but I would like to see the evidence of what is working best to guide us in the Ward’s focus and spending money. Safety would also include an increased police presence. I would also like to see the development of full-service Community Hubs in Alta Vista and across Ottawa where residents can access health and social services, recreational facilities, libraries and other cultural resources in one place.
11) Residents often complain about traffic (speeding, congestion, etc.). What would you do to improve traffic in your ward? (Limit answer to 150 words.)
Before talking about improvements, it would be important to get a sense of how many more cars and people are moving into the ward in the future, and to have a full view of any evidence-based research to guide decisions particularly as to what traffic calming measures have proven to be the most successful and cost-effective.
12) How would you encourage residents of your ward to recycle more, especially green-bin organics? (Limit answer to 150 words.)
Before encouraging residents to do more, I would first like to focus on apartment and condo buildings not being required to recycle. Considering intensification plans, new residences and a growing population in Alta Vista, recycling and green bin organic planning should be a key component of any new builds with a modified approach for older building who may be challenged more-so to incorporate these components.
12a) Do you support a city ban on single-use plastic?
13) Do you support posting councillors’ voting and attendance records online and in the city’s open data portal?
14) What would you do to improve the diversity of city staff? (Limit answer to 150 words.)
To improve diversity there needs to first be a recruitment campaign focused on making this a priority and raising awareness. This would be followed by working with the unions on the most effective way to ensure this priority is reflected in the hiring process.
15) Do you support a women’s bureau? Why or why not? (Limit answer to 150 words.)
Yes, I support a Women’s Bureau as women are under-represented in several ways at City Hall and unless there is a specific focus on this issue, there will be slow improvements over time. The fact that Sex and Gender-Based analysis is not currently done at City Hall was a surprise as it is common and mandatory in other levels of government throughout Canada and internationally.
16) The city is planning to undertake a ward boundary review. Do you think the city has too many wards, too few or the right number? Why? (Limit answer to 150 words.)
Given that the geographic area of Ottawa is larger than Toronto and there are always ways to be more financially prudent, I would not be in favour of removing councillors and the assistance that they give to communities. It would be up to the residents of Ottawa to let councillors know if they feel well served under the current situation.
A Bit More About You
17) Which municipal figure, alive or dead, do you admire? Why? (Limit answer to 150 words.)
I admire former Mayor of the City of St. John’s, Newfoundland, Dorothy Wyatt. She came from humble beginnings back in a time when there were no female councillors. Her focus was to make City Hall accessible to the residents of St. John’s where documents were made public for the first time. She was famous for her dedication to residents whom she called ‘the taxpayers’ and made herself available with a ‘Dot-Line’ established so taxpayers could always be in touch with her. She truly valued the people and demonstrated this by being re-elected time and time again by the residents. She was the first female politician I met and will never be forgotten.
18) Do you live in the ward you’re running in?
18a) If not, why are you running there? (Limit answer to 150 words.)
19) Tell us about any formal education, training or other credentials you think are relevant to the job of being a councillor. (Limit answer to 150 words.)
My formal education is a Masters in Political Science from Memorial University in Newfoundland, my home province. My work since has been diverse and includes several positions whose skill sets are relevant to those of a councillor; I have worked politically at Queen’s Park and for two senior Cabinet Ministers. I have owned my own company briefly and been a Senior Government Relations advisor for a not-for-profit organization. I have been National Chair of Equal Voice, Canada’s only nation-wide, multi-partisan organization dedicated to electing more women and currently sit on the Youth Services Bureau board. I was formerly chair of Community Addiction Peer-Support Association and am currently a Senior Communications Advisor with Health Canada working on key files including mental health, seniors, health inequality and opioids.
20) If elected, what single greatest change do you hope to have made in Ottawa or in your ward, four years from now? (Limit answer to 150 words.) The greatest change I hope to make is to enable residents to truly participate fully in developing the Ward’s future direction. I want Alta Vista residents be engaged and satisfied with having their concerns heard and actually reflected in the next 25 year plan.