I was a Councillor between 2004 and 2010 and Mayor between 2010 and 2013 after which I chose to not seek re-election because of wanting to spend more time with my family (and what ultimately turned out to become three new grandchildren). I am also a lawyer, albeit only on a very part time basis at this point. My experiences as an elected official and lawyer allow me to seamlessly transition into a Councillor position if I should be elected. I am very familiar with City operations and feel that that knowledge will assist me in making good decisions if given the chance.
I have over 30 years experience as a public service employee. I was the Planning & Development Manager for Lethbridge County until my retirement in 2013. Sitting on the other side of the council table, I understand what Council expects and what administration needs to deliver. I know the tough questions to ask, especially on rezoning and land use matters.
My work experience (among many other things) has been management of people and projects. Also, I’ve had the opportunity to interact with people from many countries and ethnic groups, which I think lends itself well to bring a representative of ALL citizens and becoming a voice for them - this would include our homeless neighbours, who I interact with on a daily basis as the Executive Director of the Lethbridge Soup Kitchen.
I had no political experience when I entered the last election but as someone who worked in TV interviewing a wide range of people in the city I was given a great perspective of what goes on in the city. Over the past four years I have learned a great deal about governance, terms of reference, how budgets work, and I learned that members of administration really want what is best for the city and they are a guiding hand into making the city run. I hope to get another four years to learn even more.
I have a B.A., concentration in Political economics. I speak, read and write in French which is a positive for our French speaking minority in LEthbridge. I have worked in "group" homes for teens for over 3 years. Most of these teens suffered with drug addiction and a criminal record. As the "parents" living in the home 24/7, this experience provides the necessary perspectives on the realities of some of the social challenges we face. I work as a mortgage broker. This work allows me to keep my "thumb on the pulse" of how the economic realities of LEthbridge are impacting residents for better or worse. I interact regularly with students, new immigrants, small business owners, members of the indigenous communities, seniors and families on a constant basis. My job involves constantly listening and establishing needs, identifying concerns and challenges and formulating solutions that will bring results. My work on council will require these same strategies just on a larger scale. I see the ramifications of reckless spending, indebtedness and entitlement daily. Once again, I am well positioned to make sure we do not fall into the traps as a city.
I am fortunate to have a fair amount of volunteer and work experience that will be beneficial to the role of Councillor in Lethbridge. I co-own and operate a local brewery called Theoretically Brewing Company which has a particular focus on grass-roots community building, accessibility, and being a place for everyone. I have spent the last several years working on Boards, Commissions, and Committees with the City of Lethbridge in a volunteer capacity including the Galt Museum and Archives Board of Directors (another governance board similar in style to the Lethbridge City Council) as well as the Municipal Planning Commission (an advisory board). I have also participated in many community groups and community building events, interact with a broad cross section of the community thanks to my business and other activities, and I actively enjoy researching city planning and new urbanism principles and ideas. All of this will lend me a unique perspective and expertise on Council that other candidates likely don't have.
I work as a substitute teacher and City parks maintenance worker and relief foreman. In those jobs I have extensive contact with people from all over the city and know their concerns. It has also given me an understanding of how the City actually operates at a ground level and some of the problems that can occur when decisions higher up are to be implemented. I have served as chair of the old Sir Alexander Galt Museum Advisory Committee and helped guide it into becoming the Galt Museum and Archives Board and helped create the Lethbridge Sport Council form the Lethbridge Sport Bid Committee. I helped create the governance model and policies for both the Board and Council. I have served on the local ATA Economic Policy Committee dealing with both contract negotiations and working conditions, and as the Substitute Teacher representative on Local Council and as Chair of the Substitute Teacher Committee. Provincially I served on the Provincial Executive Committee’s Substitute Teacher Subcommittee where we determined what the Association should pursue to improve the working conditions of substitute teachers provincially.
Social issues are the dominant them in this election. I have worked with the Government of Alberta in Children Services, and the last 9 years in the justice stream as a probation officer. Poverty, homelessness and crime are my last twenty years experience. We need law, because that is why it is called Law and Order. But we also need grace and compassion. Either one does not have to operate independent of one another or be seen as opposites. I have seen what I believe works, and seen what I believe does not.
During my career I have fulfilled the most menial roles, right up to the most senior. As a result, I’ve not only signed the back of a paycheque, but the front as well. I have created budgets, performed cost-benefit analyses, and been responsible for the health and welfare of numerous employees. During my volunteer career I have drafted legislation, balanced budgets, adjusted governance models, led board meetings, and even had to resolve conflict. I feel my work and volunteer experiences were a type of post-secondary education in governance and am therefore uniquely qualified to fill the position.
My professional experience as an Air Traffic Controller speaks to my ability to learn, adapt, focus, deal with stress, solve problems, multi-task, understand the regulatory environment, and work in a team setting. Since that time my work in business, finance and not-for profit have shown an ability to turn a need into a vision into a solution that get’s results. Here are just a few of my successes that are relevant: 1. I co-founded, with the University-Industry Liaison Office at Simon Fraser University, the Western Universities Technology Innovation Fund (WUTIF) for the purpose of commercializing academic research. Still operating today, through an innovative co-funding arrangement, it has raised close to $40 million dollars and helped to seed some 250 projects including a couple potential unicorns. For example, General Fusion is an example of one such start-up that could change the world. 2. I was involved in the seafood industry on Vancouver Island by running a processing plant that employed various combinations of Indigenous people, addicts, and the homeless. What I gained is a deep appreciation for the depth and complexity of individuals who all have a story that needs to be heard and respected. What I learned is that although we cannot guarantee outcomes, we can make a significant difference in the lives of those we try to help and that is usually enough of a reward worth make the effort for. 3. I took over the Canadian Association of Vehicle Importers in order to oppose a combined effort by the BC Motor Vehicle Dealers Association and the Insurance Company of British Columbia to prevent the private importation of enthusiast and collector cars. This required an in-depth understanding of legislation, regulation, policy, and practices at both the Provincial and Federal levels. This culminated in my appearance before a special Senate Transport Committee hearing on NAFTA, resulting in Canada proceeding with its obligations to allow imports from the USA and Mexico. As for the fight with BC MVDA and ICBC, a complete victory was achieved and the rights of collectors to choose their rides continues to this day.
· 4 years as a City Councillor with work on several committees including Airport, Audit, Civic Works, Open and Effective Government (later Governance SPC), Lethbridge Police Commission · Led several projects during the past four years including chairing the Housing Task Force, chairing the Civic Commons Master Plan, and chairing the committee that led governance change and developed a new Procedure Bylaw (as well as chaired other committees and Standing Policy Committees). · Volunteered for, and led, several provincial and local organizations · With degrees in Education and Science, I have worked as a teacher, researcher, and writer. · I have the ability to look at things from multiple perspectives and bring concerns, ideas and questions forward from the community that represent those multiples perspectives. · As a researcher, I have the ability to look beyond the prepared material to discover more in-depth information and to combine all of that into my decisions. · As a historian, I know that many ideas which may look good on the surface, may have unintended consequences and I try to always understand how things will actually unravel which isn’t always the intended consequences. · As a teacher, I have always understood the importance of good questions, of deep conversations with everyone to work towards the best possible solution.
1- I worked with the Federal Government of Canada as a career (37years) and worked serving the public in my position(s). I was a Canada Border Services Agent at locations across Canada and then as Superintendent at Coutts, Alberta. I transferred to the Canada Revenue Agency and worked 9 years at the Lethbridge CRA office, working with the public and business in our community. Through my career positions, I have extensive knowledge and ability of working with Acts and Regulations, budgets and managing and directing staff. I have worked extensively with the public and with business and understand the challenges faced in our local community. My personal and professional interactions with people and business are well tuned and effective. 2- In retirement, I served 2 terms on a AISH and Income Support "Appeal Panel" with the Provincial Government, where I again worked with the general public to review their concerns and needs regarding their entitlement and benefits from the Provincial programs. 3- In retirement and up until February of 2021, I worked as a uniformed security guard (3 years) with Paladin Security in the downtown core of the City. I have a very detailed and well exposed understanding of issues regarding crime, drugs, prostitution, loitering, vagrancy and the like that is prevelant in our City. 4- I served as a Board member of the Lethbridge Transparency Council up until my announcement of my candidacy for the election. I very much have my finger on the pulse of what is going on at City Hall and in particular the workings of Lethbridge City Council. I have a clear understanding of governance, and promote honest and transparent government, often giving rise to concerns that have been identified due to our investigative findings. 5- I have gone before the City Council numerous times with representations and even with petitions regarding issues in our community. I am well versed in approaching the City Council and the protocols in place. 6- In summary, I am an honest, educated, conscientious and tenacious individual who will get to the heart of the issue(s) and deal with it in the most expedient and official manner. 7- I have lived in the City of Lethbridge for 35 years. I am a home owner. 8- I am and have been active in the Lethbridge Community. I am current President of a non-profit - volunteer Society "Lethbridge Twinning Society" I was former President of the Alberta/Japan Twinned Municipalities Association. I am a lifetime member of Lions International. 9- I attended the University of Lethbridge studying Economics.
I have over 30 work years experience and 60 years of real life experience that are all relevant to my ability to serve you well as a City Councillor. I am and always have been a Community person. My paid work was Chief of Staff for Minister Clint Dunford, portfolios of Advanced Education, Human Resource and Employment and Economic Development and Tourism with budgets well over $1 billion dollar each. SPC process and budgets are no stranger to me, but prudent spending by every department budget is key, for it's staff and ongoing project commitments. My job is the peoples representative and accountable for the budget approval dollars and planning as submitted by administration. I will always ask the pertinent spending question, is this a cost that the people of Lethbridge can support? I would also ask will this greater good spending and is the taxpayer willing to finance costs into the future, so the project can move forward. Balance spending is the key to sustainable city growth an a manageable tax rate. Sadly, the issues of people supports causes vision division and polarization which causes problems that slow or stop the project or helping collaborative opportunities. Lethbridge has always been able to get the job done through cooperation, innovative accommodations and the help your neighbours. Lethbridge is still a grass routes Community, which we should never loose, but we do need to support folks who are struggling. When elected, I will continue to encourage meaningful collaboration, with a business like approach that is fair on complex service issue. Should we ever get covid gathering protocols back to what they were. We need manageable time for people to gather dialogue and hear the data, the real truth (not water cooler or coffee shop talk) so that the citizens can be part of the workable plan that will support the less fortunate in our City. We can not ship folks out of town or isolate people we do not necessarily approve of. We must to utilize the offers from the churches and service groups and their skillset to help folks affected by the current opioid or complex family crisis issues happening. Lethbridge must be an inclusive society to thrive, grow and attract new businesses who will pay property taxes and create jobs
Council is the Board of Directors for the City of Lethbridge. I have ample experience governing organizations. I currently serve on the Lethbridge Chamber of Commerce Board. I am a past president of the Alberta Magazine Publisher’s Association, Allied Arts Council, and Economic Development Lethbridge. I have served on the board of Magazines Canada and on the Covenant Health Community Board. I currently serve on the Subdivision and Development Appeal Board and volunteer for Alberta Health Services. I have also participated in 6 successful Team Lethbridge missions – representing a variety of organizations – and worked on a number Lethbridge BILD committees. I’m the past owner and editor of Lethbridge living magazine and am the partner in a communications and marketing consulting business as well as three quick-serve restaurant franchises. I am also an avid viewer of Lethbridge City Council meetings and have faithfully watched Council meetings as well as Operating and Capital budget processes with much interest over the past 15 years. I know what good governance looks like, I know what it is to own a business in our city, I know how to connect people in our community, and I know the stories of our city. I have the experience of being able to work effectively with all levels of government in a variety of capacities and I’m able to work across the entire political spectrum. You can learn more in my bio on my website.
Thanks for the question. My background is non-profit governance. It is important to understand that the city is a municipal corporation. I see a close analogue with other non-commercial incorporated entities that are organized and operated to serve the interests of the public. These require sound stewardship, financial transparency, and stakeholder accountability. I feel my extensive experience in the non-profit sector, in both governance & employee roles, has prepared me for this in many ways. I respect and admire the entrepreneurial spirit, but at the end of the day how successful a “business” operates and manages itself is nobody’s concern but the owner(s), creditors, and CRA. It isn’t the publics business whether the enterprise succeeds or was mismanaged. But in a governance model there has to be public transparency, accountability, and long-term sustainability. It is under the microscope, and directly answerable to the public interest. This is something I have been doing for twenty years; mediating different stakeholder voices and finding co-mutual solutions. I have helped incorporate, or sat on public boards with operating budgets ranging from the thousands to the millions. I have worked for large & successful board governed organizations, drafting operating budgets, project managing, writing grants, and doing public reporting. Many of these organizations have been successfully operating in a sustainable manner for decades. These are the strengths I feel I bring to a leadership & stewardship role on council.
I believe that my experience running a small business, managing a business services franchise, submitting RFQ responses, project coordination between a local manufacturer and NSPA (NATO's procurement arm) and another with Suncor, accounting experience, and most recently performing property appraisals all contribute to my ability to fulfill the role of a City Councillor. Some experience is directly applicable, while others provide a foundation for understanding policies and processes as well as impacts upon residents. Even driving taxi part time over the years has offered me perspective on this city and its inhabitants as well as demonstrating my ability to relate amicably to people of all sorts. Further, I have always been interested and open to learning about all facets of life, and taking on this role would be no different. I commit fully to learning anything and everything I can to do the best job for our city and the people and businesses for which it is home.