Candidates’ statements, Skidegate Band Council Election, Wednesday February 15

  • Feb. 10, 2012 8:00 p.m.

Residents of Skidegate go to the polls on Wednesday to vote in a new band council. The Observer asked all the candidates to submit a statement on why they think they should be elected. The following sent us statements.Conrad CollinsonWe are all strong, but way stronger together!My name is Conrad Collinson, I live in Skidegate and have all my life. Over the years, I’ve been very active in the fishing industry and charter business. I was brought up to challenge things and work hard doing so. I was taught by my parents to respect our village and our elders, and love where you live. I think economic development in our community, we have to find different business to bring capital to Skidegate. Encourage more businesses to develop that are reserve-based, to keep capital circulating in Skidegate and neighbouring communities. Big investors sharing resources have to give back, their own personal gain won’t help us and others around Haida Gwaii. Think about our young and their dreams they work hard at, encourage them to stay in school and meet their needs.Keep our most important things here in Skidegate, Haida language is very important. Help keep this at a stable pace and meet and respect the needs of our elders in this program. I was always at my dad’s side, Chief Skidegate passed on leadership and knowledge and told me to work hard as you go on in life. What’s handed down to you will always be with you. This will change with times, work hard with it and keep moving forward. This will help make me a better councillor if elected.I’d like to see working together, like in our fundraisers for loved ones in need. People come together and work hard to help. I myself and my family experienced this first-hand in the summer. Our youngest girl was sick and had to be medevac’d, the support was amazing. Thank you, all the big hearts of Skidegate. We are all strong, but way stronger together.HowaJames D. CowparI, James D Cowpar, seek your support in the upcoming Skidegate Band Council elections on February 15, 2012. I wish to express my commitment to you. In running for a third term on council, my intention is to work with a vision in mind, whereas, as a team player my hope is that we capture the passion, direction, and inspiration of our membership in establishing a framework for all our strategic planning. Success is possible through community support and through working with our protocols that define our identity as a Nation and a Haida living on Haida Gwaii. Working together is important toward building success for Skidegate and all our neighbouring communities. Through joint venture partnerships in collaboration with municipal, village, and the Council of the Haida Nation, we can and will create long-term employment opportunities. In working together over the course of the past four years, we have witnessed many changes wherein, we have overcome the challenges collectively.As leaders, we face tough decisions that require foresight. Through community engagement sessions we can develop sound policies that directly benefit the needs of our membership. I believe in Skidegate, in doing so, I am committed to working hard in building opportunities. Caring for our children, youth, adults and elders is a priority that requires attention each and every day. Taking the time to address the important concerns is a starting point in building your trust. A Vote for James Cowpar is a vote for opportunity. My intentions are true, my work ethic is strong, and my commitment to Haida Gwaii is forever. Haaw’aaJames D CowparLyndale GeorgeMy name is Lyndale George and I am running for Skidegate Band Council. My educational background includes a Bachelors and Masters Degree in Social Work and I have worked in the field of Social Work for close to 33 years. During that time, I have witnessed the frustration and anger of people who have to live well below the poverty level, under the Indian Act, something that should never be acceptable. Therefore, it is my goal to work with the people of Skidegate to create change and to assist in empowering them to work towards a more positive future that includes employment, education and training.This process will involve positive and constructive dialogue with people about what their vision is and what the community priorities are, and working together in a coordinated effort to get the maximum use of the limited resources that we have. My experience has taught me that we cannot continue to do the same thing over and over again and expect different results!I realize that this will be a long-term commitment to achieve this, however I am committed to the process and you can trust that I will work hard, and be accountable and will look out for your interests.My working career has always been guided by the principles of recognition and respect and the values of honesty, integrity and accountability and I will carry these into the work that I would be involved with as a councillor for the Skidegate band. I look forward to providing and sharing my years of experience and expertise and I will be a strong voice and advocate for you.Together we can create a better future for our children. Russell GladstoneMy name is Russell Gladstone and I have accepted the nomination for councillor for the Skidegate Band. I’m honest, hardworking and look forward to the challenges ahead. I’ll do my best and work hard. Some things that I would like to look into are:-Accountability: There needs to be some accountability regarding travel and honorarium. People also need to know how money is being spent.-Economic Development: We need to create more full time jobs. I’m happy to see the pole peeling project become a reality and would personally like to thank Billy Yovanovich for his hard work, but we need more local jobs.-Health travel: People want the daily food allowance increased, I say let’s look at raising it.- Health: Skidegate needs more services for people with drug and alcohol addiction. There does not seem to be any services here for this ever-growing problem. We also need to educate our youth on the harmful effects of drug and alcohol abuse.-Fire Department: This is a very vital service, and I will support it 100 percent, and will look at helping to recruit new members.-Education: I think we need to look at an alternate school so we can get people who have dropped out a chance to get their grade 12.-Water system: Need to back up our system with a back-up generator for long power outages.-S.H.I.P: It is very important to keep our language alive and I will support the program in any way that I can.-Elders and Youth: Support current programs and listen to concerns that might arise.Above are just some of my concerns I would like to see addressed. I am asking for your vote in the up-coming SBC election.Tom GreeneWe are all good peopleManagement accountability is the most important focus of my concerns running for council. Self governance in the band council does not mean self serving. Governance mandates that roles and responsibilities of the chief and council be held accountable. The administration and staff are also liable for actions that do not adhere to the identity of their positions. I’d like to introduce a code of conduct and complaint policy.Mismanagement of funding creates cycles of poverty that will eventually affect every band member. The Canadian First Nations Funding Agreement is designed for a reason, which is to protect the assets agreed upon in order for specific services as education , health and social services to operate according to plan.These elections should bring all of our clan people together and not separate and dominate according to numbers. Many people feel like “throwaways” because of the poverty traps caused by favouritism.We are all shareholders of those assets and need to act fairly and equally in order for all to benefit.Censorship of information and opportunities continue to affect the quality of life that all members have a right to. Public consultation from our council is needed. Transparent and honest sharing of information will regain trust and make living in Skidegate more meaningful for all of those invested.We all have a right to be heard. Let’s work together to stop the oppressive behaviour and begin to build and improve upon educational and employable opportunities. Identify the barriers that are creating deprivation. And be accountable again.Bullying tactics are prominent and dysfunctional. We need to regain respect for one another and not rely on intimidation to get what we want. Requests to increase professional accredited counselling for drug and alcohol addictions have been voiced. If elected I will represent all members honestly, fairly and caringly. Visit my blog > Speak Em Truth.Daniel HelmerHello everyone, my name is Daniel Helmer, I am running in this year’s elections to bring in new ideas and a new way of thinking. I may not be very experienced in this field but that will not limit me from doing my best because I will do everything I can possibly do to learn every last thing their is to do learn about this job, I want the best for the community and I won’t stop until it is achieved. I would like to touch on economic development (job developing), community well-being and the future of our youth and community. We don’t have enough jobs, as it is right now, we see the same amount of people employed and the same amount unemployed, that is not acceptable due to the fact that no one wants to come back here after they get an education because they have no jobs to fill and will just end up sitting around and not accomplishing anything. We can’t keep on relying logging jobs unless our CHN goes forward and is able to get the funding to buy the remaining TFLs on the island. With the TFLs purchased I would like to open up a mill in Skidegate, the mill would be a good contribution to our community by creating more jobs and pump more money into our community. I want to win this election because I really feel like I can make a big contribution to the community by finding new ways to employee more people, create a cleaner village and give people reasons to be proud of our town and reasons to come back to it after they leave to get their education.Roy Jones Jr.When elected to the Skidegate Band Council I will only be one member of a team, I have to ask myself what special strength do I bring to the team as I will be working for the betterment of our community and the future of our children and their children as well as generations to come! As a team member I would support emergency services, work to make changes to the health travel policy, we need to encourage and support education and start the process to develop a Comprehensive Economic Strategy (CES). The CES would be the key to developing a stronger community foundation creating economic opportunities, as well as supporting all community needs, such as health services, education and private enterprise. I will be one team member and I believe I can be a valuable contributor to our community of Skidegate, bring new opportunities with my Chinese and Japanese connections we can develop industry creating high paying full time jobs and opportunities to support our families and community.Many people say why vote things won’t change, as voting member you have a vote, please get out and vote, change is in your hands, on Feb. 15 vote Roy S. Jones Jr. for Skidegate Band Council.Howaa.Steven WesleyMy name is Steven Wesley. My Haida name is Kaaw Sgaana (King Fisher). I am the son of the late Chief Cumshewa (Charles Wesley) and Caroline. I have accepted my nomination to serve as councillor with the Skidegate Band Council with the goal of working toward making our community a healthier, safer place to live. I will work hard with the rest band council to find ways to provide employment opportunities for band members.I have lived and worked on Haida Gwaii for most of my life. I am fair, non-judgemental and I believe that everyone has something to contribute to the success of all that we undertake on behalf of the community. It is important for our council to listen, negotiate and incorporate the needs of youth and elders, as well as all members of the community when doing economic and community planning and development.I would like to see fair and transparent policies and processes followed in the day-to-day business of the band as well as frequent reporting to the public. It is important that decisions are made by following policies and procedures for housing, education, social assistance, health and all programs under the umbrella of the band. Equally important is that staffing and the spending of band funds are done in a cost effective manner, which also should be part of the reporting to the community.I am an honest person who believes in an open door policy to our community members and I will do my best to address any issues or concerns that may be brought to my attention by members of the Skidegate Band.Godfrey WilliamsMy name is Godfrey Williams Jr. I’m from the Raven clan of Skedans. I would like to thank Kathleen Hans and Gladys Vandal for nominating me. It has been a privilege and a honour to represent Skidegate on Council these past four years. I would like to thank the youth council on a job well done also Haawa to the past mothers and fathers for volunteering. It’s a safe place that our kids can call their own! It’s important for our kids. We need to reach out to our children and teach them right from wrong.My thoughts about the drug issue is it starts at home, meaning that every parent or relative spends the time educating our kids about this issue. Every village, city has this problem, we have to finds ways to solve this problem.In Economic Development, the GNC Board and Skidegate Band Council are finding money and to train our membership for jobs. Some groups it takes awhile to get money from them. For our post-secondary students, they should have the option to come home and ply their trade. I fully support a member that wants to start their own business. This will only bring economic stability to Haida Gwaii.Our village of Skidegate has a wealth of knowledge and wisdom within our elder community, they have had our respect and we have supported them however we can.If re-elected, I will promise that I will show up to work everyday and do my very best for Skidegate and I have an open door policy. I may not be able to solve the problem right away but I will always be willing to listen, take notes and research, then get back to you.Best of Luck to all the candidates. HaawaBilly Yovanovich Well I’ll start with I’m usually the first councillor into work and often the last to leave, so I do put my time in. Currently SBC is entering business and will be generating own source revenue which has been lacking for some time! Money has been allocated to upgrade our water system and there is a submission in for a back-up generator, when the storage tanks were installed several years ago when there wasn’t the population we have today so the combination of leaks, storage capacity, and power outages left us in our recent crisis! An expert was brought in a.s.a.p. to help find the leaks and to make recommendations which we have received and are working on! The woodlot is ready to harvest and there is movement in the forestry portfolio, which was rather dormant for some time. Haida language is really taking off and resources are really being produced and readily available. I have met and established working relations with the people SBC deals with so that I’m ready to go, so to speak, if you choose to re-elect me. I have maintained a visible presence and take the time to hear your concerns. With the successes there is still lots of room for improvement. I feel SBC is taking a baby-step in the right direction, with that please consider William Yovanovich on Feb. 15th. Haawa