Six questions with Ian Clark, candidate for Williamsville District

Ian Clark, candidate for Williamsville District in the 2022 City of Kingston municipal election. Submitted photo.

Editorial note:

Across the province, Ontarians are getting ready to cast their ballots in every city, town, and county as the 2022 Municipal Election is fast approaching. With election day on Monday, Oct. 24, 2022, Kingstonist has reached out to all candidates within the City of Kingston to create profiles allowing voters to find a brief overview of each candidate in one place. As response comes in, more and more candidate profiles will be added here, which you can access through our Municipal Election 2022 section (with the tab on the homepage), or through our ‘Candidate overview landing page.’

With 45 candidates in total for Kingston City Council alone – and with only one district acclaimed (Countryside District will once again be represented by Gary Oosterhof) and six districts without an incumbent – our goal is to provide as much information as possible leading up to the elections. Thus, we will endeavour to collect response from as many Kingston candidates as possible, with the hope of providing similar coverage for Loyalist Township, Frontenac County, and the Town of Greater Napanee moving forward. All relevant links will be available under the Municipal Election 2022 tab.

For more general information on election process in Kingston, including details on electing Board of Education Trustees, ensuring you are registered to vote, etc., visit the City of Kingston Municipal Elections webpage.

Candidate profiles are being published on our website in no particular order.

Ian Clark was born in Kingston and has lived here his entire 32 years. An anti-poverty, housing, and homelessness activist, Clark is prepared to represent the constituents of Williamsville District on Kingston City Council.

Previously an addictions worker, Clark now works in the HR department for Corrections. He said that he considered running for Council in 2018, and has been actively involved in the anti-poverty movement including, serving as President of Kingston Coalition Against Poverty from 2018 until the organization’s end in 2021.

In his spare time, he likes to write, listen to music, occasionally putter around on the guitar or piano (“I’m not very good, but I have fun”), and go running. He also shared that his favourite thing to eat in Kingston is “probably the vegetable korma from Flavours of India. The lime pickle isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but it’s absolutely mine. I usually demolish an entire order by myself.”

Clark also has two cats (Olive, “the chaos goblin,” and Gussy, “the sweet boy”), and when asked for a “fun fact,” he shared that he once had a “conversation with pro wrestler Cody Rhodes where he revealed that Vince McMahon didn’t know who David Bowie was. Does that count?”

How would you describe your personal political ideology and/or affiliation?

I’m probably considered pretty left of centre. I believe in a strong public service and social safety net, and I tend to be pretty critical of neoliberalism and trickle-down economics, which I feel have mostly dominated the conversation at City Hall.

What made you want to run in this municipal election?

I think I’ve always wanted to get involved in municipal politics, but being a part of anti-poverty activism, and working in mental health and addictions, really gave me an understanding of a lot of the problems that people on the margins are dealing with.

What are the three most common issues voters are bringing up to you as you campaign?

  1. Housing, absolutely. Both in the context of both affordability and homelessness.
  2. Traffic concerns, particularly along Brock and Johnson [Streets], which are suffering being used as both residential streets and major corridors for travel.
  3. Roads, but not people driving too fast on them, rather the state of disrepair.

What three issues are most pressing/important to address locally in your opinion?

  1. We need far more rent geared to income housing, as well as alternate models, and more programs like transitional housing and mental health services to help people transitioning from living on the street to living in independent housing.
  2. A densification strategy spread out across the city. This would allow us to develop infrastructure for walkable communities, create stronger communities, and ease the environmental impact of vehicle traffic, which would also allow us to keep on top of road maintenance more easily.
  3. The environment. It’s no secret that we’re in the middle of a climate crisis, and the City could do a number of things, including investing more in public transit and bike/footpath infrastructure, and incorporating more environmentally robust regulations into new construction projects.

What is the most pressing issue in your district?

Housing. People in Williamsville are worried about continuing to afford their rent. They definitely see the consequences of homelessness being unaddressed, and of people in mental health crisis on the street having nowhere to turn for help.

What do you feel sets you apart from other candidates?

My lived experience. In the last 10 years, I’ve experienced precarious housing, unsafe living situations, unstable work, and domestic abuse. The first thing I did after I realized I’d left all of that behind me was do as much research as I could into those problems and how to fix it. The second thing I did was dive into the work of helping people who need it.

I’m running because I’m sick of having to tell people there’s no way to get them the help they need. I’ve known more people who have died from poverty and drug poisoning than I can count. There’s no getting over that. I carry it with me every day, and it motivates me to make sure I do whatever I can to make sure it doesn’t happen to more people. Right now, the best opportunity I have is to become a Kingston City Councillor.

For more information on Ian Clark, candidate for Williamsville District in the 2022 municipal election, visit his website.

With files from Cris Vilela.

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