Q & A with the municipal election candidates
Tim Brody - Editor
On October 22, Sioux Lookout area voters will choose a mayor and five councillors-at-large to represent them on the next municipal council.
The Hudson ward councillor position and all three of the local school board trustee positions have been acclaimed.
So who should you vote for? And what about the candidates who will be representing you through acclamation that you didn’t vote for?
To help residents answer these questions the Sioux Lookout Bulletin posed several questions to each of the candidates:
1. Tell us about yourself.
2. What should voters know about you?
3. Why have you decided to seek office?
4. What experience will you bring to the job and what qualities do you possess that you think will make you good at the job?
5. What is your election platform?
6. On what issues that you feel matter to the people of this municipality will you be campaigning and why? How do you plan to address these issues?
7. What do you see as being Sioux Lookout’s major strengths, opportunities, and challenges and how do you think they should be handled?
8. Is there anything else you’d like to say to voters?
The following are the candidates’ responses, by the position they are running for, in the order which they were received.
1. My name is Jason Bailey I am 46 years young. I was born in Thunder Bay Ontario. My wife Ronda Bailey and I have raised our two children Katelyn Bailey, and Jimmy Bailey here in Sioux Lookout since 2004. I am a descendant of the Ojibway nation from my maternal Great Grandmother “Annie Carpenter” who lived in this area in the late 1800’s, and also of Scottish decent from my Great Grandfather “Frank Bailey” who immigrated to Canada in 1912. I enjoy researching my family history to teach my children and better understand my own life.
Hard work, hospitality and service have always been a mainstay of the Bailey family tradition. I have continued this tradition through my education, employment and business successes: 1 College Diploma with honors, and 3 College Certificates (2 with honors), and with the start-up of 3 small businesses in Sioux Lookout: Voltentertainment & Festival Freightways™, Bailey Media, and Delicate-Detail.
I am also employed at the Nishnawbe Gamik Friendship Centre in Sioux Lookout where I am the senior staff member (11 yrs. employed) and have fulfilled the duties as Court Work Program manager (7 yrs.), Child Worker Manager (Akwe:go Program 2 yrs.), and currently the Addictions Program Manager (2 yrs.).
Previous to my education I was an employee in the Pulp Mill industry. In the early 1990’s I worked in “Kimberly Clark” Pulp Mill Terrace Bay Ontario as a ruff carpenter and laborer building scaffolds and other numerous tasks throughout the plant. In 1995 I accepted a full time position with James River Marathon as a Machine operator, I eventually moved into the Power engineering field and assisted in operating and maintaining the Mills 11 story Chemical Recovery Power Boiler.
I left the pulp mill industry to attend school once hard times were forecasted for the forest industry. I graduated from Sault Ste. Marie College with a certification in Aircraft Structures and graduated at the top of the class and was employed in the field before graduation. After 2 years of repair and overhaul, and manufacturing work I decided to take a job with McKenzie Forest Products in Sioux Lookout Ontario where my parents had retired.
I have developed excellent relations within the criminal, family and provincial area courts and with many staff and lawyers within the upper Law Society of Canada. My work has been recognized as energetic, tenacious, and innovative. I have created a groundbreaking Restorative Justice/Addictions Treatment program that targets the symptoms of intergeneration Trauma and addiction. The program has been presented to the premier of Ontario as a program to watch and also received private funding to be piloted over the last four years in Dryden, Kenora, and Sioux Lookout. The results are showing promise.
2. I am a driven, innovative and ambitious individual. These strengths have been combined to produce business and education successes in my professional and personal life. Being a northerner has provided me with the understanding of issues faced by the community of Sioux Lookout. As a member and spokesperson of the Sioux Lookout Tax Coalition I have volunteered myself to assisting the community to move forward in reaching goals of fiscal responsibility and lowering taxes. I have made some progress in this area; I believe we have much more work to complete.
I have learned to reinvent myself time and time again during my life through different working environments, through different communities, and I have yet to find a problem that I could not solve. I do not have the answer to every question, though I am extremely innovative at finding, or creating answers for them. This is who I am. One of the rules I live by is that “half measures avail us nothing” this has been the foundation of my success. I am a hard working middle class individual who believes in family and a job well done.
3. Community members asked me if I would step forward as a spokesperson and member of the Tax Coalition to voice the members concerns to council. As a member and spokesperson I have remained active in community avocation. If I was to walk away at this point it would be a half measure, I need to apply myself to what has been started in an attempt to uphold the trust that the community members bestowed upon me those 3.5 years ago.
Possessing an indigenous family line also provides me with an intimate understanding of Indigenous issues, culture, and understandings. I can also continue the work of building and adding to race relations and assist in developing and implementing bridge building programs that provide a “Hand up” rather than a “Hand out”.
Through all of my different careers I would always be the one that could find that solution or approach for the presenting barrier. I am starting to see solutions now for our community. Not only because I have the ability to find them, it’s also because they are available within our community. We just need to bring these forward. We need a new voice of change also. Not one that Says just “Yes” or “No”. We need one that says; what will be the outcome? What will it take? And is this the community’s vision? We need a council of community minded critical thinkers.
4. My Diverse employment and Education experience is all relevant to the process of governance, service, management, operations, and outcomes. In all of my roles there is critical detail required that could determine the outcome of; thousands, and at times, millions of dollars of equipment and assets, and also people’s lives. When I have my full attention on a goal work gets done, results are made, and success happens. I am an energetic, confidant, transparent, dedicated and a credible individual with a proven track record of finding solutions when none are available and to lead from behind. The community is the true leader, if granted this privilege I would be entrusted to delegate and find solutions for the vision of its members, not my own.
5. My platform is called “Together We Can”. The vision of the platform has been echoed throughout my statement. Individuals whom are voted into trusted positions are only voices of the community, they are not provided the privilege to impose their own beliefs.
6. Housing, Taxes, Fiscal responsibility, Fiscal Restraint, and a community based approach to governance. I have spoken with many community members and professionals. Together identified a core problem being housing; this is impacting taxes, employment, population density, capital projects, growth, and community mental/social health. I have met with community developers understand their views of barriers to housing, Together they showed me ways of moving forward.
I have met with accountants and business owners in the community to understand the taxation process and ways to be more fiscally transparent/responsible regarding our community budget. Together they showed me ways that budgets can be balanced effectively with projects to save money and limit waste. Ensuring creation of revenue and a reduction of long-term debt. ”Together we can GET OUR HOUSE IN ORDER” and move these projects forward. As one starts to heal, the others will follow.
7. Sioux Lookouts Strength is our Indigenous population and our natural surroundings. Our Indigenous population are the largest employer, the fastest growing population, the youngest population, and the voice of the natural world on Turtle Island (North America). Our indigenous youth can be the next work force, our next leaders, doctors, business owners, and much more. We need to improve our systems to allow for affordable and healthy housing so we can fill jobs, keep families together, and grow our community as we would our own family.
Our natural surroundings are magnificent. Being on any of the surrounding lakes is a breathtaking and humbling experiencing. The Northern forest provides ample opportunity for many different eco tourism opportunities. We need to embrace these and build upon what we have while maintaining a vision of conservation for the future.
8. If entrusted to fulfill the duties of the mayor’s seat I will advocate for all people alike. I will go above and beyond to find solutions for our community issues and will report to the community to the successes or challenges that we face so the community can stay updated to progress. I have an open door policy that is guided by kindness, fair treatment, laughter, and positive outcomes.
Thank you for this opportunity.
1. My parents came to Canada from Scotland in 1957 when I was six years old. My growing up and student years were spent in Montreal, Thunder Bay, and Toronto. From 1975 to 1981 my wife, Cherry, and I worked in the Caribbean and Africa in our respective fields of nursing and engineering technology. We then lived and worked in Smithers, north-central B.C. for two years. At age 32 I returned to school to obtain my engineering degree, and then, 33 years ago in 1985 we came to Sioux Lookout for work and stayed. In Sioux Lookout I became a partner in an engineering firm and worked on projects throughout Northern Ontario. We raised our three children here – Jennifer, Keith, and Robbie. As many families do, we got involved in community volunteering through our children. Over a span of 20 years I enjoyed coaching and administration positions in minor, high school, and junior hockey. Our volunteer work through sports continues with the annual Blueberry Triathlon.
2. For me the important things in life are quite simple - family, health, work, community. Family comes first for most of us, and although our family is quite small we are very close and supportive of each other. Health means something different for each of us. I have been very fortunate with my health and have been lucky enough to continue enjoying my passions of skiing, biking, and generally active living. As Mayor, work and community blend very well together. For me the role of Mayor is a full-time job in which I am fully engaged.
As well as the general values of family, health, work and community, words and phrases that describe my values include: pursuit of knowledge, compassion, generosity of spirit, self-discipline, self-worth, civic engagement, empathy. At the Council table and at the Mayor’s desk I have found that putting decisions through the test of ‘is this in the best interest of the community as a whole?’ can be of tremendous guidance in the decision-making process.
3. My motivation to run for re-election as Mayor comes from my desire to continue influencing the community in a progressive direction and from my enjoyment of the work. It continues to be my belief that Sioux Lookout needs to embrace its’ privileged role as the Hub of the North and to work together with First Nation communities to forge progress for all of us. As Mayor, I have recognized that decision makers at the Provincial level often lack awareness of the facts of our region. Also as Mayor, I have been able to see the effect of thoughtful advocacy. In my dealings with the Province instead of presenting issues and problems, I present the facts of our challenges and provide paths to solutions. This was certainly true in the successful negotiation of reduced policing costs, the co-location of the cafetorium and college in the new high school, and the expansion of the airport terminal. Housing remains our biggest challenge and the positive spin-offs and pending projects resulting from our Northern Housing Summit are presenting real opportunities for our Municipality. Informed leadership is required to bring these and other opportunities to fruition.
4. The role of Mayor in Sioux Lookout has become a full-time position. There is so much happening here and so much depending on leadership from the Mayor and Council. As an engineer, I like to get the facts, work with the facts and encourage decisions that are evidence-based. It is through the application of those kind of skills that policing costs and billing models were analysed and evidence presented to the Province that resulted in Municipal cost savings of half a million dollars per year. The same skills helped to bring 76 additional long term care beds and a 20-unit supportive housing project to our community.
My life and work experience prior to coming to Sioux Lookout was in cross-cultural settings and involved working with local, regional, and national jurisdictions. Working from Sioux Lookout as an engineer my work experience has taken me across Northern Ontario from Fort Severn to Fort Frances and from Timmins to Kenora. The projects I worked on were in diverse sectors, including: schools, health care facilities, police and justice facilities, water treatment, subdivisions, arenas, housing, and more. The projects involved dealing with all levels of government as well as the private sector and non-profits.
As Mayor of Sioux Lookout I have again worked successfully with the four levels of government. Through the Mayoral role, I have moved into additional roles of regional decision-making and government advocacy: Kenora District Services Board (KDSB), Kenora District Municipal Association (KDMA), Northwestern Ontario Municipal Association (NOMA), Association of Municipalities of Ontario (AMO), and the Ontario Municipal Water Association (OMWA). Earning roles with each of these organizations has enabled me to give Sioux Lookout a presence, a voice beyond the Municipal boundary.
As Mayor I have taken an active role in the Recreation Committee, the Mayor’s Committee on Truth and Reconciliation, and the Police Services Board. I have continued and expanded the work of previous Councils related to the Friendship Accord and the Four Party Agreement on health care (Federal, Provincial, Nishnawbe-Aski Nation, Municipality).
The experience I have gained through my career, volunteer roles, and as Mayor provides excellent background for governance. I have learned the value of and the difference between ‘governance’ that sets direction and ‘operations’ that implements the directions.
A quality often overlooked which I think is critical in any leadership role, is being present – attending meetings and being in the moment. My attendance record at Council, Committee, and outside agency meetings attests to the value I put on that. This also holds for commitments I have made to people.
5. My vision is that we continue to embrace Sioux Lookout’s role as Hub of the North for the social and economic benefit of all.
6. Housing: Continue using the momentum from our Housing Summit to encourage and facilitate developments across the housing sector including workers, families, seniors, students, and those with special needs.
Social Issues, Policing and Justice: Continue the shift from using policing to react to social issues, to action and service by appropriate systems related to justice, health, housing, education and training. Implement the recently supported initiatives such as 24/7 emergency shelter, detox, treatment centre, bail after care program, Bear Clan. Continue to support positive actions such as 20-unit supportive housing, Situation Table, Poverty Reduction Strategy.
Roads & Infrastructure Renewal: Work to complete the ‘gateway corridor’ upgrade Wellington-Front-King-Alcona Drive while we continue to work on identified roads & infrastructure upgrades as per our asset management plan. Coordinate with Sioux Hydro regarding growth plans, continue support for Hub Transit, begin next Airport Master Plan.
Relieve Residential Tax Burden: Continue progress on growing the tax base by additional housing developments and attracting commercial and industrial development. Continue progressive actions that reduce policing costs and engagements with Provincial agencies to increase subsidy. Complete research and implement some version of a MAT tax. Support Association of Municipalities of Ontario in collective effort for increased local share of Provincial taxation
Long Term Care for Seniors: Coordinate with local health sector to ensure development of new long term care beds as committed by MOHLTC and all parties in the Provincial election. Continue advocacy for more assisted living apartments and more home care.
New Recreation Facilities: Develop plan for new Recreation Centre; complete Town Beach project complete with playground, splash park, and landscaping; develop a new community centre facility in Hudson. Continue to support Youth Centre and programs by Friendship Centre, WINKS, and other agencies and clubs.
Economic Development: Continue role as economic development hub for First Nations and activities to attract spin-off development from Watay Power, Ring of Fire, all-weather roads, and gold mining. Complete trans-load study related to our role as rail/road shipping hub. Continue our cooperative relationship with the Chamber of Commerce and explore and determine Municipal role in tourism strategy.
Upgrade Sidewalks & Trails: Undertake and initiate an accessible transportation plan related to sidewalks focused on seniors, wheelchair access, children, main walking routes, and active living. Enhance and retrofit trail systems (Umfreville, Hudson, Cedar Bay, connecting links, wayfinding).
Advocacy and Engagement: Continue working with regional and provincial municipal associations for political advocacy to Province.
Truth and Reconciliation: Continue the work of the Municipal Truth and Reconciliation Committee and our Municipal leadership by hosting a Regional Truth & Reconciliation Summit.
Support Arts & Culture Programs: Begin partnership operations of new ‘Cafetorium’ and optimize opportunities. Explore enhanced opportunities for Museum related to Indigenous art & culture.
7. Strengths: Our strengths include: the positive and progressive energy currently evident in our people and community; our continuing and growing role as Hub of the North; our positive relations with First Nation communities in our region; our stable economic base; the high level of respect we have earned regionally and Provincially.
Challenges: Our challenges: shortage of housing; regional communities attracting agencies and jobs away from Sioux Lookout; lack of commercial and industrial tax base; high policing costs and lack of alternatives to addressing social issues. (While it may seem incongruous, our housing shortage is certainly a challenge but it is also a strength – a weakness would be too many houses, too few jobs, and a shrinking community.)
Opportunities: We must continue on the path we are on. The Housing Summit connected employers, investors, developers and others together – new housing projects are being planned. Agencies and companies are seeing Sioux Lookout as the logical base from which to service the north, we must continue to work with them and bring them here. Through advocacy and engagement we have made tremendous strides in raising awareness of our unique situation related to policing and social issues – the costs to peoples lives and the costs to the Municipality. Changes are coming and our reasoned advocacy will bring them about for the benefit of all.
8. I look forward to the opportunity to continuing to do the work of Mayor for the benefit of our entire community. Thank you for your support.
I was born in Halifax NS., raised in Port Dover, and call Sioux Lookout, ON my home. I was hired by the Ontario Provincial Police in 1964 with my first posting being Kenora, Ontario where I worked at General Law Enforcement, Community Services, and as an Underwater Search and Recovery Diver. In 1967 I married a Winnipeg girl (Elaine) and we produced two wonderful children Kerry and Kyle. In June of 1976 I was transferred to Sioux Lookout for a three year duration posting, where I worked General Law enforcement and Community Services. I was transferred in 1985 to the Northwest Patrol Unit where I worked as a supervisor for several First Nation Constables and have visited or worked in all of the northern settlements, building relationship in these communities in the 10 years that I worked in the NWP unit until my retirement in 1994. As our children and grandchildren are almost equal distances from Sioux Lookout, and since they like and call Sioux Lookout home, we decided to spend our retirement years here.
After building our home, I became very involved within the community. I was an executive member of the Sioux Lookout Minor Hockey Association, and coached hockey for several years. I was on the Board of Directors for the Kenora/Keewatin District School Board along with being on the executive and serving as President of the Sioux Lookout Golf and Curling Club. I volunteered with the Sioux Ambulance Service for 10 years, and have been an active member of the Sioux Lookout Fire and Rescue team, currently in my 39th year - now holding the rank of Safety Officer. I have been a member of the Legion for over 40 years and am the President. I am chairman of the Advocacy committee for the Long Term Care beds, am a member of the Sioux Lookout/Hudson Activity Center. Presently I am a member of the Meno Ya Win Health Centers’ Resource Utilization Committee, Director for the Kenora Rainey River Alzheimer’s Society and have served two terms as councillor and one term as Mayor for this wonderful town.
After being approached by several concerned citizens, and once consulting with my wife Elaine, and several prominent members of the public, I decided to “throw my hat in the ring” and run for the position of Mayor. I feel that with my past and present involvement within the community, including my terms as councillor and my term as Mayor, that I have the qualifications and true experience to represent the citizens of Sioux Lookout and surrounding area as Mayor once again. My platform very much mirrors the other mayoral candidates, but my emphasis is on teamwork. All members of council should work together for the betterment of the community, while remembering that the position of mayor is only head of council and should never be used to demean the general public or fellow councillors. Teamwork is the best way to address the electoral demands. The objectives of this election are transparency, reasonable taxes, seniors and affordable housing, professional housing, additional Long Term Care Beds and a solution to lowering policing costs. My personal wish would be the development of a MAP Centre (Managed Alcohol Program). These programs are proving to be successful in many communities across Canada, and I feel they could be very beneficial to aid in the struggles experienced by some of our community members.
As a resident of Sioux Lookout for 42 years, I have seen many changes. Many of these were considered imminent failures of the town and included the closing of the Sam Lake Radar Base, McKenzie Forest Products Mill, the Northern Store as well as many other businesses. Through all the uncertainty, Sioux Lookout survived, and continues to flourish. We have a state of the art Hospital with a large employment, three new hotels, a completely renovated and largely expanded airport, a new super market and coming soon, a new high school. We are and should be proud of the fact that we are indeed the “HUB OF THE NORTH”. Many of the First Nations communities consider Sioux Lookout as their headquarters and there are new offices opening continuously. With the anticipated development of the power lines to the North, the continued construction of the all season roads, the eventual development of the “Ring of Fire”, as well as the area mining activities, Sioux Lookout needs to be READY. We are the ideal place for businesses to set up for this future development, and we want to be prepared for when this happens.
In closing, I support responsible spending and transparency. A minimal tax increase may be necessary to ensure that government grants are not denied, but I would like to see this as low as possible without negatively affecting Sioux Lookout and surrounding areas infrastructure.
With the promise of the current government to make Ontario grow, I feel that our community can also grow forward and better.
Please consider your future and cast your vote for that future.
VOTE DENNIS LENEY FOR MAYOR
Hello: My name is Cory Lago and I am a 4th generation Sioux Lookouter. I was born here in 1969 to Allan Lago and Suzanne Lorteau, and was raised here throughout the 70’s and 80’s. I attended Central public, Wellington (7/8) school, then graduated from QEDHS in 1987. Growing up we had the basic amenities, a small but comfortable home, one tv with two channels, a rotary phone, mostly dirt roads and the outdoors was our playground, until the very cold winters showed up and you could only go out for 4 hours instead of 8.
I have always seen Sioux Lookout as a rural place, and I often referred to it as the wild wild north. It could be a tough place, just like the nature that surrounds us, but it is also beautiful, just like the nature that surrounds us. Set back amongst the soil, trees and water, it becomes apart of who your are growing up here. It is in your blood and bones. And to some extent it becomes apart of those that move and stay to make Sioux Lookout their home as well. We are a small community where you knew almost everyone by name. Things have changed a bit, but that small town feel is still here.
I attended college for 2 years and spent another 4 years at the University of Manitoba, where I received my degree in Social Work (BSW), with my course load geared towards the geriatric field. The intention was to go into bereavement counselling or palliative care, but sometimes life takes you down a different path. Instead, I have been working at the family business, Al’s Sports Excellence, for 25 years and have been part owner for the past 15 years. And somewhere in-between all that I fought forest fires for 6 summers with the MNRF.
In my mid 30’s I decided that it was time to give back to my home town, and I encourage everyone to try and give a little back to our great community. I am an avid fisherman and hunter, so the logical spot to give back was to the Sioux Lookout Anglers and Hunters. I started attending meetings and within a few years I was president of the club and was forging a new relationship with our community through various club events. I have been president for 10 years and will continue on in this role into the future. Through the club I also founded the Sioux Lookout Walleye Weekend in 2007 and I am the Director of this annual event.
This is the same reason I decided to run for Councillor at Large in the upcoming election. To give back to my community. I enjoy being challenged and this will be a new one, and it will take me out of my comfort zone. There will be a lot of work to do, and this is all new to me but I am ready to get to it. There is a lot of research to do on policy, Provincial legislation, operating and capital budgets, and roles of council to figure out. I have already started collecting the information and I am compiling notes.
One main issue council needs to tackle, is to look at and address housing in town. I have talked to people that moved here in the 60’s to 2000’s and housing has always been an issue. There are a lot of jobs in this town, but we are unable to house those that want them. I am a single income earner and cannot afford to have a home, vehicle, a few toys along with the other costs that come with living in a rural place. That is why I have rented my whole adult life. We need to find affordable apartments, condo’s and smaller homes for the variance in jobs and pay scale in our town. Not everyone can afford a $200,000+ dollar home. We also need to examine all our policies and bylaws, work with local contractors and make a plan moving forward on our housing issue. We need to create an atmosphere to start a housing boom, as estimates have our population growing to over 6,200 people in the next 15 years or so.
As council and mayor we will have many responsibilities but the main ones are being accountable and transparent to the taxpayers of our town. The homeowner carries the heaviest burden, which is around 72% of all property taxes collected. Everyone within the municipal structure should always have this in mind when spending taxpayers money. It is important to find some savings within our operating budgets and for me it starts at the top with council. Council should be leading by example and examine their expenditures. A reduction in their travel expenses and donation funds is a good start.
As stated above, the homeowner carries a heavy burden in our municipality. A way to reduce this is to lower the “mil rate” used by the municipality to collect property taxes. After council and managers hammer out the annual operating budgets to run our town, all estimated revenues to be collected or received by the municipality are subtracted from the operating costs, and the dollar amount that remains needs to be collected through property taxes. A formula is then used to establish the “mil rate.” The mil rate is calculated from the amount needed to be collected by the town divided by the total assessed property value in our town. In order to reduce the burden on homeowners, council can either find savings and reduce their operating budgets or work to increase the tax base. I suggest we do both. We must find some savings and be more efficient in our operational expenses and work to increase the number of homes, apartments, condo’s and businesses that property taxes can be collected from. In doing both, we can work to alleviate some of the tax burden on the home owner, and try to save for future capital projects.
How do you address other issues in our community? - “COMMUNICATION IS THE KEY.” We must be able to have the hard discussion on all issues facing our town. Without everyone communicating it will be like we are all in a maze without any lights on to guide us, and we will get nowhere. It will be up to those elected to work together, to work with other individuals, committees, community groups, First Nations, other levels of government, and come up with a balanced plan. Our plan should also include action items and a timeline that will move the plan forward. This plan then needs to be presented to our constituents. Each individual does not hold all the answers, but as a collective group and community we can make strides to make our town a more amazing place to live and visit. Together we will find the right balance.
1. I was born in Fort William in the shadow of Mount Mckay; specifically a Westfort resident. My father, a Mail Carrier, had a sister Rita Carroll who lived in Sioux Lookout and the Bird family would visit Sioux Lookout on a regular basis. In 1987 we even held a week long Bird reunion where the newly opened Sunset Inn was filled with Carrolls and Birds. It was from these early visits that I began to appreciate the attributes and character of the Town and Community.
In 1969 after working as a Stationary Engineer with Great Lakes Paper, I made a decision to go back to school and spent 4 years attending Moorhead State University/Moorhead State College working towards an economics degree. Since I had to pay for my education I worked evenings as a Maitre’d managing bar, wait and kitchen staff at the FM Hotel dining room in Moorhead Minnesota.
I came back to Canada in 1972 and joined Cablecasting/Cable America as an installer and advanced over the next 10 years to Vice President. During my tenure as Vice President I managed $150 million in project funding, hundreds of employees and numerous contractors in the construction of CATV systems in Atlanta and Los Angeles.
In 1983 I joined a start-up organization, Allied Data Communications, as Vice President and over the next 11 years advanced to Chief Operations Officer as I managed the development and implementation of data communication systems to the US Military (including the Pentagon), major universities including University of California San Diego, University of Georgia, University of Alabama and University of Miami, and major Manufacturers such as Monsanto, Champion Paper, Alcan, GMC and Ford. Finally sold the company to Honeywell in 1994.
In 1995 went to work for the second largest computer manufacturer, Digital Equipment Corp (DEC) as a Regional Manager to create a 12 state Network Services Organization.
In 1999 retired and sailed the Caribbean for a year.
In retirement mode I continued to work at projects and with organizations that were of interest and satisfied my need to stay involved:
Opened a Lowes store in Texas
As COO revitalized a land and communication site development company in Texas
Started a Communication Tower Company in Minnesota
Published a book “Sailing to Jericho”
In 2010 moved to Sioux Lookout; built a home and worked at the following;
Provided Entrepreneurial Training to First Nations
Mentor at Queen Elizabeth High School
Currently working with SLFNHA
2. The Voters should know that I am RELIABLE. INDUSTRIOUS, PERSISTANT and RESPONSIVE
3. I have decided to run for office because I want to preserve the character of Sioux Lookout. I want to help work towards solving some of the Town’s challenges. I can and will make a difference. I am here for the cause and not for any personal gain.
4. I bring to the table fifty years (50) of business experience in services and resource management: labor, capital, finance and materials to a host of clients; government, military, education, manufacturers and the general public. I have a sense of passion and urgency to tackle the numerous challenges that face the new administration. Finally I am a good listener; I have learned you cannot make progress unless you know what the group or community wants.
5. + 6. My platform and how I plan to address these issues is as follows:
A) FINANCIAL CONSERVANCY
Financial Conservancy is a wrap that includes financial areas that need the immediate attention of the new Administration; i) Property taxation needs to be minimized or reduced. ii) Travel, legal and personal expenses need to be reduced or at the least be more accountable towards benefits for the Community. iii) Reduce deficit spending; put more emphasis on income/revenue activities, and iv) Continue the work to push for every Provincial and Federal dollar that is available for our Community.
B) PEOPLE HAVE TO BE HEARD
The current Administration has lacked transparency and at times our Council has been labeled as dictatorial. I want our local government to have a better working relationship with the community voters. I would propose; i) Adding a 10 or 15-minute segment into every council meeting, which will allow for community members to voice their opinion on the current topics or to introduce a new topic that outlines their concern. ii) Minimize or eliminate closed council sessions, and iii) Allow large capital projects to be sent to the public as a referendum or plebiscite before any major expenditures.
HOUSING has been a problem for the Sioux Lookout Municipality for years. The lack of adequate and affordable housing has curtailed the community’s growth. New residents have to live elsewhere and commute to our community thus minimizing our tax base and diminishing our local business economy. We need to find ways to increase Condominiums for the elderly and retired, townhouses and small lot homes for new and young residents and increase multi-unit ratings for homes to be renovated. To do this we may need to; i) Change Municipal Building Requirements.; at the least add common sense to their implementation ii) Expedite the rezoning of existing land. iii) Acquire new land at reasonable prices from the Ministry, iv) Offer incentives to our local Builders and Developers to build in our Community, and V) Make this mission a priority with the Town’s Economic Development Department to ensure constant oversight.
D) DOWNTOWN CORE REVITALIZATION
It has been said that “The loss of a community’s business core is the loss of the community” Looking at the Sioux Lookout Business core one can see its deterioration has promoted the rise of homeless and intoxicated gatherers and more importantly the increase of residential flight. I believe the Town has been looking in the wrong direction to fix this problem. Sioux Lookout has for years been looking at major businesses (mining, paper) to help augment the Municipality’s growth; spending hundreds of thousands of dollars each year to find and attract the one big business opportunity. Unfortunately the lack of resources (including natural gas) has all but eliminated this type of opportunity.
We need to look towards attracting local business; the local entrepreneurs who have business ideas, and the passion to grow their ideas into larger concerns. Attracting local business through subsidies and tax deferments will help fill the downtown core. This business renewal will not happen over-night and like the housing problem, will require the thinking and action of not only our Economic Development Department but the numerous organizations to revitalize our business core, however it is my contention that it needs to be done and done now.
Whenever visitors come to town I ask, “How do you like Sioux Lookout?” and the usual response is great place however your roads are terrible. It is the same response I get from those who live here. Our roads, sewers, and curbs need repair. The town has told us numerous times; in the downtown core the old sewer and water systems need replacing and these repairs are included every time we upgrade or replace a road section. The last estimate I received from the Town was $1,000,000.00 per block to replace the road and sewer infrastructure; an estimate that will not grow any less expensive. As a community we need to prioritize the road repairs and proceed on a scheduled basis in areas where the road work does the most for business acquisition. This will increase our debt quickly, however infrastructure is one area where amortization has some merit.
7. Sioux Lookout has many attributes; one of the largest Hospitals in Northwestern Ontario, a growing airport infrastructure that connects Sioux Lookout with the Northern Communities, Thunder Bay, Toronto and Winnipeg, a sizeable and growing tourist industry and over the years we have moved from predominantly a railroad town to a service community. Our community is vibrant and strong – our strength coming from the Town’s remoteness and the hearty people who live and work through our long winters. It is a Community of folks who love to fish and build things, walk or sit by a game trail in the fall, or walk a golf course, still others who enjoy the exuberance of ripping across a frozen lake on a skid-doo or the more traditional cross-country skiers, and of course others who derive happiness from libraries and social gatherings. All these activities and many more are available within the confines of our community. Sioux Lookout is a great place to live and personally I would like to preserve the Town’s character and its assets.
8. One last point - Driving through town everyone sees a wide assortment of signs; large, small and colorful. A considerable amount of money has been spent just to say the same thing; “vote for me!” I believe my signs are the smallest; not sure if it is my lack of being self- centered or maybe I am trying to practice financial restraint or conservancy; an attribute, which is one of many that needs to be prevalent with the next administration.
About John - I moved, with my wife Myrna and children -Jeff, Chris and Lianne- to Sioux Lookout in 1975. We purchased the only house for sale at the time, the 19 King Street rooming house, living there until 1978, when we built our new home on Centennial Drive. In 2010 Myrna and I purchased and rebuilt a cabin on Moosehorn Road, where we now reside.
I came to Sioux Lookout to work for Abitibi Forest Products as an Assistant Camp Foreman at Camp 23 and worked there until the fire of 1977 pretty much shut down that operation. I then went to work for Great Lakes Paper as their Western Area road location and construction technician. In 1979, I purchased 50% of an electrical contracting business in Sioux Lookout and have been self-employed since then. I sort of retired several years ago, at least from what I was doing full time, now find myself working selectively on jobs of my choice, including Council and keeping Hub Transit running. I thrive on staying busy.
In 2016, I designed and built Sioux Lookout’s first “tiny” home, located at 20 King Street. I’ve had an interest in smaller homes for quite some time. Completion of this project led me to call for modernizing the current Zoning By-law by eliminating the need for mandated residential building floor areas.
My leisure time activities pretty much centre around the outdoors. During the summer, yard improvement, trail and portage maintenance, boating, canoeing, hiking, fishing and camping take up most of my time. During the winter months, besides shovelling snow, I spend time snowshoeing, camping, and “inventing” or repairing in my shop. This fall and winter will see me designing more “tiny (or at least small) homes” for construction in 2019.
What experience I bring to Council - The experiences I bring to Council stem from my many years as a business owner, trades person, and generally as a citizen of Sioux Lookout. My 20 years of service on the Sioux Hydro Board of Directors introduced me to life in public service, where I guided the modernization and growth of our Municipally owned utility.
The past eight years serving on Municipal Council have been very rewarding allowing me to see more clearly the strengths, weaknesses and needs that exist within our Municipal and social systems. There is no doubt that when I ran for Council in 2010 I had high expectations of how easy it would be to accomplish the issues I believed were priorities and even though I was able to see several to fruition, many more will be forwarded to future terms of Council.
One of the initiatives I brought forward was the need to expedite passing of the annual Municipal budget and I’m pleased that we have achieved this. The 2018 budget was passed in January, previously budgets were often passed as late as July. Another was to get rid of the moot Committee of the Whole, which was essentially a pre-Council meeting to determine how Councillors would vote at the “real” Council meeting. And yet another initiative was separation of operating and capital budgets which has now been done, adding more transparency to the process for the past several years.
During the 2014-2018 term of Council, I led the process of addressing the urban/rural funding and service differential that was raised during the 2014 election campaign. This was a contentious issue for many rural residents and was quite painlessly addressed with a few minor policy changes.
During the 2014-2018 term, I refined my expectations somewhat and concentrated more on the community development aspect of Council work, continuing my involvement with the MNR Local Citizens Committee (LCC), on Patricia Area Community Endeavours (PACE) as the Investment Chair as well as serving as a member of the Daycare Advisory Committee as well as researching many of the issues that arise daily or that are brought forth through the Strategic Planning process.
Utilizing my past forestry experience, I designed and located the access road into Cedar Bay. Once completed, this road will allow increased access and programming of recreational and social programs at the Cedar Bay.
I personally intervened in the Wataynikaneyap Transmission Project (Watay Power) process to promote routing the power line as near to Sioux Lookout as possible for future consideration as an alternate source of electricity for the Municipality and to support any industrial growth on the east side of town.
In 2016, I was asked to take the helm of Handi Transit as Chair. I accepted, with the caveat that I would transform the service into a full community transit service. Hub Transit is the result, and this service continues to grow and provide safe, affordable transportation to all visitors and residents. I recently worked with Public Works to plan the installation of numerous bus stop locations throughout the community. Stay tuned, this cooperative endeavour will continue into next year.
Through my involvement on the LCC, I was asked to sit as a non-official Municipal member of the Forest Tenure process that eventually saw Lac Seul First Nation enter into a partnership – Ondaadiziwin Forest Management Inc. – with Domtar, Weyerhauser, Slate Falls First Nation and the local logging community to manage the Lac Seul Forest. A painting hangs on the wall in the Municipal office recognizing this participation.
I come to Council with the realization and expectation that Councillors will not always see eye to eye. Council must be a group of individuals with diverse ideas, representing and respecting the will of the entire community. We don’t all share the same ideals but we do all share this community.
I am disappointed with the idea being floated by some candidates, of forming a “like minded group” to ensure they are able to dominate Council decisions through pre-determined majority positioning, rather than through open transparent discussions at the Council table. When lack of transparency overrides democracy we will begin descending a very slippery slope.
I’m very proud of the work and advocacy, completed or in progress, that has occurred during this term of Council. It would be nice to see all our strategies and plans realized but reality requires a very fine balance of matching citizen needs to available resources.
The list of completed projects is numerous and I’m pleased that Council recognized the opportunities afforded by low interest rates and senior government support to enhance our community’s infrastructure upgrades and growth.
My view of Sioux Lookout’s major strengths and weaknesses - I view Sioux Lookout as a Community of strengths and opportunities. Certainly, I can identify some threats but I prefer to dwell on the positive side and view most negative aspects as opportunities.
Our greatest strength is the resilience, generosity, tolerance and diversity of our citizens. Every other strength we have stems from these four points. We wouldn’t be the “Hub” without this base and we certainly wouldn’t be home to the fantastic medical facility and staff that it attracts. We wouldn’t have the 2nd busiest airport in Northwestern Ontario, an airport with a beautiful new terminal, that doesn’t cost taxpayers a dime, and we wouldn’t have been the community receiving the new Sioux North High School.
Our weaknesses unfortunately haven’t changed much in the past eight years. They remain our inability to attract enough new business and curtail the revenue drain from out shopping (estimated at about $4,000 per resident per year). Higher property tax in relation to neighbouring communities and higher commodity prices, due in part to lack of competition, also impact most of us who reside in Sioux Lookout. There is even a positive side to this and that is that we have goals. A goal for change. A goal to attract developers. A goal to increase our housing stock. When we achieve these goals businesses and competition will follow.
I’m pleased to say that the past couple of years have seen Council trend towards more community based development. The Housing Summit held this summer was a very positive step toward introducing developers and agencies to the opportunities Sioux Lookout affords. I was pleased to meet with and discuss the opportunities we have with several developers while attending the Summit. In two cases I was able to connect developers with a potential partners and clients.
Generally, I view Sioux Lookout as one of most viable communities in the Northwest and I believe our best gains will come from projecting that image to senior government and surrounding communities.
The very positive and constructive relationships, developed by our current Mayor with First Nations communities, senior governments and potential developers, has overcome many obstacles that previously blocked Sioux Lookout’s way forward. Intelligent, rational solution oriented discussions far outweigh the defeatist agendas chosen by some.
One of the key roles of Mayor and Council is to project a positive, winning image of who we are.
No one wants to back a loser!
My Election Platform - A list of my initiatives for my 2018-2022 term will include:
Continue with the creation of a Recreational Master Plan.
Establishment of a prioritized list of infrastructure upgrades , based on age, condition and risk and have shovel ready projects able to capitalize on senior government funding opportunities.
An expedited community development plan for Hudson including Boat Bay.
Consideration of the pros and cons of returning to some Municipally-driven non-competitive development projects.
Investigate feasibility of bio-mass operations for district heating systems.
Housing, housing, housing!
Support expansion of the community transportation system.
Enhance Sioux Lookout’s position as the education and medical hub of Northwestern Ontario.
Building a Better Community – Sioux Lookout- Hub of the North
Initiate a periodic, either annual or semi-annual, public forum process.
The simple answer to why I have these initiatives as my election platform is that in my opinion they offer the best fit for the future of our Community, they fit best with the nature of our Community, and they reflect good sustainable growth into the future. If these initiatives sound right to you, your vote of confidence will allow me to carry them forward, if you have doubts – let’s talk about them. I won’t demand the final word and I am always open to positive input.
In Closing - Persons running for elected office are often accused of having an agenda and I’ll admit I do. Mine, however, is not personal. It’s not an agenda to demand in 0% tax increases, or have my road paved, or to grant me or my friends privileges, but rather one that must always benefit the community now and into the future.
Hence the byline I had installed on the Hub Transit bus “Building a Better Community – Sioux Lookout – Hub of the North”. Thank you.
1. Moved here in 1986, graduated QEDHS and went away to Winnipeg for post secondary for 6 years (political science and journalism) but came back every summer to run houseboats up and down Lac Seul and work in the family business. After a short but productive journalism career with both the Winnipeg Free Press (amateur sports) and the Winnipeg Sun (city hall beat) a family decision was made to move home and buy into Sioux Lookout Floating Lodges. The move here enabled my wife to be a stay at home mom and raise our 2 sons Josh and Ben who are now 21 and 18 respectively...something we both felt was important.
2. The political bug hit when I was covering City Hall in Winnipeg. Never thought I’d make the transition to being a “politician” but here we are. I am right leaning, strongly opinionated, (often to my detriment) and once I’ve heard all the options and sides of an issue, I feel have the courage of following through on my convictions once my mind has been made up.
3. I wasn’t going to run again, but upon reflection, I realized there was still a couple of things I wanted to do last term that haven’t yet been brought to a satisfactory conclusion.
I also have significant concerns about party politics being brought to the municipal level. And so when I saw there was slate of tax coalition candidates being assembled I had concerns about local decisions being made on purely ideological grounds. I also wonder where the “zero per cent” went from the tax coalition name? It was there for 3 years...in every budget deliberation when they were inferring the current council was irresponsible with how it was raising taxes and spending. And now that there’s an election it’s mysteriously disappeared from their letterhead. Almost as if they know that a zero budget wasn’t possible all along.
4. I’ve been doing this for six years now and have a pretty good grasp of how the system works, what is possible and what isn’t. One of the things I found interesting regarding these Zero percenters, for example, was that come budget time, they were unable or unwilling to tell the current council what should be cut to get to zero.
Let’s be clear...there wasn’t anyone on the current council who WANTED to raise taxes. We all own property in town, and a couple of councilors own several. So we all pay and we all know how much of a burden being a town that has a majority of service jobs as opposed to one that has industrial or a “mill town” to help share the load and offset the residential side of the equation.
But a municipality is in the services business. And most of those services don’t make money and run at a deficit (a hockey arena & library are but two examples). So to get to zero, something has to be cut. Because the dirty little secret of municipal affairs is the amount of money we collect in property taxes is basically the same amount of money that goes out the door in municipal salaries. So when there is services like snow removal, road repair, clean water and treating what goes away when you flush the toilet to deal with, it’s a pretty delicate juggling act. I proposed cutting the library budget and reducing hours but the zero percenters weren’t for doing that. If recollection serves, they proposed an increase the library budget. But to get to zero, AND fix the streets and plow the snow AND have viable recreation services and all the other things a municipal government is expected to provide...all of which make a community what it is...means something has to be sacrificed.
The bottom line is that using property taxes to fund municipal services is an antiquated idea and simply does not work anymore...for any municipality. It’s why all municipalities across Canada have been fighting the federal and provincial governments for different revenue tools (like the MAT tax which council recently considered).
5. If re-elected, I basically want to accomplish 2 things this term of council. First I’d like to get us “shovel ready” for a new fitness/arena/wellness Centre. Have a location determined, plans drawn up and a fundraising committee started and engaged.
Second, I’d like to take a hard look at our planning and building department fees and charges. We’ve had a housing problem in this town since I moved here in 1986. Especially rental units. We’ve got tons of good quality jobs open here all the time. But the problem is when people apply for them they quickly realize there’s nowhere to live! One of the things I keep hearing anecdotally from builders is how many hoops there is to jump through here to get something built and how expensive it is. Is that true? I don’t know. I’m not a developer. Everyone knows we’ve got a housing issue, especially in the rental market. So why doesn’t someone put up an apartment building? But I think we need to look at the issue. And I think it could be as easy as having a staff report on what it would cost to build a 1500 square foot house here compared to neighboring municipalities. How much are the permits? The costs to hook up to town water and sewer? To me they should be just cost recovery and not something we should be making a profit off. And I don’t know if we are. But I think it’s something that absolutely needs to be determined.
6. The housing issue I described above is the biggest problem we have to tackle. My sense having been on council for the past term is that we are poised for explosive growth here but we’ll never get there without having places for people to live. We’ve been pounding the drum on getting 96 long term health care beds. And I think we’re close, but man...what’s gonna happen if we get them and the accompanying jobs that come with them but have nowhere for people to live? I don’t see why the private sector doesn’t see an opportunity here so maybe it will mean the businesses and government organizations who need the employees may have to collectively get together and do some out of the box thinking to solve the issue. The recent housing summit we put on was a good first step in getting that going I think. 7. Think this was covered in earlier answers. We have a distinct advantage being a service sector hub for our neighbors to the north. That gives us tremendous advantages over our neighboring municipalities but it also comes with tremendous challenges like the homelessness and addiction issues we see on our streets. Unfortunately there are no easy answers and we just have to keep working at it. This council has been working hard. Things like the recent municipally hosted housing summit, the hard work councilor Timpson has done revolving around poverty reduction, and all the files Mayor Laurance has his hands in are all progressing. If there’s anything frustrating about this job, it’s the slow pace it takes to affect positive change.
8. Voting is important. No matter who you support...be sure to exercise your franchise. People who were here long before us fought and died for our ability to have this wonderful right.
1. I came to the Sioux Lookout area from Ottawa in 2002 to work as an Outpost Nurse for Health Canada. My intent was to do 2 years of Outpost Nursing and then move on to do International Missions Nursing. Well, two houses, five dogs and one husband later it doesn’t look like I’m leaving anytime soon. I left the Federal Government in 2017 and now work for Lac Seul First Nation as a Community Health Nurse.
2. I’m practical and fair minded. I firmly believe this town should and can be a great place for everyone to live in.
3. The Tax Coalition asked for people in the group to run in this election and I have the time and interest to run. We knew early on if we wanted to make a change in the way the council managed money and included the public in decision making we would need people from the coalition to become part of the council.
4. I have 15yrs of experience as a public servant and over 20 as a nurse. I know how government works on the bureaucratic side and I think this is a major strength. It’s important to understand the needs of your bureaucracy and how to give it effective direction so that you can accomplish the goals you have set out. It’s also important to listen to what they have to say as they are the constant in government. Councils come and go but bureaucrats are there for many years and have huge corporate knowledge that council needs to tap into and take seriously if they want to do a good job of serving the public. As a nurse I’m very people focused and that is the other strength I bring to the table. I want to know what the people of Sioux Lookout want for their town and I want to work with them to develop a town that is a great place to live in for everyone not just for a few.
5. Hi I’m Debbie Baker. Many of you may remember me as Debbie Borosch but as my husband likes to say “I was a good cook but now I’m a good Baker”.
I came to the Sioux Lookout area from Ottawa in 2002 to work as an Outpost Nurse for Health Canada. My intent was to do 2 years of Outpost Nursing and then move on to do International Missions Nursing. Well, two houses, five dogs and one husband later it doesn’t look like I’m leaving anytime soon! I left the Federal Government in 2017 and now work for Lac Seul First Nation as a Community Health Nurse.
I became involved with the Tax Coalition in 2016 after I realized that my property taxes had doubled in only 11 years. And that was with normal regular MPAC increases unlike many people that were hit with significant MPAC increases as their assessments were brought up to reflect market values as ordered by the provincial government. Now I grew up in Ottawa, a very political town and tax increases like that in such a short period would not have been tolerated. What is even more alarming is while our town’s revenues have been increasing dramatically our long term debt has also been increasing. This means the town is actually spending more than they are taking in even with dramatic revenue increases.
As I attended council meetings and budget meetings it became very clear to me by how the meetings were managed and by the responses to questions that the current system was not interested in hearing or considering the constituents comments/concerns. That is not how democracy works.
Council has had no problem cutting funding to public services like the library while approving spending on town buildings for interior decorating and high tech security. How do decisions like that benefit this town as a whole?
As part of the Tax Coalition my goal if elected is to bring about reform to Municipal Government regarding: fiscal accountability and responsibility, transparency, and having a community driven decision process. I will be involved in creating a healthy platform for housing, fiscal responsibility, and growth to be created while keeping tax increases to a minimum.
My background includes being in leadership positions such as school council, church board, youth groups and young adult groups. I have been involved in multiple volunteer organizations over the years. My experience as a federal and band nurse has given me more than a superficial understanding of the complex issues surrounding First Nations in this area. While a Federal Communicable Disease Nurse, I worked with many interdisciplinary teams that involved federal, provincial and local partners.
I believe all of these experiences have helped prepare me to serve the community of Sioux Lookout as a Councillor at large.
6. The top two campaign issues are fiscal responsibility and transparency. My property taxes doubled in only 11 years and that was with normal MPAC increases. It is totally unreasonable for councils to have made these types of increases. People have left this town and now commute, retirees have had to continue working so they can pay their property taxes and stay in their homes. Somewhere along the line it was forgotten to make sure this town was an affordable place to live. I want to fix that. As for transparency we really need to start including the people of Sioux in the decision process and not just pay them lip service. I’ve been to a number of town meetings over the last few years and I can honestly say they are a joke when it comes to actual consultation. They are either heavily manipulated where you are given the questions and then the answers to choose from or are set up in such a way that the public can’t get answers as a group but rather have to talk one on one at kiosks. I would be pushing for regular town hall meetings where the public can talk about the issues that are important to them and for meetings that are set up so the public can get the answers they want and be able to ask questions as a group.
7. Sioux Lookout’s strength is its diversity. In many ways it reminds me of a mini Ottawa. This town is actually a very political town as well as a very transient town. Both these characteristics are typical Ottawa. At the same time it has that wonderful small town feel. We need to work together as a town on the issues because what works in other northern towns won’t necessarily work here. But the people of Sioux know their town and have great ideas for here. We need to start listening.
8. I hope you give me the opportunity to serve you. I will do my best to listen and do what is best for this town.
1. Originally from Toronto, I came here after a 2 year backpacking-round-the-world adventure looking for even more adventure in the north. I found the work and life style so enjoyable that I stayed. I love travel, swimming and cross country skiing. I love academia, have masters degrees in Social Work and Public Administration and a PhD in Social Workand yes, I even like writing reports and doing paper work.
2. I am seeking my 3rd term on Council. Voters should know that I am energetic, hardworking and have introduced a number of new initiatives while on Council. I have been told by constituents that I ‘ask the tough questions’. This affirms to me that I am executing my fiduciary responsibility as an elected representative of the public. Councillors must understand issues when asked to vote on them and be able to justify them to the public.
3. Council’s work is never done and I would like to be part of the advancement of projects that I have been involved in. The Council experience is like reading a book that you cannot put down, with a story with no ending. I want to help to write the next chapter!
4. During 12 years on Council, I have served on 14 Boards and committees from Homelessness to Hydro. I have brought to Council, 40 years front line, administrative, development and research experience in health and social programs. I am the board Chair for Friends of Cedar Bay, a group of volunteers that successfully revitalized the Cedar Bay stable and Lakeshore. I respect the opinions of others, try to see both side of issues, am patient, and do not give up. I am committed to involve people in the decisions that affect them.
5. Building an affordable community that attracts people to live, work, and stay. Affordability and improved life style require the enhancement of housing choices, improved infrastructure, and ongoing efforts towards Municipal-First Nations reconciliation.
Housing: The need for more housing is a given if we want a healthy economy. If we want reasonable taxes, rents and mortgages, we must enhance housing choices, and increase the tax base.
Infrastructure: We must aggressively work to upgrade our water, sewer and roads infrastructure or face catastrophic costly repairs in the future.
Reconciliation with First Nations: Health, social, administrative and educational services to 25 northern communities form our economic base. The majority of our jobs are in these sectors serving the 25,000 persons to the north. Persons of First Nations ancestry constitute at least 50% of our population. To sustain this unique interdependence, the Municipality must develop new relationships between both the First Nations residents of Sioux Lookout and the northern First Nations. True reconciliation will not be accomplished by symbolic gestures but by working together towards a new relationship that accommodates government to government principles.
This complex environment demands on-going consultation with the public. Public consultation means meaningful dialogue with the public. While Council might need to make an unpopular decision, it is imperative that public concerns be heard and considered. It is impossible to promise no tax increases but I promise to advocate that Council take a hard look at revenues, justifications for projected expenses, and ways to economize expenses. I will push for transparency and accountability.
6. Public consultation, taxes, housing costs, and Municipal-First Nations relationships matter to the people and form the basis of my platform. Public consultation is not merely the Municipality telling the public what it intends to do. It entails meaningful dialogue with the public about those issues that matter to them. I want to hear what the public has to say. There has been a perception of secrecy in Council deliberations and I will work to ensure transparency particularly with respect to finances and taxes. We must work harder at ensuring transparency and public engagement.
7. We have opportunities for a fine quality of life and life long careers in many fields in Sioux Lookout. But as the hub for a population of 30,000 and just 2,700 ratepayers, we are a small town doing the work of a small city. We have no large industry to augment the tax base. My promise is to advocate for housing and infrastructure development, and reconciliation with First Nations while looking hard to assess where we can economize so as to keep taxes at a reasonable level. I plan to advocate for fiscal measures that ensure the biggest bang for our buck including taking stock of past initiatives and to learn from our mistakes.
8. Please vote; become involved in local political affairs. Public involvement is even more important now in the uncertainty of today’s broader political climate.
As a life-long resident of Sioux Lookout I have had opportunity to see the community from a variety of perspectives; employee, employer, business owner, and property developer. Raising a family here has given me the opportunity to be involved in a range of activities, including minor hockey, youth groups, and Cedar Bay. I have lived through several ups and downs in Sioux Lookout and believe that I can continue to contribute to the growth and betterment of our community.
I feel the qualities that make me an effective councilor are that I have a genuine concern for the future development of our community, I am approachable and interested in the public opinion on issues we are facing, I strive to maintain an objective viewpoint, and I am not afraid to take a stand and address tough issues when needed.
For the past 8 years I have served on Town Council and have enjoyed the opportunity to give back to the community, to be involved in moving our municipality forward, and to engage with and represent the residents of Sioux Lookout.
During my time on council I have served on the Economic Development Committee (8 years), the Arts & Culture Committee (4 years), the Special Committee on Housing, and have served as Deputy Mayor.
I believe the three main areas that need to be focused on by the incoming council are fiscal responsibility and transparency, housing development, and infrastructure improvements. Addressing these issues will help grow our community and make it an attractive place to live, work and visit in the future.
Working together as a council, and with other levels of government, we need to encourage development and work on removing roadblocks for developers interested in investing in our community. Increasing the availability of affordable housing in Sioux Lookout will attract more people to our community and expand the labour market for new business development. We also need to focus on improving, updating, and expanding infrastructure to support community growth, but this needs to be done in a fiscally responsible manner, not simply by increasing taxes. Additionally I feel that council needs to be more open and clear about where and how residents tax dollars are being spent.
Sioux Lookout has many strengths: we are a diverse and multi-cultural community, we are the business and service hub for much of the north, we have a beautiful setting for attracting new residents and tourists, are easily accessible by road, rail or air and we have an incredible, welcoming and supportive community.
I think our main weaknesses are a lack of housing, a limited retail sector, and the fact that it is becoming increasingly expensive to live here.
There are many opportunities for Sioux Lookout moving forward. We are a diverse and growing community which appeals to businesses, developers and investors. If we encourage and emphasize development and growth in the housing sector, retail and industry investment will follow. As our community grows we will be able to invest in upgrades to infrastructure and services to make Sioux Lookout an even better place to live, work and invest.
In closing I would like to say, to the council and mayoral candidates, good luck in your campaigns and I look forward to working with you. To the residents of Sioux Lookout, I commit to working hard to better our community and welcome your input and opinion.
1. I was raised in a small town in southern Ontario, after high school I attended Sir Sandford Fleming College and graduated with 2 diplomas for Fish and Wildlife Technician and Technologist. I worked 3 years in the MNRF Fire Program in both Kirkland Lake and Pickle Lake, before accepting a Bear Technician position in Sioux Lookout.
I have lived in Sioux Lookout for the past 10 years, I fell in love with the small town feeling that I grew up knowing, combined with the abundance of nature and the great people that also chose to call Sioux Lookout home. I married an amazing woman from Sioux, Ashley Zaffino, and we are both happy new parents to our beautiful daughter, Nova Cassidy. Becoming a parent has changed my views on things, and is part of the reason I have decided to run for council. I feel that new parents and young families are not represented on council. I want to make this town a great place for my daughter to grow up, and for others to raise families.
2. The most important thing voters need to know about me is that I am truly here for them; I am here for the people of Sioux Lookout. I have no side interests, nor do I have anything to gain from being on council. I am here to listen to your concerns, and work with you to find solutions, and I will work hard to find those solutions. I don’t like to leave loose ends or things unfinished. I welcome challenges and I thrive off of them because I know in the end, it is worth it.
I am a person who is not afraid to get things done; I will step forward, even if it means I have to step out of my comfort zone. I am an analytical person, who works to understand all aspects of a task, because I cannot in good conscious make a decision without understanding it first.
In my opinion the most important thing to understand on council is that you need to function as a team. Our town needs to have councillors that support each other, no matter of each other’s stance on things. Having councillors with different agendas creates nothing but dysfunction. Communication is the key to understanding issues and having open respectful dialogues with each other, and not being afraid to question each other in a constructive manner. You need to tackle problems as a team and work together to find the solutions.
3. The biggest reason I have decided to run for office, is over the past few years, I feel people in this town have had to do more with less, cost of groceries, gas and everything has gone up, and then to top it all off, taxes just continue to climb, and tax payers feel we are getting less with more, with little to no regard of the impact on people’s lives.
When I look at past councils, I see retired, well established people in our community; however, I feel that this does not provide equal representation for the different demographics in our community. For our community to come together, we need to make sure everyone is heard. I want to be a voice for the up and coming generations in Sioux Lookout, but will also represent those who have supported and built our community into what it is today.
Sioux Lookout is a growing community; I see so much potential that is not being tapped into. We are a gem in the North; we need some new ideas and views on things to really make Sioux Lookout achieve its potential.
4. I have spent the past 10 years working for the Ministry of Natural Resources, this has allowed me to gain a better understanding of how government operates on the inside, as well as what the best ways to conduct business with them is. Most of my projects have been in the procurement area, this includes writing bid proposals as well as screening bids to ensure the best value for the dollar spent. More recently my work has been focused on ensuring safe infrastructure in the far north and working with other ministries and tribal councils on joint projects. I also lead remote far north inspections and survey work, this incorporates planning, and logistics, as well as organization to ensure getting all required tasks accomplished.
I am a get things done kind of guy, I am very analytical, and need to understand something before I make a decision on it. I believe that is a key quality for anyone on council. I always like to keep an open mind and listen to others opinions; I pride myself on helping others that is why I enjoy working in the public service so much, and why I have stepped forward.
Put in the time and effort to prevent taxes from increasing in the community
Address the lack of transparency/Accountability in the budget. As a member of council I would stand firm on seeing a budget that has a more in depth breakdown of how money is being spent. It is from this information can you see where your biggest expenses occur and find ways to fix them.
Work to develop already existing lots
Work to establish land for future housing development
Support conversion of “tired” single dwelling to multi dwelling lots, which will maximize existing infrastructure
encourage development by implementing a phase in plan over 3 years for some of the more expensive start-up cost of development (Hydro, Water Sewer etc.)
Diversify housing market by allowing more housing options that cater to lower income people, and more affordable options, making living in Sioux Lookout more viable.
Work with existing daycares to find solutions to the backlog of children waiting to get into daycare
Provide tax breaks to a limited number of new and existing registered home daycares, thus keeping or opening new daycare spots, while costing the municipality a fraction of what the staffing, capital and operating costs would be. This would add onto the existing incentives offered from federal income tax claims.
Long Term Care Beds
A pledge was made to our community under the previous government to provide more long term beds to our community. I have seen first-hand the kind of struggle it can create for a family to try to find a suitable location for their loved ones. This is not an easy thing to watch. I will continue the fight to make sure those beds get here, even with the new government as this is a long overdue need for the community.
Modify Marina Plan
I would like to see our marina plan modified to include a playground as well as a splash pad for children. I know this funding application is contingent on it being a “Marina” but I would like to see a small marina at first, to “test the waters” if you will, on how much usage it will receive. But I would also like to modify the design to incorporate a splash pad that will have no standing water, and will run off filtered lake water. If we can incorporate this into the plan, with the funding that is in place, the cost to taxpayers would be significantly reduced. This would be minimal cost to operate and would be fenced safe area for kids to play and enjoy the summer. If this area is not feasible the next area I would propose for a splash pad would be the travel info center.
Support Industrial Growth
It is no secret that what this town needs more industry in town. The ring of fire brings a lot of potential for this. I believe Sioux Lookout, being a true hub for the north means that we need to support RoF development and do everything possible to integrate it to our community. With that I believe that we need to look at providing tax incentives to industry that could come to Sioux Lookout, this would be pro-rated based on the amount of jobs they bring to the community, the key is getting industry established and growing our community.
I know our police are very busy and it is one of our larger expenditures in the budget. But what I would like to see is us increase the size of our Police Services Board. Currently there is only 3 people on the board. I believe we need more input form community members in order to find ways to help keep policing costs down.
Respect for the Taxpayer
One thing I have witnessed over the past years is when tax payers come to council meetings and try to ask questions, they are often not allowed to. I am a believer that every tax payer is entitled to provide input into a council meeting at any time, as long as it is done in a respectful manner. If taxpayers feel strongly enough about an issue and take the time to come to a council meeting to voice their concerns. They WILL be heard.
I truly believe, our town needs to get our finances back on track. For most people over the last decade, we have been asked to do more with less, in every regard, while watching our taxes go up, there has been that feeling that we as tax payers, have been getting less with more. We have watched previous councils pat themselves on the back with tax increases that are “at cost of living rate” which is about 2%. The problem is, that they are out of touch with the fact that most people in this town are not seeing cost of living increases at their main place of employment, and are feeling the pinch financially, and often pick up a second job to help make ends meet.
I have been reviewing the operating budget these past few weeks, and these are some of the issues that I feel need to be addressed in regards to transparency and better accountability for tax dollars.
The way that the wages and benefits are broken down in the budget makes it very difficult for people to see exactly where dollars are actually being spent.
I believe that there need to be better clarity in the budget with respect to exactly how much staff time is spent in each area. In order to better understand what issues are costing us the most is a vital piece of information we need to know in order to better understand where cost savings can come from. The following are examples from the 2018 approved budget.
Currently the revenue collected from the boat launches is estimated at $41000. Yet, $27000 of these fees are going directly to wages and benefits. That is 65% of the revenues. This is unacceptable; these boat launches are the gateways to one of Sioux lookouts best assets, our lakes! We have launches that have no dock, or are not designed properly to handle the water level fluctuations. The amount of work that should be going to this program does not justify the $27000. And if it is, then it is time to change how we operate them. Overhead on this program should not be what it is. I believe that we should be seeing at least 65% of fees collected going back into improving the launches.
Under Facilities budget there are 19 locations that are all assigned what appears to be a “base” facilities cost of 9,366 under the wages and benefits section. This type of budgeting is not accurate in properly demonstrating how much time and effort is actually going into each location. When I look through I find it hard to believe that staff are actually spending $9,366 worth of time working at the dog pound, for one example.
I will be the first to say, I love our fitness center, and we are very fortunate to have what is there, but what bothers me about it is that it somehow needs $414,000 in wages and benefits to operate. I find it hard to believe that this much money is being spent operating our fitness center. These funds need to be more accurately represented in the budget, that more accurately shows what staffs time is being spent on.
Moving forward, I would like to see managers more accurately track staff time in each area of the budget. This would feed into the final budget, and allow for better planning for next year’s budget. This will provide the taxpayers with a more accurate breakdown of how their tax dollars are spent, and allow of better planning for future budgets.
Housing in this town is in extremely high demand. Business cannot fill positions, and the amount of commuters coming from Dryden is growing every day, the fact that we have to compete with a town an hour away is holding our community back. In Northwestern Ontario 30% of all job listings are in Sioux Lookout, the growth is happening, we need to grow with it.
The biggest issue I see right now is that everyone is desperate for housing, yet we have almost85 lots sitting behind 7thave that are vacant. If we were to fill those lots, and do some math, at about $5000/year, would equate to$ 425,000 in new tax revenue each year. The problem is the developer is being restrictive to the type of house that can be built, which is hindering development of the area. The other concern is the undeveloped lots at boat bay, which cost the town nearly 400k, which is doing nothing for us. I think we should sell the property at boat bay, for development, and use those proceeds to buy back Finnways subdivision, and resell the lots without development constraints, and allow for companies who need the housing to build them and get staff in the houses so they can start contributing to our community, this will allow for growth of affordable housing in the community. If this does not turn out to be feasible, we need to pressure Finnway to modify their development restrictions, bottom line is we need to start getting affordable houses built in that subdivision, to support our businesses.
Second step would be to work to obtain land out of town, on roads with active roads boards, where there is room for development. This land would also be offered at an affordable rate, which would allow for building to be more affordable. The increases in tax revenue and sales could allow for the town to take over responsibility of the roads, thereby relieving the roads board of their responsibilities. The lots would have conditions attached, and would be a size that would keep the remoteness in the area, that people enjoy. They must be lived in for 3 years, if someone moves within 3 years they have to pay the difference in market value and sale price of the lot back to the municipality.
Once the Finnway Lot is developed, I believe the next area that we should seriously look to develop is west of king and Queen Street. At this point in time, queen street infrastructure needs work, I believe if we develop area off of it, we can obtain additional funding for the development as well as the upgrades needed to the existing infrastructure.
I believe that we should offer land to be developed on a not for profit model as often as possible, we need to make it as economical as possible for development, this would allow the town to ensure it is the right kind of development to maximize existing infrastructure and promote growth. The value in doing this is not making money on land sale, but increasing tax revenue, to help keep taxes down, as well as allowing jobs in town to be filled, and to grow our economy. I also would like to see the town work closer with our existing local developers, and work to phase in some of the initial cost of start up over a period of time which would ease the initial financial burden and allow for developers to take on more projects, and help the housing crisis.
Daycare is becoming a real struggle for families; professionals who want to work are being forced to take leaves from work in order to look after their family. I would propose that we provide local tax incentives to people who are running registered home daycares, as a way to provide incentives to folks who are on the fence about running a home daycare, but just not sure if it would be viable. This solution would be capped at a certain number and would help create more daycare spots, and would not require any new investments in infrastructure/ staffing from the town. Our town is going to continue to grow, and with that there will always be a need for daycare. I believe this can be a viable solution until more infrastructure comes online to support the need for more daycare spots
Municipal Accommodation Tax
I believe we should move forward with the Municipal Accommodation Tax, but only on hotels, tourist outfits would be exempt. I believe that tourist organization put enough of their own tax dollars to promote Sioux Lookout and their business, to charge a tax to promote even more, would not be fair to ask of them. The Municipal Accommodation tax must be applied equally to all parties, and those parties need to agree on how to best use their funds to promote their business. The Municipal portion of this tax would be placed into a special purpose account and only used for capital projects, like fixing our roads, which is where our tax increases have come from over the past 2 years.
I know the ground work has been started for this project, but I believe we need to keep the ball rolling. Sioux Lookout is an amazing summer town, but we have some long winters. When people want to move to a new location they often look at what the town has to offer. A new Recreation Center would be a great incentive for people to choose to come to Sioux Lookout, and would help to attract the young professionals that come here for experience. Our current rec center has served us well, but it is getting to a point where we are out growing it and it is costing us more money in repairs. I would continue to work towards getting funding agreements in place as well as getting partnerships to support the new rec center. I believe that this is going to be a need for our growing community. We can build all the houses we want, but if there is no quality of life assets in our town, people are not going to stay, and may not come in the first place.
7. Sioux Lookout’s biggest strength is our position as a hub to the North. We are a growing community in the north, while other communities around us are struggling. We need to embrace our role as a hub and continue to build to keep up with the growth that is happening. I see the challenges that organizations are having filling positions, and it has me concerned that we are not doing enough to keep up with the demand for the services that are needed to service the north. If we cannot meet the needs of these organizations, I am worried that we could lose their involvement in our community, and it would leave us in a very difficult position. Our biggest challenge is keeping the cost of living down, and with that I mean taxes. We are at our breaking point with taxes, it will hit a point where it will push people away and can hinder any growth in town. We cannot allow this to happen.
Sioux Lookouts biggest challenge would have to be homelessness in our downtown core. We need to take a more viable look at social services that can actually help those who do want to help themselves. We need to work with KDSP to obtain safe, “dry” housing for people that return from treatment and want to get their lives together. Too often people come out of treatment and fall back in with the same people they were around before treatment, and they fail. Our social services need to provide a way to break that cycle so a difference can be made.
8. I have put a lot of thought and a lot of detail into this article; this is because it is what I feel will best help the community, and I don’t want to blow smoke. I am always willing to listen to people, and bring forward ideas that can either improve my own, or potentially find something overlooked in my plan. The most important part of my plan for being on council, besides everything I have mentioned, is my willingness to listen to the people of Sioux Lookout and work with you to better our community.
The last thing I would like to leave voters with is that I feel the most dangerous phrase in the human language is “Well, we’ve always done it that way”. I am running because I want to bring fresh outside the box ideas to our town, while holding true to our values. Sioux Lookout is a unique town, with unique issues and that comes with the need for some creative, responsible solutions to some of our issues, which is key to helping our town prosper.
Thank you for taking the time to read this.
1. & 2.
My name is Darlene Angeconeb and I work for Equay-wuk (Women’s Group) as the Acting Director and Project Coordinator.
I was born in Sioux Lookout and I am a Lac Seul First Nation band member residing here. In 1966, our family participated in a government relocation program to Elliot Lake. There were 20 other First Nations families who took part in this short-lived program. After that, at the age of six, I was sent to Pelican Lake Indian Residential School and during that time, attended schools in Sioux Lookout (Wellington and Central Public Schools and one year at Queen Elizabeth District High School). I completed high school in Sault Ste. Marie and later studied Fine Art at Ontario College of Art (3.5 years) and then studied Political Science at Algoma and Laurentian Universities (2.5 years).
3. I decided to seek office as a result of my participation in the “Diverse Voices” workshops, which is an initiative of the Federation Canadian Municipalities (FCM) and the town of Sioux Lookout. ‘Diverse Voices’ promotes women’s leadership in municipal governments and in organizations. It is because I am an Indian Residential School survivor that I became a member of the Coalition for Healing and Reconciliation which was part of the Sioux Lookout Anti-Racism Committee.
I am also currently active on a community committee and a board. The Mayor’s Committee for Truth and Reconciliation (TRY) since September 2016 and I serve as the Chair for the Sioux Lookout Police Services board since February 2017. Both are appointed positions. I enjoy volunteering my time on the committee and the board and I hope I am helping to make a difference. My decision to run for office is an extension of being politically engaged on the TRC committee and Police Services Board.
4. I am an Acting Director of a non-profit organization since August 2012 so I am able to work with budgets and I am aware of what is required to run an administration. I also have 20 years of experience in seeking funding and writing funding proposals. I am, therefore, highly aware of the need for partnerships to develop projects, programs and initiatives.
My background in political science provides me with the knowledge of governance structures and procedures. I have a good understanding of not only the mainstream Canadian political systems, but I also have the added knowledge of First Nations political governance and the many levels (5). Sioux Lookout is a hub with 30 First Nations in surrounding communities and the municipality has developed the Friendship Accord with some of those First Nations. I hope I can contribute to improving relations from previous Town Councils which will further benefit all of our communities. I believe a municipal government should be transparent and maintain fiscal responsibility for citizens. There should also be fairness and understanding in the way decisions are made for the municipality and for the people.
5., 6., and 7. As a candidate in this election, I, like many others, am concerned about the high cost of living, taxes and the lack of housing. While a number of jobs are available, there is little to no housing available. The cost of living and taxes need to be examined and we need to work toward solutions to lessen costs for residents. We need to develop a strategic plan relevant to the many concerns and to address the many issues.
Sioux Lookout is a hub for the northwest region, with people of approximately 30 First Nation communities traveling into the town for health, education and other services. We need to support growth of infrastructure to create spaces for programs and businesses as the community grows.
• To learn from the past - Recognize and commemorate
• To look at what we have – beautiful natural surroundings. Tourism can be promoted, arts, crafts, education, and land-based activities need to be encouraged.
• To see what is needed – programs for housing, health and wellness, employment
• To create strategies for the future – advance economic, social, environmental solutions
We need to open our hearts and minds to gain a better understanding of solutions for the homeless and we should learn about solutions from other Canadian municipalities such as
Medicine Hat, Alberta which has eliminated homelessness.
I have gained many insights into the issues in our community in my role as Chair of the Police
Services Board. A Community Safety and Well-Being Plan for Sioux Lookout will be developed in the next five years as a requirement of the new policing legislation. I look forward to working with others to complete the Community Safety and Well-Being Plan.
We are in the process of putting into place a Bear Clan Street Patrol in Sioux Lookout. There is also an expressed interest in having a Youth Bear Clan Patrol. This would train and empower community volunteers as well as alleviate some of the costs for policing.
In working with the Mayor’s Committee for Truth and Reconciliation, we become aware of the legacy of Indian Residential Schools and how it affects First Nations communities. We discuss complex issues such as addictions, mental health, and poverty which are evident in Sioux Lookout. We need treatment centers, for alcohol and drugs, and, we need more support for mental health programs, and solutions for poverty and homelessness. The Mayor’s Committee for Truth and Reconciliation encourages dialogue on the current realities we face as a municipality.
Many First Nations families are sending their youth here, because of the lack of secondary schools in the remote northern communities. Families are choosing to have their children attend high school here because it is a smaller town and a safer community.
We need to be creative to address the many issues facing our community.
People of all backgrounds come to Sioux Lookout to work, to live and to raise their families here. We are a welcoming community that continues to grow.
We, the Mayor’s Committee for Truth and Reconciliation, are active in the work toward reconciliation and we are being noticed as a model by other Canadian communities. We are working positively to discuss what has happened in the past and we are looking at ways to address the 94 recommendations of Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission report.
Sioux Lookout is a leader in reconciliation. Let’s keep this going.
8. I would like to say that I will listen to voter concerns and I am willing to work on solutions for our growing town and thriving community. I believe we can all work together for the benefit of all.
I wish good luck to all the other candidates and I hope to see a good voter turnout in this year’s election. Miigwech!
Hello/Boozoo/Bonjour! - What You Should Know About Me
My name is Yolaine Kirlew. I am a daughter, sister, wife, mother, friend and your neighbor. I was born in Jamaica. I immigrated to Canada in 1989. I was raised in a family of 14 people with lots of laughter, great food and fashion.
I have been married for twelve plus years to a great guy, Michael. Together we have three beautiful daughters, Naomi, Liana and Neriah. I am a working mom that presently home schools her children.
My passion for social justice and wellness stems from my deep faith, and principled belief that all are equal in the Creator’s eyes. Furthermore, we are to care for our neighbors as ourselves. I am drawing experiences from over twenty plus years of collaboration and learning with peoples from all walks of life in various communities.
Moving to Canada was twofold. It was to reunite with family and to pursue an education. Following the completion of my high school diploma (1998) in Mississauga, Ontario, I relocated to Ottawa, and for two years worked and then attended university. At Carleton University, I pursued and acquired two under graduate degrees (BA in political science- 2004 & BA Hons. in Comparative Politics and International History- 2007) and interned in Ottawa’s international diplomatic community and federal politics.
I then widened my career scope from federal and international politics to pursue a MA in Conflict Resolution and mediation at Saint Paul’s University (fall 2007-Spring 2012). In 2013, I acquired certification/designation from ADR Institute of Ontario as a Qualified Mediator and still practice this work throughout the region.
My Masters of Arts focused on the relationship between Canada and First Nations, particularly women’s experiences within the healthcare, education, social services and social justice systems. I wanted to better understand how the relationship between these two nations became, to say the least, strained. As well, better situate how issues such as colonialism, oppression, poverty, domestic violence, self-determination, rural, remote, resistance, resilience, coping strategies, and reconciliation interplay.
As an immigrant, I feel it is paramount to develop a working understanding of all issues. To listen, learn and know how best to be a bridge to support all nations desired development. I believe as a society we all need to explore these opportunities, contexts, power, politics, culture and economics that drive the way we think about and treat each other.
At present, my unique conflict resolutions practice and optimal health focus with political advocacy are shared between working for the NGO Equay-wuk (Women’s Group), as a Community Wellness Facilitator and my private practice as a Total Health Mediator. In my roles, I travel frequently to various remote communities to listen, learn from and share with First Nations women and youth. This work uses wellness initiatives to promote and encourage intra and inter personal reconciliation.
I believe that the Creator has enabled me with various skills that I may share with others through various leadership roles. With these, I encourage the good and beautiful in life, the minobimatiswin, and the minopimatiswin.
I sought elected office in 2014-2018 and I am seeking to continue to 2018-2022. It is my goal to advance the economic, political, social, cultural and relational issues that affect our community’s growth and sustainability. I want my neighbors to know that I am invested in them through the way I live, the way I advocate for and give back to them. My tenacity, passion for fairness and integrity are qualities in development for the past forty years. They enable me to be a stellar advocate for the betterment of all members of our community. Serving my community in elected office is a way to couple my commitment to service with my lifework and skills.
Thus far, it has been an honour serving my community for the past twenty plus years. Here are a few highlights;
• Third Vice President, Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) (2018)
• Regional & National Champion for Diverse Voices for Change- FCM (2016-2018)
• Member on Saakihitiwaac Tipenchikaywin ("A Loving Family") Advisory Circle (2016-2018) Municipal Councillor, Municipality of Sioux Lookout (2014-2018)
• Director on Ontario Good Road Association- Board of Directors, (2017-2020)
• Director on Federation of Canadian Municipalities- Board of Directors, (2015-2017)
• Chair of the Social Economic Committee (SED), Federation of Canadian Municipalities
• Vice Chair, Election Readiness Committee, Federation of Canadian Municipalities
• Director on Northwestern Health Unit- Board of Directors, (2015-2018)
• Co-chair on Arts Culture & Heritage Committee (2016-2017)
• Co-chair on Sioux Lookout Anti-racism Committee (2014-2017) Member on Sioux Lookout Youth Development Commission (2013-2016)
• President of Ottawa Carlton Standard Condominium Corporation (O.C.S.C.C. 797 (2009-2012)
• Youth Representative on the National Action Committee (NAC Young Womyn, (2000-2001)
• Interim Board Member of Women’s Place/Place aux femmes (1999-2000)
• President of the Congress of Black Women- Ottawa chapter (1998-2001)
Sioux Lookout’s Strengths, Opportunities and Challenges
Three strengths I believe help to set Sioux Lookout apart from other communities are its geography, cultural diversity and our economy. Ironically, they also provide opportunities for growth and pose some challenge.
The landscape of the municipality is stunning. It has a balance between usable land and water as well as natural places for historic and cultural preservation. The air is fresh and the climate is suitable for many to live, work and play year round. It is an ideal place to raise a family, develop a career or retire. Our relative proximity to the northern First Nations communities in Treaty 3, 5 & 9 have situated Sioux Lookout as a hub for air and ground transportation. However, our 60 kilometers location off Hwy 17, does create a context where we are consider more rural or small town with less proximity to major center amenities.
This community is a microcosm of Canada. There are people from many nations who live, work and travel here year round. They bring with them a wealth of knowledge and add to the richness of our community. It is because of this we have more opportunities to learn from each other. To learn about other languages, cultures, arts, music and foods. As a community, we can always grow more when we continue to be open and make it a priority to celebrate each other’s uniqueness.
The economic climate is one of our assets and also poses varied challenges. It’s true, that our economy is more successful at providing jobs for the citizens than the rest of our province. It has also opened doors for collaboration (i.e. Sioux Lookout Friendship Accord) and working more closely with the First Nations on economic initiatives (i.e. CEDI-FCM Distribution Center). As a result, we have been able to apply for more federal and provincial funding on mutual economic projects.
Furthermore, the fact that 30% of the jobs regionally are here in Sioux Lookout, and that they far outnumber the available people to fill them, also creates challenges for administrators and officials. They face the issues of attracting and retaining a skilled labour force.
Another challenge in the economy is the lack of major industry in Sioux Lookout. This has meant that the ratepayers are carrying the bulk of the tax burden, and then small business.
This is further augmented by the epic shortage in all types of housing (attainable, social, seniors, and student).
Some of the emergent issues I believe are salient to this campaign period for the community at large are housing, infrastructure, economy-taxation, reconciliation, mental health, policing and service delivery.
My action items are to keep bringing positivity to our town by advocating for;
Infrastructure funding from the province and federal government
Continued Administrative and Fiscal Accountability
The roll out on the National Housing Strategy
The mandate of the Truth & Reconciliation Commission
Diversity in councils with more youth, women, minorities and Indigenous peoples
More Celebrations of Arts, Cultural and Heritage
This is what I have been doing for the past four years, and it has been successful. This is what I will continue to do with four more.
The work has been tirelessly to get us a seat at regional, provincial and federal tables where changes are made. Now, it’s up to you to secure our place there. So I seek re-election that I may continue advocating for our issues. To make sure we receive our fair share of the resources.
The rest of Canada knows who we are, Sioux Lookout. Working together, we have more investors, new residents and tourist to attract. Let’s keep the change momentum moving forward. Lets’ re-elect Yolaine Kirlew for Councillor at large.
I am proud to live, work and play here! I am proud to share our stories.
I hope you are too. Thank you/Miigwech/Merci!
Ward I (Hudson) Councillor - Incumbent – Acclaimed
SCHOOL BOARD TRUSTEES
English Public School Board Trustee
1. I moved to Sioux lookout in January of 1995. During my time in Sioux Lookout I have worked as a high school teacher and administrator. I have been a member of the Sioux Lookout Volunteer Fire Department for the past 18 years. I have two sons that were both born and raised in Sioux lookout. My oldest son graduated from Queen Elizabeth District High School a few years ago and my youngest son just began his high school career at Sioux North High School a couple of weeks ago, as a grade 9 student.
2. I am committed to our community and I have a great deal of experience and knowledge in the field of education that I can bring to the position of English Public School Board Trustee.
3. I have been thinking about running for the position of English Public School Board Trustee for a few years. Now that my youngest son is entering the English Public system, I felt this was the right time to seek election to this position. As well, I feel my experience and knowledge gives me the opportunity to serve my community in a way that best utilizes my strengths.
4. My entire post university career has been dedicated to education in Ontario, specifically to First Nations education in the Sioux Lookout region. I feel my almost 30 years experience as an educator and administrator gives me a unique perspective on education issues and trends that affect our district. I will bring this unique perspective to the Kemora Patricia District School Board as a trustee.
5. As a English Public School Board trustee, I will promote inclusiveness in our public schools. I believe that all students should feel welcome in the school they attend. This can be achieved if they see themselves reflected in their school through the curriculum taught, the activities carried out, and in the caring adults that work with them.
6. Our children graduating from high school with a quality education, that prepares them for the workforce, post-secondary education, or whatever path they choose, is of great importance to the people I talk with in Sioux lookout. Kenora Patricia District School Board has made great strides in this area but I believe there is more that we can do. Ensuring that our children stay in school to take advantage of this quality education is still a concern in our district. This brings us back to the inclusivity of our schools, which I mentioned earlier. If our children do not see themselves reflected in their school they will not feel that they are a part of it. I believe this is a significant contributor to our children leaving school prior to graduating.
7. A major strength of Sioux Lookout is it’s diversity. A major opportunity is the almost unlimited employment opportunities. Especially for a community of our size. The challenge is filling these employment opportunities. I believe we have the human resources in our community to fill these positions. However, our educations system needs to ensure that we, first of all, keep our children in school so they can graduate, and secondly, prepare them for entry into the life of the working adult. This can be achieved by making education relevant to every child, unique as they are. Which again, brings us back to the inclusivity of our schools.
8. I appreciate the opportunity to serve as English Public School Board Trustee. I will listen to the concerns and aspirations of our community and bring those concerns and aspirations to the Kenora Patricia District School Board as trustee.
English Separate School Board Trustee
I am originally from Toronto, but came to Sioux Lookout in 1981, to work for the MNR-I was going to school at that time, for Forestry and Fish and Wildlife. I loved it so much here, I returned to Sioux after I was finished College. My husband is retired and I have two sons who are currently living at home.
I attended Catholic Schools during my younger years in Toronto and continue to support the values that they offer our students
I have been a Catholic School Trustee since 2003. During that time I have been both Vice Chair and Chair of the Board.
I have learned so much these past 15 years, on the importance of Education in our province, and the direct influence that Trustees have with the Boards, on local Education and Services offered at each of our schools. Trustees bring the concerns of parents and special interest groups directly to the Board meetings and to the Director.
At the Northwest Catholic District school board we so proud of our Teachers and Staff. We know we have to work on Math scores, as does the rest of the province, and that will be a focus this year. We are excited that our students have access to some of the leading technology. We will continue to also focus on the mental health and well being of our student and staff as we continue to add positions that deal directly with those issues, both at the school level and in the Board offices.
Being a Catholic School Board Trustee has allowed me to focus on the importance of our Catholic School System, and my own faith. I am always available and open to questions from our parents or the public in general.
English Separate School Board Trustee – Incumbent – Acclaimed
A Municipal all candidates’ forum, being organized by Sioux Lookout resident Anne Saltel, will be held on October 1 in the Upper Legion Hall.
Doors open at 6 p.m.
The meeting starts at 6:30 p.m.
Written questions from the audience will be posed to candidates after opening remarks.
The Sioux Lookout Public Library plans to livestream the event via its YouTube channel, https://www.youtube.com/user/SLPublicLibrary.