Friday, September 2, 2016

Our Health Care Needs Help

What does health care mean to you? How does health care in British Columbia affect you and your loved ones? Do you have access to good health care in your community? What would you like to see improved?

I know that rural health care has suffered greatly in the last few years. Funding, services, and staffing levels have been cut, despite a great deal of effort and protest from the communities they are meant to serve.

I hear stories every day from families who can’t find a doctor, from individuals who can’t access the services they need to be well, and from people who have to travel many hours for cancer treatments. Health care workers are often stressed and over-worked, and many feel under supported by the current system.

In the news are stories of seniors being separated after a lifetime of marriage, and over-use of drugs as a method of restraint.  We know that “In 82 percent of care homes, we are not meeting existing guidelines regarding staffing levels” (Judy Darcy, NDP MLA for New Westminster on April 14, 2016 in the BC Legislature).

We need to do better! The BC New Democrats believe that all BC residents deserve access to quality health care. There must be more accountability; Communities should have more input into how health services are provided, and that is something we will pursue as a provincial government. As well, we have a plan to eliminate unfair MSP premiums, as has already been done in the other provinces.  

I look forward to being part of a government that wants to see change, and that works toward improving care in our province. I want to work with John Horgan and the other dedicated NDP MLA’s who care deeply about our seniors and everyone who needs better care. Please consider supporting me to become your NDP candidate in the provincial election next May. I can get the job done!

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Jumbo Wild!

When I was in local government as an Invermere Town Councillor, I worked with my colleagues to keep Jumbo wild. There was never a doubt in my mind that the Jumbo Valley is simply the wrong place for a mega-resort. It is also the wrong place for a boutique resort or any kind of development that threatens the environment and the established local economy we have already built.

You know it. I know it.

For millennia, the Ktunaxa First Nation has called Jumbo Valley Qat'Muk. Qat'Muk is a sacred place, the home of grizzly bear spirit. After the provincial government failed to value the results of consultations with the Ktunaxa Nation regarding Jumbo Valley, the Ktunaxa decided they needed to go public in 2010 to save their sacred place from its destruction. They released the Qat'Muk Declaration in Victoria at BC's Legislature.

Since then, they have taken action through the courts and will see their case heard at the Supreme Court of Canada. This will be a precedent-setting case on how Canadian governments are to consider religion and spiritual traditions in their duty to consult with First Nations on land use. It will also give clear direction to the Province of BC on how to respect Qat'Muk.

Another issue that has come up as a result of BC Liberal Minister Bill Bennett's personal drive for Jumbo Glacier Resort is the fake town of Jumbo. It governs no one and nothing, but receives money from provincial taxpayers to keep up the sham of a resort development. Not only is this completely undemocratic, it is just plain ridiculous. Sadly, it is line with Christy Clark's do-whatever-it-takes approach to selling off BC.

Everyday that I am out talking to Kootenay people, they tell me that keeping Jumbo wild is a top priority. These are strong, determined folk, and I'm 100% with them. After 25 years, they're not about to back down now, and I am equally as determined to help them fight to preserve this beautiful place.

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Education, and Our Kids, Deserve to be a Top Priority

There is no doubt about the value public education has in our society. Our children are our future, and when we neglect them, we are neglecting the future of our province. This is one of the many reasons I'm running to be your next MLA. I want to work with John Horgan and the NDP because our team will put our kids back where they belong: front and centre. Public education is meant to be a province's priority. I get that, John Horgan gets that and the NDP get that. Let's invest in our future!

Everywhere I go in our our region, people are telling me that education has to be a priority not an afterthought for our provincial government. They are frustrated that classrooms don't have the resources needed so that every student can meet their full potential. And people are not impressed by the last minute election-oriented announcements that Christy Clark has been delivering this month. Our kids deserve better than this.

I couldn't agree more. My kids went to school during the years of BC Liberal chronic underfunding. I am so grateful every day that they had caring and amazing teachers who did so much with so little. If it weren't for them, my children wouldn't have gone on to graduate from university, as my son did just a few weeks ago. But relying on teachers to "just pull through" isn't sustainable for long. Our teachers and our kids need stability and consistent investment, not neglect and electioneering.

We've been calling for increased, stable funding for years. We have a plan to get schools seismically upgraded and retrofitted for energy-efficiency. We will work with teachers so that kids get the resources they need to learn. And you can count on me to be a strong voice at the table for our local schools and our kids.

One new Revelstoke NDP member told me, "Go to Victoria and tell them our schools way out here need help. Our kids deserve it." There is no question; I will do that.

Saturday, June 4, 2016

More About Me

I am pleased to confirm that I am seeking the nomination to run as New Democratic Party candidate in the provincial riding of Columbia River - Revelstoke. For many years, our riding has been well-represented by MLA Norm MacDonald. I would like to express my great respect for the integrity and commitment he has shown, and my appreciation for his years of service. I wish him the very best in his future work, and hope that, given the opportunity, I may follow in his footsteps as NDP MLA.

I am excited by the possibility of representing this extraordinary corner of the province, which I have called home for 18 years. Every day, I am astonished at the beauty of our mountains and valleys, lakes and rivers. Our natural heritage is a great resource, which will only increase in value as the world’s wild places diminish. This terrific asset must be protected for the benefit of future generations.

Our people are our greatest resource and they are as extraordinary as our land. Our people deserve clean air and water, access to education, first-rate healthcare, opportunities for well paying jobs, homes they can afford, and a social safety net if they need it. Above all, our people deserve a government committed to serving them. That is what I would like to do - serve the people and be a part of a provincial government that sees its role as providing the structures to support all people in their quest to succeed and thrive.  

I believe the Liberal government of British Columbia has forgotten its primary responsibility to its people, and has become an organization (like many others) that is focused on self-perpetuation. The New Democratic Party is rooted in individual responsibility, community cooperation, social justice, and equality. These are values that speak to me; values I can get behind.

I bring with me years of experience, in local government, advocacy, entrepreneurship and volunteerism. My life experiences are diverse, and I bring an awareness, empathy, and understanding of the unique challenges faced by our communities. My engagement in the community, through activism and entrepreneurship, has given me a desire to participate where I could be more effective, and motivated my choice to run for council. My six years in local office were filled with challenges, but also successes and a huge amount of learning. After two terms I chose to step back from public life to pursue an undergraduate degree. Now, away from public life for several years, I am looking for new opportunities to contribute in a way that agrees with my beliefs and passions. 

In all of my work, I place high value on honesty, integrity, and openness. I believe in collaboration and consensus building, and respect for others, regardless of their political persuasion. I feel that my experience in local government has prepared me for a role in provincial politics. The values of the BC NDP are in close alignment with my own, and I look forward to being a strong and effective representative for our region.




My job history reflects my ability to take on a leadership role, assume responsibility, and to work with creativity and flexibility. I have strong communication, organization and business skills.

1998-2011 Spring Health Foods – Business Owner

I owned and ran a health food store in Invermere for 12 years. The business continues to thrive today under new ownership. I understand the challenges and rewards of running a business, and appreciate the pivotal role small business plays in a healthy community.

2008 – 2014 District of Invermere – Town Councilor

I served as councilor for the District of Invermere from November 2008 to November 2014. During those years, I was well-supported by the electorate. I have a solid understanding of many of the issues and concerns important in our region, and a working relationship with key decision makers. During my terms on council, I was particularly concerned with community sustainability, the environment, equality and inclusion, and accountability. I was closely involved in the development of Invermere’s Integrated Community Sustainability Plan, and then its integration with the Official Community Plan. In addition, I served as chair of Integrated Community Sustainability Plan Implementation Committee and the Fire Department Liaison Committee.

2013 – 2016 Evolve Fine Used Furniture – Business Partner

I am partner in a used furniture business, where I assist in marketing, bookkeeping and technology. We source and up-cycle or restore quality used furniture to re-sell. Our goal is to divert ‘waste’ which may otherwise end up in the landfill, and provide a creative, affordable, renewable option for furniture seekers.


I believe education is an enjoyable, enriching, life-long process of learning and growing. It is also my belief that continuous learning maintains an open, dynamic mindset – an asset in the sometimes-stagnant world of politics and bureaucracy. Throughout my life, I have taken many opportunities to expand my knowledge, some formal, and some informal. I have participated in continuing education courses, online learning, workshops, lectures, and self-directed learning. I am an avid reader.

Sept 2014 – Present             Athabasca University
I am currently enrolled in the 4 year Bachelor of Arts in English through Athabasca University, an online institute. I am approximately halfway through the program. Athabasca University programs are designed to accommodate mature students who are in the workforce. I look forward to continuing with my education, even if it is one course at a time.

2013                                       University of Toronto Continuing Education
Completed four Creative Writing courses.

1997                                       University of Saskatchewan
Horticulture Certificate Distance Learning program


I look for opportunities to contribute to my community on a volunteer basis. I have been involved in numerous efforts, in varying capacities. I enjoy the chance to network with like-minded people, while putting my skills to work.

Access in the Community for Equality

From 2007 to 2014 I was chair of Access in the Community for Equality (A.C.E.), a non-profit group advocating for improved accessibility and inclusion in the Columbia Valley. During that time, A.C.E. completed several accessibility assessments to benefit local decision makers, procured and donated adaptive equipment to the community, hosted Rick Hansen’s 25th anniversary celebration in Invermere, and supported work to improve access in the community.

Slow Food Columbia Valley

In 2014, I was honoured to travel to Turin, Italy, to represent the Columbia Valley at Terra Madre, an international gathering of Slow Food proponents. The Slow Food movement encourages local economies based on food production, democratic access to good food, and the protection of traditional and indigenous food sources.  Recently, I was a member of the team that planned and hosted the Slow Food Canada Summit for 2016 - an extremely successful event that highlighted the food culture of the Columbia Valley to delegates from across Canada, the United States, and Italy.

My interest in healthy, nutritious, organic food has been a life-long pursuit. I believe that food security is an increasingly important consideration as our region moves towards a greener economy. Local and regional small-scale agriculture will help our communities provide meaningful work for our citizens, better nutrition for our population, and increased self-sufficiency for our communities. The Slow Food Movement is one important way to support these ideas.

In Addition...

I have also participated in numerous advisory panels and ad-hoc community groups.  They include:

·      East Kootenay Humanity Network since its inception in 2011, by assisting in planning and hosting events, participating in round-table discussions, and promoting the network in our region. In 2013 EKHN hosted internationally known anthropologist, author and speaker Wade Davis. The East Kootenay Humanity Network is a group of organizations in the East Kootenay interested in working together to promote ideas of inclusion, acceptance, and human rights.

·      Columbia Valley Community Foundation’s Vital Signs project advisory panel. Vital Signs is a current project to gather information about the quality of life in the Columbia Valley – its strengths, and where it needs to be improved. The results will be compiled and shared with decision-makers and funders, to help inform their processes. The advisory panel provides input and guidance to the project’s coordinator, based on our knowledge of, and experience in, the community.

My Message to Council

After two terms on council, I decided not to run again in 2014. At my last council meeting, I gave a message to the new council. You can read more here:

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