Archive for ◊ November, 2008 ◊

• Thursday, November 20th, 2008


So, in case you were wondering about how I got this website up in just a couple of days, I just wanted to say a big thank you to Eye For Detail Photography (Trent Ernst). Trent took the picture of me at the top of this page , and did the hard work putting the site together.

Eye for Detail is having a Christmas Portrait special, but it’s only on until the end of this month. If you’re interested, go check them out at

• Thursday, November 20th, 2008

This is just a big thank you to everyone who voted. I’m looking forward to the next three years, and look forward to representing you on council.

Just so you know, this doesn’t spell the end of While the posts might be less frequent, I still do believe that this blog is a place to discuss our vision for the community. Feel free to post here, or send me an email with your comments and concerns.

Thanks again and be good to each other.

• Sunday, November 16th, 2008

It was a long wait but the results are in.  I’m sure everyone has heard , but here are the results…..


Larry White 473

Mike Caisley 370


Kelly McManus 634

Rob Mackay 614

Darwin Wren 597

Doug Beale 593

Don McPherson 469

Jerrilyn Schembri 457

Brenda Holmlund 408

Rose Colledge 374

I just want to congratulate everyone for the time and energy they put into this campaign.

Brenda and Rose have served the community well. Thank you ladies for all you have given to this community.

Thank you to everyone who got out and voted today.

• Friday, November 14th, 2008

Tonight I attended the Open House of Mike Caisley. Caisley stood at the front and spoke for 50 min, and then held a question and answer period. I took a digital recorder and all bolded italic comments are direct quotes from that recording.

Caisley began by talking about the Chamber of Commerce All Candidates Forum and said that he was not happy with the forum.  He felt he was unable to give his speech at the forum so he gave both his one minute speech (which actually lasted just under three minutes) and his 5 min speech (which in effect was actually over ten minutes long) tonight.

In his one minute speech Caisley commented about special interest groups:

“It means ensuring that special interest groups those few that make the most noise or those that apply the most pressure are not successful in their attempts to gain a more personal benefit…There are no exceptions to this commitment…

The question was asked later on by Erin Hanna,

“Could you please define what a special interest group is and give us an example? ”

The Mayor’s reply: ” I think the TR Arts Council is a special interest group.  I think the Tumbler Ridge Museum Foundation is a special interest group I think that, ah, the Legion is.  It means that they have specific interests and specific things that they are trying to accomplish and that’s great. When it comes to council, you try to provide as much assistance as you can.

Then Erin explained the three pillars of tourism in Tumbler Ridge which are arts, paleontology and outdoor activities.  “Are you personally, never mind the Council, are you personally behind tourism because you just called two of the groups that are going to bring tourism to Tumbler Ridge special interest groups and earlier you told us you wouldn’t support special interest groups.” 

Caisley “I didn’t say that”.

Erin “You seem to have trouble remembering your comments.”

Caisley “Let’s not be ridiculous here.  We have special interest groups in our community here and that’s not bad.”

In the five minute speech Caisley went over the removal of covenants and the dismissal of Lonnie Miller, and the cost thereof.

This is an easy platform to stand on because much of the information the public has been given on these issues is from a Caisley perspective which meet his objective which he announced  shortly after the CAO was let go… which was to do everything in his power to ensure that this Council is not re-elected.

The second point he talked about was the relationship between staff and council: “staff is mistreated by council and it is happening on an ongoing basis“.

To my knowledge, I have never mistreated staff and I am offended by this blatant accusation.  If blanket accusations are being made, you should probably ensure that the blanket covers all accused. In fact, when I was elected, I was instructed not to talk to staff at all, and that all communication should go through the CAO. If staff has found me stand-offish, this is why, but that certainly does not qualify as “mistreatment.”

A little later in his speach, the mayor promised to “continue to conduct open town hall meetings.

I must admit that this one shocked me because of his use of the word “continue.” Council has asked for a town hall meeting many times and have been turned down.

Next, there were several statements written out onto a flip chart that Caisley wanted to address.

The first being “Stolen Election Signs: Caisley and family” “Now, Excuse me, I don’t know if you saw the article on the front page of this ,ah, paper. And the fact that my competition and so forth have decided to take this on.  And the fact that he got all the coverage and so on.  That’s fine and that is a very important topic. Now, I didn’t get one phone call from Lorraine Funk, not one. To say “Hey Caisley, did you steal those signs?” Not one. I would have said to her, “No I didn’t.”  “Did your son steal the signs?”  Not that I know of, I asked him and they said no.”  This line of joking went on to name the grandchildren and his wife.  “That’s all she had to do was to ask me.” He then said that signs are expensive and asked why would he steal the signs.

There were a couple of issues surrounding staff members using district property for personal use.  This is simply not true. Next was the issue of polls being set up at the mines.  This was a decision passed by council upon the recommendation of Kim Isaak.

Last was the question, “Do you have to vote for seven people?

My answer to this question: definitely not.  Vote for those you want in. If you vote for people you are unsure of, you could be knocking out people you want in.

“New Councilors, now I want to talk about them. I have invited all of the new councilors who are running, that if they wanted to say a few words tonight I would be happy to accommodate that because I think that it’s very, very important.  We have Mr. Rob Mackay and we have Mr. Darwin Wren who are in attendance here. And I wanted to give them that opportunity. And again, I’ll ask them if they want to say a few words.

Ah, I am, you’ve heard me perhaps talk about it. I believe without any hesitation that we need a change.  And I gave my word to these four candidates that I will do anything I can to promote their success and their platforms to be elected as council.  I make it clear that this is not a slate, this is not a club where we have all sat down and strategized, saying you vote for me and I’ll vote for you.  It’s not about that, no.  These are four individuals who want no part of that, nor do I. These are four individuals who I have also said to I’m going to vote for you and I’m going to promote people to vote for you whether you like it or not.  Because I happen to believe that with the election of those four and myself we would be able to break the back of the club that is there now and be able to move our community forward.  Of that I have no doubt whatsoever.  So in terms of, of, of, promoting that, I am happy that they have put their names forward and ah, I think that they will do very, very well and certainly in discussions that have taken place, they are well known in our community as well, they will do just a superb job and that was coming back from the feedback that we will promote each other, that is not the case.”

Darwin Wren was asked to speak.  He said that he had attended both Larry White’s Open House and now this one.  He is attending the open houses so he can gather the most information he can before he marks his ballot.  He has no allegiance to anyone.

Rob Mackay said that he has been a long time resident and he feels that council has fallen of the tracks somewhere along the line and on the sixteenth he hopes he is there to put it back on.  He is willing to work with anyone, but he thinks it it very brave of Mr. Caisley to stand up and address the issues and these are qualities that he believes we do need in a Mayor.

In my opinion, this meeting was one of the most destructive and damaging things that Caisley has done to date. He has basically said that if he gets elected, it will once again be a divided Council. But where is the division? Where is the thin edge of the wedge? Are the current members of council a “club”, using their political power for their own personal gain? The mayor would have you believe so, and has stated that he is going to “break the back” of that club.

And so I ask once again, where does the divisiveness lay?  Who doesn’t play well with others? Is it the council, the so-called club?

The mayor calls it a club. I call it a team. A group of individuals who have come together for the good of the town, who are trying to act on the will of the people. Who are trying to bring the town together, trying to do what’s best for the people of the community. And if he is arguing that he is not a part of that team, then the question needs to be asked: who is he playing for? Whose interest is he looking out for?

When I ran for mayor four years ago, my slogan was “what matters to you, matters to me.” That wasn’t empty rhetoric. This town has been my home for nearly 25 years, and I have invested in it. I am committed to it. I did not run for council for the money (I could probably make more picking up bottles from the side of the road). I didn’t do it for the power (sitting on council is not a position of power, but of submission, of putting yourself at the collective will of thousands of people). I didn’t do it for fame and adoration (if you think that being a town councillor earns you the respect of others, think again.) I did it because I care about Tumbler Ridge and want to see it fulfill its potential.

Tomorrow, the residents of Tumbler Ridge will be going to the poles to vote. If you are voting, don’t just do it out of a sense of civic duty. Don’t go in there with the attitude that the band changes but the tune remains the same. Elect people who will represent you. Who will listen to you and respect you. And who will work together with you to build this community, not tear it down.

Remember…be good to each other.

• Thursday, November 13th, 2008

Last night I had the privledge of attending Brenda Holmlund’s Open House.  What a lovely event.  The room was tastefully decorated with lilies, local artwork and friendly faces.

Brenda spoke of sustainability and green initiatives, she spoke about community and that we need to work together to see our town move forward.  She allowed all other candidates who were in attendance an opportunity to speak and then she answered questions..  Over all it was a respectful, tasteful and enjoyable evening.

Last Saturday I had the opportunity to attend Rose Colledge’s Open House.  It was another lovely evening.  Those in attendance were invited to join the conversation and share their ideas and opinions.  Again, the atmosphere was one of respect and building.  There were lots of questions and lots of ideas shared.

Early on in the campaign I attended Larry White’s Open House at the Legion.  Larry’s Open House was once again respectful, although there were some tough questions.  I was most impressed by Larry’s history of serving his country in the Navy.  I believe that a person who has made a career out of serving their country  has the character to serve this community well.  The questions although tough, were answered with sincerity and honesty.

Tonight I will attend the final Open House of this election trail and listen to the vision of Mike Caisley.  I will let everyone know how this turns out tomorrow.  I am interested in hearing what Mike plans to do to ensure that things begin to move ahead.  I am interested in hearing his vision for the future, not his regrets over the past.

At Brenda’s Open House last night, one of the examples she used was of a farmer plowing his field.  When he is plowing, he looks straight ahead, if he begins looking backwards, he loses site of where he is going.

Here briefly is my vision:  I would like to see Council begin this term by looking forward.  I would like to see 5, 10 and 25 year plans put in place so that we have goals to work towards financially, operationally, and growth wise.  If you don’t set goals, you don’t move forward.  I would like to see more community involvement.  We must become sollution focused, not problem driven.  It is too easy to deal with issues as they arise and not look forward and make use of preventative measures.  This has happened with various infrastructure issues in Tumbler Ridge that we are currently dealing with and we must not let it happen again.  We must begin spending the majority of our time looking ahead, so that we don’t continue to make the mistakes of the past. I would like to see a corporate review done to make sure that we are on the right path.

Thanks again for dropping by,  make sure to vote Saturday and as always…be good to each other.


• Wednesday, November 12th, 2008

So, today was a Policies and Procedures meeting, held at noon.  The agenda was short and the meeting lasted less than an hour.  On the agenda was the Christmas Hamper Food Drive that Mayor and Council will be taking part in.  The majority of the meeting was dealing with the new bylaw regarding Mayor and Council stipends. I want to thank Marie, Scott and Lynn for taking on this task and coming up with really strong recommendations.

While I’m in the thanking mood, I just want to say thank you to Trent Ernst, my brother, at Eye for Detail Photography and Design who has done a lot of work to make this site and my handouts look good.

What I spend hours trying to achieve, he does in a couple key strokes on his Mac.

Thank you also to Bernadette and Colette, who help in too many ways to name.  You two take such good care of me.

And I couldn’t do all that I do without my family’s support.  Thank you for believing in me and picking up the slack when I am off and running.

There, now that the mushy stuff is out of the way, I just want to remind everyone to come out and vote on Saturday.  Remember, the future of Tumbler Ridge is in yoiur hands and as always, be good to each other.

• Friday, November 07th, 2008

There are, when you get down to it, two styles of politics at the municipal level.  Tonight people were given a chance to see both styles in action.

There is the old style of politics, which is based on confrontation and political beliefs.  This style is built on attacking the other people’s position, of tearing down, and far too often, of ad hominum attacks. This style of politics is based on mistrust and of overwhelming or bullying the opposition into agreement or at least submission.

This style of politics is still practiced at a federal and provincial level and maybe there is a place for it. But at the municipal level, especially in a town as small as Tumbler Ridge, it can rip the community apart.

The second style of politics is a more modern style.  It is based on creating a shared vision for the community and working together to build consensus.  This style of politics respects other people’s visions and ideas, working together as a team to do what is best for the community.

The trouble is, these two styles of politics don’t mix.  Old style politics reject this new style of politics.  Finding middle ground is difficult. And it’s one of the ironies of this new school of politics that, while it is all about consensus building, it is nearly impossible to build consensus between the old and the new.

I want to take a minute to thank the Chamber of Commerce for all of their hard work.  They did a fantastic job of setting the forum up.  Thanks also to the moderator who managed to keep everything moving along when ever we got off track.  And thanks to all of the candidates who put their name forward for Council,  everyone did a good job tonight and I appreciate the respect you all showed.

Larry, good job! I appreciated your honesty and integrity. i know that your years in the Navy have given you leadership skills that would serve the Mayoral position well.  I also appreciate that you are retired and have time to give to the position.

Mike, I appreciate you being so upfront about how you feel, I know that you meant everything you said in your speech.

But most of all I want to thank everyone who took the time to come and hear what each one of us stands for.  There were maybe 200 people there tonight and there are over 4000 people in town.  That means there are a lot of people who didn’t get the opportunity to hear what was said.  So, tell people what you heard, who you think will make a good Mayor and who will be the most effective on Council.  Make sure that everyone you know gets out to vote.  We can find rides for those who require transportation and as always…be good to each other.

• Thursday, November 06th, 2008

Part 2

There were a couple of variance requests that were passed. One for a family with a son who requires a larger entrance for wheelchair accessibility, the second for a permit to install a propane dispenser on TR Lumber property. Both variances were passed.

Council then endorsed a grant application of $25,000 to the Community Health Promotion Fund which focuses on healthy living and physical fitness.

We also adopted the 2008 Tourism Plan.  You can see this document at Town Hall.

The next issue, once again, involved several members of the Saddle Club asking who signed the agreement with the District to allow the vet to be on Saddle Club Property.  The answer was the President of the Saddle Club on behalf of the Board of Directors.

The final item was dealing with the possibility of working with industry to help  establish a dental practice in Tumbler Ridge.  Direction was given to the EDO to look into this matter.

Councilors Business:  The majority of Council attended the Embridge Open House.

I spoke out regarding a email that the Mayor read in the previous meeting of Council.  The email from a private citizen and was not meant for the Mayor or Council.   I do not believe that emails sent by a private citizen should ever be read out in Council chambers without the consent of that individual.  I asked that it be noted in the minutes that I was in disagreement with this letter being read out.  I also brought up ESS and the fine job that is being done by the ESS volunteers in Tumbler Ridge.

Councilor Holmlund congratulated the Lakeview Credit Union on their opening and the use of carbon neutral materials in their renovations.

Councilor Colledge asked about the ESSA membership, whether it had been paid.

Councilor White said that he had volunteered as Hannibal at the Haunted House held from 6-9 on Halloween Night.

• Wednesday, November 05th, 2008

Hello again,

Here are my notes from the Council meeting last night.  I will do them in two parts because of the length.  Again, this is just how I saw it. I didn’t take minutes, so it is just what the Council meeting looked like through my eyes.  I want to begin this by quoting the Mission Statement and it will be a part of what I hope to say at the All Candidate’s Forum tomorrow:

“Council is committed to excellence in government that reflects our citizens’ interests, values and goals.  We will strive to deliver quality public services in a proactive and responsible manner while ensuring our objectives are clearly communicated to our citizens.  We will strive to strengthen and diversify our economy by balancing public safety, industrial development, environmental responsibility and sustainability.

To begin, this mission statement is something I take very seriously, if it is to be called a mission statement, then it has to be used as a basis for all of Council’s decisions and actions.

On to the meeting.  The Mayor opened the meeting and asked if there were any changes to the minutes of the October 21st meeting.  Councilor White asked to have the wording “Correspondence from Grizzly Valley Saddle Club” be changed to some members of the Grizzly Valley Saddle Club.

Next Council passed the motion  to close the street from the Tumbler Ridge Royal Canadian Legion to the Tumbler Ridge Senior Secondary School on November 11, 2008 from 10:15-noon for the Remembrance Day parade.  Council also declared November 6-12 Veterans Week.

Following that Lynn Way and Marie Therriault made a report on Council Remuneration.  Earlier this year Lynn, Marie and Scott Trim formed a committee to review Council Remuneration.  These were their findings.

Lynn recommended:  Mayor and Council hould be making every effort to use the town vehicle to keep costs down.

That if a councilor or Mayor takes a leave of absence for personal reasons (for a period to be determined) they should not receive pay (sickness or injury exempt)

Attending functions, conventions: determine who really needs to go in regard to nature of event and portfolio.

At the end of a councilor’s term, if they know they are not running in the next election, should not attend UBCM

Mayor and Council should present proper reports if attending a seminar, conference, etc.  Would like to see these available to public.

Marie agreed with much of what Lynn recommend and added that Council spends a lot of time doing the job. Currently Tumbler Ridge’s Mayor is among the highest paid (3rd in the survey group) and Councilors are currently on the lower end (9th in the survey group).  The groups recommendations can be seen online at the Districts website or at Town Hall.

Next was Correspondence:

Tumbler Ridge Senior Secondary School issued an invitation to Council to attend their Remembrance Day ceremony on November 7th.

Epcor asked Council for a Letter of Support for their Wind Project

2010 Legacies Now, Age Friendly Community Planning Grant (more information available in the agenda)

Grizzly Valley Saddle Club: it was determined that there was nothing more to discuss regarding this issue.

Bylaws: The five year plan was passed and the first two readings of the Council Remuneration and Expenses bylaw was read.

Personal Comments

The Saddle Club letters have been an on going issue.  The letters were sent to the Mayor and he made the decision to present them to Council in a public meeting rather than speak privately with the individuals involved.  I believe this is the third or fourth time they have been brought up.  I am hoping this is the last time we see these letters at Council as they aren’t, in my mind,  a Council issue but rather the issue of the Saddle Club.

Part 2 will follow

• Monday, November 03rd, 2008

I just wanted to give a quick reminder on dates you might want to remember:

Tomorrow night, November 3rd, Tuesday, is the regular meeting of Council.

This Wednesday is the All Candidates Forum at 7 PM.  I encourage everyone to get out and listent to what your candidates have to say.

On Saturday, November 8th is Rose Colledge’s Open House, which takes place at 263 Peace River Crescent from 2-7PM.

Thursday November 12th is Brenda Holmlund’s Open House at the TR Community Centre, 7:30 to 9:30, Room 5.

Wth less than two weeks before the eletion, time is running short.  Ask questions, listen and, on Novemeber 15th, VOTE.