I launched my campaign amidst friends and supporters at the Koffee Cafe in Mill Woods. Since not everyone could be there, I'd like to share my speech with you.
Thank you for your support,
Welcome everyone, and happy New Year.
I want to first acknowledge that we are on Treaty 6 territory. Thank you for having us on this land. Thank you all so much for taking time on a Sunday afternoon to join me in launching my campaign. It’s good to see so many familiar faces, community leaders, Ward 11 residents, city residents, old and new friends. I am so excited to announce that I’m running to be your next Ward 11 City Councillor.
I am looking forward to the work we will do together over the months ahead.
Let me take a moment to tell you why I am running and what I believe can happen if I am a part of the next City Council.
I’m a community-builder. I’m running for City Council because our Ward and our city will be a better place for us to live if community-building is a priority for City Council. I can help to make that happen.
When I moved here to study health promotion at the University of Alberta, I worked with a northern First Nations community to improve health and wellness. I guided a process where community members came together to address the needs that were unique to their community. For example, it was important to the community that the program reconnect youth with their culture and traditions, so we built in ways for that to happen.
I want to bring this people-first engagement model to our city government.
Every day, we experience challenges to living in the Ward and in the city that could be improved by Council decisions based on community-building—with transportation, recreation, development, and more.
The key to successful community-building is treating everyone in the community as an equal partner. The answers to community issues should come from the individuals who call that place home. In that northern First Nations community, it was the community members driving the process; I worked with them, beside them. It was more than “public consultation;” it was a community partnership. This is how I see community-building that will lead to a stronger Ward and city.
But to create these partnerships, people have to feel that their voices matter.
When I went to City Council public hearings, I saw that my statements, along with others, actually did influence the outcome of decisions. Those experiences made me feel personally valued and connected to my city. It reminded me of an advertisement I once saw: “If you want to live in a city, move to New York, Toronto, or Montreal. If you want to impact a city, move to Edmonton.”
It felt as if my voice truly did matter in the shaping of this city.
But not everyone shares this feeling. I know people on my own block who do not feel that way. I am running for City Council so that Ward 11 residents and other folks in our city feel like they DO have a voice, that their concerns and ideas are being heard, and that their perspectives are valued.
Making sure people are heard is why I work at community-building everyday. As the president of the Edmonton Multicultural Coalition, I strive to give Edmonton’s multicultural communities a voice by connecting them to civic issues. Living in our neighbourhood of King Edward Park here in Ward 11, I work hard with my neighbours to create a sense of safety and community through our neighbourhood safety initiative.
Being part of these grassroots initiatives is what makes me a proud Ward 11 resident. For a young family like us, raising a baby girl who will one day go to school, make friends, and contribute to her neighbourhood, community connectedness is especially important to form the safety net needed for her well-being.
My campaign is rooted in three pillars: Connect. Engage. Transform.
If we are better connected as neighbors, as communities, and as a city to each other and to the world, the more meaningfully engaged we will be with community-building. This will provide the foundation for us to find common ground and continue transforming Edmonton into an innovative, healthy, and world-class city.
I am listening to Edmontonians from all walks of life to understand the issues that matter to them and what we can do to better address them. My campaign will be hosting house-listening parties over the next couple of months and I look forward to connecting with you, and listening to you as you share what matters to you about life in the Ward and in the city, from the state of sidewalks to the challenges of infill.
I am running a people-first campaign. I am running a campaign to excite Edmontonians about community-building. This commitment will be reflected at every level of the campaign, not only in the positions I take on issues, but also in the people who are contributing their time and skills to this campaign. We have an incredibly talented campaign team that mirrors the diversity of Ward 11 and Edmonton. My campaign will reflect the democracy I believe in, one that is closely in touch with the needs of Ward 11 residents.
To reflect these values of a people-first, democratic campaign, we will approach finances in a fresh new way.
I do not believe that corporations and unions have a place in funding political campaigns. The federal government agrees with me. Our provincial government agrees with me. But here in Edmonton, the vast majority of campaign funds for our incumbent Councillors come from corporations and unions. It is time to change the way we fund political campaigns in our city.
And we don’t have to wait for change to come from the top. We need to send a message to the people in our city that their voices are the ones we are listening to. That their voices are the ones that matter in community-building.
Which is why my campaign is only taking campaign contributions from individuals. We will not accept any donations from corporations or unions. I further pledge to provide publicly available updates of all campaign contributions over $100 throughout the campaign. I believe these are two steps anyone running for City Council should take to ensure that their campaign is transparent and accountable to all voters.
I challenge all candidates running for City Council to take this pledge with me: No corporate or union donations, and publicly available updates of campaign contributions on an ongoing basis.
Even though I’m not taking corporate and union donations, I am committed to listening to all perspectives and developing relationships with everyone in the community.
As your City Councillor, I’m going to change how our city government engages with Ward 11.
I am excited about working together with you to connect, engage, and transform Ward 11 and Edmonton into a safe and prosperous place for everyone.
Thank you all for joining me today.