Edwina Nearhood: Speak up and vote, or shut up and don't


Civic elections are quickly approaching, and I'd like to take the next several weeks to touch on topics of interest as they pertain to the elections.

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The BC Patient Safety & Quality Council has a campaign going on called What Matters to You (WMTYBC). This campaign is meant to start conversations — when a health care provider starts a conversation by asking what really matters to a person they are caring for, it helps them build trust, develop empathy, and understand their patients. Ultimately, it improves the quality of care they provide.

I propose to the City of Fort St. John that it start its own What Matters to You campaign around civic-related topics. Here's an opportunity to do your part. It's time to take action and let the future civic leaders know what's important to you. You aren't allowed to complain if you don’t show up, if you don’t vote, and if you don’t get involved.

At this time the Community Development Institute is putting together a community survey – Your Voice Fort St. John. Please take the time to answer it by clicking here. This survey will help report the social determinants of our community. These are the soft parts of community.

I grew up in a small farming community north of Fort St. John. There was support of family, friends, and community leaders for children to grow and thrive. We were offered strong values that included the ability to work together to get things done. Even though I was raised by a single mother on a small income, I wasn't aware that we were poor. In fact, I likely had a better life raised on garden fresh and preserved foods, and farm animals with no hormones or antibiotics. It was this early start in life that has given me a huge appreciation for community.

How often do you hear people say they are from somewhere else? That they don’t have family here? My response is that everyone here is from somewhere else except a few of us lifers. It's much easier to build relationships when people have moved from somewhere else. Find your community. Fort St. John has something for everyone. If you doubt that, just show up at the Community One Stop registration, or watch the events calendar to find something to do or become involved in. Is it time for you to put forward some volunteer time?

I have had many discussions over the past weeks with people who I think would offer wisdom, integrity, and insight, and and be a good added member to council. I also think it keeps a mayor honest when they have won the race to earn their position. Any takers to make sure the mayor position is not by acclamation?

Please remember to get out and vote. Although there are six seats on council, you don’t have to choose six names on the ballots. Choose wisely. Choose the people that you truly think will speak to your needs of the community.

Conflict is a good motivator. Ask the candidates hard questions. Make sure our past council is accountable, transparent, and forthcoming to answer hard questions. Recognize when they are hiding behind systems in place, or point responsibility to another level of government. My roots tell me if something isn’t right, get involved, speak up, and work together to find the best solution for all.

What matters to me? Honesty. Integrity. Vision. Diversification. Entrepreneurship. Social responsibility and justice. Arts. Culture. Community. Emapthy. Caring.

What does your list of values look like when you are preparing to select the future of Fort St. John? Maybe you want to be a part of that team?

Edwina Nearhood is a life-long resident of Fort St. John, with 30 years experience in the appraisal industry. 

Key dates for voters:

Sept. 19 — Last day to meet 30-day jurisdiction residency / property ownership requirement for registering on general voting day, Oct. 20.

Oct. 10 — Required advance voting opportunity, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. at the Fort St. John Legion

Oct. 17 — Required advance voting opportunity, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. at the Fort St. John Legion

Oct. 18 — Special Voting Opportunities at Senior Care Facilities and Hospital

Oct. 20 — General voting day; 8 am to 8 pm at the Fort St. John Legion

Nov. 5 — Inaugural Council meeting at 5:30 pm with Oath of Office

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