Jun Lin said Calgarians aren’t satisfied with the politicians leading them on Calgary city council.
He said the economy is stagnant, the downtown Calgary vacancy rate is still sky high and thousands of citizens remain jobless.
Lin said with his background in accounting and finance, and time spent at an oil and gas Crown corporation, he has a set of skills that few candidates bring to the table.
“I can definitely contribute to bringing investment back. We also need to diversify the economy so that we can generate more jobs, better jobs, so that we can make Calgary prosperous again,” Lin told LiveWire Calgary.
He believes that the most recent edition of Calgary city council hasn’t been able to move the city forward.
Lin said that’s the primary reason for his run in Ward 3, which is his second attempt at a Calgary city council seat.
The other reason is the lack of services and infrastructure in north central Calgary. Lin referred to services like snow removal and park maintenance in his area. Lin wants better value for tax dollars in Calgary so services like these aren’t overlooked.
“We need some, like me, business-friendly and the fiscal conservatives to step out and try to help to turn things around in Calgary,” he said.
Bring investment back
Lin said a top issue in Calgary is bringing investment back to the city. He said the current situation is unsustainable.
Filling downtown Calgary buildings with that investment is a top priority for the city, Lin said. With more people working from home, he said the downtown is empty.
“This situation actually is a big threat that the tax burden is switching from the commercial side to residential side,” he said.
As he mentioned earlier in the interview, fiscal responsibility at city hall is important. Lin believes citizens want to see more value for services.
With that, however, Lin said there’s a need for infrastructure investment in the area. Whether that’s the Green Line, public schools (provincial) or a recreation centre for north central Calgary.
Lin said these additions shouldn’t cost Calgary taxpayers more, either. He said the City must advocate for more help from the provincial and federal governments in order to execute on many of these projects.
The Green Line / Event Centre
Lin is a big supporter of Calgary’s Green Line project. He said it’s much needed in north central Calgary.
He said it was a promise made more than 20 years ago. In that promise was a full Green Line.
Lin said it didn’t make any sense that they would stop the project at 16 Avenue N. It didn’t make sense to go with an unfinished product. He likened it to a pipeline in oil and gas. If you wanted a pipeline from Edmonton to the West Coast, it wouldn’t make sense to build it 70 per cent of the way because that’s what the budget was.
“I don’t think any stakeholder will approve and support my idea,” he said.
Lin said the initial budget was outlined 10 years ago. Of course the amount the city would get for that $4.5 billion was going to change over time.
“We need to find a more budget and figure out the timeline to get the whole CTrain Green Line to be built,” Lin said.
On the city’s Event Centre, Lin said there are added benefits for Calgarians.
“But I do have concerns about the transparency, and how it will be handled financially. That’s a lot of people’s concern,” he said.
He referred to his background in finance and business.
“I can definitely contribute on these, make sure the taxpayer dollars are used efficiently and wisely,” Lin said.
Police funding / Neighbourhood development
Lin said the term “defunding the police” is a politically-charged term that takes away from the core issue.
He said the police service is no different than any other organization where it has “a few bad apples.” He’s not in favour of defunding the police.
Lin does favour looking at alternative responses and innovative ways of delivering service. He points at the DOAP and PACT programs as excellent response initiatives.
“If we need to bring in these kinds of good programs to help policing more efficiently and effectively, I think, more funds should be allocated to these programs,” Lin said.
On development, Lin said there needs to be a balanced plan for Calgary.
Calgarians have different needs at different stages of their lives and the development or redevelopment should reflect that, he said.
“I believe to grow higher or grow further out, is not an urgent issue right now,” Lin said.
“We need to focus on to solve the main problem, which I mentioned, is jobs and economy to retain people not moving out, and also hopefully we can attract more people to move into Calgary.”
Lin said once the economy shows signs of life and with it a broader tax base, citizens won’t be as worried about not having money to fund new growth or infrastructure.
Lin said this issue was decided in past referendums on many occasions. He recognizes that it’s very controversial.
He said he’d like to see how Calgarians vote in the upcoming referendum before making a decision. He’d like it to be the final decision, though.
Lin said he’d like to represent the residents in Ward 3 because he has the business and finance acumen to provide a fiscal voice at city hall. He wants to work collaboratively with his other colleagues on council to move Calgary forward.
“I can contribute my expertise in finance and business, so I can help to turn the economy around and make sure the new Calgary is business friendly and fiscally conservative,” he said.