Here are Five Questions with 2014 Cornwall Ontario City Council candidate Carilyne Hebert.
1 – Tell the voters a bit about yourself. What skills and experience would make you a good candidate for Council?
Volunteering has always been second nature to me, between volunteering with my mother as a child and amazing humanitarian trips I experienced as high school student, it helped me understand the importance of volunteerism and community involvement. Several years ago I took it a step further; I decided I would follow a career in the non-profit sector. I returned to St-Lawrence College Cornwall and received my Business diploma. Before I even graduated I had accepted a position with a local non-profit. I knew right away I wanted to spend my life helping people and giving back to my community. It’s what I am meant to do. There is no better way for me to give back than to take action and become part of our local municipal government. That is how I will be able make a difference and help implement real positive changes.
2 – In what ways could we improve Economic Development and how can we make Cornwall a more friendly city for small businesses?
Our city needs to attract new industries that will provide citizens with gainful employment opportunities, giving them a platform to succeed and take their families beyond just “making ends meet.” Working in cooperation with the three United Counties and our neighbours in Akwesasne will make this goal attainable. We must also reach out and work closely with the provincial and federal governments to obtain much-needed aid for local infrastructure and job creation.
It is important that our local small businesses, that create many jobs in our community have, access to the financial assistance available from the senior levels of government. The City of Cornwall must also ensure that our small businesses are not overburdened by unnecessary red tape and that our tax rates are fair and competitive with other municipalities. The entrepreneurial spirit is alive in Cornwall, let’s give them the tools they need to achieve their goals and succeed.
3 – What is your vision for arts and culture? Would you support the building of an Arts and Culture Centre in Cornwall?
Arts and Culture have been severely underfunded by the City of Cornwall. There is a great opportunity for financial and economic benefit for Cornwall as the Arts and Culture industry encourages tourism, employment, and entrepreneurship. Cornwall has no shortage of quality artistic talents. As a member of the Centre for the Arts Collective, a fundraising committee for an Arts Center, I am 100% in favour. An Arts Centre has been a part of the City’s official plan since 1984. Through partnerships with different levels of government, our own community and the creation of an Arts and Culture Coordinator within our city this can be a reality.
4 – Do you support freezing or lowering taxes? If so, where would the savings come from, and would you support reducing some services? If you do not support freezing or lowering taxes explain why.
Although I do not support increasing taxes I am also not in favour of lowing them. A tax freeze should be implemented. There is no going back if we want to continue to provide a high level of essential municipal services to our community. Government exists to provide these services. Instead, the city must evaluate the way our taxes are being spent. Wasteful spending needs to stop and we must be more respectful with the way your dollars are being distributed. We must govern the City in an open, fairer, accountable, responsible manner and avoiding costly legal cases and severances.
5 – What has been the biggest accomplishment at City Hall over the past four years OR what has been the biggest issue of concern at City Hall over the past four years?
There have been some gains and some losses over the last term, however I need to shed light on an issue that has not received nearly as much attention as it deserves from our municipal politicians. Cornwall has a high level of poverty. The average household income in Ontario is $73,000; in Cornwall it is approximately $53,000. One in four households in our city live below the poverty line. Food bank use is at an all-time high. Poverty seems to be swept under the rug more often than not and I find this shameful. It is extremely important that we start having open conversations about food security for Cornwall households and how we are going to reduce the poverty level.