by David Stibbe on June 13, 2019
On Tuesday May 28th our Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced that our government was buying the Trans Canada pipeline with the intention of making sure that it would eventually be built. This was despite massive opposition by residents of British Columbia, the Indigenous populations of the land it was to cross, and by a large percentage of Canadians who supported him in his election bid because we felt he was our hope in the fight against climate change. This following his abandonment of electoral reform, the SNC Lavalin scandal, and his continued studying of issues that impact Indigenous communities which in truth is the same political excuse used by every previous government to ignore the fundamentals of offering clean water, accessible education, and access to health care to our First Nations populations living on reservations, led me to the Green Party Web page. First, I read through the platform which surprised me in its common sense and pragmatism, I became a member. Then I took a look at the riding association and noticed that nominations were open till midnight. I decided then and there to take the first step in becoming politically active, something I had never been motivated to do before in my life. I truly thought this would be a slow process with some volunteering and learning this summer and hopefully the opportunity to take a larger role in the future. On June 12th I stepped into the Ottawa West Nepean nomination, I did not know a single individual in that room and I started to feel a little nervous. I truly expected to find some friends here from my extensive network of outdoor industry colleagues. There were three other candidates along with myself. All that I felt could represent our riding commendably. After speaking from the heart about my journey to that point, and answering a few questions from our riding association members. The organizers collected the votes and retired to the hallway to count the votes. At that point I truly expected to be eliminated and I would be able to cross the room so to speak and offer my support to the winning candidate. However this was not the case. I won the nomination! As is the Green Party belief, through a ranked ballot, I tied one of the other candidates as first choice but I was the overwhelming second place vote on the ballots. This was a complete surprise to me.
I was a little overwhelmed and surprised as can be seen in the above picture taken shortly after my win. After thanking everyone I realized I had not prepared for this emotionally or organizationally. I went home thinking that my summer off as an educator was no longer in the plans. I also knew I had to get support from my School head and my Principal. Lucky for me they were unconditional in their belief that I was doing a good thing. As well being a partner in a small award winning tourism business meant I had to talk to my partner about taking a full leave of absence. Lucky again as Joe Kowalski my business partner was just as excited as I was about this opportunity. This was truly a pivotal point in my life that upon reflection awakened something that I know I wanted, but had been suppressed by fear and the day to day demands of life, work, the universe and everything. As I reflected I realized that my life has always been of service to others, as a guide, a volunteer, an outdoor instructor in many sports, as an educator. This journey was simply the extension of a larger journey where hopefully I could help a greater number of people. In particular it would be an opportunity to serve the residents of Ottawa West Nepean a community I belonged to and cared about deeply.