Together, over the next 2 years....
Thank you for visiting, considering my candidacy and taking the time to read what I am about.
One of the most important things that a candidate can provide a voter is their platform. The platform tells us what the candidate is about and what they hope to achieve over their term.
Throughout I have mentioned that I have a lot of ideas and many things that I would like to achieve, but I know that I don't have all of the ideas or answers so I really want to hear from you! I also know that I can make promises of what I want to do, but there are things that will always be required, such as resources and the much needed support of the community.
I am really excited to share my seven priority areas and my commitment to you over these next two years. I hope that you will consider me and see what we can do during this next term!
"Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much." ~Helen Keller
Good governance means different things to different people. At a minimum it should include accountability, transparency, integrity and leadership. Good governance should also include respect for all, making decisions in a good mind and remembering who we are as a peoples.
This can be monitored and measured through another important component of good governance which is communication. Regular community meetings, accessible council meetings, regular communication, having community involvement in decision making and building positive relationships will go along way in having us work together for the betterment of our community. Having roles defined and governance guidelines would also be an asset, and should be seen as a priority for the upcoming government.
My commitment is to maintain regular office hours so that I am accessible to the membership, as well as, provide regular communication through newsletter entries, social media, the website and other formats. I also commit to doing my part as a councillor, to ensure that we are providing everyone with the information that they require to be informed citizens.
Decision making is one of the most important things that a community leader must do. Even when leadership fails to make a decision, that in itself, is a decision made.
There are guiding principles in our community and within our traditional teachings which should be considered while making decisions. There is a way that community can be consulted on a regular basis and ways that the Council can interact with different community groups in order to be informed of other viewpoints before a decision is rendered. It would be beneficial for Tyendinaga Mohawk Council to strike relationships with the community at large, or through various groups such as a youth council, elders council or to consult our traditional people when moving forward on respective decisions. At the end of the day, Council is responsible, and some decisions might require a time sensitive response where there may not be time for consultation, but in some instances, reaching out to community is the only way.
My commitment is to do my part to ensure that when appropriate, the community has an opportunity to provide input during decision making and that all decisions are made ethically with the spirit and best interest of the community and the next seven generations are in the forefront.
Housing & Sustainability
Housing & Sustainability
Sustainability, including what we are doing with our lands, economic development and housing are priority areas. Now that I have been working away, I am proud of all the work our people are doing outside of our community. At two separate meetings I have recently attended in Toronto, there were 3 Maracle's at the table each time.... it was joked that we are taking over the world! This also gave me pause for thought, why do we have so many people that are great advocators and have strong skill sets working away. It comes down to a lack of job opportunity, housing and land availability. We are sending our children away to school, but not providing them opportunities when they come home. There needs to be a concerted effort on employment for our own people within our community, but we also need other mechanisms to generate own source revenue, to address housing shortages and land shortages. Some of these gaps are easier than others to address.
One that comes to mind is having Band run entities prioritize hiring our own people. There is a federal policy called the Aboriginal Employment Preferences Policy that allows a First Nation run organization that services First Nations people to prioritize First Nations candidates. Yet, it seems that more and more of our jobs are not going to our members. In the area of economic development, we are rich in opportunity, our location has very few barriers (we have Hwy 2 and 49 within our borders and are near the 401), we have an industrial park, fibre net, are in between Ottawa and Toronto and are an hour away from a US Border. We can be reached by land, train, air and water. Leadership, needs to provide focus and direction in the area of Economic Development. The housing and land shortage we have is also something that needs to be addressed. Through the housing needs study recommendations based on consultation should be evident Council needs to put the results into action.
My commitment is to work as a collective to find solutions to community concerns in the area of economic development, housing and lands.
Education & Language
Education & Language
As a lifelong learner, education is extremely important to me. Education does not always mean the formal education system, there are many areas of learning and all have value. I was extremely excited to see a recent position posting that has been talked about for quite some time, the Director of Education. In Tyendinaga we have wonderful opportunities and programs in the area of education, language and culture, but we lacked a body who could bring these all together for the benefit of our learners, children and the community. Language and culture are extremely important, it is what defines us and separates us. It is so encouraging to see the resurgence of this in recent years.
I had the opportunity at the Elder's Conference to see presentations from our community groups, and to see what is happening with our youth and the Rights of Passage initiative, Tyonnheht Onkwawenna and the language revitalization initiative and Heirloom Seed Collection initiative. It was amazing to see what was happening in our own backyard and to feel that pride when listening to other communities be excited for us and be interested in what we can share with them to help move language and culture in their First Nation. It is imperative that we focus on education, language and culture, because it is here that we can begin to deal with the damage that colonization has done, and to once again embrace and be proud of who we are.
My commitment is to make education, culture and language a priority in our community. I further commit continuing my own journey of learning and understanding and to also encourage this and put it into practice at the Council Table.
One of the things we have heard during recent community meetings is the concern surrounding community safety. Safety in our homes, in our schools, in our playgrounds and on our roads. Safety is a human need that dictates how we feel in our day to day lives. If we are worried about our children, our homes or families, this has an impact on our physical and mental health. I have lived in this community for almost 30 years, and have never locked a door, but we do now. Things are changing. Although community safety is not the sole responsibility of the government, it is in part. As a government we need to be addressing the concern of the people and doing our part in building community safety.
My commitment is to explore the concerns of the people, and work with the appropriate stakeholders as a councillor, and with Tyendinaga Mohawk Council as a team, to put community safety as a priority.
Planning is not a sexy subject, and it sometimes feels like the lesser of the important items. But a pretty smart fella once said "If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail." (Benjamin Franklin). This is an area that I feel we have been somewhat weak in. If we take the time to focus on a Comprehensive Community Plan we will be able to engage the membership, sometimes through fun ways, in order to see where the community collectively wants to go. What are our values and ultimately our goals. This document usually has a long life, but is regularly updated. This plan will provide the foundation to most decision making, strategic plans and objectives for staff and Council over the life of the plan. This plan exceeds the short term of council and helps build stability for the community. It is based on the communities wants and desires and will allow the Council to act in a proactive way, instead of a reactive.
My commitment is to make a motion early in my term for the creation of a Comprehensive Community Plan that will then lay the pathway for our community moving forward.
Youth and Recreation
Youth and Recreation
Our youth are our future. And one thing I know is we have a pretty awesome group of youth. They are doing fabulous things in the world of academics, volunteer work, stewardship, leadership and athletics. We need to engage this energy and knowledge more through various youth committees and engagement strategies to get their input on what is needed in the areas that they are already strong in. Our future politicians, teachers, doctors, and much, much more are growing up before our eyes. They need things in community to keep them moving in a good mind and in a good way. Leadership has a responsibility in this. We have a responsibility to engage the youth, lead the youth, and most of all be a positive role-model for the youth. They are watching us.
My commitment is to build on and strengthen existing programs for our youth and to provide meaningful engagement and youth initiatives focusing in the areas of language, culture, leadership and recreation.