Elect Jonathan Cassels
Ward 6, Waterloo
Jonathan Cassels is a political activist & staffer, local dad, and former financial advisor who's called Waterloo Region home for over 25 years.
He believes that collaboration, communication, and compassion are the foundation of strong local government. And he believes everyone deserves a voice in the decisions that impact their lives.
Jonathan is asking for your support as he runs to be City Councillor for Ward 6 in Waterloo.
Jonathan is a local organizer and activist with a deep history of promoting political involvement and more connected communities.
He currently works as political staff to Ontario's Shadow Minister for Finance, and previously spent nearly a decade working in the financial industry as a financial advisor and service manager.
He previously served as the Vice President, and later chaired the Board of Directors, of Fair Vote Canada -- one of Canada's largest voters' rights organizations. In 2017 he independently organized a campaign for election reform which sent a record breaking petition with over 130,000 signatures to Parliament.
He's given back to our local community through service on the City of Waterloo's Neighbourhood Leaders Team, and various community organizations.
Jonathan has a long standing love of live arts, and attended the University of Windsor's Bachelor of Fine Arts (Acting) program.
He currently lives in the Erb & Fischer-Hallman area of Waterloo with his wife Mary and two young sons.
Everyone deserves a safe, healthy and affordable place to live. And yet, affordable housing is one of the largest and most immediate challenges facing Waterloo
Too many of our neighbours, whether they rent or own, are worried about their ability to stay in their homes as costs increase. Others are worried about their children, or other family members and friends and whether they'll be able to afford to live in the city they grew up in. And far too many are without a permanent address, either unhoused or precariously housed, and see no way back into a home they can afford.
We need to treat affordable housing like the crisis it is. That means we need to go beyond accepting vague commitments to supporting affordable housing, and instead talk about actions we can take in the near and mid-term which actually address the problem.
In the near term, we need to be zoning for more low rise residential buildings. These are buildings that can be constructed quickly, at lower per unit costs than other buildings, and without the need to drastically overhaul existing infrastructure to support them.
We also need to take advantage of the areas of the city where inclusionary zoning is possible, and work with the Provincial government to allow inclusionary zoning in more areas. This will not only help us build more housing, but it's also necessary if we as a city are ever going to meet our existing commitment to build more 15-minute neighbourhoods.
Climate change is the defining issue of our time. It's something everyone needs to reckon with, from individual families to national governments and international organizations.
Waterloo needs to perform a clear-eyed examination of how the impacts of global climate change threaten us locally. How it's likely to affect things like our water supply, our economy, and our health and safety on a day-to-day basis. This will let us look ahead and plan long term efforts to mitigate climate change's impact, while also informing every decision we make as a city moving forward.
I truly believe that the City of Waterloo can be a leader in addressing global climate change. Our existing green energy and technology industries position us extremely well to create the solutions the world is looking for. I'm committed to making sure that the city itself supports this potential by taking advantage of locally made solutions to reduce our own impact on global climate change.
Waterloo's transportation network is one of its largest pieces of infrastructure, and something that defines how our community functions. We need to continue the on-going work towards achieving Vision Zero -- a strategy for preventing all traffic fatalities and severe injuries -- and Complete Streets -- a design initiative which ensures streets are designed for all users.
With the Region's launch of the LRT, new bus routes, additional bike lanes, and other additions, our transportation network has changed a lot in recent years. One goal I have for my four-year-term is to close the circle on the way all of these changes integrate with one another. There are too many missing connections in our community, places where it's inconvenient or unsafe to move from one mode of transport to another, or from one piece of the transport network to another. Through work with our Regional and other City partners, we can improve the integration of our network to make it match its potential to serve the needs of our community.
Inclusion and Equity
Finally, we need to acknowledge that many priorities, including these three in particular, are questions of equity and inclusion. Addressing them isn't merely a good idea for people who want to live in an inclusive, equity based, community; these priorities are foundational to an inclusive and equity based community.
Environmental, gender, race, and disability equity (as well as many other forms of equity) are completely inseparable from these issues. And we need to center that in our approach to policy because history shows that a failure to center equity leads to equity being ignored.
I'm committed to taking an inclusion and equity based approach to all aspects of the role as City Councillor for Ward 6.
Request a Sign
If you live in Ward 6, and are able, one of the biggest helps you can provide is to request a sign for your yard.
The City of Waterloo, including Ward 6, is located in the traditional territory of the Neutral, Anishnaabeg, and Haudenosaunee peoples.
Ward 6 is also situated on the Haldimand tract, the land granted to the Six Nations that includes six miles on either side of the Grand River.
I'd like to acknowledge that the history which has brought us all to dwell on this land is painful and filled with injustice which requires reconciliation.
Acknowledging the history of the land is not, in itself, reconciliation. But it's an important marker and reminder of our commitment to reconciliation and the work which needs to be done.