Monday, August 26, 2013

BREAKING NEWS: McCreath Back in St. John's Election Race!

BREAKING NEWS: McCreath Back in St. John's Election Race! Will Run for Deputy Mayor!

After news broke last week that Jennifer McCreath was unable to find people able to nominate her for political office, and was forced to bow out of the race, a huge level of outreach shortly occurred. Jennifer is pleased to announce that she is re-entering the race and will formally sign nomination papers Tuesday August 26, 2013 at a 10.30 am meeting at City Hall.  Furthermore, Jennifer will be running for the position of Deputy Mayor.

Jennifer received a wave of public outreach, from a variety of public figures, including three other people already running in the election, as well as a prominent radio talk show host. Officially lined up to sign the papers will be Ward 2 Candidate Andrew Harvey, and Animal-Rights Advocate Carolyn Snow. Jennifer also received confirmation that Ward 3 candidate Walter Harding, Ward 4 candidate Bernard Davis, and former MHA and current VOCM talk-show host Bill Rowe were all willing to nominate her. "After a very emotional time last week, it's flattering to see so many highly-respected people step up to the plate and say they want to see me on the ballot," McCreath said.

Jennifer says that a formal campaign launch event will be organized for Friday August 30, although she will be prepared to make a brief statement, and take any questions, from any interested media entities, after her nomination meeting concludes. She will also be launching a website, later this week.

Jennifer looks forward to adding to the diversity among the list of candidates, and hopes to raise issues that are important to many people who shy away from voting because they don't feel politicians can understand them, "Ironically, I think the majority of the electorate can relate to me in many ways, and I think I can relate to them. I've had experience negotiating Government red tape and I know what it's like to be part of the working class, who lives pay cheque to pay cheque," said McCreath.

McCreath also feels it is important to offer the voters a choice, "Many people have told me that they do not like the idea of anyone getting acclaimed. The voters deserve a choice, and a choice they will get! I have tons of respect for Ron Ellsworth, but at the same time, I think I bring a variety of skill sets and experiences to the table that he doesn't."

McCreath also hopes to raise the profile of seemingly oppressed minority groups. She identifies as a lesbian and also has a transgender medical history, and she has spent many years undertaking activism work to help ensure equality for all. "While global statistics state that 10% of society is LGBT, judging by the small numbers of people attending LGBT events, such as Pride Week, it would appear that a large majority of this community is still private and closeted," McCreath said.

McCreath also wants to act as a beacon for other LGBT people to step up to the plate and take a leadership role in making this city safer and better for all, "I was totally shocked to learn of an apparent gay-bashing violent assault that took place here in this City earlier this month. While I may not be the most-liked member of the local LGBT community, I want to step up to the plate and be a voice for them all. I do not want LGBT people to live in fear. I also want to demonstrate that the sky is the limit. Some people may say that I have no chance of winning a seat in this election, but I'm here to show that the time is now, for members of our community to step up to the plate and seek leadership roles in our City," McCreath said.

McCreath moved to St. John's in 2007 to take a job overseeing an Information Privacy review program for the Provincial Government's IT Department. Jenn has also done policy analysis work for the Ontario Seniors Secretariat, the Ontario Ministry of Consumer & Business Services. She also has front line operational experience as an Employment Insurance Claims processor for the Federal Government, as well as her current occupation, a telephone agent in the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary's 911 Call Centre. McCreath has also worked in the private sector, both in the banking industry, and retail hardware.

While perhaps best-known for her outspoken activism for transgender rights, McCreath has also made headlines as an athlete. She has run 30 Marathons, including 2 Boston Marathons and 5 Newfoundland Provincial Championship Marathons. She has also run the infamous Cape to Cabot race 5 times.

Jennifer has a variety of volunteer and non-profit leadership work experiences, having been the founder and original Head of Corporate Management for St. John's Pride Inc., as well as the founder of grassroots movement, the Newfoundland Animal Appreciation Society. Jennifer is also no stranger to civil activism, having delivered passionate speeches at public rallies, including the 2009 G20-protest and the 2011 Bill 29 protest.

She plans to campaign on issues that include improving access to low-cost housing, improving public transit, better snow removal from sidewalks, smart development in and outside of the city, better relations with neighbouring cities and other levels of government, improved citizen engagement strategies and a focus on a government being transparent and accountable, crack down on violent crime and dangerous traffic, and putting efforts into preserving the clean fresh lakes, ponds and green spaces in our City. More information can be found about her platform at her blog

For more information:

Jennifer McCreath

Friday, August 23, 2013

BREAKING NEWS: McCreath Bows out of Municipal Election!

BREAKING NEWS: McCreath Bows out of Municipal Election!

St. John's marathon runner, animal lover, former Provincial Government senior policy analyst, and transgender activist, Jennifer McCreath, had hoped to make history on Sept 24, 2013 by becoming the first person in Newfoundland, who has gone public about their transgender medical history, to run for public office. Sadly, McCreath watched in horror yesterday as she received e-mails from all but one of the persons she had lined up to nominate her, cancel out on her nomination meeting. A subsequent scramble to find replacements lead McCreath to discover the harsh reality, that not even her closest friends are willing or able to step forward and publicly nominate her.

Jennifer thinks there is still some stigma associated with showing support for trans people. "It saddens me to hear folks say that they support me, but are afraid to demonstrate that support publicly, due to fear of backlash and social pressures," McCreath said. Jennifer announced her intention to seek a seat on City Council back on July 15, the same day of an historic Pride event which saw a transgender flag raised above City hall for the very first time anywhere in Canada, in St. John's.

After initially focusing on a run for an at-large seat, Jennifer's strategy changed when incumbent Deputy Mayor, Shannie Duff, announced her retirement from politics. "With only Ron Ellsworth running, I felt there was a great opportunity for me to step up to the plate to offer the voters a major choice," McCreath said. Jennifer had planned to launch a campaign that would see young and lower-income folks become engaged in politics for the first time in their lives, "many people I know, don't even vote, because they think politicians are a bunch of rich old men who don't care about their issues," McCreath said. Jennifer hoped to represent the silent minority and give them a reason to care.

Jennifer also feels that mainstream media did not take her seriously, as all but one of her political press releases were ignored, and she was even excluded in a recent head count of female candidates, for a recent CBC story about why so few females are putting their name on the ballot.

Jennifer also admits that it was very tough to run a campaign, when she did not have the luxury of being able to afford to quit her day job, "I have a very demanding job. I work 12 hour shifts, including evenings, weekends, stat holidays, and over-nights," said McCreath. Jennifer is currently employed with the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary, where she works in the Communications Centre, where she spends most of her time on the phone with 911 callers, who are looking for emergency police assistance. "It is one of the most stressful jobs I have ever had, and the overnight shifts are certainly draining on your energy levels, but I can't tell you how proud I am to know that I have such an important role in this community. I can literally say that I have helped save lives by the work that I do," said McCreath.

McCreath remains concerns about what she feels is a 'rich old boys club' at St. John's City Hall, and now that she is out of the election, she plans to promote and campaign for other candidates who she feels can help break down this barrier and introduce some young new talent into the Hall.

Interview Requests: 709-753-9529


Thursday, August 22, 2013

Candidate McCreath responds to the Independent Survey

This was probably the most complex political survey I have been asked to complete for any group or media outlet. It took me over 10 hours to complete! But it is an honour to have the media ask to profile me and my stances on key issues.  Here is the text of what I sent them. Hopefully they will publish it all in its entirety!


What special skills or expertise do you possess that may be relevant  to voters?

I am a strong independent person who won't back down from a challenge and will never back down from standing up for what I believe in. At the same time, I feel I am a good listener and a team player who takes pride in reaching decisions based on consensus. I am not afraid to think outside the box or challenge norms. I want what's best for this city and I am willing to devote full time attention to making this city all that I know it is capable of being. I do whatever it takes to engage people on issues that matter. I take pride in battling indifference and getting people to care and develop passion for their city. I have overcome some of the most difficult challenges and stigma known to mankind, as I have managed to survive hatred, discrimination, and phobia, as someone who has gone through a medical sex and gender transition. This experience has taught me how to lead and manage change in a challenging situation, and has also given me extensive experience dealing with Government policies and red tape. I like to think that my ability to engage and delegate, makes me a good leader. I take pride in having a strong record in taking diverse groups of people and finding ways for them to reach consensus and solve problems on various matters. I expect near perfection out of myself and I have always set very high goals. I am proud of my accomplishments in life as a marathon runner, a founder of non-profit organizations, an advocate and activist for citizen's rights, and my professional accomplishments as a policy adviser with and for various government entities. I also take pride in my love for animals and the environment. 

What community organizations are you or have you been a member of?

Volunteer Portfolio:

- Co-Founded St. John's Pride Inc as a provincially-registered non-profit org in 2010. Acted as Board Chair and Head of Corporate Management for an 18 month period. I wrote corporate by-laws & internal policies and procedures. recruited board members and volunteers. I oversaw corporate operations, was responsible for citizen and community engagement, marketing, advertising, stakeholder engagement, partnership development. was also responsible for communications, information management, media relations, and  legislative compliance. I also wrote proposals for city grants and city permits, organized educational and entertainment events for a pride week celebration. I also co-produced and directed a made-for-television educational panel discussion. Acted as the face of the organization and an ambassador for the provincial Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) communities.

- I founded two grass-roots organizations, The East Coast Trans Alliance, and the Newfoundland Patients Association for Transsexual Health. I collaborated with trans activists and trans allies in Nova Scotia, PEI, and New Brunswick, to lobby service providers and Government, to attempt to bring standards up to levels of global best practices, including practices already adopted and functional in Ontario, Quebec, and British Columbia. Provided advise and guidance to trans patients and their medical teams, to ensure understanding and compliance with global best practices. facilitated the completion of human rights complaints against provincial governments, including Newfoundland, with regards to transsexual and transgender issues, including fighting discrimination over health care, employment, and housing matters.

- I created a grass-roots organization called the Newfoundland Animal Appreciation Society, to combat the unnecessary torture and starvation of water fowl on the campus of Memorial University. This group has presence on Facebook.

- I am an active member of the Canadian Blood Services LGBT working group - a panel made up of national LGBT activists to advise how existing Blood policies impact members of said community.

- I am a co-founder and co-chair of the Newfoundland and Labrador Chapter of International Frontrunners, a walking/running and social club that caters to members of the LGBT community, and their allies.

- I wrote policies and procedures & delivered diversity and sensitivity training with regards to transgender/transsexuals in the work place with and for the Government of Newfoundland & Labradors' Respectful Workplace Coordinators Office. I was also part of a Duty to Accommodate Committee, with regards to transgender/transsexuals in the work place.

- I am a former acting chair for Pflag Canada's Newfoundland Chapter's monthly meeting. This is an organization that provides social and peer support for members of the LGBT community, their allies, and their family members.

- I am a former member of a national Pflag 'train the trainer' program to prepare Chapter leaders to better understand transgender/transsexual issues.

- I spent a year as an active member of Canadian Professional Association for Transgender Health, an industry association for individuals who are employed in a field that delivers health care products and services to members of the trans community. For my duration, I was a member, and lead policy writer, of a Membership Expansion Policy Committee, where I helped the organization find ways to expand their voting membership privileges to non-medical-credentialed workers.

- I penned a gender-inclusion policy that allowed for the creation of a 3rd sex category for transgender and intersexxed athletes at an international sporting event, the World Outgames.

- I have acted as an adviser to Egale Canada, and Trans Pride Canada, two of the country's largest Human Rights organizations for the LGBT community.

- I provided consultative advise to provincial and federal governments, and opposition parties, with regards to health care and human rights policies.

- I provided advise and guidance to general practitioners in NL to ensure they were comfortable treating transgender/transsexual patients.

- I collaborated with Canadian Autoworkers Union (CAW) to coordinate a letter-writing campaign which ultimately lead to the cancellation of the airing on television, of a controversial homophobic advertisement by a Canadian fast food chain. This campaign also lead to the termination of this food chain's relationship with the advertising agency who created the ad. I was interviewed on local radio for this story.

- I have delivered guest lectures to university student audiences and high school classes regarding LGBT issues.

- I have offered my time and knowledge to university students who were conducting projects with regards to Access to Information and Protection of Privacy, in Government settings.

- I have volunteered at the annual Terry Rielly Teddy Bears Picnic in St. John's and managed the "teddy bear hospital" providing entertainment for children by conducting quasi medical assessments on stuffed animals and dolls. 

When and where have you run for public office before, and what public offices have you held?


What business or commercial operations have you or your family members engaged in within the last five years that may put you into a conflict of interest in matters of municipal governance?


In which ward and neighbourhood is your principal residence located?

Ward 4 - Larkhall Street at Wicklow Street

Multiple Choice Section:
Of the following list of municipal issues, choose up to six that you consider priorities for improvement:

Top Priorities which I feel need urgent and immediate attention:

Urban Sprawl / Regional Cooperation - These two sort of go together. 
Affordable Housing 
Crime Prevention
Public Transit/ Parking  - I'd like to lump these two together into one category - as I feel fixing the former will solve the latter.
Snow Clearing / Roads / Traffic  - would like to lump these together as well. We need safe and accessible roads and sidewalks.
Transparency and Public Engagement 

Issues that require attention, but not urgent or immediate level of concern

Stormwater Management
Water and Sewer Infrastructure
Garbage, Recycling and Composting

Important Issues that I think the City is already doing rather well with:

Lower Taxes for Residents
Lower Taxes for Businesses
Controlling Spending
Fiscal Relationship with the Province
Promoting Tourism
Parks and Recreation
Arts and Culture


Electoral Reform - not really sure how to rate this. bottom line, I think if we can improve transparency and accountability, we'll get more people voting, with or without a change in voting policy.

For the following list of statements, indicate whether you (1) strongly agree, (2) somewhat agree, (3) neither agree nor disagree, (4) 
somewhat disagree, (5) strongly disagree. Place a number at the end of each statement.

The City of St. John’s should invest more in public services (water and sewer, public transit, snow clearing, etc.), even if this means raising taxes.

2 - We need to improve these services, but not necessarily by raising taxes. i think there are other things we can cut back on in order to offer more and better services of these types.

The City of St. John’s should reduce taxes, even if this means cuts to public services.

3 - I would like to review all tax policies to ensure there is a fair system. I don't think we want to cut any services at this point. It seems many existing service levels are not meeting public expectations.

The City of St. John’s should design regulations to encourage high density development in the city core and discourage urban sprawl.

2- I definitely want to encourage higher density development. I'd like to create incentives for this to happen - such as tax breaks for property owners who rent out their units, and perhaps have various development grant programs. But legislating this type of change seems too restrictive. would rather use moral suasion and other political strategies.

Metrobus service could benefit from minor improvements, but large additional investments are not a good use of taxpayers money.

3 - I think Metrobus needs a major shake up, but I think we can find ways to make it more efficient and effective without having to increase their budget.

The St. John’s Harbour Authority should be pressured to restore public access to sections of the waterfront that are being fenced off.

1 - Absolutely! I would like to take steps to ensure that public access to the harbour front remains as high as possible.  I can understand limiting access during special operations that involve loading or unloading of sensitive materials, but when the wharf is not in use or at a time period where high security it not needed, then public access should be available.

The bylaw governing the use of mobile signs should be made more strict to discourage their  use.

3 - I was not aware that this was a public issue. Would be happy to speak with anyone who has concerns about mobile signs so I can better learn what the problem is.

New developments should be held to a zero net-runoff increase policy for stormwater, in order to protect watersheds and reduce the risk of flooding.

1 - This sounds reasonable to me. If you can't build safely, don't build.

Regulations to protect heritage areas in the city should be relaxed in order to encourage new development.

5 - I think we can manage to come up with a smart growth plan that will allow for increased density, yet allow us to keep our historic sites. there are many empty lots and old abandoned buildings all over the city which are spaces urban density could be encouraged.

The city should take a harder line with people who park illegally in fire lanes.

1 - part of my platform will be a serious effort to crack down on all violations of the Highway Traffic Act. we must keep our roads safe.

Sidewalk snow clearing could benefit from minor improvements, but large additional investments are not a good use of taxpayers money.

4 - We need to stop running bulldozers over sidewalks and start using proper snow plows. yes we will have to spend more money in order to ensure that more sidewalks are cleared, and that they are cleared in a more timely manner. people are asking for a more pedestrian-friendly city and this is part of the solution to reducing the high amount of cars - especially downtown, and hopefully cut back on the high demand for parking spaces.

The senior citizens tax reduction should be extended to all low income homeowners.

1 - Low income people deserve tax relief. Age should not matter. Yes I support this.

The City of St. John’s should implement a municipal composting program.

2 - We need to expand our recycling program to ensure all residents can use it, and ensure that a higher percentage of paper and containers can be recycled - and yes, a green-bin program seems to have proven valuable in other major cities. Yes it is time to look at this here.

Political donations to municipal candidates should be published in a public report and posted on the City of St. John’s website.

1 - Yes, everything should be published. I want 100% transparency and accountability when it comes to political spending and political fund raising. 

City parks could benefit from minor improvements, but large additional investments are not a good use of taxpayers money.

4 - We've already just sunk tons of money into improving Bannerman Park. I think we are doing a good job with other parks too. 

Traffic calming measures, including speed bumps and lower speed limits, should be expanded.

1 - Speed limit signs won't slow down drivers, but speed bumps certainly will!  I say yes to speed bumps, although, lowering speed limit won't hurt either. Getting more traffic enforcement officers to issue tickets, and having tougher penalties for the guilty, is also part of the solution.  

St. John’s should pursue amalgamation with neighbouring communities.

4 - I think amalgamation would bring more tax money into the core of the city, but it would hurt the new additional regions. Our neighbours do not seem to want to amalgamate now, so I won't pressure them. at the same time, we need to do a better job communicating and collaborating with them to deliver services to all the region. 

Loud motorcycles are a problem and bylaws should be enacted to restrict them.

2 - Curfew noise bylaws need to be enforced - whether it is a motorcycle, or a loud late night party.  We need more enforcement officers to do random extra patrol in certain areas of the town so that more of these noises can be put to an end.   there also needs to be a balance for motorcycle use during non-curfew hours. People need the freedom to drive their motorcycles to get around, but at the same time, we still need to keep neighbourhoods peaceful.  I'm not totally sure if there is a way to limit the level of loudness that comes from them, but it's something we can sit down and take a look at.

The city should encourage more mixing of commercial and residential development.

1 - Yes, we need to build communities within the city. many people drive because things are too far. I am sure many people would love to live close enough that they can walk to work and walk to do all their shopping, walk to the park, etc.

Long(er) Answer Questions:

Arts and Culture:

What specific initiatives would you undertake to support arts and artists in the city?

First of all, I would like to meet community leaders from various arts and culture genres and organizations. these folks are the ones who can and should advise city council on how the city can help and what we can do in a leadership role.  I'd like to put together a committee that meets monthly to discuss the state of arts and culture in this city.

I'd also like the city to work closer and better with the provincial department of tourism, culture, and rec. and would also like to study other major cities that have gone through  the growth and prosperity we are seeing  now. The recent rumours about a large concert venue is definitely something that will help bring major international entertainment here. I would also like to do a better job promoting local talent. 

By-laws and enforcement: What should be done to discourage illegal parking in fire lanes and other parking violations?

We need more enforcement officers to proactively patrol the city so we can catch more of these folks in the act. Secondly, we need stiffer penalties. fines need to be higher, and people should start to lose driving privileges. improving sidewalk access, public transit, and car pooling, might also help reduce the problem. also, let's go into the driving schools and let's chat with provincial motor registration to ensure they do everything the can to teach drivers how to respect the rules and understand why they need to be respected.

Would you support a volunteer group of concerned citizens to monitor parking lots and issue tickets and/or report violations?

Yes, No, Yes.  I would love to have citizens monitor and report issues, but we need officials to issue the tickets. Having said that, we need more officials on the streets!

What should be done to improve the enforcement of traffic laws?

We need more officers, tougher penalties, and more public education and awareness work to be done!

What can be done to reduce the number of parking tickets issued for parking on snow removal and street cleaning days?

Illegally parked cars deserve tickets. If people are unaware that they are breaking the law while parking during these two times, then we need to proactively tell them.. better signs, and city mail-outs to bring these bylaws to the attention of car owners.  Those who continue to park illegally after the information has been provided, should be subject to stiffer penalties.

What would you do to reduce illegal garbage dumping in the city?

We need to improve curbside bulk garbage and recycling programs so people can throw their stuff out on garbage day, rather than have to take it elsewhere and dump it illegally. We should also work with the Province to increase police patrol in areas known for illegal dumping.

Crime: What is your take on crime in St. John’s and what should the city do about it?

I have major concerns about the current situation of crime in this City.  The challenging situation though, is that the Criminal Code of Canada is a Federal Statute, while the delivery of Justice services, are mostly at the Provincial level.  Ultimately, we need to elect City Council members who will develop strong rapport with these entities to ensure they have a core understanding of how crime issues differ here, from the rest of the province.  

With regards to crime that is of a municipal nature, such as violations of municipal traffic and noise by-laws, the City should take a proactive approach to crime reduction through monitoring, handing out fines, and through education and awareness.  The City should also reach out to community organizations who have a vested interest in crime reduction or crime prevention, and collaborate on programs that will achieve these goals.

Development and Urban Renewal: The St. John’s Board of Trade argues that the city needs more high density residential development and less urban sprawl. Do you support the Board’s position, and if so what policies would you implement to achieve it?

I totally agree. I would like to see the City create intensives to developers to build higher density buildings. However, I am not sure I would want to create legislation that would deter developers from developing.

What should be done with vacant properties (e.g. abandoned grocery stores and soon-to-be-closed schools), and what should the city be 
doing to ensure that these spaces are put to good use? 

We should eliminate the tax break for vacant commercial properties. If you own it, you should pay full tax on it.  As far as empty buildings owned by Government, steps need to be taken to put these properties to good use, either as Government buildings, or by selling the property to developers or investors who have demonstrated their ability to put it to good use.

Electoral reform: The City of Toronto is planning to move to a ranked ballot system for municipal elections. This system reduces the problem of vote splitting 
in races with more than two candidates. Would you support a similar reform in St. John's? Would you support some other kind of reform?

I am always looking for ways to improve democracy. I would be open to looking at any possible electoral reform, that would promote and increase voters turnout and produce election results that best reflect what the electorate wants.

Heritage: How do we balance real estate development with the preservation of heritage in historic St. John’s?

I think we can find a good balance by promoting development outside of the historic down town core of the city. There is tons of vacant land in other parts of the City that is ready and capable of being developed.

Housing affordability: What initiatives would you support or undertake to address the following issues?

(a) a shortage of available rental housing;

I would like to take steps to provide incentives for developers to create apartment buildings in new development opportunities. 

(b) rising costs of rental housing;

The law of 'supply and demand' is likely accountable for this, at least in part. By increasing the number of units available, it will drive down the costs as supply will better equal the demand.

(c) rising house prices.

I would like to take steps to provide intensives for developers to create lower-priced housing units. Building smaller units and building units outside of prime neigbourhoods, will allow for lower cost units to be more available.

Immigration: What initiatives have you been involved with, or would you implement, to promote a welcoming and supportive environment for immigrants 
and refugees in our community?

I would like to study how other cities, such as Toronto and Vancouver, implemented immigration-friendly policies, as they went through their huge economic growth periods. I would also like to reach out to various racial & ethnic communities and their non-profit organizations, so I can best understand their issues and best understand how to help fight the racism and give them a City and a series of City services that will allow them to maximize their potential. I would also like to collaborate with the Provincial & Federal Government to collaborate, and perhaps piggy-back, on the work they are currently engaged with on this matter. Finally, I would also like to take steps to celebrate diversity, including having City involvement in various programs and festivals that promote education, awareness, and celebration, of diversity. 

Intergovernmental relationships: What are two specific initiatives/issues at  the federal or provincial level that you would commit to advocating for if you were elected?

I definitely think we need to develop a strong relationship with other levels of Government on the fight against crime. The Feds oversee the Criminal Code, while the Province implements the Justice system. The City needs to bring both of these entities to the table so they can better understand the specific situations going on in this City and so that steps can be taken to give the City more power, authority, and autonomy, to combat crime.

Infrastructure is another area in which we must collaborate. It is in the best interest of all levels of Government, to have infrastructure in this city, that is sufficient for a booming city.  Having good roads and public utilities in all cities is very important. 

What opportunities for regional cooperation with neighbouring communities do you think should be pursued?

I would definitely like to collaborate with our neighbours on public transportation. We need more buses in and out of the City, so we can reduce the number of cars coming in and out of the city.  I would also like to look at increasing the amount of car pool parking lots on the edge of town, and in neighbouring towns, as well as create shuttle or express bus services in and out of major city hub destinations.

I also think we need to develop a collaborate approach to regional growth and development. It concerns me, for example, to see the town of Paradise growing substantially in terms of residential properties, but not having self-sufficient services in town. We need to take steps to ensure that there are jobs, office buildings, and retail outlets, in all of our neighbouring towns, so that residents of these towns won't always have to come into St. John's, if they don't want to.

Municipal pensions: A recent submission from the Canadian Federation of Independent Business called for reforming the pensions of public sector workers. 
Their recommendations include:

1) Converting from ‘defined benefit’ to ‘defined contribution’ pensions
2) Ending incentives to retire early
3) Fully disclosing pension liabilities using a consistent methodology
Where do you stand on this issue?

 I am 100% supportive of all three of these suggestions and would push to implement them all, if elected.

Public spaces and walkability: How would you foster community spaces and walkability in the city?

The nature trails, parks and ponds that we have, are a precious beauty that makes this City unique. We need to take action to ensure that these spaces are kept intact and not subject to development. The recent destruction of wetland areas with the Burton's Pond sidewalk excavation project, and more recently, the filling in of the swampy marsh area adjacent to Janeway, are two examples of projects I would have been strongly opposed to.

Do you support the harbour fence initiative? What would you do about it if elected?

It is to my understanding that Federal Regulations required an upgrade to fenced security. With this in mind, I don't see how anyone could argue against having the fence built. However, there is absolutely no reason why the City should have contributed tax-payer money towards the project. The Federal Port Authority is a stand-along Crown corporation, with the ability to raise funds through user fees. Ultimately, we need to take steps to ensure that future City council will not give money away inappropriately to other Government agencies, when there is no clear incentive or benefit to the City, to do so.

A commonly used walking trail between Cowan Heights and Sobey’s Square has been cut off by the Team Gushue Highway extension. Would you support the installation of a culvert tunnel so that pedestrians would not be forced to cross the highway?

I would definitely be willing to take a look at options for either a tunnel or an overpass bridge - taking into account vehicle and pedestrian safety, as well as cost-benefit analysis.

Regulations and red tape: How would you increase the speed of regulatory approvals for new business operations in the city (i.e. certification for restaurants, cafes, etc)?

It is important that we take proper care to ensure that businesses have appropriate accreditation and meet standards and regulations, prior to opening. Having said this, I am very sympathetic towards the challenges and frustrations of red tape. I'd certainly be willing to take a close look at existing processes as well as seek input and advise from global best-practices, and take steps to implement more efficient and effective strategies, so long as integrity of the process is not compromised.

Seniors: What initiatives would you support to make the city safer and more accessible for our seniors?

In 2002-03, I spent 8 months working with the Ontario Seniors' Secretariat. Through this experience, I gained incite towards issues facing seniors. I would look to create some sort of Seniors policy and program office within the City, that would engage seniors, seniors organizations, and seniors care-givers, to gain a clear understanding of where the gaps in this City are, and what can be done to improve them.

Snow clearing: How do you propose to improve road and sidewalk snow clearing in St. John’s? Please address both and provide specific details.

This has been a major concern for me since the first winter i lived here. it's bad enough that we can't keep our city sidewalks cleared, but even worse that we waste tax payer money to drive large tractors over the sidewalks. these tractors, while supposedly clearing snow, actually packs down the snow, so we get a thick layer of compressed ice on our side walks. First of all, we need to clear snow, and secondly, we need to clear it properly. Not only will clear sidewalks make it easier to get around, it will literally make an inaccessible city, accessible, to the many folks who can't negotiate snow.

Stormwater management and flooding: Last year, a City Commissioner’s report found that watersheds, bridges, and culverts are unable to handle any additional stormwater runoff from planned developments above the 190m contour (such as Dannyville). The report recommends a zero-net increase runoff policy 
for new developments. Would you require developers to submit a blueprint that clearly incorporates a zero-net increase stormwater 
management plan prior to any land clearance or developmental phase? If so, how would you ensure that developers follow this policy?

Yes I am 100% supportive of this. I would take steps to ensure that there is an assessment and evaluative process that will require developers to clearly demonstrate compliance, throughout the lifecycle of the property development process.

Tax policy:

Tell us your position on tax policy, addressing some or all of the following questions:

1) How important is it to keep taxes low?

We need taxes to be low enough that they won't impede the quality of life, yet high enough to ensure important and essential government services can be delivered.

2) Do businesses pay too much or too little tax relative to residences?

I would like to take a look at the tax statistics for our city, and then compare them to other cities of our size in Canada.

3) Should tax breaks be provided to low income people who are not old enough to qualify for the seniors reduction? What about to senior citizens whose income is 
too high to qualify?

My understanding of the Income tax system is that it is paid to provincial and federal governments, and that rate of tax is based on rate of earnings, and that age has absolutely nothing to do with it.  With this in mind, I do not think age should be a factor in determining property tax rates. If you can afford to own property, then you should be able to afford to pay taxes on it.

4) How do you feel about the recent decision to blend the business occupancy tax and the business realty tax into a single tax?

My understanding is that this merge will have essentially no affect on the rates that businesses pay, but it will allow the City to operate their business tax program in a more efficient and effective manner. I oppose special tax breaks for vacant commercial properties. If you own commercial property, you should pay taxes on it, regardless of whether or not you are using the property. Much like the last question, if you can afford to own property, then you can afford to pay taxes on it!

5) Would you consider blending the water rate into the residential realty tax to encourage more basement apartments?

I do not believe this would be an effective way to promote an increase in basement apartment units. With regards to water fairness, I'd like to move towards a system that charges water rates based on water use, as opposed to a simple tax on property owners.

6) Would you consider introducing residential water metering so that households are charged for the amount of water used rather than a flat rate per unit?

Yes absolutely, and apply the same to commercial establishments. We pay for power by the metre, so why not water?

7) Would you consider a tax on land value as opposed to property value as a way to encourage more efficient use of land? 

I think both should be taken into consideration. Both are capital assets that have assessment values. 

8) Should the tax break for vacant commercial property be eliminated?  Yes - if you own commercial space, you should pay full taxes on it, no matter what you are using it for. I'd even consider raising taxes for vacant commercial property to encourage them to sell it to someone who will put it to good use!

Transportation: In 2011, a transit study was released that made a number of recommendations for improving public transit in the City of St. John's, 

1) Increase service between Downtown and the MUN/HSC/Avalon Mall corridor.

Yes, and also come up with some routes that are more direct.

2) Negotiate a deal to provide Metrobus passes to all students at MUN/CNA for a mandatory fee.

I don't want to force all students to pay for a pass they may not use. Some might be happy to walk to and from school for free!

3) Allow city employees to trade free parking at work for cash or a Metrobus pass

Yes absolutely. Alternative, start charging for parking as well.

4) Establish a park-and-ride program for commuters.

A big-time yes here! We need major lots on the edges of towns, and ones outside of town, and shuttle bus services to downtown, MUN and the malls.

5) Increase the price of parking in the west end of Downtown.

I'd increase the price for parking anywhere downtown! If you really want to drive downtown, then you must be willing to pay more to do it.

6) Develop a regional transit plan involving Mount Pearl, Paradise, Conception Bay South, and Torbay.

Yes absolutely. We need Metrobus in and out of there regularly, including downtown express buses.

What is your vision for public transit, with specific reference to some or all of the recommendations above?

I currently have major concerns about the state of our public transit system. I think a key starting point is getting more buses in and out of Mount Pearl, Paradise, Torbay, etc. There are so many people who drive into the city every day, because have no other way to get into town. I would like to see the development of shuttle buses from car pool spots at the edge of town off the highways, with some sort of incentive for folks to use the service. We need to find a way to get fewer cars downtown. I would also like to look at bike lanes and better sidewalk snow-shoveling so pedestrians would be more likely to leave their cars at home. I would also like to review existing bus routes and schedules, within the city, as many people have complained to me that it takes too long to get anywhere, because of long wait times, the need to transfer from one bus to another, or both.

What initiatives would you undertake with respect to transportation infrastructure in and around the city?

Reduce the use of large buses for areas with low passenger use and replace with small bus. Move big buses into shuttle and express programs.

What should be done about painted road markings that fade away for much of the year?

Can we find better quality paint?

Free Space:

If there any other important issues you would like to address, please do so here.

I am a strong independent person who won't back down from a challenge and will never back down from standing up for what I believe in. At the same time, I feel I am a good listener and a team player who takes pride in reaching decisions based on consensus. I am not afraid to think outside the box or challenge norms. I want what's best for this city and I am willing to devote full time attention to making this city all that I know it is capable of being. I do whatever it takes to engage people on issues that matter. I take pride in battling indifference and getting people to care and develop passion for their city. I have overcome some of the most difficult challenges and stigma known to mankind, as I have managed to survive hatred, discrimination, and phobia, as someone who has gone through a medical sex and gender transition. This experience has taught me how to lead and manage change in a challenging situation, and has also given me extensive experience dealing with Government policies and red tape. I like to think that my ability to engage and delegate, makes me a good leader. I take pride in having a strong record in taking diverse groups of people and finding ways for them to reach consensus and solve problems on various matters. I expect near perfection out of myself and I have always set very high goals. I am proud of my accomplishments in life as a marathon runner, a founder of non-profit organizations, an advocate and activist for citizen's rights, and my professional accomplishments as a policy adviser with and for various government entities. I also take pride in my love for animals and the environment. 

While most of existing City Council seems to be made up of rich upper class people who have thrived in the private sector, I bring experiences to the table that allow me to better relate to many of our oppressed and misfortune citizens. I understand what it is like to live pay-cheque to pay-cheque. I understand the challenges faced by minority groups, as I identify as a woman, a member of the LGBT community, and as a main-lander who has struggled to gain acceptance by Newfoundlanders. I bring experience to the table having worked in Government policy development positions & bring experience have running community-oriented non-profit ventures. I am an advocate for human rights and quality of living for all. I am passionate about citizen engagement. I am also keenly concerned about the well-being of the trust and respect of Government, as perceived by citizens.

For more information, please visit or e-mail me at or telephone me at 709-753-9529 

Jennifer McCreath
St. John's, Newfoundland & Labrador

Sunday, August 18, 2013 temporarily moves over to blogspot!

August 18, 2013 - is temporarily moving here until further notice:

Jennifer McCreath has lived the transition experience in Newfoundland Canada and now offers her free 'pro bono' services as an M2F Transition Consultant, to individuals.

- confidential peer support: self acceptance and coming out
- understanding the protocol: financial, legal, medical
- dealing with red tape matters: Government ID changes
- dealing with society: family, employers, landlords, friends
- an overview of my recommended medical resources

(Note: I am not a doctor or a lawyer, just someone who has experienced transition)

Factors & Services for Transition in Newfoundland: