The next city council could be asked to return fluoride to the city’s water supply. What is your position on this?
The decades-long debate around fluoridation in our water has been expensive and polarizing. Calgarians have been participants in a real-time study. Both anecdotal reports from dentists, as well as the scientific evidence, are quite clear about its benefits for improved dental health – especially for children in low-income households, and specifically in the absence of the inclusion of dental health care treatment as part of our overall provincial health care system.
Occupation: Broadcasting Operator
Political/volunteer experience: Vice President Black Lives Matter YYC
What is your motivation for seeking a seat on city council?
My mom said I was like my grandfather. He was outspoken and sat on city council in the 30s in the Caribbean. So, I guess it runs in my family.
Since high school, I have been writing about social issues and intersectionality. I’m an academic at heart. I’m also one of those nerds that couldn’t wait to vote as soon as they turned 18.
Last June, during the public racism hearing I had the chance to speak and at that point, something clicked standing in that room. I finally had a chance to open up and use my voice to speak on tokenism in the workplace and how it doesn’t really help much in terms of diversity, which led me to informally announce I was running for council.
I’m not looking for a career change, but I’ll gladly accept if elected. I feel as though I’m driven by the need to see sustainable change. I want to see everyone succeed, that is what drives me to do this.
Ward 10 is already so fortunate to have a diverse community, we must now embrace it. I want to remove the stigma of the “ghetto” that is foisted upon our neighbourhoods and ensure that we can embrace and uplift each other through our diversity.
What do you consider the single most important issue facing Calgarians, and what should be done about it?
This pandemic has shown its vulnerabilities in our institutions. People are slowly falling through the cracks. We need to shift our current trends of increasing inequality, over-consumption of goods, and environmental neglect. Our city must be rethought and rebuilt to reflect our reality. We cannot continue the status quo.
What are the three most important issues in your ward, and how would you address them?
Ward 10 residents have been asking for more investments in city services. This shows a need in the community that is not being met for things like affordable housing, snow removal, city-operated recreation facilities, community services and 311 services.
What innovative project or job creation measure can you propose to aid Calgary’s post-COVID economic recovery?
I believe the COVID-19 pandemic has further shown us the necessity of diversifying our economy and investing in the public sector. While municipalities do not have jurisdiction over many of the sectors which will be key in diversifying our economy, municipalities will always have a role in working with the provincial and federal governments to turn our economy around. The city itself can fund retraining programs to get Calgarians back to work and invest in city-run green energy programs. We can fund grants and support programs for individuals and businesses struggling financially and ensure that no Calgarian is living in poverty and that small businesses can thrive.
* All candidate Q&As have been edited for clarity and brevity.
*Original article online at https://calgaryherald.com/news/local-news/leslyn-joseph-ward-10-calgary-council-candidate-questionnaire