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2022 Ontario municipal election: Meet the Cambridge Ward 7 councillor candidates

File photo of Cambridge City Hall. Nick Westoll / File / Global News

On Oct. 24, voters across Waterloo Region will head to the polls to elect city and regional councillors, mayors and a regional chair.

Residents of Cambridge, the region’s second-largest city, will elect councillors in eight wards as well as a mayor to form city council.

There will be at least three new faces in place, as Ward 4 Coun. Jan Liggett is running for mayor and Ward 5 Coun. Pam Wolf is seeking one of two seats on regional council. Ward 3 Coun. Mike Mann has chosen not to seek re-election.

Scott Hamilton won a tight byelection in 2020 to be come Ward 7 councilor. The bylection was held to replace Frank Monteiro, the longtime councillor who died in late 2019.

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One who fell short in 2020, Manuel da Silva, has again entered the race against Hamilton, while newcomer Chris Sim will also pose a challenge.

To help voters ahead of this election, Global News has reached out to all of those running for regional or city council, mayor or regional chair in Kitchener, Cambridge and Waterloo with available online contact info. Those running for office were emailed a list of seven questions, and in the coming days the responses for every candidate who replied will be shared.

What follows are the responses received from those running for councillor in Cambridge, with the candidates being listed in alphabetical order. (This page will be updated if more candidates choose to respond.):

Manuel da Silva

Q.1 Please give a brief background of yourself including what you do for a living and how long you have lived in the area? (If you are an incumbent, please state how long you have held the position.)

Occupation: Customer Service Manager – Stainless Process Equipment Inc. – Since 1994 – Representing sanitary process equipment for food, beverage, dairy, pharmaceutical and personal care industry and offering custom fabricated/engineered systems.

I have lived in the area for 29 years and in Ward 7 for the past 15 years.  Since moving to Cambridge, I have made it a priority to be involved and contribute.  I have contributed to my community by;

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–  Serving on the board of Cambridge Youth Soccer for 10 years

– Volunteered as a director for the Portuguese Club of Cambridge for the past 10 years

– Previously served on elementary and secondary school council for schools which my children attended

–  Represented Cambridge and North Dumfries, as a Trustee for the Waterloo Catholic School Board since 2003.

Q.2 Why do you believe you are the right person for the job?

After serving for 19 years as a trustee for WCDSB, I made the decision to run for Ward 7 because I strongly believe that at this stage in my life, my efforts and contributions will be better served at city council level.

I believe that Cambridge has much to offer and I recognize the importance of this role.  I realize that there are and will be issues that will need to be addressed and decisions to be made that will not only impact the residents of Ward 7 but all of Cambridge and Waterloo Region.  I look forward to fill the position to the best of my ability.  I have always believed that we as citizens have a responsibility to contribute and be involved for the betterment of our communities.

I look forward to the opportunity to look for positive solutions and will work to build relationships and lobby for results that will benefit current and future residents of Cambridge.

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Q.3 What do you think is the most important issue facing your ward and the city as a whole?

I don’t see a single issue but several.

– Homelessness

– Proper facilities to assist/look after our most vulnerable residents

– Traffic flow

– Transportation

–  Affordable housing

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–  Fast growing community and appropriate/required infrastructure

Q.4 Looking down the road, what are your long-term goals for the city?

I want to see us being better able to serve the most vulnerable in our community.  We see far too many people on the streets.  We need to ensure that there are programs and facilities that will help people to reintegrate into society and become contributing, self-sufficient members.  We need to ensure that there are social services programs to help look after the vulnerable in our communities.

Q.5 What is your platform?

Our community has experienced a large increase of homelessness, in the past few years.  This problem is not just in our community but is a problem that needs to be addressed.  We need to come up with ideas and programs that help these individuals get out of our streets and into safe places.

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I have seen a great amount of growth in Cambridge over the past 29 years.  We continue to grow and I would say that we are growing in the right amount.  However; as we grow, we need to consider appropriate infrastructure, community facilities required to best serve current and future residents.

Q.6 What do you like to do in your spare time?

I like to be involved and volunteer as much as possible in different capacities and organizations.   Spending time with family and friends is definitely one of the things I most like to do.  One of the ways I like to capture quality time with my wife, children/partners and grandchildren is by cooking Sunday dinner for us.

Scott Hamilton

Q.1 Please give a brief background of yourself including what you do for a living and how long you have lived in the area? (If you are an incumbent, please state how long you have held the position.)

Recently, I’ve taught university courses at Wilfrid Laurier University and the Balsillie School of International Affairs (BSIA) (International Security, Environmental Politics, Political Philosophy), and I also worked as the BSIA’s Research Coordinator. However, I just made a career shift into communications, and I’m now working with an agency to assist local organizations, non-profits, food banks, start-ups, etc., achieve their strategic goals.

I was elected to Cambridge City Council only recently, in a by-election, in October of 2020. I’ve learned a great deal since then, I’ve been very active on council (and I’ve never missed a meeting!) and I feel like

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I’m just getting started, and there’s lots more work to be done!

Q.2 Why do you believe you are the right person for the job?

There’s three sides to this: policy, personality, and work ethic. First, policy: I have a Masters degree in Political Science from the University of Oxford (UK), a PhD in politics from the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) (UK), and I received Canada’s top postdoctoral award, the Banting Fellowship. I spent over a decade learning how to think critically, integrate vast forms of knowledge (history, theory, quantitative and qualitative data, etc.) into a concrete concise package, and formulate ideas and concepts in new ways to produce peer-reviewed articles and publications. So, I can grasp policy, its history, how it’s written, what it’s effect on the city (present and future) will be, and importantly, I think calmly and rationally about planning our ward’s and our city’s future, rather than make any impulsive decisions based on emotion, or based on pressure. (….because, believe me, there’s lots of pressure that comes at you when you’re on council!)

Secondly, personality: I never let fear, emotionality, or pressure, cloud my judgement. I always ask myself when making a decision, “What is the history behind this? What’s driving it? How will it affect the present and the future of the ward / city?” That being said, I listen to everyone, and I’ve door-knocked much of my ward since I was elected, simply to hear from people that their concerns are — and I truly listen to issues, even when I disagree, and do whatever I can to help. Sometimes, the issue is too large, or it’s out of my jurisdiction, or it simply isn’t feasible; but if someone comes to me, I always give them my ear, and

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I listen, think about the issue, and I work to help them.

Finally, work ethic. Since I joined council, based on the issues I heard from Ward 7 and the city, I researched, wrote, debated, and passed, more than eight motions in council that have shaped the city for the better. These include, fighting for the safety of children on Myers Rd.; building ‘Tiny Homes’ in Cambridge; helping seniors and residents with special needs shovel snow; and much else, which can all be found on my website (www.scotthamiltoncambridge.ca). In short, I think critically and rationally, I truly listen to everyone, and I work as hard as I can to change the city in positive ways, wherever possible — and my record on council speaks to that, I hope.

(Also, I just try to be a nice and positive guy, because hey, life’s too short to act otherwise!)

Q.3 What do you think is the most important issue facing your ward and the city as a whole?

Ward 7 is complex, and different areas have unique needs that are specific to them. I’ve heard about speeding, noise, and racing on Avenue Rd., as well as issues concerning condo amalgamation; with the growth experienced in Ward 7, there are older and established neighbourhoods that are concerned about the impact of new, potential developments; calls to by-law for a variety of issues have not yielded responses some residents are satisfied with, so I’m excited to work with the new head of by-law at the city to strengthen his department and what the city can do to enforce by-laws; children attending schools on Myers Rd. still face dangerous conditions (and although I’ve worked with parents, the region, and the school board to make advancements, there’s much more work to be done, like more parking!); residents living near Franklin Blvd. and McQueen Shaver face traffic, speeding, and noise concerns; and much else. Different areas need better snow removal, as well!!

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City wide, the big issues are homelessness, the lack of housing, the drug addiction and poisoning crisis, and of course, fighting, and mitigating against, climate change. What is challenging, is that these are largely under regional, provincial, and even federal jurisdiction; so, we need candidates that can lobby, and work with, other levels of government in ways that are tactful and diplomatic.

Q.4 Looking down the road, what are your long-term goals for the city?

My long-term goals — aside from finding ways that a municipality can address the regional and provincial issues noted above — are (1) assisting Ward 7 residents with local issues identified above.

Achieving parking spaces on Myers Rd for parents and schoolchildren, better snow removal, strengthening by-law’s capacity to enforce city rules, assisting with condo issues, finding ways to reduce noise and dangerous driving on city streets …. and (2) re-instilling faith in people that city council — a part-time role! — makes a difference, and it’s comprised of real people from their neighbourhood and city that want to help them. This is why I ran in 2020, it’s why I went door-to-door again after I was elected, and it’s also why I want to keep running for council again this year.

Q.5 What is your platform?

Well, it’s tough to have a ‘platform’ on a part-time municipal level, and most of it is written above. As I mentioned, my job is to listen to residents, think very carefully and critically about how I can help them, and the city as a whole, and do whatever I can to research and write creative and novel motions that can affect small, and large, changes in the city. I’ve written and passed more than eight motions on council that have achieved this.

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For example, when I joined council, I was told that housing and homelessness was a Regional issue, which is true. However, thinking creatively, my motion on ‘Tiny Homes’ explores new housing options for residents, at a municipal level, that can go a long way to helping thousands of residents, and get more roofs, and more privacy, to many that want or need it, or to families that want a tiny home for a loved one, for a rental, etc. My ‘platform’ here, is the same as it is now: Look at what the local problems are, speak with residents and experts and local front-line workers that have skill and expertise in these areas, and find what new avenues can be explored or attempted to make changes.

There’s always a lot of ‘talk’, but I hope my record shows that I’ve ‘walked’ as much as I could, in the 1.5 years I’ve had so far on council.

Q.6 What do you like to do in your spare time?

I have two jobs, and two young children, so …. What is this “spare time” thing you’re mentioning?! In all seriousness though, I love hanging out with my family, and every day, I think “This is the last day that my four-year-old and my two-year old are going to be this little!” … so I try and soak up the family time as much as possible (and delete the tantrums and chaos that tiny humans generate!). In my spare moments, I exercise (jogging, rowing, weights), I’m a huge Raptors fan (‘I told you not to leave, Kawhi! I told you!’), and I read non-fiction and fiction as much as possible… Which, these days, is mostly ‘Doctor Seuss’ and ‘Spidey Super Stories’. ;)

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Q.7 What is your favourite thing about living in your city/ward?

I’ve lived all over Ontario and Quebec, and my wife and I lived in the UK for nearly six years… And Cambridge is truly unique in Canada. The way its rivers snake through the cores, the architecture, and the way in which it’s changing and growing, is inspiring and exciting. The people of this city represent the best of Canada, and it’s a true mosaic — from ‘new Canadian’s’ arriving, to those residents that have been here for generations, the people of Cambridge are kind, thoughtful, positive, and — despite the issues we’re discussing here — they’re hopeful and optimistic. I’m excited to go to work for them at city hall, and I always remember, that nothing in our city is set in stone — our future is what we’re going to make of it together.


Global News has also reached out to Chris Sim but has not received a response as of publication. This copy will be updated as further answers arrive.

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