Candidate for Mayor
Virginia Stone is here to disrupt the status quo. She is neither left or right, or central for that matter and simply refuses to be placed upon a dysfunctional linear political scale. She has been an entrepreneur for 25+ years, and is the Founder & CEO of an international eponymous brand. Stone is an ardent conservationist and human rights advocate, and has joined forces with a community of like-minded groups and organizations supporting environmental and social sustainability initiatives around the world. Her aggressive Social Impact Strategy and People's Platform includes: lowering both business and property taxes; stopping the bleeding and excessive spending at city hall; bringing sustainable affordable housing to Calgary; support for small businesses; and implementing initiatives including 'Citizens without Residence', 'Waste to Energy' and 'Grow Food Save Alberta'. She represents real change and the future of Politics.
Question 1: What work experience do you have that’s relevant to the role of Mayor and how do you feel the skills and perspective you have gained will help you in your role as Mayor?
I believe that the last thing our city needs is another self-serving paper pushing politician. We need a leader. A leader who takes care of their people, and raises everyone up to their highest potential. I will be that leader. I have been building companies for more than 25 years and have focused my time and energy on humanitarian efforts, environmental causes, animal rights initiatives and sustainable innovation. I am forward-thinking, disruptive, and highly capable of making the tough decisions required to bring us out of this crisis and to turn Calgary into a leader in sustainability and alternative energy.
Question 2: What do you think are the biggest issues affecting Calgary are, and how would you approach these issues as Mayor?
There are many issues facing Calgary, and there is a lot of cleanup to be done. Taxes are too high, we have taxed businesses out of our city, and a suggested freeze on taxes is simply not enough and insufficient - We MUST lower taxes. Spending is out of control, and the current city council spends more than they can afford - We MUST stop the bleeding and excessive spending and we must cut the fat from the budget and reprioritize. We MUST stop wasting time and money on ridiculous projects like continually addressing speed limits. We MUST bring in sustainable affordable housing. We MUST focus on economic recovery. We MUST bring in new businesses, talent and investment into our city. We MUST focus on sustainable innovation, design, technology and alternative energy.
Question 3: What do you think is the role of a municipal government? Do you think the City does too many things, not enough, or just the right amount?
Question 4: Do you think property taxes are too high, too low, or just about right?
Yes most certainly, I do think both business and property taxes are too high and unsustainable.
Question 5: Over the next four years, should the City spend less in absolute terms, increase spending but by less than the rate of inflation and population growth, increase by the rate of inflation and population growth, or increase faster than the rate of inflation and population growth?
We must spend less. We must also focus on initiatives and projects with a quick ROI on investment. The current city council spends like drunken sailors on 'never-never' plans with inflated budgets. We need to break down the budget and rebuild it with a forward-thinking responsible approach.
Question 6: During the introduction of City Charters a few years ago there was a lot of debate about new taxation powers for the big cities. Would you support the City being given any additional taxation powers by the Province? If so, what taxation powers should the City have?
Question 7: The City often claims that they’ve found savings in various budgets, but instead of actually cutting spending, they just put the savings into a reserve account and then spend that money on other things. If there’s money left over at the end of a financial year, do you think that money should be saved up by the City to spend in future years? Or should it be returned automatically to taxpayers the following year through some kind of rebate?
Question 8: Everyone says they support affordable housing, but what does that term mean for you? Do you think the City should be subsidizing housing for lower-income residents? Or focused on keeping the cost of all housing from getting out of control? Or perhaps some combination of the two? If so, how?
Affordable housing is one of my priorities. It is unacceptable that we have such a homelessness problem in our city. We must modernize and move Calgary into the future. I will emulate Europe by bringing in sustainable social housing projects. We must focus on our people. Why do we not have minimalist sustainable communities that are focused on the needs and services of our aging population? Or our youth?
Question 9: The Calgary Metropolitan Region Board is currently debating their Growth Plan for the Calgary region. What do you think about the plan? Do you think we should be limiting development in certain parts of the region? If so, are you worried about how that will affect housing affordability?
Question 10: There’s been a lot of debate about the City’s new “Guidebook for Great Communities”. What do you think about the Guidebook? What do you think should be the split between greenfield and established community growth for new housing? Should the City have a specific target? Should this be determined by market demand?
Question 11: When the City voted to approve four projects - the Event Centre, the BMO Centre expansion, the Arts Commons transformation, and the Foothills Fieldhouse - they did so against the advice of the City’s own CFO, who said the City could only afford one of them. Do you think that was the right move? Why? If, as the City continues through the process with each of these projects, it becomes obvious that the City’s CFO was correct, and Calgarians can only afford one of these projects, which would you choose?
I believe that the CFO for the city was correct, when he stated that we could only afford 1 large project. Why has Nenshi rushed these projects and put shovels in the ground in his last 6 months in office. It seems clear to me that he is focused only on his legacy and not what is right for our city. He has put us in a dangerous financial position, and created a serious issue for the next city council to have to address and fix.
Question 12: Do you support the construction of the Green Line LRT as currently envisioned by the City, would you prefer changes be made to the plan (and if so, what changes), or would you prefer to cancel the project entirely? If, as Mayor, you find out that - despite all the previous assurances - there has in fact been another cost overrun on the Green Line, what would you do?
The Green Line must be paused. We must focus on economic recovery first.
Question 13: What do you think is the best approach to attract businesses to Calgary? Direct incentives to specific businesses, paid for by slightly higher taxes, or lower tax rates for all businesses?
We must support our businesses that are still fighting after a very difficult few years, and attract new business and talent to our city. This will require lowering business taxes. This will require offering incentives and grants to support businesses. We also need to modernize Calgary. If we focus on sustainable innovation, technology, design and alternative energy, we will be able to attract fresh talent, new businesses and much needed investment into our city.
Question 14: Should the City be in the business of operating golf courses, or should they privatize or sell them off? How about garbage collection or other services?
The dysfunctional system for garbage and recycling must go. I have a Waste to Energy initiative that will allow us to convert all of our garbage, recycling and medical waste into energy and this energy can be placed back onto the grid. We can then reclaim our landfills. It is disgusting and unacceptable that we are still dumping our garbage and recycling into the ground, the ocean, and onto the shores of other countries. We must clean up this city.
Question 15: Should we defund the police? If yes, what exactly does defunding the police mean to you? If not, what should the City do to address both historical and ongoing injustices?
No, we should not defund the police. I want to live in a safe city, and our police and firemen/firewomen must be funded. The police need to be able to do their jobs and have the resources they need to do them efficiently. We must invest in alternative solutions (which I have included in my Social Impact Strategy) to tackle the serious mental health crisis we are facing, as well as the drug abuse within our city. Yes, there are many historical injustices within our society and we must evolve. This will require education and support systems that are currently not being offered or addressed by the city council. With a strong leader in place, we can repair the damage and focus on what matters most.
Question 16: Do you support the City’s mandatory vaccination policy for City employees?
No, I do not support the city's mandatory vaccination policy. This was a very dangerous move on their behalf and I have first-handedly seen the damage it has done to some of the vulnerable and most at-risk.
Question 17: Council recently dropped residential speed limits to 40km/h, do you agree with that decision, and what do you think about the proposal by some to go further and drop it to 30km/h in the future?
Stop wasting valuable time and money on pointless discussions around speed-limits. We have more important and pressing matters to address.
Question 18: For years there has been an ongoing debate about the City’s public art spending. Some say that the problem is the selection process for what art is commissioned, while others are opposed to any use of public funds for art. What do you think?
Question 19: Serving as Mayor you are elected by and responsible to all Calgarians, but some policies and government actions inherently benefit one part of the City at the expense of another. How would you deal with a situation where you feel that the best interests of some Calgarians conflict with the best interests of Calgarians in other parts of the City?
If voted in as the people's next Mayor, I will expand public forums. Community members must have their voices heard, and deserve an opportunity to contribute to issues relevant to their tax dollars. By incorporating the collective effort of our citizens, we can shape a more compelling future for both our communities and city. This type of collaboration is crucial to our success moving forward, and will require a focus on education, communication, and transparency.
Question 20: While the concept of a secret ballot is essential, many of our supporters have told us that they’d like to know the political alignment of their candidates. So, if - and only if - you feel comfortable saying so, who are you voting for in your local ward race and why, and if you are affiliated with any provincial or federal political parties, which ones and why?
I am not affiliated with any provincial or federal political parties. I represent the future of politics.