Antigonish County, District 2
Election Date: October 17, 2020 (Advance Polls on October 10th and 13th)
I have a few different reasons why I chose to run for Antigonish County Council. Firstly, I was inspired by a presentation I attended celebrating women’s leadership in Cape Breton/ Unama’ki, and the Strait Region. There have been many recent efforts to encourage women to get involved in politics. The United Nations has endorsed a goal of having a minimum of 30% women at decision-making levels. The reason being that when women’s voices are heard at the table, not only do women benefit but the entire community benefits. While there have been a number of women involved in Town Council, including at the Mayoral level, Antigonish County remains primarily a male-dominated council. To my knowledge, Mary MacLellan has been the lone woman at the Council table for many years now. I have had the opportunity to work with her on the Antigonish County Adult Learning Association Board and I appreciate all the knowledge and experience she has added to that organization.
But this is not just about being a voice for women- my experience working and volunteering in the community will be a valuable asset to the council and to the people served by it. My volunteer role with the Antigonish Town & County Community Health Board has helped confirm my understanding of the major issues facing our region,especially with regards to poverty, food security, social isolation, affordable housing, and youth engagement, which need more advocacy. This is further compounded by my work at the People’s Place: Antigonish Town and County Library where I see the vital role that accessible and welcoming public spaces play in keeping people safe and connected.
The third reason I chose to run is because I believe firmly in democratic engagement. The weekend prior to nominations being due, I noted that 8 out of 10 districts were heading towards having their councillors acclaimed. I want to be clear, I did not have concerns about any specific councillors but I think it is important in a democracy that people have the opportunity to choose who will represent them. Democratic engagement is something I hope to inspire in my own children, and youth in general, and also in our community members who might not feel like their voice matters. The voter turnout in District 2 was under 35% in the 2016 municipal election and I’m encouraging more people to get out and vote. As a librarian, information is a big part of what I do so I hope that by continuing to share information about election day and advance polling options, I can get that voter turnout to increase.
I have been out doing some campaigning and hearing from people about the issues particular to people in District 2 and I am very keen to make sure people’s voices and concerns are heard at council. There is a quote often attributed to Gandhi (although I do not believe he actually said it) “We must be the change we want to see in the world.” Well, I wanted to see change and so I’ve put my name forward.