I grew up in West Kildonan and Garden City, grandson of immigrants who came to Canada in the early 1950s and started Miracle Bakery on the corner of Bannerman and Main, running it for over 20 years.
I am in the final year of my MA in Native Studies at the University of Manitoba, researching community perspectives on all-weather roads up the east side of Lake Winnipeg. I began to study Native Studies after co-founding Friends of Grassy Narrows, a solidarity group for the First Nation in Ontario seeking justice after years of violations of their rights to land and health, especially the mercury poisoning of the English-Wabigoon River system that has so adversely impacted the people’s health. Grassy’s recent court victory concurred with what the First Nation’s grassroots folk have been saying for years about the health of their forests and their treaty rights being violated.
My past employment includes working in schools as an educational assistant, public education on behalf of an environmental non-governmental organization, and working with youth as an environmental educator. In 2006 I founded the AdaMah’nitoba Project, which planned events and engaged faith communities in environmental issues based shared understanding of life as sacred, beyond of our over-emphasized differences.
We are facing a civilization-scale crisis going forward, one that is adversely affecting human health, creating divisive politics, hurting people economically, and depleting Earth of the basic resources and the biodiversity that has sustained us over countless generations. The principle of diversity has much to teach us going forward. By supporting biodiversity, celebrating cultural and religious diversity, diversifying our economy and energy sources, and by accepting our political diversity and working within it, we are bound to improve our quality of life and leave our planet in a better state than we found it.
I believe we must focus on cooperating to have our common needs met, namely: healthy ecosystems, meaningful work (both paid and unpaid), physical and mental health, and leisure time to contribute socially in families and in a thriving, hopeful community.
The people of St. Johns deserve nothing less than a dynamic community with an engaged MLA! Let’s move beyond the politics of attack and get to work on making our shared visions reality, democratically and cooperatively. Like the life of the boreal forest, the life of our community is mostly concentrated from bottom to top, in our neighbourhoods and communities. As your MLA I’d facilitate a dynamic coordination of solutions to our social, environmental, and economic challenges – starting with your input. You lead, I coordinate. Representation is a concept we can no longer put faith into.
I just moved into St. Johns recently with my partner Brittany, and we are expecting our first child in January. I always imagined I wouldn’t have a child until things started to improve in the world or until I lived in a community I could feel comfortable raising a child in. St. Johns is such a community but I still am greatly concerned about the world I will be sharing with this new life. I have been observing politics on all levels for many years and believe I have some ideas to share here. How the votes land is secondary. This is not sport nor war, but life in all its sweetness and disappointments…and we are trying to live in a good way and believe all Manitobans want our systems to reflect this wish we all share.