Six questions with Michael Murphy, candidate for Meadowbrook-Strathcona

Michael Murphy, candidate for Meadowbrook-Strathcona in the 2022 City of Kingston municipal election. Photo via candidate website.

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.

Michael Murphy is currently a trustee and Vice Chair on the Algonquin Lakeshore Catholic District School Board, and this year marks his first time running for Kingston City Council.

He and his wife, Sara, are expecting their first child later this year, and they enjoy taking in the arts (“musical theatre is a favourite!”), spending time outside, reading, and travelling. The lifelong Kingston resident is currently appointed as a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Political Studies at Queen’s University, where he researches innovative teaching practices in higher education, as well as international politics. 

Murphy sits on the board of the Food Sharing Project and volunteers in “different capacities, including with the Fort Henry Guard Club of Canada, and as a local community rink maintenance crew member,” he said.

When asked for a “fun fact,” Murphy shared that his favourite thing to eat from local restaurants is the chicken pot pie at the Brew Pub. “I must be one of the only people who orders that in the heat of the summer!” he said.

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

I approach politics from a pragmatic and progressive perspective. One of the positive aspects of municipal elections is that we can talk about important issues without the divisions of party labels. I have been fortunate to receive support from folks across the political spectrum, as well as members of the labour, heritage, and development communities. When it comes down to it, most people want to see the city become a more livable place, and there is a lot of room for consensus-building. I’m ready to work with people to get things done.

What made you want to run in this municipal election?

Our housing crisis pushed me to run in this election for two reasons. First, we have a lack of social and supportive housing (and related services), which has underserved the most vulnerable members of our community. Secondly, supply has not kept up with demand in market housing. If we want to be a livable city in the long term, we need housing for the next generation of nurses, tradespeople, teachers, doctors, and all the other working people who contribute to our city.

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

  1. Housing and affordability is a concern all the way from young people trying to find affordable rental or purchase options to seniors worried about property tax increases.
  2. The state of our roads. I have heard from paramedics whose patients are in pain from the rough streets, to cyclists who are unable to commute because of potholes and other hazards. 
  3. People are concerned about our vision for Kingston in future generations, given climate change, economic insecurity, and inflation.

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

  1. The ongoing housing crisis is the most pressing issue locally.
  2. The need for local advocacy around areas where current provincial regulations disadvantage Kingston. We are not fairly compensated as a City for the municipal services we provide for post-secondary and health care facilities, and Council must lobby the provincial government for an increase to the “heads and beds” levy paid in lieu of property taxes on these facilities.
  3. Improvements to transportation infrastructure in Kingston is a major topic, including expanding affordable bus services, ensuring safe cycling routes, and maintaining commuter roads.

What is the most pressing issue in your district?

Safer roads, including both the management of speeding, as well as unsafe road quality… While some first steps for traffic calming have been taken with the small Community Safety Zone (CSZ) on McMahon Ave, the boundary of the CSZ is too small to address rampant speeding issues throughout Strathcona Park. I would argue for expanded CSZ footprints with lower-cost (and revenue-positive) Automated Speed Enforcement systems in place.

What do you feel sets you apart from other candidates?

Of the three candidates [in this district], I am the only one who calls our district home. I grew up in Balsam Grove and Strathcona Park, and this is where Sara and I chose to start our family. It is important that we have a councillor who has this deep connection to the community, because the day-to-day concerns that Council deals with are not abstract philosophical problems, but real challenges faced by real people. We deserve that local representation in Meadowbrook-Strathcona, and I am the only candidate who can offer that.

For more information on Michael Murphy, candidate for Meadowbrook-Strathcona District in the 2022 municipal election, visit his website and Facebook page.

With files from Cris Vilela.

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