1. Candidate Bio:
Michael Farquharson, the person you can trust, believe in, and a reputation to back it up.
I live by the timeless values of Honour, Diligence, and Service, which I apply to every aspect of my life; treating everyone with HONOUR, being DILIGENT in every situation and SERVING everyone, no matter his/her status in life. These values have positively steered my life in adverse situations, having lost both of my parents, my father shortly after my birth and my mother as a teenager.
My extended family has shown the support that every youth needs in their formative years. A stable and strong family life is very important to me and my ability to influence others positively. I have been blessed to be married to my wife, Denise for close to 20 years and the gifts of our beautiful three children, ages 15, 9 and 2. I am proud to call Brampton my home for the past 11 years, after migrating from Kingston, Jamaica, over 14 years ago, where I was born and raised.
Education has always been one of my greatest passions because of how an individual’s life can be influenced positively. I was from a low income neighbourhood with high grades in school. With my passion for continuous improvement, service and high grades, I was awarded a full scholarship to study in the USA at Fox Valley Technical College, where I graduated with a Technical Degree in Quality Improvement Processes. I furthered my education and graduated from DeVry University with a Degree specializing in Computer Information Systems.
Volunteering has also been a way of life for me for many years. I am a board member of a non-profit organization, where I serve in many different capacities. Outside of my formal employment, I enjoy playing and watching all types of sports, especially soccer and I have had the pleasure of being a volunteer coach to children from low income, at risk communities for more than 18 years.
For the past 14 years I have worked at an International Transportation company, in many departments with increasing responsibilities. I was awarded the companies highest and most prestigious awards on two different occasions for Canada and the USA. Apart from my main responsibilities of collaborating and getting consensus from different stakeholders across multiple sections and operations, I serve as one of the Co-Chairs of the company’s Inclusion Council for all of Canada.
What does Brampton need to bring growth and expansion for companies and families? Someone who has lived in the community and personally understands the issues “Bramptonians” experience daily. My professional career gives me the framework to work with and engage different stakeholders for the betterment of our city. As a husband and father, having a teenager, a middle-school aged child and a toddler, it gives me a unique perspective of the needs of families in Wards 9 and 10.
2. What are your three top priorities for Brampton?
A) Lower Property tax, (B) Better Public Transportation, (C) Affordable Housing.
3. What is one major council decision from the previous (2014-2018) term that you agree with?
Banning door to door sales (May, 2016). Too many people, especially seniors were taken advantage of before it became law. This helps protect home owners and vulnerable persons in our City from being pressured into buying things from sales representatives at their doors without fully understanding what they are buying and signing long term contracts.
4. What is one major council decision from the previous (2014-2018) term that you disagree with?
Voted “no” to building the Light-Rail Transit (LRT) route through Hurontario into the city’s downtown core and forfeiting $400 million from the Provincial and Federal Governments. This is a prime example of the joint partnerships that are needed from all levels of government and the City Council turned it down. This was a no brainer.
5. Are there any other ideas from other cities that you would like to see replicated in Brampton?
Similar to Toronto, no fare for children 12 years and under to take Public Transportation. Also, seniors (65+) and children/youth 13 to 19 years, to only pay half of the current cash fare.
6. What are your top transportation priorities to ease congestion and gridlock in the city of Brampton and connections to other communities?
We need to re-engage the Federal Government to have LRT back on the table. We missed out on that opportunity because Council could not make the hard decision when it mattered most. And so, we are still faced with gridlock. We need to designate lanes along major road ways as HOV lanes, giving priority to Public Transportation and vehicles with two or more occupants. These roads could include Steeles Ave, Queen St, Bovaird Dr, Airport Rd, Main St, Bramalea Rd, etc. We also need more zoning of land for commercial use. This will be an incentive for businesses to set up shop in Brampton, thus, creating more jobs.
7. What are your thoughts on the Brampton 2040 Vision and how should the city proceed with the vision?
Brampton 2040 Vision is the Grand Plan that was missing from the City for years. The City should proceed in stages, step by step, carefully holding developers accountable for every dollar of tax payers‘ money. City Council will have to be mindful of some of the issues that will arise and learn from other cities like Mississauga.
8. What is your position on the city’s finances and how would you tackle demands for services and infrastructure renewal?
Brampton as a City alone cannot afford all the services and infrastructure renewals that are needed. There needs to be joint partnerships with all three levels of government and private entities to address these demands adequately. I commit to bringing all these stakeholders to the table to determine achievable solutions that will bring meaningful growth to our city.
9. What are your thoughts on how the city/region should handle the alleged uptick of spontaneous youth violence and crime in the city?
The main thing is the lack of youth employment. Brampton does not have enough companies located here for meaningful youth employment. The transportation system is disjointed, unaffordable and creates isolation, especially for low income communities. This limits their ability to access programs and services, and also to search for and secure meaningful employment (United Way of Greater Toronto and The Canadian Council on Social Development, 2004). In my opinion, where there are not enough employment for youth and affordable public transportation, the result is high youth violence and crime in our city. Merely, putting more resources in the hands of Law Enforcement is just a band aid on the problem, which will fester even worse as the years go by.
10. Why should voters vote for you?
I am not a politician, but a husband, father and a citizen of Brampton who is committed to change things to get results that matters most to the citizens of Brampton. Not lips service. I will collaborate with my other City Councilors, the Provincial and Federal Governments to get the funding needed to move Brampton forward.
Candidate contact info:
Social Media: @votemichael2018