Quadra Island candidate anticipates exchange of ideas

Shawn O'Connor frustrated with current leadership; advocates respect for all opinions

Shawn O’Connor is running for Regional Director for Quadra Island.

“I am confident that my candidacy will inspire honest, respectful discussion among the incumbent, myself and area residents,” O’Connor said. “Whatever the outcome of the Nov. 19 election, I hope that our community will benefit from the electoral process and ensuing exchange of ideas.

“A homeowner on the Island recently discussed with me the challenges associated with long-term politicians. In his mind, the effectiveness of such individuals diminishes over time as their ability to see objectively, narrows. The result is disengaged constituents who become alienated by leadership that no longer represents them, or the majority of residents, on a wide range of very important issues. It is a sentiment that has been echoed repeatedly to me over the past few weeks leading up to the submission of nominations for the Regional Director of Electoral Area C of the Strathcona Regional District. It is one of the reasons why I chose to run for office.”

O’Connor says his campaign for Regional Director is supported, but certainly not controlled by, local First Nations.

“I am very proud of the relationships I have with these communities and the many friends that have pledged support for my campaign. I am however, not a “band” candidate and do not speak for the First Nations I provide services to: this is the responsibility of the elected chief and council. My support extends well beyond the First Nations population to include many Island residents with varying interests, backgrounds and perspectives. Like many of you, I too have been frustrated at our current leadership and its failure to focus on those issues that fall within the boundaries of the Regional Director’s office.”

As the former General Manager of BC Packers Marine Operations (responsible for Quadra Island/Johnson Straights), O’Connor has spent many years involved with the local fishing community.

“I have the greatest appreciation for the waters and sea life found within the Area C boundaries. Without environmental integrity and the development of an integrated resources management strategy, the beauty and natural habitat of our Islands could be jeopardized and the potential economic benefits lost.

“As neighbours we have an obligation to demonstrate respect for one another. It is the very foundation of any good relationship and is one of the many reasons why I am delighted to call Quadra Island home. When I first arrived more than 30 years ago, Quadra Island was a thriving community that offered residents a myriad of opportunities that supported the diversity of lifestyles, economics and recreational activities associated with a multi-generational population. We have to come together and reevaluate our community goals and objectives to ensure we have a common vision that will sustain the longevity of our cherished rural lifestyle.

“In the coming weeks I hope to have the opportunity to meet you and talk about the lands and waters of Area C and how we can improve local government with a focus on the development of infrastructure and the securing of new funding sources. My goal is to build an effective administration that represents a consensus of our community’s voice from a stand where everyone is heard and respected for their opinions.”

Two Town Forums are scheduled: 7 p.m. on Nov. 2 at the Cape Mudge Band Office and Nov. 13 at the Community Centre. I look forward to a vigorous debate of the issues with Mr. Abram and hope that a large number of residents are in attendance at both events.

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