It was old against new, experience against idealism in Sandspit as regional district area ‘E’ incumbent Duane Gould and political newcomer Travis Glasman battled for support at Tuesday’s all candidates meeting.
Mr. Glasman, who has lived on the islands for 10 years, campaigned on a platform of values, vision and voice.
He said he believes in long-term community stability on a foundation of a healthy environment, local control over resources and working cooperatively with all island communities.
Mr. Glasman is a homeowner in Sandspit and a self-employed professional forester. At present, he works for the Council of the Haida Nation’s forest guardian program, but in the past he’s worked with industry and government.
He admits he doesn’t have the same amount of experience as Mr. Gould, but he says his vision is “big picture” and he is willing to work with the community to build economic options for today.
Mr. Gould told the audience he has lived on the islands for 50 years and has proven his ability to get things done. He has been involved in getting a school and gym, the health clinic, the water system, the harbour and more.
“The government doesn’t come running out and offer you this money. Being a regional district director is a lot of hard work. You have to be at home when the phone rings,” he said.
Audience members questioned Mr. Glasman’s ability to get the job done, concerned that with a full-time job and a new baby, he would have scant time for the community.
Mr. Glasman said he got a sense of the time commitment from former directors. He told people he would be available at home in the evenings and expected to put in a moderate level of work.
“It depends on what you get involved in. I feel I can handle the workload,” he said.
When challenged later in the evening about his availability, Mr. Glasman added he would be available by email and that he would set aside a couple of days each month to do the work.
Brad Tanner pointed out Mr. Glasman had only attended seven of the last 100 volunteer fire department meetings.
“Will your participation record improve?” he asked the candidate.
Mr. Glasman noted he had asked for a leave of absence from the weekly fire department meetings for work and family commitments.
Both candidates were asked how their past experience will affect their ability to represent the community, including who each person works for now.
“I just work for the community. It hasn’t affected my work, but the community will decide on election day,” said Mr. Gould.
Mr. Glasman said he believes in the Haida Land management plan.
“I’ve been open about that,” he said.
Bonita Wasyleski raised concerns about comments made by representatives of the Haida at a past community meeting. She got the feeling they don’t want to work with anyone, they want sovereignty and they want to represent their own selves, she said.
“You want us to prop up our neighbours for all of our stability? I don’t see them propping us up,” she said.
Mr. Glasman said he got a different message from the meeting. He heard them say each community has to become its own advocate.
“That’s what I propose to do, not the Haida before us, but everyone together, he said.
Ms Wasyleski went on to commend Mr. Gould for his work.
“We’re a town of 126 houses. We have more amenities in this town than any other community with 126 houses,” she said.
Doug Gould spoke of his appreciation for Mr. Glasman’s candidacy, but suggested a political career normally starts at mayor, then onto the state, then to the presidency. He suggested that Mr. Glasman might have done better to start as a Moresby Island Management committee member first.
“You have to play politics for your community, you don’t play politics with your community,” he said.
At the end of the debate, each candidate gave a final address. Mr. Gould said his top priority is jobs.
“Logging is our backbone. My vision is getting a community forest,” he said. He also wants to see the water system through to fruition.
“I’m used to making tough decisions. It comes back to what would be best for this community, in my opinion,” he said.
Mr. Glasman also believes logging is important, but he thinks it needs to be done differently. He summed up his stance by saying that everyone in the community must understand issues, like Haida Title, so the community can move forward.
“Don’t vote for me because you are frustrated with what Duane has stood for in the past, be behind the vision for broader community stability,” he said.
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