• Friday, November 05th, 2010
We live in a country that is supposed to be run by the people. The people who form our government are ordinary people, just like me and you. I am not royalty, nor do I assume that I should be elected to office by some divine right. People will chose to vote for me because they feel that I will be the best person to carry their concerns to Ottawa.
When I say I don’t come into this with opinions written in stone doesn’t mean that I come as a tabla rasa, as a blank slate. Rather, I come into this knowing that my job is to be your voice. If all I am doing is speaking for myself, then I am not doing my job. I am not representing the people of this riding, I am representing Jerrilyn Schembri.
Of course, not everybody has the same idea, or says the same thing. A diversity of opinions, and the freedom to hold those opinions is one of the most important principles that this county is formed on. But to go to Ottawa speaking everyone’s opinions? That would be truly naive to believe. My job as representative of the riding, then, is this: to take and collect all those ideas which are voiced by the people of the riding, all those differing opinions, and to come up with the best position for the riding as a whole,  looking at what is best for the family, our diverse communities and of course, our country.
Unfortunately, this means that certain ideas won’t be the ideas that represent the majority of people. Does that mean that these ideas won’t be listened to?  Again, no.
Here’s the problem. We, the people are often too quick to give up our voice in our own governance. Every four years, we look up to see the state of the country, do our democratic duty, then go back to our own business to let our duly elected officials do what they’re supposed to do.
In a lot of situations, that’s okay. But too often, people feel that they have no voice. That their concerns are not being heard. And that’s not acceptable.
At the heart of what I do is the idea of communication. Indeed, communication and community are built on the same root word, and you can’t build a community, you can’t build a country, without communication.
I am working at improving the lines of communication both between myself and the people of this riding, but also to allow people within the riding to discuss issues with each other. Some of this involves modern tools—email, facebook, twitter, etc. However, sometimes it’s as simple as listening, and that is what I am here for. God gave me two ears and one mouth for a reason. So feel free to email me. To join the facebook group. To start discussions and dialogues. And I know that by talking to one another , we can change things for the better.
This brings me to a story…a story that I believe represents community, represents people working together to build community.
Last week I had the privilege to attend the grand opening of the new arena in Buick.  What an example this facility is to what can happen when a determined group of individuals set out on a journey.   A journey that would take five years to complete and introduce them to various levels of government and industry.
As I sat in that arena, listening to the speakers and watching the people, and I’m pretty sure most of the community was present, I was amazed at the enormity of what this community had undertaken.  Each speaker confirmed what the previous speaker had said, that this project happened because everyone worked together.
School District 60 donated the land next to the school for the arena to be built on, the Community group spearheaded the project, the Regional District contributed some of it’s Fair Share money, the Provincial Government came through with some Town’s for Tomorrow grant money, the Federal Government stepped up with the Recreational Infrastructure Canada or RInC funding.  And when there were still more needs, industry stepped in with donations.
As the gentleman from Buick, who led the charge for this facility spoke, he said he was asked what this day means to him.  He said it best when he choked up and said, “I feel humbled and insignificant”.  He went on to thank  all of the people who put in countless hours including in that list members from each level of government, industry and the community.  ”Our children will no longer have to shovel snow for two hours before they can play hockey.” When the speakers were done, the community was invited onto the ice for a public skate.
And as I drove away from Buick that afternoon. I knew I had witnessed more than just the grand opening of an arena, I had witnessed community.
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