I am so happy to have passed with flying rainbow colours on OutSaskatoon and Saskatoon Pride’s Election Report Card. I received a grade of ‘A’ today. To learn more about how I received this grade, see my responses to their questions below.
1) What is one motion would you bring to City Council that you think will improve the lives of specifically queer people, racialized individuals, and/or marginalized citizens and why?
Before I launched my campaign, which has included a thoughtful and robust platform since day 1, I knew supports for mental health, addictions, and homelessness would factor heavily into my messaging. These issues have been swept under the rug in our city for far too long. As you know, those within our community face a much higher rate of all three of these issues. Specifically alarming is the rate of homeless 2SLGBTQ youth, which make up at least 1/3 of homeless youth.
I believe there are already great organizations like OUT Saskatoon serving the needs of queer, racialized and marginalized communities in Saskatoon, and I want to see those organizations better supported through additional funding and support. I truly believe our city will be better when everyone has the opportunity to reach their full potential.
2) Will you commit to participating in the Saskatoon Pride Parade in 2021 and future years (whether the parade is virtual or in person)? Also, what will you do during the rest of the year to help advance the work of the Pride movement in Saskatoon and its vision and mission going forward?
Yes of course! I proudly support the pride parade. I am also a proud member of the community and do not hide this fact on the doorstep. I have found Ward 3 residents to be extremely accepting of me and I hope to be a role model for young 2SLGBTQ community members looking to get involved in politics. I hope to continue working to help break down barriers so that more 2SLGBTQ individuals can participate in our decisions making boards and lead organziations in our city.
3) The 2SLGBTQ community would like to hear from you on what your current level of understanding is of 2SLGBTQ issues and, aside from the Pride Parade, what 2SLGBTQ initiatives have you supported in the past?
Very good. While our community has made significant strides in my lifetime, there is still lots of work to be done. I believe my goals of addressing mental health, addictions, and homelessness will provide real benefits for the community as we experience higher than average hardships in these areas compared to the general population. I am in support of inclusive youth sports programs to help with youth mental health, as well as community programs to accomplish similar goals for those who are not interested in sports.
I do not believe we need to reinvent the wheel when it comes to these programs. As mentioned before, there are many great organizations like OUT Saskatoon doing this work in Saskatoon and I just want to make sure these organizations and programs are sufficiently supported. I think inclusionary policies is now one of the largest issues we face as a community, and I hope to work to make that better in Saskatoon.
I am also in support of maintaining the current location of the lighthouse, and of affordable housing projects that address the real need for additional housing for maginalized groups in our city.
4) What is your plan to address mental health services and gaps; further how is your platform going to address the layered needs of the 2SLGBTQ and Indigenous community and mental health supports?
My plan is to support the organizations that are already addressing these needs in our community. If they can expand their services and programs, that will help 2SLGBTQ individuals who make use of those services.
I also believe reconciliation is becoming a core competency of CEOs and politicians. We need to find a way to bring our communities together. In just one generation, Saskatchewan’s Indigenous population will represent a majority of the people in our province, and yet they are severely underepresented in leadership roles and at post-secondary institutions. We will need to remove barriers for folks of all backgrounds if we can hope to be successful as a city and as a province going forward.