Sydney Brouillard-Coyle (Ney/Nem/Nir)
1191 Bellagio Drive, Windsor, Ontario, N8P 1J6
2022 Windsor Election Rose City Politics Candidate Questionnaire answers:
1. What is your prior political experience?
I volunteered for the 2022 provincial election with the Ontario NDP (Gemma Grey-Hall). I am also currently a member of the Windsor-Tecumseh Youth Council for Irek Kusmiercyzk, Member of Parliament. Several years ago, I spoke to our City Council about my concerns with proposed housing development in my neighbourhood which would endanger a nest of bald eagles. I have also reached out and advocated on a variety of social justice issues with my local MPPs, MPs, and councillors over the last ten years, including issues such as minimum wage, lowering the youth voting age to 16, increasing funding for mental health services, and the ban on conversion therapy.
At the age of 15, I led an online campaign entitled #WhyVote, where youth who were too young to vote (including myself) shared the issues we cared about and why it matters for people to vote. Finally, I was one of the youth leaders in planning, moderating, and hosting a youth-led all candidates meeting in the 2019 federal election, discussing issues of mental health, youth engagement, and climate change (hosted through the Windsor-Essex Regional Youth Council, of which I was a founding member). I have been engaged in politics and political advocacy for over ten years, and I have a deep passion for this community and making a difference.
2. Why are you running?
I am running because I believe that we need change – we need strong advocates sitting at the City Council table who will work for the whole Windsor community and ensure that our residents have what they need to live full, well lives. In particular, I feel that our City Council has not done enough to address the realities of mental health, addiction, poverty, and homelessness (which have only been exacerbated due to the pandemic). We can take a much more active approach in fighting climate change and protecting our environment. We can work to ensure that people can get to where they need to go (whether that be work, school, errands, or just for fun) safely and quickly, regardless of whether they are taking transit, biking, walking, or driving. We need to invest in the things that make Windsor a community, first and foremost. Each of these are issues that I intend to raise and advocate for if I am elected to be City Councillor in Ward 7.
3. What do you do currently for a living?
I currently work at Trans Wellness Ontario as the Education Lead – there, I develop and facilitate programs related to the trans and queer community and allyship, including Diversity Training. I also coordinate all education bookings and conduct outreach to local community organizations. Additionally, I work at St. Paul’s Anglican Church Essex as the Music Director, and at the University of Windsor as a Teaching Assistant for “Social Justice in Action”.
I am in the process of finishing up my second degree at the University of Windsor – a Bachelor of Arts in Women & Gender Studies with a minor in Political Science. I will be graduating in June 2023. I also recently completed my Bachelor of Music (Honours).
4. What is the biggest issue affecting the ward you are running for?
The two biggest issues affecting Ward 7 – based on what I have heard from residents – is traffic control/speeding, and flooding.
In particular, residents have raised concerns about Banwell and Forest Glade Drive, with intersections being incredibly dangerous where accidents have occured. Parents have expressed concerns with the safety of their children when playing outside and crossing the street. If elected, I intend to work with residents and engineers to develop solutions that will ensure everyone can get to where they need to go safely – regardless of whether they are walking, biking, or driving.
In regards to flooding, this is a major concern particularly in East Riverside. We know that climate change is a reality, and extreme weather patterns such as the “once in a lifetime rainfall” that have happened multiple times over the last eight years will continue to increase. I want to encourage residents to take a proactive approach through rain barrels and rain gardens, in addition to upgrading the city’s sewer system and funding city clean-up teams to address street blockages (which can cause overland flooding). I also commit to consulting with local environmental organizations to assess risks for Windsor as a result of climate change so that we can take a proactive approach that focuses on prevention, rather than just crisis response.
5. What is the biggest issue affecting the city of Windsor?
The biggest issue affecting the City of Windsor is that our transit system is not meeting the needs of the residents. Over 20% of Windsor relies on public transportation (including myself) – to get to school, work, to run errands – yet we have consistently seen ridership going down (especially as a result of the pandemic) as transit is not able to provide consistent, reliable service. Thus, I commit to supporting all goals outlined in the Windsor Transit Master Plan, which would lead to a massive overhaul of our system – I will be pushing for these changes to be made as soon as possible, and to get us back on track (minimally) to our originally committed schedule. Additionally, I will be advocating for immediate changes including increasing the number of shelters and seating at bus stops, as well as satellite Transit Windsor offices at Tecumseh and Devonshire Mall where people can purchase bus passes. I also want to improve transit access in East Riverside which is incredibly underserviced, and create direct bus routes between campuses at both St. Clair College and the University of Windsor, as post-secondary students make up a large percentage of transit users. Additionally, we need to extend the hours and frequency of all buses, recognizing that not everyone works Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm. Having a better transit system will help to reduce our city’s environmental footprint, ensure that people can take jobs across the city, and create a stronger community overall.
6. Are you seeking any endorsements?
I am always open to accepting endorsements from any resident, community group, or organization. I am here to work for the community, and I want the voices of the community to come first and foremost.
7. Have you received any endorsements?
Yes – I was endorsed by the Windsor & District Labour Council. I was also endorsed by Irene Moore Davis, Gemma Grey-Hall, Jordynne Ropat, David Garlick, Charlotte LeFrank, and Tina Gatt.
8. Will you continue the “hold the line on taxes” policy?
After reviewing both the 2022 budget and the 10-year proposed budget, I believe that there are several things in our city that are overfunded and many other areas that are not funded enough. If elected, I will be pushing to reconsider where our priorities lie as a city – and to focus on investing in the community. In particular, we should be aggressively investing in important infrastructure including transit and social services – while there may be more upfront costs, this will reduce our city’s costs in the long run and build a stronger community.
9. Do you support the mega-hospital location?
My own personal stance on the mega-hospital is irrelevant, as everything has been approved and things are moving forward with dedicated funding. If elected, my priority will be to hire a City of Windsor recruiter; the recruiter will work to hire specialist doctors and healthcare professionals to ensure that we have the specialized services needed so that people are not on long waitlists, and so that residents don’t have to travel outside of the city to receive healthcare services. Additionally, I want to work with the provincial government to ensure that there are enough smaller urgent care clinics throughout the city where people could go in order to ensure that residents are able to access services where and when they need them. My stance on the mega-hospital is that we need a strong advocate to ensure that Windsor gets the services that we deserve so that everyone can access healthcare.
10. Do you support strong mayor legislation?
I do not. I believe that strong mayor legislation flies in the face of our democracy. Municipal council is made up of representatives from across the city – to essentially give veto powers to one person means that the voices of all city councillors (and the people who elected them) do not matter. One person cannot and should not make all of the decisions – it should be a collective. A strong democracy and strong city is built on collaboration and teamwork.
11. Should the city use taxpayers dollars to bring jobs to the area?
I believe that Windsor should support and invest in our community – specifically, small businesses that were created by our local residents, and our entrepreneurs, particularly within the field of the arts. Often, those who are small business owners, entrepreneurs, artists, musicians, and photographers struggle to make a living or get the word out about their talents and expertise – we should be providing support to them to ensure that they can be successful and help expand our amazing businesses and creative arts within the Windsor community.
12. If you are running in a ward with an incumbent who is also running, why is change necessary, and why are you the person to deliver it?
When I have been at the doors speaking with residents, one concern that has been consistently raised is a lack of accountability, transparency, and availability from many who are currently sitting on City Council. Many residents feel – and I agree – that there are some City Councillors who only care about what the residents have to say when it is election season. Otherwise, they don’t respond to constituent concerns, they don’t conduct any outreach into the community for important issues, and they create barriers for residents in sharing their voices by refusing to respond to constituent concerns if this isn’t through the “proper” channels.
My aim is to hold City Council, including myself, accountable – by ensuring that all City Councillors are actually conducting town hall meetings at least once per year, that residents are aware of surveys or council meetings for issues that are relevant to their area, and that City Council itself is more accessible to hear the concerns and voices of residents. My campaign slogan is “Everyone deserves a voice” and I truly believe that – I aim to be as accessible as possible, reaching people through the ways they are comfortable – whether that’s at the door, a phone call, a text or message on social media, or email. The residents of Ward 7 deserve a person who will advocate for them, who will lift up their voices, and ensure that their concerns are addressed – and I am that person.
13. How many hours per week do you plan to allocate towards council business if elected?
I am prepared to devote as much time as necessary in order to ensure that residents have a strong voice on council; someone who will respond to their concerns, and someone who works to make our community better. Ever since I began my campaign at the beginning of July, meeting with residents, developing my platform and reaching people has been my number one priority – and that will continue if I am elected on October 24.
14. Do you live in the ward you are running for?
Yes. I live in East Riverside on Bellagio, where I have lived for eight years.
15. What agencies, boards, or committees do/have you served on, and in what capacity?
Within the general community, I am a current member of the Windsor-Tecumseh Youth Council for Irek Kusmiercyzk (2021-present). I was also a founding member of the Windsor-Essex Regional Youth Council (2016-2019), and former volunteer at the fair trade store Ten Thousand Villages (2016-2017).
At my high school, Walkerville Collegiate Institute, I was a member of the Gender-Sexuality Alliance “GSA” (2016-2018) and Mental Health Team “Jack.org” (2017-2018). I also founded the Social Justice Club “Rotary Interact” (2014-2017), and was president of the Environmental Team “Earthlinks” (2016-2018). I was a member of the Student Council at Walkerville (2014-2015, 2016-2017), and the Creative Arts Student Society at the University of Windsor (2018-2020). Throughout my four years of high school, I collected over 1,000 volunteer hours of community service.
Finally, I have been involved with the Anglican Church for the past several years, including serving as a youth representative to diocesan (2018-present) and national (2019) meetings. I am also a member of my local parish council, and the lead coordinator for our ministry “Fun With Flags”. I was a member of Public Witness for Social & Ecological Justice (2019-2022) and a consultant with Faith, Worship & Ministry to develop Gender-Affirming Liturgies (2020-2021). I also am the founder and co-chair of Proud Anglicans of Huron (2020-present).
Each of the above listed things are initiatives, committees, and groups that I have volunteered countless hours for. I care deeply about the community, social justice, and making a positive difference.
16. What person, animal or fictional character should be Windsor’s unofficial mascot?
I don’t believe that there is any one person, animal, or fictional character that could represent Windsor. We have such an incredibly diverse and beautiful city – we are not a monolith. Thus, we should be lifting up the experiences and perspectives of every person (and the fictional characters they love) and the many animals and species that live in Windsor. Our diversity and uniqueness is our strength.