Sunday, November 11, 2007

Municipal Candidate Speech 2005

My name is Sue Stroud and it's what's in my heart that I want to talk to you about tonight.

What's in here is a deep and abiding love for this place called Central Saanich.

I love the beauty of this place. I love her heritage and I love her people.

I came here as a teenager 35 years ago. For 30 of those years I have lived right here on Tanner Road, in Saanichton and in Brentwood Bay. I know our community well. I went to Mt. Newton School, picked strawberries on the Querin's farm on Veyaness, climbed Bear Hill for picnics at Elk Lake, and biked to Mt Newton to visit my friends. I have always had very happy memories of this place.

And they are rural memories, memories of the smell of berry stained fingers, and the look of the farms in the morning and the song of the skylarks that have flown away from here now.

When I'm at work, and need a break from the demands of the computer and the phone, I close my eyes and picture the Inlet & the Malahat in the sunset or Mt Newton Valley in the mist.

It is this sense of place that makes me ask you for a seat at the table. I can't promise that I will have all the answers, I know for sure I don't. But I can promise that I will listen and study and learn, and then listen to you some more.

I know that the issues are often difficult and contentious and that sometimes there is no right answer. But I also know that good people, working together, can build a community that works for everyone.

I support the Official Community Plan and I see it as our vision for our community. We need to take that vision and cultivate it. We need to make sure all of our citizens are involved in it.

When I was a student at Mt Newton I helped build the trail in Centennial Park. Five years ago I helped save the Brentwood Bay ferry and I can't believe we have to do it again already. Two years ago I helped my mother and her friends get a solar powered light for the crosswalk up the street. I am now part of a group of people who would like to develop some community gardens so everyone can enjoy their own harvest.

I believe we need to be building REAL affordable housing so that people who love this place won't be driven away. Those who wish to develop here, should have to dream our dream--we are not Langford, we are not Sidney, we are ourselves.

We do need more chance to talk and dream together and gently tend what nature has given us.

We need to value our farmers and their farmland and make sure that the land is safe, the farmers are prosperous and that there are new farmers to tend our breadbasket. This means engaging the schools in our rural dream. Farming is science, and art, and heritage and mechanics. And it is vital to our well-being.

We need to respect our First Nations neighbours. Their elders have as much to teach us as any textbook. Their life-experience is full of this place. They call the mountain Lau wel naw, Place of Refuge. I see the whole of Central Saanich as a place of refuge from the noisy world outside. When I hear the drums at pow-wow I hear the heartbeat of the land beneath us.

I am of this place. I will, with your help, take care of this place.
Thank you.

Remembrance Day 2007

I think we likely all agree that those who serve in the military deserve to be 'honoured' for their sacrifices. But maybe we don't always understand that that means we must ensure that they receive all the health care and other social supports they might need for however long they need it. Maybe we forget that they have left behind families in need of housing, comfort and care.

Today 1 out of every 4 homeless men in the US is a veteran (there are, as yet, no stats on homeless female veterans).

In 2004 there were 1.8 million veterans and their families (another 3.8 million people) without medical coverage in the US.

In Canada most veterans are not in that kind of trouble yet, but the situation is worsening.

Rightly or wrongly our military men and women have been sent by our government into danger. They go because they believe it is their duty. They go because they believe they and their families will be taken good care of whatever happens.

Unfortunately our government doesn't reciprocate that same sense of duty.

Today a new ombudsman begins his job fighting for the care and attention veterans and their families need. He says he is expecting 5,000 complaints a year. That's a lot of people having problems with their government after having served their country dutifully. That's a lot of families left high and dry after losing a loved one.

I don't support our role in Afghanistan. I don't believe in the Arctic sovereignty military build-up or in our government's attempts to militarize us, to restrict our freedoms, to make us afraid of the rest of the people on this earth and to destroy our environment to supply the military and fill the pockets of the already overly rich and greedy bankers and corporate executives.

But I do believe that our rank and file military folk do what they do out of a sense of duty to their country and their fellow citizens.

They and their families deserve our support. We are all going to have to be alert and help wherever we can. As long as we have a government that simply does whatever the US tells it to do we will have to stand up for people in trouble and that includes veterans.

Municipal Comittees & Dates to Remember

Hi everyone!

Please note that our Mayor has publicly stated that he supports LEED platinum as the standard for new building in Central Saanich. (Bravo Mayor Mar- that's real leadership!) . Those in attendance at the last mtg in October witnessed this statement being made. Interestingly however, the motion to learn more about LEED standards was defeated even though the Councillors said they did not have enough understanding of what it meant. Then they voted to set the municipal standard at LEED silver! Truly 'a little learning is a dangerous thing'.

There are a few municipal matters to have a look at.

Please note that the Official Community Plan review is still underway and you can hand-in workbooks from the focus groups or letters and comments anytime. We were assured at Council that all will be considered whenever they arrive. There won't be a full draft until February 2008 but there will be a draft of a couple of sections in January. There will be more opportunites for input in an open house and a public hearing as well. If you have something to say please take the time to put your thoughts on paper and hand it in at the municipal hall.

There was an interesting discussion at Council about monies set aside for Councillors to attend workshops, meeting, functions etc. About $1900 per councillor is budgetted for this over the course of the year.

Councillor Thompson seemed to be trying to put forward the idea that a Councillor who has used up their 'share' can no longer attend things at the municipality's expense. It was pretty clear to me where this was going. Councillor Thompson had started this line of thought earlier in the evening when Councillor King mentioned the Federation of Canadian Municipalities green building policy development workshop he was interested in attending on Nov 22.

However the others united in agreement (and were supported in this by CAO Gary Nason) that this was never looked at in the past as a specific share which a Councillor could not exceed. It was intended as a budgeting tool only and some councillors used less than $1900 while others needed more. In the end Nason said we have rarely used all the funds budgetted for this item and "it all balances out".