Keanin Loomis addresses 100-plus supporters at his official campaign launch on June 11, 2022 Credit: Joey Coleman

In front of over 100 supporters, many wearing campaign t-shirts emblazoned with “Change Comes October 24”, Keanin Loomis officially launched his mayoral campaign Saturday with a focus on restoring trust in City Hall and addressing the affordability crisis.

Loomis asked his supporters to imagine the Hamilton of 2050, with a population of 800,000 people.

Looking at his daughter, Loomis stated, “she’ll be in her mid-30s and I think of her riding the LRT from her job to her home, visiting her parents on weekends, not living in our house.”

“Isn’t that the goal for all of us? We just want somewhere for our kids to be able to go.”

To the audience’s delight, he joked, “don’t settle in your basement at the age of 35.”

Loomis’ wife Trish earlier shared their story of being hit hard by the 2008 recession and moving into her parents’ basement here in Hamilton.

Trish Loomis, spouse of mayoral candidate Keanin Loomis, introduces him at his official campaign launch on June 11, 2022

The theme of overcoming that time of adversity was prevalent during both of the Loomis speeches. Trish introduced Keanin by sharing his life story and passion for his adopted hometown of Hamilton.

“He deeply, deeply cares about this city,” she told the crowd. “He sees its potential.”

Keanin says he has the experience and knowledge to lead Hamilton and unite its communities.

“We have the opportunity to unite our city … Flamborough to Winona, Stoney Creek to Ancaster, from Dundas to Binbrook. And, of course, the Mountain and Lower City in between.”

“Over the last decade, I was privileged to be Hamilton’s voice of business, turning a 175-year-old institution into a modern, thriving and dynamic force for good in our city’s economy.”

“Over the course of my tenure, I fought for small businesses and steel makers alike. We made progress in creating a more inclusive economy.”

Keanin Loomis observes the crowd, prior to giving his speech, at his official campaign launch on June 11, 2022

“I never gave up on my advocacy for the B-line LRT, convincing a government that cancelled that project, to reinstate that project. And think about that. That’s the government that we the city is going to have to deal with for the next four years.”

“Putting aside your partisan feelings, who else do you want in City Hall dealing with that government?”

“I have served on about 20 committees in City Hall, getting a really good understanding of the issues and inner workings of our municipal government.”

“I became a known figure in Queens Park. I walk into Queens Park and everybody would say, that’s the Hamilton LRT guy.”

“I have delivered testimony in Parliament Hill in Ottawa standing up for Canadian steel in the face of Donald Trump’s tariffs.”

“What I’ve experienced is that over the last 15 years as businesses and organizations and citizens like you all across our community, have contributed to the progress that the city has been experiencing. We have done so in spite of our leadership in City Hall.”

Keanin Loomis supporters wore shirts emblazoned “Change Comes October 24” during Loomis’ official campaign launch on June 11, 2022

Loomis on the issues

Housing Affordability

Loomis promises to “grow Hamilton wisely.”

“Hamilton is evolving and City Hall needs to evolve with it. We need to optimize the opportunity we have at this moment in our city’s history in a way that benefits everyone. Affordability is one of the biggest challenges we face today.”

“It impacts all of us, especially those most vulnerable in our community, which means that we have to work on transit, good jobs, food security, infrastructure, and especially housing.”

“We need to reduce red tape to meet our provincial growth targets, which is to be a city of 800,000 people by 2050.” [Loomis referenced his daughter at this point, as written above.]

“We must be YIMBYs, not NIMBYs.”

“Yes, in my backyard. That’s the only way that our children or parents or us are going to be able to live in Hamilton. The people who will be powering Hamilton through the 21st century need to be able to afford to live here.”

Building the LRT Successfully and Getting the A-Line Ready to Build

“Over the next four years, the Mayor of Hamilton is going to be the one to implement the B-Line LRT project.”

“I have studied that for years, because at the Chamber, we’re always most concerned about how construction is going to impact businesses along the routes, and how you mitigate the impacts to businesses. It’s also how you mitigate impacts to neighbours and to the communities that are being impacted.”

“We’re going to be building BLAST. There’s no reason why we cannot be planning for [the] A-Line at this point. We know how long these transit projects take.”

“We have to have A-Line ready to go when we are done B-Line and we need to talk about what L-line and S-Line and T-Line look like in the rest of the transit system as well.”

Keanin Loomis reviews his speaking notes before giving a speech at his official campaign launch on June 11, 2022

Attracting Talent to Hamilton, Supporting Small Business

Loomis says completing the LRT and addressing housing shortages are critical to the future of Hamilton.

“The people who will be powering Hamilton through the 21st century need to be able to afford to live here. It is the only way we’re going to dig ourselves out of our $3.2 billion infrastructure deficit and the only way we’re going to keep our property taxes low.”

“We will support small businesses in emerging industry growth, thereby attracting new investment and talent. Hamilton must be a place for everyone to succeed and build a future.”

The Environment

“It is 2022 friends, and we have to take our roles as stewards of our land, air and water seriously.”

“We have to work to lower our carbon footprint by enhancing transit and supporting the decarbonization of our heavy, heavy industry. We must protect our waterways, green belts and farmland. And finally, we need to clean up Cootes Paradise.”

“I would really like to live in a city that pledges to do everything possible to eliminate sewage spills, and stormwater discharges in our harbour and Lake Ontario. I think that’s pretty basic stuff, because you know, where we get our drinking water from.”

On City Hall Lies and Coverups

“I don’t know about you guys still angry about Sewergate … it wasn’t so much the incident itself. I mean, mistakes happen, I guess, five years. I don’t know how that goes undetected. But fair enough. But it’s the cover-up, the cover-up is always worse than the crime always, in what I can’t understand is how people run the council don’t understand why people are mad, why they’re so defensive about it.”

“The list of scandals and lies and secrets is long and well documented. Pride in 2019, Sewergate, Red Hill cover-up, and the steady drip of embarrassing Council and committee meetings we see almost every day. Layer upon layer upon layer convinced me and motivated me to do this run.”

“We know what we’ve seen week in and week out, and how we felt it’s been pretty icky at times, hasn’t it? When I see does not inspire me with confidence, nor instilled me with pride. And we know that toxic organizations do not prosper. It is clear that we need fresh faces and new ideas around that council table and it starts with the mayor’s office.”

“We must change the culture of complacency at City Hall at best, a culture of fear at worst, into a culture of excellence. Because if you can’t get the culture of an organization, right, you can’t get anything else right. And to do that, we need to bring transparency, respect and honesty back into City Hall. Only then can we rebuild trust and rebuild relationships.”

Hamilton mayoral candidate Keanin Loomis takes a photo of the crowd at his official campaign launch on June 11, 2022

On Other Mayoral Candidates

“Right now we’re the only game in town. I assume that we are going to have some competitors.”

“We know that there are going to be others as well in the race. At the very least we will be fighting the forces of the status quo. Inertia is such a powerful force.”

“When certain people’s jobs are on the line and there’s no other prospects for them, they are going to fight like hell to keep Hamilton where it is.”

Hinting at career politicians in his speech:

“There’s also some career politicians out there who will probably be looking for their next paycheck. And we may even be dragged down into partisan warfare, which I think is, is one of the things ruining our upper tiers of government. One of the reasons why I love municipal government. Let’s keep partisanship out of City Hall as well.”

On Bob Bratina during the media scrum after his speech:

“Putting Bob into City Hall is like sending an arsonist in to put out a fire.”

“Bob Bratina is the last person that should be moulding and working with the new Council. He’s had his day.”

On Andrea Horwath’s name being tossed around as a mayoral candidate:

“I don’t know how somebody could run both a provincial and plan for a municipal election at the same time. So I don’t think I can’t imagine that she would be doing this. I don’t want to be unfair to her. Right. To me, I feel like that’s just everybody else talking. So, you know, I’ve worked with Andrea in the past. I just don’t know how she would be able to do it.”

On Talk that a New Council will be “Leftist”

Loomis was asked about a new council and people “saying it’s going to be a lot more leftist Council that is going to tear this city apart”

Loomis responded: “I think people are using that as code for change. Leftists? Maybe we do need a more progressive Council and we need more progressive leadership, we need 21st-century leadership. And that does, certainly, you know, threaten people. And so you know, as I said, we’re going to be fighting the forces of the status quo. And I don’t know who they are going to coalesce around. But of course, they would say that, but you know, we do need to progress. We do need new and fresh ideas around that council table.”

On Property Taxes

Responding to a media question, Loomis stated:

“We’re gonna grow smartly. And that’s how we’re going to hold down taxes while also tackling our infrastructure deficit … accommodating those 100,000 new households within the current urban boundary, so that we can … dig out of our infrastructure deficit.”

“Taxes, to me, it’s about investing wisely in the city going forward. I think, you know, for some other people, maybe it means austerity, which means that we don’t spend anything on anything. And to me, that’s not the city that people want to live in.”

Vision Zero and Road Safety

Asked, “What exactly is your plan to address pedestrian fatalities and concerns?”

Loomis stated:

“Well, we already have a plan, we have Vision Zero, right? We’re gonna implement it, we’re going to actually implement it, that’s the plan, and not just pay lip service to it. ”

“We need to be talking to drivers. First and foremost, I’m a driver … there’s ways to be able to reach people, that to get them to be much more considerate in, in driving through neighbourhoods, but then there’s the design aspect as well.”

“That’s [design] what the municipality controls more than anything. And so we see, you know, bike lanes need to be separated.”

“The next mayor is probably going to be implementing a two-way Main Streets proposal as well. And so how do we design that in the right way that meets everybody’s needs?”

“Complete streets is something that I have been talking about since I arrived here in Hamilton. I was absolutely horrified by Main Street and King Street. I’m still horrified and I can’t believe that nothing’s been done on those streets, but now we have a golden opportunity to do that.”

Keanin Loomis at his official campaign launch on June 11, 2022

On Encampments

Asked “The tent cities, I didn’t hear anything from you about what can be done differently?”

Loomis stated “What we need to do right now … have a look at is the HATS [Hamilton Alliance for Tiny Shelters] project, it’s all ready to go,” adding the challenge is “getting the city’s buy-in on that HATS initiative.”

HAT will help ten people become immediately housed, Loomis noted. “There’s probably so many other pilot projects that we can be implementing.”

“There’s so many people, we’re already providing services to the homeless people, other people that are willing to provide certain resources. And I’ve talked to the homebuilders about this, I said, if you guys want to earn the social licence necessary to be able to continue to build in Hamilton, you need to help me with homelessness.”

“I’m going to be asking them, and this is going to be the very first item on the agenda. Because if I’m lucky enough to be in this role, I’ll be taking office on November 15. And we know what happens, winter is on the way.”

“It’s always amazing to me how homelessness, just seems to all of a sudden, oh, my goodness, we have a homeless problem. Well, of course, it’s January and February, you can pretty much set your clock by it. So we need to be implementing hats in any other initiatives that we can I would love to do 10 pilot projects that help 100 people in the city and then see what works. And then we keep building on that.”

The follow-up question: “So you will not authorize any kind of clearance of homeless people from parks and that kind of thing?”

Loomis: “I think that is cruel. And I don’t think it solves the problem. I understand certain neighbours, you know, who have an encampment that often develops within their communities, that it’s tough for them, and I get that.”

“But where, that’s just basically putting the problem into another neighbourhood or another park. So I don’t see how that solves anything at all.”

“We’ve heard this from the service providers, that the best thing for them to do is be able to know where these people are so that they can help them get out of the holes that they are in.”

“So no, I don’t think that that’s the right way of dealing with things.”

Production Details
Current Version: 1.0.0
First published: June 13, 2022
Last edited: June 13, 2022
Author: Joey Coleman
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One reply on “Keanin Loomis Promises Change is Coming October 24”

  1. I really wish I could feel hopeful about what Keanin’s looking to do, but years of politics in general have just led me to be completely jaded; nothing is ever going to get better in a meaningful way, and if it does, it’s not going to be for people like me.

    I don’t remember the last time anything changed or developed in a way that made me feel “damn, this is something that I’m happy to see” instead of some “wait and see, it’ll all trickle down eventually” thing that’s supposed to make me feel satisfied when it doesn’t. Everything done needs to to be done for publicity points for terminally online people on Twitter, the CBC, or so social justice orgs can keep their homelessness industrial complex going.

    What’s even the point?

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