Thursday, December 17, 2015

With Councillor Aidan Johnson

The Hamiltonian checked in with Clr. Johnson. Enjoy our chat with the Clr.:

Looking back over the past year, what accomplishment as city councillor are you most proud of? Conversely, what issue have you been frustrated with and how did you handle it?

I am proudest of having created Hamilton’s Indigenous Justice Strategy. The motion I wrote, creating the Strategy, was passed by Council last winter. The Strategy is based on my work in Aboriginal law -- a significant focus in my career as a lawyer. In the summer, the Strategy brought the Witness Blanket to Central Library, to mark the release of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission report. We’re now moving forward with plans for the Strategy’s roundtable on urban Indigenous rights issues.

One issue I find frustrating at City Hall is the lack of financial resources to fund the infrastructure, environmental, and social programs that we need. To address this challenge, I volunteered to serve as Chair of Council’s Finance Committee (Audit, Finance, Administration). I was elected to this role in early December. I’m looking forward to working with our federal and provincial partners to strengthen the city budget and grow Hamilton’s economy.

2. Being a new councillor (relatively speaking), can you tell us what surprised you the most about the role of city councillor. Or, is it pretty much what you envisioned it to be?

The role is basically what I expected it to be. I am learning new things every day, and deeply enjoying the work!

3. What does Hamilton have to do less of and more of, and why?

Hamilton needs to focus more on good public transit policy -- and we are about to do exactly that, through our massive LRT project. This is the right thing for the economy, for health, and for the fight against climate change. We need to get rid of divisive thinking, in which “urban interests” are pitted against “suburban interests”, and then both of those against “rural interests”. This is the only way forward, for the goal of deep, sustainable economic planning. Happily, I see us working steadily toward cooperation among all of our region’s diverse neighbourhoods.

4. How has your experience in law helped you in this new role?

Being a lawyer helps me every day. Policing issues, decision-making around appeals to the Ontario Municipal Board, and the city’s civil litigations are all examples of files I have been able to handle well because of my law background.

5.If you could change one thing about the culture at city hall, what would that be and why?

I enjoy my work at city hall a lot. There is room for improvement in any organization. One change I would like to see is a shift away from city hall’s paper-based document culture, and toward a more paperless and electronic work environment.

6. How will Clr. Johnson be spending the holiday season and is there anything else you’d like Hamiltonians to know?

My husband Stefan and I will be taking a bit of a holiday vacation in beautiful Niagara Falls, Ontario! Please follow me on Facebook and Twitter: @aidan_johnson

Thanks Clr. Johnson for engaging  with Hamiltonians in The Hamiltonian.


  1. Councillor Aidan (Johnson), I am happy from what I have seen thus far from the councillor. I especially like that it doesn't appear that he has been influenced or tainted in any way. He will continue to gain the respect of the public for remaining his own person and vote on matters based on inegrity and not popularity.

    I enjoyed the read and I wish the Councillor and his family a very Merry Christmas.


  2. Aidan

    I have great hopes for you. It helps having a lawyer on council. I am hoping yopu have the strength to NOT stand with certain councillors who really need to step down. Personally I beleive that the councillors currently sitting in wards 2,4, 5, 6, 10, 11, and 12 need to go, for various reasons. So my advice to you Aidan is to be very leery of aligning yourself with certain people.

  3. Keep up the good work Aidan!

  4. If you could change one thing about the culture at City Hall, it is reducing the amount of paper that is used? Really? 12 months on the job and that is it.

  5. My only concern has to do with recent developments with the Westdale Theatre.
    I can appreciate why the Sorokolit's would decline to engage in discussion's with a City representative with such pre-conceived and rigid views on what should eventually happen with the property. Denying maximum return on a prudent investment because "we" know what is best is arrogant, heavy handed, and given "our' track record in these sorts of undertakings....foolish.
    If we want these properties this bad, we need to acquire them fairly. Wait for a sale, and outbid the competition, and then deal with the repercussions that are sure to follow
    This sort of heavy handedness presents poor optics, generates bad karma, and stifles free market progress. Agree with us, because we are going to shove this down your throat!
    I agree that Mr. Johnson has brought fresh energy to Council. By all accounts an intelligent, reactive and responsive man with true empathy for his fellow residents. I wish him continues success


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