Happy New Year! Welcome to 2019!
For previous Issues Of The Month I have looked at issues that are topical. They relate to a law or a platform or a policy. This month, for the start of the New Year, I’m looking at a theme:
Community — Professionalism — Collaboration
These three words describe what I do now and what I will continue to do. I’d like to tell you what they mean to me.
We all have a sense of what community means. For me it means the people around me. My immediate community is my family and friends; my neighbours; and the people that I work with. But there is much more to it than that.
I remember a video from Heritage Canada where Jacques Cartier had just landed on the shores and met some indigenous people. They had a discussion and the indigenous people invited them to the village to talk. Although this is dramatized, it depicts the origin of the name “Canada” as meaning a village.
This village – our country – is our larger community.
I have been working to support my immediate community. I have been involved with many groups around HRM over the past number of years, and I will continue to support my community.
My work has been to make things better for many people, not just those within my own immediate community. With the Sackville Community Development Association, for example, I am working to make things better across Sackville, and hopefully that will also make things better for Beaver Bank or Waverley or Fall River.
I will support my community. I will try to develop it and get people to work together for the betterment of all of the people in the community.
That being said if a community works in opposition to the general population or works against my core set of values then I will oppose it.
I commit to work with and for people across Canada who want to make things better for all Canadians.
Say what you’re going to do, and then do what you said you were going do. That’s one of the fundamental tenets of the work that I learned 25 years ago, and it still applies to the work that I do today.
People have to be able to trust your word. They know that you will do everything in your power to accomplish what you had set out to do.
To describe that in relation to my career developing software: we identify something that is missing, needs fixing, or needs improving; determine the requirements to accomplish that; develop a plan of how to satisfy those requirements; act on that plan; review the actions and learn from them; and then do it all over again. Through all of this we communicate openly with the stakeholders.
As a professional I treat others with respect and dignity. I actively listen to what they have to say, especially if it disagrees with what I have known in the past. I am always learning and am not afraid to change my mind as I learn new things.
As a professional I base my decisions on the evidence before me and on my experience. I accept that the evidence may be incomplete and that my experience may be outdated.
As a professional I recognize the importance of communication. It has to be constant, accurate, clear, and as complete as possible. Most of the time it is a conversation, but some of the time it is a broadcast.
As a professional I also have two sets of plans. One of them is for the short term, and the other is for a much longer term. For my work these are three months and five years. In relation to politics these have to be 3 years and 20 years. We simply cannot afford to plan for less than 20 year cycles.
We don’t see enough professionalism in politics today. We see politicians who make promises and then, with no explanation, do the complete opposite. We see politicians who tell a voter what they want to hear and then vote the other way. We see politicians who make a three year plan and then use the fourth year to buy votes for the next election. We see politicians who show up for photo ops when an election is coming and then disappear at all other times.
We cannot allow that to continue. We have to be able to trust our politicians.
I commit to remain professional, respectful, with open and clear communications, setting expectations and living up to them, and will do everything I can to live up to my word.
No one achieves success on their own. We have to work together to get things done.
I’ve heard some people say “I won’t ask someone to do something that I wouldn’t do myself.”, and I wholeheartedly disagree. I don’t know everything and that I can’t do everything. There are many people who are smarter than I am, who have more expertise than I do, and who are better able to do certain things.
One of the groups that I work with manages an ice rink. I know nothing about an ice plant or about driving a Zamboni. Another group builds houses. A third group keeps an eye on the environment and has nature at the forefront of everything that they do. They are experts in these areas and I rely on them to do their jobs so that I can do mine.
I also manage parades – I’ve managed every parade in my community for 8 years, and I have a blast doing it. I can’t do that alone. I need a lot of people to help make sure that everyone is lined up in the right place; that the streets are clear from regular traffic and from buses; that we have a good place to start and to end the parade. The Canada Day parade in Sackville has upwards of a hundred people working together simply to run the parade. That doesn’t include people in the floats.
We all do better when we work together. We have a better time on the rink or at the parade. We have better discussions because we have challenging viewpoints. We learn more and are able to accomplish more.
I commit to collaboration.
All of these, combined
Community — Professionalism — Collaboration
Within my community and my professional life I work with others. I rely on others to help get things done. I appreciate it when people challenge my beliefs or tell me about issues that need to be fixed. I listen and learn so that I can represent you better and make things better for all of us.
This is what I do now, and this is what I will do as the Councillor for Lower Sackville.