Due to a series of miscommunications and scheduling conflicts, Eye Weekly was not able to speak to Jane Pitfield prior to last week’s cover story profiling the leading mayoral candidates. In an effort to ensure she had a chance to answer the questions dogging her campaign, we caught up with her at Revival after our Nov. 6 Political Party event.

EYE WEEKLY: Your plans for the city are fairly bold — building subways, putting more police on the streets — but also seem unrealistically expensive. How are you going to pay for all of it?

JANE PITFIELD: We’ll just pay half of it, and the other half will be the province. And I do think that too, that if I can find it in the budget — [Miller and his team] are wasting money. You just have to trust that I really understand the budget — it’s my great interest and my specialty. You know in nine years, we’ve never questioned the base budget. The time has come to have an audit. Because all that we’ve done is accepted the fact that it can’t be changed. So that is first of all what we need to do: we’ve got to have a good look at that.

So I think first of all you can’t make an assumption that this is going to be increased spending. There’s a lot in the budget that I don’t agree with — we’re providing more than a municipality should. We should get back to what property taxes are supposed to fund and stick to that.

Tomorrow [Nov. 7], when I release my numbers, I’m going to do my best to show what would be an increase, but it’s not as much as people have been rumouring.

EYE WEEKLY: The other big question would be management skills. I want to point to a few things, and they may seem small, but the mistaken vote on the Green Lane landfill, the change of mind on the St. Clair right-of-way, the plagiarized posts on your blog from Spacing magazine and The Globe and Mail

JANE PITFIELD: The plagiarized — that business, with the blog? I have a volunteer on my campaign who has been working and helping me with my web page. What had happened, he had assured me that it was linked. When Matt Blackett [of Spacing magazine] let us know, I then found out that for two days it hadn’t been. My solution, when I realized, I phoned Matthew, apologized, and said that so this never happens again, the only thing that will go on my blog are my platform statements.

EYE WEEKLY: But I guess people raise these things as evidence that you might not have the management skills to run the city. What is your answer to people who ask if mishaps along the campaign like this are a sign of poor management skills?

JANE PITFIELD: I think my comment is simply this: these have been very small trivial things. There have been much bigger mistakes made that have cost the city a lot of money, by David Miller. The fact that you even focus on this? I believe that this is the only thing you can use as criticism. I accept your criticism, but I think again it’s very important in leadership to have the flexibility to change your mind. Sometimes it’s better to change your mind than not.

Originally published in Eye Weekly on November 9, 2006. 

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