The Gwaii Trust election is Saturday, and the Observer asked all candidates running to submit a statement about why they are qualified to be elected. We received statements from the four candidates in central Graham Island, and nothing from the two candidates in Sandspit.
The following statements are unedited and presented in the candidates’ own words.
James R. Abbott
To Whom It May Concern:
My decision to run for Gwaii Trust was made when the Council of Haida Nation made the decision to apply for a loan from Gwaii Trust capitol for on island business venture’s such as purchase of timber rights or logging ventures.
Using the Gwaii Trust Capitol for well-researched business ventures I think is a good idea and a step in the right direction. Financial loans for business ventures from banks or other lenders are almost impossible to obtain because of political instability on the islands.
After 40 years of doing business on island, I can bring a business point of view to the Gwaii Trust Board.
I’m up for election as Gwaii Trust director for central Graham Island and this is why. The Gwaii Trust is an ever- present entity in the lives of all who live here. It has the potential of making good ideas happen. It could even be described as the life blood of the islands. I have learned how various organizations function by becoming a part of them. The GIAPC, QCSS PAC, Living and Learning School and Haida Gwaii Marine Resource Group Association are examples. These groups have taught me the value of maintaining an open mind when listening to opinions of fellow members and the public.
After 33 years, I appreciate and am grateful for the freedom and independence required of us to survive and thrive on this amazing archipelago. Gwaii Trust is an important part of that independence. It is controlled by islanders for their own use. The board represents all communities regardless of their size. Living in Tlell for 20 years, I have worked in Masset and currently work in Queen Charlotte at the public library. My daughter attended school in Port Clements. I have friends and colleagues in all of the island communities and try to understand their concerns and dreams as it relates to the islands as a whole. I believe that by working together will we protect and sustain our way of life.
My work at the library involves helping people access information. I believe that knowledge is powerful and ignorance is not bliss. We need to be involved. Things are not going to improve without our participation and each one of us has a role from oldest to youngest. Though I live on an island, I am not an island and I look forward to working with the advisory board and members of the public.
Hello voters! My name is Claudette Lavoie and I am seeking your vote for a two year term as Director of Central Graham Island for Gwaii Trust. I have served as an alternate on the board for the past two years and now have the experience to feel confident in seeking your support in this election.
That experience will be valuable in representing you at board meetings. The consensus model of decision making, that the Gwaii Trust Board uses requires particular skills of communication that I have developed over the years in my job as a teacher and principal. The ability to communicate clearly my ideas and thoughts, question for clarity and listen for meaning and understanding are the key skills that I bring to the table.
I have grown up on the island and come from a logging family. My background in teaching, being principal in four of the island schools and working in the family businesses has given me a diverse background to draw on in discussions and decision making. I have experience on other provincial and local boards including: Northwest Community College, the BC Principal and Vice-Principal Association on special committees at the provincial level, and BC School Sports. If I am elected, this experience will allow me to make sound decisions based on your input and to understand your issues island-wide.
I am proud of the work I have done on the Gwaii Trust board as an alternate for the past two years and I promise to work with the Gwaii Trust team to collect and synthesize information, explore the impact a decision would have on our island communities and use my experience to make the best decisions possible.
I would be honoured to work on your behalf as a member of the Gwaii Trust Board.
Delina Petit Pas
It has been my pleasure to serve as your Director on the Gwaii Trust Board for the last 2 years. During this time I have listened to the needs that Central Graham Island residents have expressed, and I have strongly supported your applications to the Gwaii Trust. I have advocated for youth on your behalf. Some examples are: Port Clements Youth projects, Moresby outdoor youth camp, and the Rediscovery programs. As the voice for all residents of Central Graham Island, I specifically have encouraged other Directors to support the youth of these islands. Over the next term I want to be part of the already established Committee that will look at what educational/ training dollars are being spent specifically for training people on Haida Gwaii. I have advocated for this throughout my term because you have told me that Island residents know what kind of training they need to sustain their families and their communities. I want to work to facilitate further discussion in Central Graham Island about what our training needs are, so that we can effectively build the capacity of residents in our area and on the Islands as a whole. In this next 2 year term on Gwaii Trust I believe that I can accomplish what you have been asking for. My Business experience ,and the recent Community Economic Development training I completed through SFU gives me the necessary experience and skills to assist Central Graham Island residents in determining what they want to see happen with regards to job training. I have a strong sense of pride in my community, which includes all of Central Graham Island. I feel that Gwaii Trust’s role is integral to the economic, social and cultural development of our community, and that I would be the right person to represent and advocate for your needs at the Gwaii Trust table.