Ward 2 Candidate Responses

We received responses from three candidates in this ward. The Calgary Climate Hub is a non-partisan organization, and posting these responses does not indicate an endorsement. Responses are presented in the order they were received and have not been edited.

General Questions

1. What are the top three issues you hope to make progress on during your time on Council?

Theo van Besouw Reduce spending by 20%; promote responsibility and accountability; address homelessness
Francis Aranha its same as my platform, Youth empowerment, supporting local business & fiscal responsibility on top priority.
Ron Taylor Economic development, environment/climate, TRC calls to action


2. Women - especially low-wage, racialized and newcomers - have been disproportionately impacted by the pandemic. In your capacity as a public servant, how will you address these impacts and ensure that all women benefit equitably from the economic recovery? 

Theo van Besouw This is not an issue for a City Council as it has no jurisdiction over wage controls, especially those related to the private sector. City Council can only address equality of payment versus responsibility in context of civil service. If there is a discrepancy in wages among the civil servants based on the identifiers mentioned above, I am not aware of it, but the question can be asked.
Francis Aranha The COVID-19 recession has been the worst economic contraction since the Great Depression. Mental health and racism has been on the big rise, as people play the blame game. Women especially have borne the brunt of it.
As an elected official, I would invest more monies and resources in supporting Calgary’s local businesses (work with women Entrepreneurs), manufacturing, long-term care and mental health services (for youth, women & seniors)
Device a new plan with the city to impart new training, upgrade skills for people who’ve been out of the industry due to layoff’s and work opportunities, including work & career advancement opportunities for youth; support businesses in our most affected sectors, such as tourism and arts and culture; and accelerate investment and digital transformation in small businesses.
For stay-at-home women, its been a roller coaster, as they have faced more domestic violence than the past, often single-handedly responsible for our children's' schedules, meals, development, education, and behavior, while also struggling to find a moment to ourselves.
I would love to plan a new program that takes in to consideration all the above parameters and allocated a budget to it.
Ron Taylor Take gender-based analysis into consideration when creating policy, such as flexibility in City of Calgary workplaces. Wherever possible, create flexibility to work from home, flexibility in working hours, etc. to assist in achieving a healthy work/life balance, as well as personal and family wellbeing.


3. Calgary has been dipping into emergency funds to pay for operations for the past several years. How would you approach taxation and the delivery of programs and services to Calgarians?

Theo van Besouw Start with tightening the belt. The major issue at city hall is spending. There needs to be a process of vetting how tax dollars are being doled out. Wants and needs need to be defined.
This comes down to some very basic aspects of values: e.g. does planting of trees have a higher value than providing shelter for the homeless? The idea that the tax payer is a milk cow needs to be curbed. So again, it is city hall's responsibility to act as a civil servant and be very judicious about spending funds entrusted to them.
Francis Aranha That's a great question, well as the economies recover we will have to make concessions and support our community, reduce taxes there's no short cuts to it. a lot has to be done in partnership with the Province & feds. we had a surplus of over $90 million in 2020. How did that happen? we need to create efficiencies and cut cost, also try to increase our revenues by offering incentives to business people to set up their offices here, promote tourism etc. Its a big subject to talk about and i don't think, i can do that in 200 words.
Ron Taylor Indiscriminate over-spending has been ongoing for years. I would propose an external audit of all city departments to identify operational waste and redirect those misspent dollars into frontline services and programs, with any remainder providing tax relief to taxpayers. It is unconscionable to ask for more money from taxpayers before achieving greater value for that which the city already receives.


4. What is your plan for diversifying Calgary’s economy for a just transition away from oil and gas?

Theo van Besouw Any government, City Hall included, are very poorly equipped to address business issues, because most, if not all councilors have no background as to how the private sector operates. The only thing (and this is not a small matter by any means) the city can do is to listen and foster an economic climate that promotes businesses. However, this must be done with an eye of return that ultimately benefits the taxpayers. Having an excellent institution such as the Haskayne School of Business in town, it would be worth while to have them involved in exploring various options for the future.
Francis Aranha

There is no secret that Calgary is suffering. The industry model it was built on heavily relied on its Oil & Gas sector, forcing a major overhaul of its economic future of folate. Mass layoffs have become commonplace as oil companies merge to reduce efficiency and cut costs.
There are three types of impact this has created and needs to be addressed
a) Regular white collar staff
b) Students and youth (whose talents we are losing, as they migrate due to no jobs)
c) Blue collar or hourly paid staff.

We don’t need to reinvent the wheel, but capitalize on our strengths, have to follow some models that a few cities have been successful with, e.g Dubai, Singapore, California etc
We should invest more into tourism, medical tourism, infrastructure, manufacturing, tech, agribusiness and logistics companies, but their workforce is only a fraction of the size used by energy, it would take us time to do so, but it’s a step ahead and nothing is impossible!

Ron Taylor We need to look toward alternate methods of generating electricity, through micro-grids fed by renewables such as solar and wind power. We need to ensure the infrastructure is in place to support the transition to EVs. We need to expedite the development of the north leg of the greenline. These needs will attract businesses and create jobs in the green energy sector.

Climate Change and the Environment


1. Will you commit to setting clear interim targets for Calgary and ENMAX to achieve net-zero GHG emissions by 2050 to help limit global warming to 1.5 degrees?

Theo van Besouw No
Francis Aranha Yes
Ron Taylor Yes


2. Will you work to reduce emissions from buildings to net-zero by (1) ensuring The City's Sustainable Building Policy has clear targets, is transparent, and requires third-party certification, and (2) by providing incentives for privately-owned new buildings and retrofits?

Theo van Besouw When addressing environmental issues there are at least 3 factors that need to be taken into consideration: economic, social and technical feasibility. Providing incentives means spending taxpayer money. If buildings are net zero but cannot be used because of economic constraints, not much is gained. If the effort is such that the 16% of Calgarians that have now problems putting food on the table or have no roof over there head, initiatives such as these need to be tempered by realistically assessing as to what priorities ought to be.
Francis Aranha Yes
Ron Taylor Yes


3. Will you support policies to ensure zero food waste not only from Calgary's restaurants, groceries, distributors, but also corporate events?

Theo van Besouw Yes
Francis Aranha Yes
Ron Taylor Yes


4. Will you strengthen the City's procurement policies to ensure goods and services are sustainably and ethically sourced? The Chartered Institute of Procurement & Supply states that sustainable procurement "considers the impact of environmental, economic and social factors along with price and quality."

Theo van Besouw Yes
Francis Aranha Yes
Ron Taylor Yes


5. Do you support focusing new development within established areas instead of continuing to approve new developments on the outskirts of Calgary?

Theo van Besouw No
Francis Aranha Yes
Ron Taylor Yes


6. Will you support completion of the Green Line, including crossing the river to 16 Avenue N?

Theo van Besouw No
Francis Aranha Yes
Ron Taylor Yes


7. Do you commit to providing equal access to low-cost, low-carbon transportation to all areas of the city, including transit, cycling and pedestrian infrastructure?

Theo van Besouw No
Francis Aranha Yes
Ron Taylor Yes

Equity and Inclusion

1. Which of the following measures will you support to address poverty and social isolation in our city?

  1. Affordable housing
  2. Low-income transit pass
  3. Fair Entry recreation pass
  4. Increased access to childcare
  5. Increased financial support to community associations
  6. Enough for All Poverty Reduction Strategy
  7. Other
  1 2 3 4 5 6 Other
Theo van Besouw Yes Yes         As past p[resident of the Society of Saint Vincent de PAul, I am keenly aware of needs and will do whatever I can to lighten the burden of the needy.
Francis Aranha Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes    
Ron Taylor Ye Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes  


2. Do you support providing City services primarily through unionized City workers, or do you support contracting out City services to private companies?

  1. Maintain unionized City workers
  2. Contract out
  3. Other
  1 2 Other
Theo van Besouw     There are opportunities for unions and for non-unions. Everything related to contracts must be viewed through the lens of how taxpayer monies are being used.
Francis Aranha     This has to be weighed in accordance to priority. More research needs to be done before cutting corners
Ron Taylor Yes    


3. Would you support Fair Trade Calgary's initiative to make Calgary a globally-designated Fair Trade town? (Find out more at: http://www.fairtradecalgary.com/at-a-glance.html)

Theo van Besouw No
Francis Aranha Yes
Ron Taylor Yes


4. Do you support Universal Basic Income?

Theo van Besouw No
Francis Aranha Yes
Ron Taylor Yes

Diversity & Reconciliation

1. What is your plan to address the increase in hate crimes and overt displays of racism in our city?

Theo van Besouw Hate crimes are committed by the lower dregs of society. Unfortunately, the punishment of such crimes are so mild that they can hardly be a deterrent. But I would strongly support the concept of having those folks do community work so they contribute something useful to society.
Francis Aranha more local programs, know your culture, Centre for divinity, more education, target the kids and let them educate the parents. sorry its a lot to talk, i will have to throw more light on the pointers.
Ron Taylor Calgary must be declared a "Hate-Free Zone". We need a diverse coalition to combat the rise in hate and racism. Just as hate groups organize to spread hate, we must do so to spread acceptance and tolerance. A coalition may include allies from churches, schools, clubs, civic groups, children, businesses, politicians, police, and the media. There is power in numbers, and as a coalition acting together, we can stand up to, and isolate, organized hate groups.


2. How will you support policies to ensure more Indigenous voices are included in making municipal decisions?

Theo van Besouw City Council as a law making entity is responsible to taxpayers and must make decisions accordingly. Input from special interest groups must be heard, but not necessarily override decision that are to be made for the benefit for Calgary citizens at large. The best way for having Indigenous voices effectively at the table is for them to run for mayor or council.
Francis Aranha Every indigenous community in Canada has characteristics that make it unique, we need to understand their culture and where they cam from, what destroyed their culture and how are they doing now?
Engagement Benefits Everyone: Effective Indigenous and public engagement are cornerstones for successful wind energy development. Continuous, proactive engagement is a vital investment for long-term success of the project, some points we need to cover are
Ron Taylor I am already consulting with indigenous elders and community leaders to ensure when calls to action of the TRC are acted upon, such as this item, that it is done in a meaningful way.


3. What steps will you support to increase trust and reduce uses of force by police that disproportionately affect Black, Indigenous and People of Colour in Calgary? (Please use "other" for additional ideas.)

  1. Enthocultural training for police
  2. Increase number of Aboriginal Liaison Officers
  3. Alternative response models (PACT and DOAP teams)
  4. Other
  1 2 3 Other
Theo van Besouw       This question is quite misleading as it does not provide any facts. Nonetheless, the overall mandate of the police needs to be reviewed as to what, exactly, they supposed to be doing in terms of protecting society and maintaining the law.
Francis Aranha Yes Yes Yes  
Ron Taylor Yes Yes Yes Ensure police involvement in the coalition against hate and racism.


Mental Health & Addictions

1. Which of the following do you support to address mental health and addictions?

  1. Implement alternative emergency response models
  2. Implement trauma-informed care
  3. Supervised consumption sites
  4. Other
  1 2 3 Other
Theo van Besouw       The main goal of any program needs to focussed on helping the person and not enabling the habit. By the way, this is falls under the Provincial jurisdiction. .
Francis Aranha Yes Yes Yes  
Ron Taylor Yes Yes Yes  


General Comments

Do you have any other comments you would like to share with us?

Theo van Besouw It is abundantly clear that this questionnaire was set up with a preconceived goal in mind. Particularly the Yes/No questions fall under the "have you stopped beating your wife" category. Instead of recognizing the enormity of economic challenges, the focus is entirely on utopic concepts without any regard of where money comes from. Canada ranks no at the abysmal level of 64 in terms of conducting business but the questionnaire has only ideas for spending taxpayers funds. Perhaps you know that 16% of Calgary's population have troubles making ends meet. Do you know that there is enough food to feed everyone but that there is a lack of volunteers? Start look after your fellow men before wasting resources on ideas on which you lack knowledge and understanding.
Francis Aranha i would like to set examples, take transit to work daily and have others members of the council do it as well. talk to residents on a monthly basis, have a vision and needs boards for each community, partner with associations for betterment of residents. more cultural programs, know your neighbor, weight loss, heath and wellness, healthy eating etc. once a month see the seniors. There's lots to do if we think outside the box.
Ron Taylor  


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This survey was sent out to mayoral and ward councillor candidates throughout July and was developed in collaboration with the following organizations: