NEWS RELEASE · 16th October 2011
I am pleased to confirm my candidacy for Terrace City Councillor. Since I joined the Canadian Armed Forces as a teenager I have always "stood up" for what I believe to be the right thing so I will first express my admiration for all the other candidates who have shown the courage to stand up for what they believe to be right. Knowing some of them personally I can say that Terrace voters have some exciting decisions to make but the Democracy that I love will be well served.
I have been a long-time advocate of Veterans and retired police officers becoming more involved in our Democratic process at every level. Who better than people who have been motivated in the past, not by the promise of financial gain or the accomplishment of personal agenda, but have risked themselves instead for their strong belief in the ideals of Democracy and their concern for the safety and well being of their fellow citizens? Here I must stress the word "citizen" as it has been the trend of government, even at the Municipal level, to treat people more and more like consumers and less like "citizens" who have a right to say how their tax dollars should be spent and the right to define what they expect from their elected officials.
It is my view that elected officials are employees of the people who elect them and politicians must never forget who they work for. More importantly, this will be my view after the 19th of November and for the duration of the term of office.
If elected, I will bring a motion to City Council to table decisions involving major expenditures for 30 - 60 days to allow citizens to" weigh in" on the issue. I would extend this process to involve the sale of City-owned property. When it becomes clear that a decision of Council is either endorsed or rejected by the people of Terrace the decision of the people will become binding upon Council.
This small application of the kind of Direct Democracy that defeated the HST gives citizens more current control over elected officials instead of having to wait a full term to "vote out" politicians who have not represented the views of the people satisfactorily or who have squandered huge amounts of our tax dollars. Whether or not we had supported the HST, we must always embrace the process that gives people the final say. DEMOCRACY..derived from the ancient Greek DEMOS (meaning people) and KRATOS (meaning power, or to rule or govern). A high price has been paid for our right to Democracy and it must never be allowed to erode from within.
My approach to Municipal government will be one of "back to basics" and "common sense" with a "safety perspective". As with Democracy, there can be no compromise where safety is an issue. How many "near misses" between pedestrians and vehicles must we see to realize that sidewalks and well maintained roads must become more of a priority. We can look in, literally, every direction and see not days or weeks but years of neglect. I would bring to our future Mayor and my fellow councillors the suggestion that "prudent spending" often involves simply scrutinizing the priority of spending rather than tightening the purse strings. Where safety is concerned, you will have my full attention every time.
My vision for the not-too-distant future of Terrace includes a second overpass and possibly a separate combination bicycle/pedestrian causeway . I was pleased that previous Council decided to defer the sale of the "Co-op property" . This property may yet be invaluable as the ideal location for one or both. There are obvious safety improvements and I would like to see us at least complete the planning/costing stage and start examining the funding options before the halfway point of the new term.
Recently, the role of the RCMP in BC has come into question. In my view there are many advantages to having a Municipal Police Force and perhaps even entering into a policing partnership with surrounding communities. A responsible Municipal Government must not be caught unaware and will have a contingency plan in place. What better time to at least seriously consider the options?
You have now at least a little insight as to my motivation, my views on accountability and Democracy, and some opinion as to the general direction I see us traveling, but, at the end of the day, it is YOUR opinion that will matter in our relationship. If you elect me to represent you, your say must be my say and your values must be my policy in Council. I will be continuously seeking input on every issue and concern and will never lose sight of the importance of staying connected with the people who entrust me with their voice. In my humble opinion, Democracy as it was always meant to be.
Naturally, I invite your comments, questions and suggestions.