Stefan Jonasson - Winnipeg Council Candidate for St. James-Brooklands

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Staff and members of the Canadian CED Network – Manitoba (CCEDNet-MB) called on 2014 municipal election candidates to share their position on policies that support our collective vision of fairer and stronger local economies, reduced poverty, and more sustainable communities. This is Stefan Jonasson's response:

1. Are you in favour of this policy practice? If yes, how will you work to implement a procurement strategy that takes into account the added economic, social and environmental value of purchasing from social enterprises and other businesses that generate community benefit through the inclusion of Community Benefit Clauses in contracts and purchases?

Yes, I would favour a policy that has the effect of increasing purchases from and contracts with social enterprises, provided that such goods and services meet the quality standards required and that they are more or less price competitive (though not necessarily the lowest price).  I am willing to work with other councillors and the city administration to establish benchmarks to measure community benefit, so that this consideration may be factored in alongside price and quality in determining city purchases and contracts.

2. Are you in favour of Right to Housing’s proposal that the City of Winnipeg support at least 350 new units of affordable rental housing and 350 new units of social housing over three years? If yes, what City supports will you provide so this target can be achieved?

Yes, I am in favour of the proposal that the city support support at least 350 new units of affordable rental housing and 350 new units of social housing over three years — especially since I have heard from some sources that even this level falls below the demonstrable need.  To achieve this goal, I would be prepared to prioritize the use of city-owned land for affordable housing and offer waivers of development fees and related charges.  I would also favour pre-zoning land for such initiatives and also utilize inclusionary zoning to ensure that affordable housing is available throughout the city.  As a general practice, I am I am skeptical about tax increment financing, but I would be prepared to consider it in the case of social housing.  Finally, I would wish to work with other councillors and representatives of senior governments to determine the best institutional structures and strategies for creating an adequate supply of affordable housing.

3. Are you in favour of a comprehensive poverty reduction strategy for Winnipeg with targets and timelines? If yes, how will you partner with community-based organizations and other key stakeholders to create and implement one?

I expect senior levels of government to take the lead in developing  and implementing a poverty reduction strategy, so I believe the city should develop its own targets and timelines based in collaboration with provincial and federal authorities — especially the provincial government, which is obviously the city’s closest working partner in this area. I would hope to work closely with members of the provincial legislature representing parts of our ward, along with other city councillors and the mayor, to engage community-based organization and stakeholder institutions to identify the city’s proper role in poverty reduction and to determine how the city’s strategy could best harmonize with the initiatives of senior governments.  Finally, I would seek the guidance of stakeholders in determining which initiatives, if any, should be pursued by the city alone.