"If You Want to Have a Voice, You've Got to Vote"

Published: February 10th 2010

Gila Martow
Pic: Gila Martow


After 25 years of running her own successful business as an optometrist, Dr. Gila Martow has decided to delve into the world of politics and has announced that she is running for Ward 5 councillor in the City of Vaughan. Shalom Life spoke with Martow to find out about how she visualizes Vaughan, and what are some of the issues she sees as important to the lives of Vaughan citizens.


“I’ve been involved in provincial and federal politics and I never really thought about too much about municipal politics except for little issues here and there,” explained Martow. “In the last two years I’ve had first hand experience with municipal politics in the city of Vaughan and I’ve been to a lot of the city council meetings for several of the issues, so I decided that after 25 years of running my own business that I would run for city council. I think I can bring professionalism to Vaughan city council, and I’m very interested in the municipal issues. I believe I understand what it is that the community wants - the residents as well as the business owners in the community.”


Martow believes that traffic is a major concern for the citizens of Vaughan. “The traffic flowing through our city is definitely an issue - both people trying to get somewhere and driving through the City of Vaughan and also the traffic within the community - what I refer to as the 'intra-traffic'. Safety is a big issue right now. We don’t want to make it safe to the point that the traffic can’t get through so we have to find the right balance. Unfortunately accidents are part of life and we’re never going to completely abolish all accidents but I think that we have to get the traffic moving in the safest manner possible and the most economical manner as well. I think that there could be a better flow of traffic on the regional roads in terms of synchronizing the lights. The most important things for people in this city is that they want to get out of it quickly and they want to get into it quickly, and they want people travelling through to get through quickly, and not to cut through neighbourhoods. Instead of building deterrents we should get the traffic moving on the regional roads and then people won’t be cutting through the neighbourhoods.”


Another important issue in Martow’s eyes is the issue of public transit and getting the subway up to Vaughan. “At our own peril sometimes we set up the transit systems for everybody without really sitting and doing studies on who is using the transit,” she said. “It’s not just enough to say ‘this is where people live’. I think often we have public transit going through neighbourhoods where people aren’t using it and then there are areas where people really need it and we’re not necessarily focusing on those routes. I think that we should do more surveys and ask people where they live, where they get on the bus, where they get off, where they’re going etc. If we don’t ask people we just never know.”


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