Pipelines and Strawmen – UPDATED!

Sorry to be out of touch, I’m still on the steep part of the learning curve, and have a variety of tasks to get done, while trying to recover from one of the busier months of my life. All good stuff, just time consuming. Also still working on the post-got-elected plan a far as social media, and will have that worked out by the new year. Until then, I will still be writing occasional rants here as things bug me enough that I stay up late writing about them. Like this one.  

In rhetoric, there is an argument technique called “the strawman”. This is a logical fallacy where one reduces one’s opponents’ argument to a single ridiculously simple argument, then beats that argument to death. This is meant to make it appear that you have beaten your opponent’s actual argument, which might not be so weak. Except you are not beating your opponent, you are beating a weak and easily defeated parody of them; hence “strawman”.

There are a myriad of examples of this technique; if you at all pay attention to modern media-driven politics, it is hard to go through a day without hearing someone beating down the strawman version of their opposition. Unfortunately, the dumbing down of journalism, driven by the one-two punch of cost reduction (so fewer traditional media can afford to pay highly skilled professional journalists to do a proper job) and social media dominance (where the narrative is often reduced to a compelling photo and 140-character missives) only serve to push strawmen to the front of the argument. It is much easier and cheaper to push forward the extremists and their strawman arguments and feed the conflict that attracts eyeballs than it is to tell the full complex story of conflict that underlies so much of today’s political landscape.

As a consumer of media, and a person interested in politics as a solution to conflict, I find it useful as a first step to determine if the rhetoric you are hearing is an extreme position. All political arguments have extreme positions, and rarely (never?) is the solution found at those extremes. However, it is important to understand where those extremes are, if only so one can work their way between them, and see where in the vast field of grey between the black and white the solutions may be found.

So I went to Burnaby Mountain last week.I talked to people standing at the line, demonstrating their concern about the introduction of a crude oil pipeline to the Burnaby Mountain Conservation Area. I talked to one person I know well, who was arrested a few days previously for crossing the arbitrary court-ordered “line”, because (and I am paraphrasing based on previous discussions I have had with him) he feels that it is his moral imperative to protect his children’s future by taking whatever action he can to slow anthropogenic climate change. I also talked to a few other people of varying walks of life who showed up, some to see what was going on, some who were opposed to this project in particular, and some who had wider-ranging opposition to the political direction of the country, with this project being a local manifestation of this. There was a lot of variety of ideas in that crowd.

(disclosure: I actually know the scientists overseeing this drilling investigation on Burnaby Mountain from my time at SFU; we worked together, and I consider them friends, so I effectively knew people on both sides of the police tape!).

I found that visit more informative than reading the silly extreme arguments you might normally be exposed to by “responsible journalists” like those at the Vancouver Sun or Black Press. So I thought, just for fun, I could outline strawmen being deployed in the biggest political story in British Columbia right now, one from each side of the debate, so we can be clear on what the “extreme” position is, and waste less time arguing against those strawmen and instead spend our time more usefully mucking about in the grey in between.

Extreme Position #1: We need to immediately end all use of hydrocarbons, and natural resources extraction in general.

Extreme Position #2: Any act that curtails or slows Canada’s expansion of natural resource extraction and export using the current model will destroy our fragile economy.

These arguments are both, unfortunately, commonly used in “opinions” expressed by such mainstream media as our local PostMedia Newspapers of Note(tm).

The first may be held by a vanishingly small number of environmental activists, but it is implied in every social media (or other) comment that says (I paraphrase) “the protesters use nylon tents made from petroleum – therefore they are hypocrites”, or more subtly when one opines “the world needs oil, therefore we need to build this pipeline”.

The second is the natural counterpoint to the first, and is commonly expressed, sometimes rather indirectly, by varied groups from the Dan Miller to the Fraser Institute. In social media comments, this manifests as something along the lines of “BC’s economy has always relied on resource extraction” (which is not the least bit apropos to this pipeline project, but I digress).

I think (hope?) we can agree that these are the extreme outer points of the argument, and there is a world of grey where solutions will be found, and where the useful politics are. I see the middle ground as including a discussion of national goals are as far as energy and resource extraction, especially considering we only have one chance to take this stuff out of the ground and make money from it. We need to figure out how we are going to catch up to our major trading partners, the United Nations, the World Bank, etc. in our approach to Climate Change policy. We need to figure out what type of growth is sustainable, when the current pace is creating both labour shortages and ginormous profits, while corporate taxation hits an all-time low and basic services of government suffer for funding. I would even love for us to have a discussion about a national energy policy, just to find out if the approach taken by Norway, Iceland, or even the UAE, makes better long-term sense for the citizens of Canada than our current course. I suspect we would be well served to better isolate our economy from volatile hydrocarbon price shocks, and increase, not reduce, or energy sovereignty. I would also like to be confident that the long-term environmental consequences of these large and unprecedented projects are considered, that protections are in place where needed, and that the revenue generated by these project will fund these protections.

These are not “extreme” ideas, but are instead rational approaches that should inform good governance. But it is hard to fit those in a tweet, and short of the very few longer-form examples of journalism still around in Canada (mostly easily dismissed as the ramblings of intellectual elitists), these discussions are hardly occurring in the public realm. God forbid anyone raise them during an election.

Now, go back and read the two “extreme” arguments above, and ask yourself who is making those extreme claims? Note than one is being made by a small fringe of the environmental movement. The other is being made, today, by the government ruling Canada. You should be scared of both, but only one is a clear and imminent threat to good governance in this country.

Or maybe I’m just beating on a strawman.

UPDATE – There is nothing else to say about this long piece by one of our Province’s most unimaginative climate-change-denying industry apologists except to say it demonstrates clearly my point about the ubiquity of the silly “you need oil, therefore this pipeline” line of reasoning. Thanks Keith, I knew I could count on you to pull out a strawman and give it a good old fashioned thrashing!

10 things I learned.

As the campaign wraps up (I’m going to be way too busy to blog Friday, and a regulated communications blackout occurs Saturday), I thought I would wrap up by talking about the things I have learned this election. Some I knew already, but learned to view a different way, others were complete surprises. It was a great learning experience, and for the most part positive. I hope I did enough work to get it done, but the people will decide.

With no further ado, the Top 10 Things I learned this campaign.

1: You can’t do it all: I had dreams of what I would do this election. On-line interactivity (I could hardly keep up with the e-mail!), an “Ask Pat” booth (when did I have time?), weekly strategy sessions with my A-team (I ended up only having 3), pro-active issue management (ended up more reactive that I would have liked), practiced and smoothly delivered speeches (ugh). None of this took place.

The 4-month campaign time was a flurry of activity, early to rise to get to work, home from work, door-knock for a couple of hours, do some writing or planning, to bed very late, turn it on again tomorrow. I got to take some vacation time in the last two weeks, but there was still more than one night I went to bed a zombie. As a first-time candidate, the effort might not have been as directed as possible- there was a lot of learn-as-you go. I am happy with the way the campaign unfolded, but I will do it better next time, because I will have a better understanding of what is coming, allowing better planning.

2: People just want to be heard: Sometimes people just need to vent, and a politician arriving is a great opportunity for them. Especially when they have a gripe with the City (Pro tip: use caution when door knocking at a house with Stop Work Order taped to the door) they don’t care that you are not on Council now. Sometimes you don’t have the answer, but just as important, trying to make them happy by talking about solutions to their gripe may just irritate them. Instead you need to empathise with them. You need listen, and try to understand the core unfairness they are griping about. If you can demonstrate that you hear them, that is 90% of what they want.

3: People want answers: Notwithstanding the above, some people really want concrete answers. In the media or at the all-candidates events, you can sometimes talk around issues (“we have to do better at X”), but on the doorstep, people push you to provide tangible examples of what can be done, or clear explanations of why the simple answer isn’t so simple. People who know me know I love this stuff; hashing out ideas, sharing experiences, learning and teaching, listening and responding. These are the skills a Councillor needs, and the last 4 months on the doorstep have been great training.

4: Door-knocking is fun: This was very much my favourite time of the campaign. It is a bit of a hassle to set up with volunteers, weather, route planning, data collection, etc., and sometimes knocking on that first door is the last thing you want to do during a busy week or on a rainy night. But once you start knocking and talking to people, it is a lot of fun.

There are practical applications to door-knocking – you want to get sign locations; you also want to identify who your supporters are so you can get them our on E-day. Problem is I loved the conversation so much, those parts often suffered. I had a great 2-hour doorknocking session on Alberta Street in early November where I only hit 20 doors. For data collection, that is brutal (usually you can hit 60 to 80 in that time), but for my spirits it was my best day at the doors. At 20 doors I met 15 people who really wanted to talk about issues, and a half a dozen who were super engaged, and made me want to go for beers with them! My poor, bored volunteer was the only thing that made me move on to the next step!

5: Signs need a strategy: Yeah, I might have done this better. I have put a lot of signs out, but I have definitely not won the “sign war”. I spent my door-knocking time listening and learning in a variety of neighbourhoods, when I probably should have been what some other candidates clearly did: concentrate on the major streets hard-selling for sign locations. There are a few quiet streets where I had really good feedback, and the sign locations came to me, and I was appreciative of this support. However, as I saw the major streets filled with the signs of others, the three magic words of real estate (location, location, and location) came to mind.  I bought the right amount of signs, and I got them all out there, but I probably should have been more strategic with their location.

6: Teams are great: I was lucky enough to surround myself with incredibly talented and dedicated people this election, and many hands made for light work. They know who they are, and I have tried to express my appreciation as often and as sincerely as I could, but it won’t be enough. My campaign manager is genius, my graphics guy is a whiz, my financial agent is precise and dedicated, my data manager loves data, my dozens of door-knocking volunteers were cheerful and patient, the campaign office coordinators were hardworking, dedicated, and always on. They let me concentrate on connecting with people and developing ideas that I heard at the doorstep into policy concepts. They kept me connected and grounded. They kept their eye on the prize, and me pointed in the right direction. I hope I don’t let them down!

7: Stuff costs money: I have a really well financed campaign. It is actually a little surprising how much my budget was exceeded. All of the in-kinds and spending isn’t over, but I will spend about $20,000 this election (!), which is $5,000 more than I expected. Again, all of the totals are not in and these numbers are subject to change on the official declaration, but it looks like about $5000 of that will come from various CUPE locals and committees, $2000 will come from businesses in town, and the other $13,000 from individual donations from people across the City.

This means I was able to buy bigger ads in the local papers than I expected, I was able to buy a lot of lawn signs, I was able to do some web advertising, have a good web presence and set up a data collection back-end from my door-knocking to help get my vote out on E-day. I was also able to hire a great photographer and a great video editor, and other professionals to do things I would not have been able to do myself. As a first time candidate, it was unfortunately expensive and difficult to get my name out, I couldn’t rely on the type of name recognition that some long-standing candidates have. However, being recognized at the doorstep in November tells me it worked. In any election, those selling advertizing are the real winners.

8: The media control the message: I have been advised by a wise campaigner to never anger people who buy ink by the barrel. One must approaching criticism of the media with great caution. However, it is clear during this election one of the two local papers took an editorial position early and ran with it. In my opinion, they did so unfairly. They took an issue that no-one in my three months of door-knocking raised, and created a narrative where voters were warned about alleged “undermining of democracy”. For about week and a half, that discussion started to appear at the doorstep, unfortunately crowding out issues people were talking about before – traffic, the high school, spending, business development, the pace of growth and density. Fortunately, the allegations were easy to refute on the doorstep and on-line, people were quick to understand that some windmills were being tilted at, and discussion soon returned to issues impacting the future of the City. However, it was a powerful reminder that a local paper, even one who explicitly won’t endorse candidates, can shift the narrative with a single editorial decision.

9: People say untrue things: During a campaign people will stand up on a stage and say something to a crowd that is not true. Whether they are lending themselves a bit too much to hyperbole, or whether they are unable or refuse to accept reality, I cannot speak to their motivation. There are times during an event (and almost every hour on social media) one wants to hop up and say “Actually, that is not the truth”, or stronger language involving “bullcrap”. But you can’t, because it just looks terrible. It becomes a he-said she-said jumble that draws you down to their level. So you bite you lip, and stick to your own positive message, and you trust the voter to see through it all. Frankly it would be helpful if the media did the fact checking for you, but with 40 candidates spouting off for hours on end, that task would be monumental, and the burden of proof would fall on the media, not the generator of the terminological inexactitudes.

10: Keep it positive: Those last two points sounded like gripes, so the final lesson is that you cannot react to negativity. There were candidates this election who did nothing but point out the flaws of others, instead of giving people a good reason to vote for them. I think voters will see through that. When you dwell on the negative, you are not just telling people not to vote for a particular person, you are telling people not to vote, and that truly undermines democracy.Voting is a hopeful activity – it is something you do with a hope that it will make a positive difference, that the future will in some small way be better because you spent 2 minutes in a booth filling in circles.

So go vote, be positive about it, and know it will make a positive difference.

Remembering what I haven’t known

I have always had that strangely-Canadian Generation X respectful detachment from Remembrance Day. I proudly wear a poppy, I go to a Cenotaph or Memorial on November 11th, I show respect to the women and men in full uniform, but I recognize I don’t know what is in their head, and I’m cautious to include myself in their personal experience.

What I find most amazing about Canada at Remembrance Day is that these veterans and those we lost, fought and died overseas. Canada didn’t fight a revolution to become a free nation, and in almost 150 years of being a nation, we have never faced a serious threat of invasion (Fenian Raids notwithstanding). However, we have forged strong alliances with other nations across the border and across the oceans, and we have been quick to engage in the fight when we see our allies being attacked, their right to self-determination or the rights of their citizens being undermined. Sometimes because we knew we may be next if we didn’t take the fight to them, but more commonly because it was the right thing to do. Two World Wars, Korea, Cypress, Croatia, Rwanda, Afghanistan… the list is long of places Canadians went to protect people under threat, or simply to stand between belligerents while peaceful resolutions were sought.

I try to understand these conflicts, and the sacrifices made by individuals for the greater cause, but it was never personal for me. I have an uncle who served in Vietnam and some more distant cousins with military careers, and when I lived in the Mid-West, I made friends with a few people who eventually got called up and served in Iraq and Afghanistan. Thankfully, they all got back alive and well. So I have been, through luck and happenstance, distanced from the real impacts of war.

I never knew my Grandfathers, both died before I was born and I have very little knowledge about them. Writing this, it occurs to me I don’t even know their full names. It’s not that they were not mentioned in my household, but more that when I was growing up, my extended family was stretched all over Canada and the United States, so occasions to spend time together were limited, and talk of my Parent’s childhood was not a common subject around the house. I know both of my parents had difficult relationships with their fathers, but those are their stories to tell, not mine.

I knew my Mom was born just after her sister, at the beginning of WW2, and that their brothers were born well after; the narrative in my family was that gap was the time when my grandfather “went off to war”. I also know he struggled in his later life with things that sound much like what we would currently attribute to PTSD, but I am too far removed from that reality to know what the story really is.

What I never knew until this summer was his father’s fate. My parents spent some time in Europe this summer, their first time touring the continent, and my Mom sent us back this picture.

I now know my Great Grandfather was named Henry James Leavitt, he is one of the 11,285 people commemorated at the Vimy Memorial, and he never met his son who eventually went on to fight in the Artillery for the length of WW2, and came home changed.

This year, on Remembrance Day, I will be thinking about those who served to bring the freedoms we enjoy as Canadians to people they didn’t know. I will think about people who came back changed, those who did not come back, and the families that love them. May they all find peace.

Labour Council

As I made clear in my previous post, my “machine” comprises volunteers, friends, donors, and a diverse group of supporters who have made this campaign fun. I really hope I have the stuff to make it successful. But what about the New Westminster and District Labour Council? If it isn’t a “slate”, it isn’t a “party”, it isn’t an all-powerful shadowy cabal bent on power, what is it? 

*I need to emphasise here, I am not speaking on behalf of the Labour Council, nor have I asked their permission to print this or asked them to review this. Everything below is what I have learned from my experience as a first time candidate that has been endorsed by the Labour Council. Other candidates may have different views and different experiences, and I can’t speak for them.*

When I started thinking about running for City Council in the spring, I reached out to several people for advice, including my immediate support group, a few prominent local business people, some volunteers on boards around town that I’ve worked with, and some of the current Council. I also went to City Hall and had a meeting with the Mayor.

I asked basic questions: what’s it like? Is my understanding of the job accurate? Am I electable? Through all of these conversations, I received nothing but encouragement, and more than a little advice.

Several people advised me to send a note to the Labour Council to let them know I was considering running, and so I did. A few weeks later they sent me an application for endorsement. It was a survey similar to the ones I have filled out with the NewsLeaderRecordVancouver SunDogwood InitiativeAlliance for the Arts, etc., and not unlike the questions I am being asked at the doorstep: Why are you running? What is your history in the City? Why should people vote for you? What do you think are the City’s biggest issues? I thoughtfully filled it out, and a few weeks later I received an invitation for an interview. 

At the interview, it was more of the same. I was asked questions about the Pattullo Bridge (something I was happy to talk about!), about solid waste management (another topic I was comfortable with), about examples of my community service (an easy one), and about what my plan was to get elected- did I have a support team? Did I have any idea how to fundraise? Did I have any name recognition in the City? It was a friendly and non-confrontational discussion, and my impression coming out of it was they were mostly interested to see if I knew my stuff, was able to present myself as a rational and reasonable individual.

A month or more later, I was informed that I should anticipate receiving NWDLC endorsement, and that I should contact the other endorsed candidates to determine if we wanted to work together. I noted at the time that there are people that are endorsed by the Labour Council that are not members of labour unions, and there are people running in the election that are in labour unions but were not endorsed. Clearly, “membership” was not a primary selection criteria.

The other candidates and I arranged a meeting sometime in September, and discussed if there was anything we wanted to share resources on. I had already been out on the trail for about two months, and had already done a lot of the prep work, so it was an interesting discussion.

Did we want to share design services? (No, I have my own skilled volunteer). Do we want to share pamphlet printing costs? (No, I already have that worked out). Do we want to share the cost of an office? (Sounds like a good idea). Do we want to pool sign printing costs? (Yes! Darn things are expensive!) Do we want to run a phone bank for Election Day? (yeah, I’ll share that cost), Do we want to hire a staff for the phone bank? (No, I have enough volunteers). Etc. etc. At no step was I pressured to buy into anything I didn’t want to buy, participation was voluntary at every step, and the discussion was between me and the other candidates, no puppet-masters pulling strings here.

Of course, the endorsement meant that labour unions were more likely to provide funds to my campaign. As a proud member of CUPE, I primarily had access to CUPE funding, and up to now, that is the only union that has cut me a cheque. Fundraising is not completely over, but I estimate somewhere between 1/4 and 1/3 of my funding will come from Labour, the rest from individual donations. Did that money help? Absolutely. Was it essential to my running a strong campaign? Probably not. Besides, non-endorsed candidates had received money from labour in previous elections.

The third leg of the “Labour Slate” bogeyman is that somehow my independence as a Councillor is sacrificed by that endorsement. I can unequivocally say no member of the Labour Council has ever told me what to say on this campaign, nor have they told me how I will be expected to vote at the Council table. If anyone thinks Chuck Puchmayr,  Bill Harper and I are going to agree on everything at the Council Table because of our shared endorsement, they don’t know any of us very well. We all have our own ideas, and our own passions about the City, and I look forward to debating with them. Further, I have a five year legacy of writing my opinions, my ideas, and my vision for this City, long before I sought or received endorsement, and I stand by that record.

As for the fear that “Labour dominated” councils are monolithic and all powerful, pushing taxes up while writing sweet union deals? The evidence just doesn’t reflect that. Here is a table that shows the total Municipal tax paid per resident in the 17 Municipalities in the Lower Mainland, according to those radical lefties at the Fraser Institute. The red bars represent Municipalities where a majority of City Council was endorsed by their District Labour Council last election. I’m sorry, the correlation just isn’t there:


So instead of tilting at the windmill of “Labour Slates”, I encourage you to go to this page, and see what your neighbours in New Westminster are saying about my candidacy. I have always challenged people in this City to look past the rhetoric and the silliness, and look at the facts. I plan to bring that fact-based straight-forward approach to City Council. That is who I am, and that is why I have received endorsements from many people across New Westminster. I am proud that the Labour Council thinks I am a candidate worthy of endorsement, and I am proud of the other endorsements I have received from people I respect in the City’s volunteer, public service, and business communities.

The Machine

I’m surprised this is the story: that some portion of the 21 independent candidates running for council received endorsement from the New Westminster District Labour Council, like they have in every City in the Lower Mainland for decades. I’m surprised that for some reason this requires three stories and an Editorial in the same edition of a newspaper, all with rather sideways assertions of something untoward, from being unfair to undermining democracy, complete with a nefarious-sounding expression: “the Machine”. Everyone should, apparently, fear “the Machine”.

For a subject that is allegedly “front and centre in the community”, it has hardly been raised at the 1,500+ doors I have knocked on since August. Instead, people want to talk about the Pattullo Bridge and truck traffic; condo development, high rises, and attracting businesses to New Westminster; taxes, spending, and wages; community amenities like Canada Games Pool; and when we will see that high school. You know, actual issues facing our community.

However, as a candidate, it isn’t enough to say “that doesn’t matter”. It is my job to share my view of the issue with you. This is going to take two blog posts, because there is so much wrong in what is being inferred around the NWDLC endorsement. I am first going to talk about my campaign.

Disclosure: Is my campaign backed by a “Machine”? Absolutely! Let me describe this Machine to you:

I have an amazing Campaign Manager (not a member of a labour union, not a member of any political party), who understands how to get my name out, has a keen sense for the mood of the City, knows a lot of people in the City, and has earned (through decades of community service) the respect of the community. She has provided unbelievably good guidance, advice, and planning, and has been quick to call me out when I might be headed in the wrong direction. She is brilliant, dedicated, and effective – a serious “Machine”.


I have a great Graphic Designer who has taken my pencil sketches and vague ideas and created a clean, crisp, effective look for my signs, ads, webpage and pamphlets. A stay-at-home-dad and freelancer, he is not a member of a labour union, is not a member of any political party, is volunteering at strange hours to meet various deadlines, and has an amazing eye for design. The guy is a total Machine.



I have a sign coordination volunteer (a Machine with a portable drill!), an ad coordinator to keep up with sometimes-frustrating newspaper standards and guidelines (another organizational Machine), a data-management person who is helping with the management of my door knocking (a real database and census Machine). All of them volunteers, one of them is a member of a labour union (I think – I actually never thought to ask), and I have no idea if any of them are members of political parties. Same goes for the guy who took my photos and edited my video, and the great people who volunteered to take part in the video. Add to that the amazingly cool couple who made me neat little buttons as conversation starters, and people who have called me up and asked for signs on their yard. 

I have been door knocking since August, and every two-hour shift I have done includes a volunteer. I have had more than a dozen volunteers stand up and volunteer to go hit doorsteps with me, every single one of them a person I respect and want to have standing beside me at the doorstep, and every one of them has wanted to stand beside me on the doorstep and tell their neighbours that they support me. I set up a Doodle poll, sent out a call for volunteers, and I’m amazed how quickly people step up to fill the roles. Machines, all.


I had a fundraiser, and had more than 100 people show up on a Sunday evening to show support to my campaign. That room was an amazing cross section of New Westminster: labour activists, environmentalists, business owners, professionals, retired people and students, and yes, there were a lot of NDP supporters, but there were also Liberals and a few true-blue Conservatives. More than a dozen small business owners in New Westminster donated door prizes to make the fundraiser more successful, and local businesses provided the food and drink. Everyone had fun, and we exceeded our fundraising goals. Thanks to a team of 10 volunteers, it ran like a finely-tuned Machine.


Speaking of fundraising, I have had almost 100 different individual people donate to my campaign. Individuals from across the community: small business operators, union workers and non-union workers, managers, scientists, students, retired people, parents.


None of them asked for a benefit for donating to my campaign, except that I do everything I can to win, and keep being the person I am. Some people gave $20, some gave a few hundreds, but the amount doesn’t matter as much as their expression of belief in what I stand for and that I can do a good job. These “cogs” allowed me to have a well-financed campaign, better than I thought I might have. This allowed me to buy signs with a little colour splash, to buy ads in the local papers, to make my pamphlets two-sided and colour: the things that make a campaign look professional. I couldn’t have done any of this without them.

None of them donated to me because I was part of a “Machine”. They donated to me because I have interacted with them over the last decade as a volunteer, a community activist, and a vocal advocate for sustainable development and our community. 


In fact, every person I listed above has donated money or provided volunteer effort to my campaign for the same reason – they know me, and they believe in me. They have seen the work I have done over the last decade in New Westminster, from organizing Community Groups like the NWEP to delegating to Council on important issues and leading conversations about important topics on-line and in print. They started reading my Blog or following me on Twitter, and liked what they read. They saw me seek out and secure grants to help raise the new roof on the Curling Club, and they saw me show up on event day and help set up tables, then show up at the end to take tables down again. They saw me across the committee table at another meeting we were both suffering through because we knew we could make a difference in the City. They know I have been busting my ass for the last decade in this City, and they want to support me. Their support is incredibly humbling, and fills me with a desire to do right by them.

Now, I am not in this campaign to run other people down. I don’t have to, because I would rather run on my positive contributions, my work ethic, my commitment, and my ideas. But a few candidates in this election who have nothing positive to talk about as far as their vision for the City wish to reduce all of what I have said here to a meme about me being supported by a mysterious and shadowy “Machine”. Frankly, I find that insulting. Not just to me and my demonstrated dedication to this City, but to all of those people I’ve described who have volunteered and contributed to my campaign because they know who I am and what I stand for. Those people, they are my Machine.

As for receiving a Labour endorsement? I’m damn proud that the Labour Council also recognized the good work I have been doing in this City, and saw me as someone they could recommend to their members as a good candidate for Council. I will discuss that more in Part 2 of this blog post, in the next few days.