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Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Issue Awareness

A recent story in the Nanaimo Daily News, Event Offers Services to Homeless (Sept. 22, 2008), has our illustrious mayor complaining that he was not informed of the Homeless Fair and that it was ‘neither in his planner for events on Saturday or in the schedule for councillors.’ "I didn't know about it. I go to things I'm invited to," said Korpan.

It behooves not only our local politicians but also provincial and federal to be aware of the issues and in touch with what events they might attend that are happening in their constituency. This said it is also the responsibility of anyone running for public office to do the same. It should not be the responsibility of others, unless they volunteer or are paid to do so, to keep them apprized.

As a candidate for City Council I have made a point, for years, of attending council meetings and becoming involved with various community groups and non-profits (see City Election Platform). I participated in all of the workshops related to the Official Community Plan review, more on that later, and most recently attended a workshop to revise Nanaimo’s Public Art Plan. I also speak and write frequently about the issues and would encourage others to utilize letters to the editors as a means to voice their opinion. This has given me the knowledge and experience I believe necessary to be effective as a City Councilor. As the electorate who will be voting in the upcoming federal and municipal elections it is your responsibility to choose those candidates you feel will best overall serve in public office.

Published in todays, Sept. 23rd, Daily News is my most recent letter to the editor with regards to the above:

Re: Politicians don't need an invitation to aid homeless
I couldn't agree more with the editor that homelessness and poverty have been sadly lacking as an issue during this federal election campaign. As one of those who helped to set up the homeless fair I have to apologize to Mayor Gary Korpan for not informing him of the event, I also have to apologize to city council as well as those federal politicians currently running for office. Wait a minute. I have no need to apologize to anyone.

While no major advertising campaign was put in place to give notice of event, there were stories in the papers as to what it was about, when and where. Surely as politicians in touch with their constituents they would at least have a member of their team looking for such events.

This said, I did receive calls from both Jean Crowder and Zeni Maartman's NDP campaign organizers and as it turned out neither could not make it due to prior bookings. Coun. Diane Brennan was the only politician who did make it to the event.
This was an event for the homeless run in part by the homeless, many of whom volunteered during the day.

Kudos go out to Karen Bonnefoy and Barbara Anne Rivers who provided shampoos and haircuts until 6:00 p.m. to ensure no one went without. And kudos to all who made this a successful first annual event.

As for any politician who says they were not invited; If you would like to be informed of other events coming up prior to the elections, give me a call. My number is in the book.

Gordon W. Fuller

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