• JMac

Interesting questions from the campaign trail, Vol 1

Pictured: My kids and I helping with the monthly Antler River Rally Thames River cleanup on July 17 2022

I know, I know. I'm long overdue for a campaign update post. That will be put together as soon as possible. Short version: wow. In the meantime, I will be posting updates of interesting questions I get asked at the door, on the phone, via email, or through social media. Along with my answers. FIrst question that I would like to share my thoughts on is: "What is your position on female candidates and the need for more women leaders?"

Here’s my thoughts:

We need them.

We need a wealth of all experiences around the table.

“So why are you running?”I was then asked.

When I decided to run, it was to defeat the current (male) Councillor. I pondered running back in February, and attended the open information session on Zoom.

When the candidacy window was opening, I was way too busy with DCL, LPL, and Home and School Commitments to act right away. Then COVID hit our house. I began collecting signatures slowly once I got over COVID in May, and began visiting people in person. I am running for Ward 11 because I believe I can provide a positive change moving forward.

I’ve been encouraging my kids for years to set a goal and to see it through regardless of obstacles you face. Especially ones out of your control. Even though the landscape changed, I cannot compromise my own personal standard of leading by example. I won’t withdraw and not practice what I preach to my own children.

I am passionate about our community here in Ward 11, and I’m passionate about London as a whole. I strongly believe that we can do better. My past and current contributions to our community showcase this passion, and desire to do better. I want London to be a city that students flock to for a world class education, fall in love with, and decide to stay and raise a family here.

I recognize that women face challenges that I will not face in this campaign. I recognize my privilege entirely and fully.

I strongly believe that fair, democratic, well funded electoral races in which candidates have an equal voice and equal resources would benefit us all. We are far from that being a reality, but I recognize I can play a role in helping move closer towards it too.

So, I’ve taken a few steps:

- I’ve reached out to Skylar and promised a clean campaign totally on my own merits. I asked her to reach out if anyone is harassing her and I will stand up for her in the face of it. I'm not here for adversarial finger pointing and won't tolerate it in the Ward 11 race if directed at my opponent.

- I sent Skylar a personal donation, just as I have many other female candidates. I believe they all deserve all of the resources possible to run their campaign exactly as they envisioned it. This list also includes Mariam Hamou, Elizabeth Peloza, and Kelly Elliott in Thames Centre. We have strong women candidates locally, and they deserve our support.

- I’ve intentionally not asked a single female leader in our community to support or endorse my campaign. Many of these leaders I deeply admire and collaborate very well with, but I do not think it is a fair ask as a man running against a woman. I don’t think pitting relationships against personal values is a fair request on my part, and I have not made it. Had my opponents been other men, this would not have been the case.

Any support I’ve gotten has been offered and not requested.

I know none of this is traditional or in my best interest, but I’m a big proponent of practice what you preach. I will live the values and standards I hold myself and others to, even if it is at my own detriment. I'll be fine either way.

I’ll run a clean, open, honest and fulsome campaign at the grassroots level totally driven by my own abilities as a councillor,, and will only win if it’s because the community decided I was the best candidate. I will provide a safe environment for a female opponent to run against me, and I will run a race that will make my wife and daughters proud.

I’m happy to do my part to try to create and further an environment where more women are comfortable and supported joining, competing in, and thriving in elections. If I win, then I fully support measures that council needs to take in order to further create a more equitable environment in which women can thrive in public office, including moving meeting times forward for safety and childcare reasons, and continuing to move towards the reality that City Councillor in the 15th biggest city in Canada needs to be a full time job that pays enough for a single parent to support themselves and their children on one income. Our democracy and our future and the true meaning of equity all depend on it.

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