We asked the candidates the following questions: 1. Please introduce yourself. 2. List three main issues facing the schools in your area and the electoral district you will represent and your suggestions for those issues. 3. What skills do you bring to the position? 4. Why have you entered politics? 5. What is a fun fact about yourself.
1. I live in Bella Bella with my Heiltsuk wife and two children and own a home on Denny Island where my children attend school.
I am a lawyer and operate the only private legal practice on the Central Coast of B.C. Prior to moving here in 2016, I practiced labour, employment and human rights law in Vancouver.
I enjoy hunting, trapping, fishing, gardening and being out on the land and water living a sustainable lifestyle.
2. The schools on the outer coast have long struggled with decreasing student enrollment and the question needs to be asked: why are parents preferring to send their children to other schools, even in other towns?
What other parents have told me on Denny Island is that the school lacks Indigenous curriculum, even though most of its students are Indigenous.
I would also like to see education support given to Ocean Falls, which is a growing community that currently has nine children, more than Denny Island, but no school.
3. As a lawyer, I understand complex issues and navigate bureaucracy to achieve results.
I’m also an experienced negotiator who understands the importance of understanding the perspective and interests of everyone at a table.
As the father of two of the seven children at the Shearwater School I have a good understanding of what’s happening in the classroom, and I have a personal interest in seeing it run well.
4. I was volunteering with the Denny Island Community Development Association, and several other volunteers encouraged me to run for director of the Central Coast Regional District which I did successfully in 2018.
I am running for re-election and have also put in for school trustee following the encouragement of my wife.
5. I am a multi-instrumentalist and play guitar, banjo, ukulele and have been learning bass. I enjoy improvising original music and playing and singing along with others.
I always travel with an instrument and am a member of the Bella Bella Funeral Orchestra.
2. As for Area B in the CCRD, housing is the most pressing issue both on and off-reserve in Area A.
On Denny Island we need to finish the water system and then look at developing a sewage system so that current property owners can subdivide easily and make space for new homeowners.
In Ocean Falls we need to continue working with the Ocean Falls Revitalization Committee in order to unlock funding to address derelict buildings and failing community infrastructure so that the community can continue growing.
In Rivers Inlet, we need to continue the work of former Chief Frank Johnson in challenging the segregationist funding constraints imposed by the Indian and the Government Acts so that CCRD can help with projects in Rivers Inlet following the direction of Wuikinuxv Tribal Council.
4. I am genuinely interested in projects that grow our communities and take pride in having a role in them.
I have been a successful advocate for Area A, having decreased taxes, secured $750,000 for airport improvements to improve emergency medical evacuations, and increasing funding to the Central Coast Chamber of Commerce and Denny Island Community Hall.
I have also increased communication and transparency by providing residents with regular email updates and getting the CCRD to do budget consultations and community meetings in each of the Area A communities.