Tofino will elect a new mayor and two new municipal councillors on March 6. In an effort to keep the community informed of their choices, the Westerly News has asked each candidate a question and published their answers in the newspapers leading up to the March 6 byelection. For this week’s final question, each candidate was asked, ‘What differentiates you from your fellow candidates?’ Responses were limited to a maximum of 300 words. Below are the responses from Tofino’s three mayoralty candidates: Dan Law, Andrea McQuade and J.J. Belanger. The order they appear was selected at random.
First and foremost, my partner and I have lived, worked and raised our family here for the past two decades.
I’ve started and finished a career here as a frontline health care worker. I’ve worked in Tofino General Hospital and in First Nations Community Health. I know what makes a community healthy, vibrant and resilient: secure housing, stable incomes, childcare, accessible quality education and social services and amenities.
I’m a homeowner. Every municipal fiscal and community development decision impacts my family directly. I’m a small business owner and successful artist. My work can be seen throughout North America as well as in the UK, Europe and Australia. I know firsthand the unique opportunities and challenges facing local burgeoning artists, artisans, and creative entrepreneurs. I endeavour to share my success with my community, local businesses, and fellow artists.
For twenty years I’ve dedicated my personal and professional time and energy to supporting our community. I’ve directed recreation and adventure programs, summer camps, arts projects, theatre productions, and national and international youth trips. I’ve lead with integrity, dedication, commitment, and care. My goal has always been to create and implement projects and programs which foster real change.
While completing my Masters degree I also cared for complex ventilated quadriplegics. By day I studied philosophy, theology, history, and art, while at night I cared for those most in need. A healthy community cares for its most vulnerable.
My determination to tackle Tofino’s greatest issues remains grounded in gratitude for what we have. We live in a beautiful biosphere, we have a strong economy, we have true community spirit. When times get tough, our community delivers.
Finally, I love fostering and leading a thoughtful, dynamic, and effective team.
I’m proud and honoured to stand for mayor. We will meet the challenges. We will succeed.
I know that each of us offer unique backgrounds and viewpoints, so I’d like to focus on what other people have told me are the strengths and skills that I have demonstrated and will bring to this position.
I’ve been regularly recognized for my ability to see big commitments through to actionable, real change for the community. Long term planning is key and something I have worked hard at on Council, but small, meaningful changes add up—I’m proud to have a track history of finding ways to support the community when they need it most.
I am known to be a bridge builder across government, industry, and community. I have worked tirelessly to build relationships through committees, volunteering and community outreach, which has translated to informed conversations at the Council table and beyond.
I am committed to being prepared and informed. I take time to meet with community members and staff to understand problems and solutions, and look to our community and beyond to understand the options available to us and the best way forward. I know that my viewpoint is not the only one, and I am committed to lifting up people, ideas, and solutions as we find them.
In this Council term, I have skillfully moderated informed, thoughtful debate. Seven people often have seven different ideal outcomes—I believe that ensuring respect for process and for one another ensures the best discussion and outcomes for the community.
Last but not least, I’d be remiss if I didn’t extend a heartfelt thank you to The Westerly, Andrew Bailey, all candidates and everyone who has read along! I know that engaged communities make informed voting choices, and providing this platform to all Candidates has been incredible for me and hopefully valuable to any and all voters. Thank you!
In addition to a very strong work ethic, people describe me as having great decision-making abilities, integrity, and honesty, with a caring and compassionate passionate personality.
I’m also a straightforward person that does not like to beat around the bush on action items that need to be dealt with in short order. If Tofino locals are happy with our current community direction, want to stay with the status quo, and are satisfied with the same old, same old, then I’m not the person for this role. If the community wants to start dealing with our immediate issues and moving the needle in the right direction, then I’m the person who will do just that.
No disrespect to anyone, however the fact is that continuing to run Tofino the same way that it’s been governed in the past is not sustainable. Which is ironic given our region is part of a United Nations sanctioned Biosphere that’s governed by sustainable development practices—and we are fast becoming non-compliant—yet we continue to promote Tofino’s “eco-culture and biodiversity”?
From lack of development infrastructure to lack of water, we are bursting at the seams and we are running out of time. Which means we need a reality check, a multi-phase plan, and governance that is more action than talk.
While I’m not a politician, and this is my first time running for public office, what I am is an effective leader with board governance expertise and over 35 years of experience behind me. I’m in this Mayoral race to help get Tofino moving towards a brighter future as a strong, sustainable and resilient community.