Q&A With Your Ward 1 Candidates – Part 1 of 4

Good evening.

Hope everyone had a fantastic Thanksgiving celebrated with family and friends.

With the polls opening at the end of this week (October 12), executives at RORA would like to help residents make an informed decision when they vote.

Our Ward 1 candidates had the opportunity to respond to four questions posed by RORA on a variety of topics.  As part of our series, we will be releasing one question each day.  Please take a moment to read their responses (limited to 250 words).

We thank the candidates who participated for taking the time to give these questions their consideration and provide thoughtful responses.

Let’s start with Question 1:
Why do you think you will be an effective representative for Thornhill?

Ricardo Mashregi:
I think I would be an effective representative for all of Thornhill because I have already proven to be an effective representative for my area. As the Chair of the Grandview Area Residents Association for the past 6 years I have worked well with all parts of my community and have helped to achieve major improvements, such as updated storm and sanitary sewers and wonderful new amenities for our local park. I have worked with City staff and have given many deputations before Markham Council. I have collaborated with other residents associations across Thornhill and feel that, if I am elected, I will have no trouble working with the other members of Markham Council for the betterment of our Ward and our City. In short, I have a proven track record of successful and collegial work on behalf of our community and I understand how things are accomplished in Markham. I am ready to “hit the ground running.”

Peter Wong:
I possess a Bachelor’s Degree in Financial Management and a Bachelor’s degree in Law. In addition to being a legal and real estate investment consultant, I am also a certified mediator and commissioner of oath. Currently, I am volunteering as an arbitrator for one Real Estate Board in Ontario.  
I had served as department heads of Credit Departments for two International banks in Toronto. My other working experiences include being an owner/operator of a franchised hotel in Ontario. I’m also knowledgeable about immigration, litigation, real estate, business and international commercial laws and practical business operations. 
My knowledge and experience will definitely help in my job as your representative.

Keith Irish:
As a 30-year resident of Ward 1 I have always believed in the power of local government to solve problems and make things better for people.

I have the experience, ideas, passion and time to help solve the problems we face and as your Councillor make our community an even better place to live, work and play.

After graduating from university I chose Thornhill as the place I wanted to live, raise a family and operate a business. I am proud of our community and have made time to volunteer and give back to make it better.

I represented Ward 1 for two terms as Public School Trustee, was on the Markham Theatre Board, coached hockey for six seasons with the Thornhill Community Hockey League, was a member of the parent council of Thornhill Secondary School and currently serve on Markham’s Accessibility Committee and as Chair of the Heintzman House Board of Directors.

For 20 years I have owned and operated my own Thornhill-based corporate communications consulting firm.
I have learned a lot from operating a business and working with others to achieve the best outcomes. Being responsible for meeting a payroll focuses your attention everyday on the quality of your work, responsiveness to the needs of your clients, and the importance of providing great customer service.

I live by three simple rules: always do the right thing; honour your commitments; set a good example. If elected, I will bring the same approach to Council and to those I represent.

Barry Nelson:
6 cities have been clients of my performance improvement programs and strategic business planning services. I’ve also been actively engaged within Thornhill for 33 years and specifically within Ward 1 community for 12 Years. My contributions that mirror the work of Councillor in leadership and performance include:

  • 12 Years and 85+ presentations within Markham’s elected leadership, representing local infrastructure, cultural and heritage interests
  • 2 Years as Committee Member and Survey Facilitator for the City of Markham’s current 10-year strategic Culture Policy and Plan
  • 6 Years as appointed Committee Member for Heritage Markham – Chair for 4
  • 12 Years on The Society for the Preservation of Historic Thornhill – President for 2
  • 2 Years leading within Markham’s Ward 1 (South) Thornhill Residents Inc.
  • I’ve visited over 5,700 (and counting) Ward 1 homes seeking input from people like you and I’ve 7 priorities as a result

I improve performance. Professionally, I’ve spent the last 22 years helping people become better skilled within their roles – even the City is a client.

As a professional facilitator, I get people engaged, talking and working together to achieve the best results.

I’m a skilled problem solver who’s respected for quality solutions and outcomes.

To earn trust and respect, I listen, commit and follow-up. These behaviours result in great collaborations.

Negotiation Skills are vital for the role of Councillor. I’ve taught and consulted on negotiation. I’ll share these skills to achieve win/win outcomes for residents.

Howard Shore:
I’ve had the privilege of serving Thornhill in the past as a member of Council and the best part of the job was talking with residents and listening to their concerns.  Whether it was my monthly coffee klatch drop-in, regular town hall meets, annual movie in the park or meeting people door to door, it was a tremendous opportunity to hear directly about residents’ hopes and concerns and do my best to help.

Representing one’s community means respecting what’s important to each individual whether their concern is a pot-hole on the road, pick-up of their garbage or the gridlock on our roads.

I am running to return to Markham Council because now more than ever Thornhill needs strong, capable leadership with both experience and vision. Residents know that I’m a good listener, that I work hard and that I actually got things done when I was on Council.

Hilary Neubauer:
I know how to build relationships, listen to opposing viewpoints, find answers, and get results. My network is extensive and I surround myself with experts who I trust to give me reasoned advice. I was raised by a municipal politician, and through her I know exactly how challenging it is to serve as representative of a large and diverse community. In decision making, I am led by facts and not feelings. There is divisiveness at every level of Canadian politics right now. This is dangerous, especially for areas like ours, where there is valuable land still available to purchase. Thornhill needs someone who will stay the course, and truly represent the will of the residents. That representative is me.

Caryn Bergmann:
Thornhill has been my home for most of my life. Since I was 3 years old, I’ve grown up here, lived here, and worked here, and it holds a special place in my heart. As such, every action I undertake as councillor would be based on what’s best for my community. I pledge to act only with honesty and integrity in all of my decisions, never putting corporate or outsider interests ahead of my neighbour’s concerns – my loyalty lies with my community, and my community alone. My compassion and ability to empathize with others drives me to be an advocate for my constituents on any issue, big or small.

Additionally, I would be an effective councillor because I am committed, open-minded, always willing to listen, and resourceful – constantly looking for possible solutions to problems even when the odds are stacked against me.

I’m the youngest candidate on the roster, and so I have a unique investment in contributing to the best possible future for our community. As councillor, I wish to give a voice to younger constituents, ensuring their concerns are properly heard and they are adequately engaged in their community. 

I believe we need a fresh outlook on council, one that reflects the community that we want to be in the future. 

Stay tuned for tomorrow’s post where we will present our candidates’ responses to our second question.

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