Sunday, October 25, 2009

Vote for Larissa - Elect a youthful voice of experience to Moose Jaw City Council. A voice of reason, a vote for change.

E-day is October 28th!

Moose Jaw is a beautiful city and a place I’m proud to call home, but we must address our City’s problems. We need real solutions and positive change today!

Due to changes in our global economy, industry has left Moose Jaw at a fierce pace, leaving far too many people without adequate paying jobs.

Our youth are also leaving Moose Jaw, seeking more education opportunities and brighter career paths.

Our small businesses are over-taxed.

We have no bike lanes, no plan for urban sustainability, and we have a very divided community.

This is not how things are supposed to be in the Friendly City. We need to rebuild community spirit in Moose Jaw, and we need to restore democracy on City Council.

I love this city because of its natural beauty and caring people, and because of the great potential our city has to become a vibrant and healthy community for the children of today, and tomorrow. I was married this summer, and my husband and I have chosen to stay in our home city of Moose Jaw to build our future. My commitment as a local activist and politician has always been to the people of Moose Jaw, first and foremost. I have gained much experience in recent years, and as a Political Science Student, I have gained great insight into the inner workings of our complex political system so that I have the ability and the necessary knowledge to get things accomplished as your Councillor. Sound fiscal management and restoring democracy are main priorities I will focus on. We need positive role models for our children in government, or they too will become apathetic young voters and disenchanted citizens.

If the right decisions are not made now, future generations will pay.

City Council must develop and implement a comprehensive plan for urban sustainability. For more on urban sustainability, including improved public transportation, a citywide program for recycling and composting, maximizing energy conservation throughout the city, more community gardens, a permanent farmers market for the purchase of locally produced food, bike lanes, a car share program, well-maintained sidewalks and walking paths, and ending urban sprawl while rebuilding core neighbourhoods.

In addition to supporting locally owned and small businesses, to revive our local economy we must foster the creation of green jobs by taking measures on City Council that will attract energy conservation and renewable energy industry to Moose Jaw. We can set an example for the rest of the province by meeting our energy needs through renewable energy sources and fully utilizing energy conservation methods. Energy retrofitting and the installation of decentralized renewable energy, such as solar panels, must be done at the local level, meaning the creation of many new jobs. And more students will come to Moose Jaw seeking training opportunities in Saskatchewan’s first potential off grid city.

The City also needs to lobby and partner with other levels of Government to (re)connect Moose Jaw with major centers and surrounding communities via passenger train. As the winter approaches, far too many commuters will have to face dangerous road conditions. Our close proximity to Regina and other cities is an asset that we are not fully utilizing.
As a first step, the City must work with STC to improve commuter bus service between Moose Jaw and surrounding centers, especially for students who live in Moose Jaw but attend the U of R or SIAST in Regina. As one of these students, I know first hand how inadequate public transportation for commuters between Regina and Moose Jaw is. This is adding to the ecological footprint of our city and to the gas bills of many commuters who travel between our two cities.

An important role of City Council is lobbying other levels of government to improve the lives of the people of Moose Jaw. This includes the greatly important task of lobbying the provincial government for critically needed hospital upgrades. As a dedicated and experienced activist, I will be a strong and capable voice for a hospital that is capable of serving the people of Moose Jaw with excellence. I am an experienced, well known, and respected lobbyist at the provincial level (and well known by provincial media), and I will ensure Moose Jaw is not ignored when the health of our citizens is at stake!

Sound fiscal management is also incredibly important. The City must undertake a comprehensive overview of our current fiscal operating expenditures to see where money is being spent inefficiently. More efficient spending will allow improved city services and infrastructure upgrades without increased taxation. Once this has been done, City Council must market Moose Jaw as a great place to raise a family and own a business.

To build a strong and healthy community, we must start by restoring democracy. We need a City Council that will set an example for the rest of Moose Jaw by being respectful and working together. In the many Councils and Committees I have been a part of, we aim to operate on a basis of consensus for the decisions we make. This means fostering adequate discussion between differing opinions until all those involved feel like their voices have been heard. Because we make our decisions using this method of striving for consensus, we are able to proceed on any issue with greater awareness of its potential problems, and we are also able to work together as colleagues instead of the great polarization we’ve seen happen amongst Councillors on the last City Council. As your Councillor, I will to bring this skill of consensus-based decision making to Moose Jaw City Council. I will represent your voices and raise your issues, because in a democracy, the people are in charge.

I will be a strong voice on Council for

-- Sound fiscal management

-- Safe and local food initiatives

-- Affordable housing

-- Locally owned & small businesses

-- Urban sustainability

-- The creation of Green Jobs

-- And Restoring democracy

On October 28th, I ask you to choose a voice of reason, and a vote for change.


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