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2018 municipal debate primer

Here’s what you need to know about the candidates and format going into tonight’s debate
Eight candidates for Prince Rupert town council will take part in the All Candidates Forum at the Lester Centre on Oct. 1. The forum begins at 6:30 p.m. with a debate following at 7:00 p.m. (Submitted photos)

As the 2018 municipal election rapidly approaches, candidates vying to sit as councillors will have an opportunity to pitch themselves to Rupertites as the All Candidates Forum.

The debate — which features Barry Cunningham, Blair Mirau, Wade Niesh, Gurvinder Randhawa, Nick Adey, Charmayne Carlson, Sarah Dantzer and Reid Skelton-Morven — takes place tonight at the Lester Centre at 6:30 p.m., and will be broadcast live on CityWest on their Facebook page at

READ MORE: Candidates forum and debate set for Oct. 1

At the beginning of the debate, each candidate will have the opportunity to make a two minute opening statement, which will be followed by four rounds of questions.

The first round will address the subject of “Economy and Infrastructure” while the second round will address the subject of “Dynamic Community.” Before the debate, each candidate was provided with a list of questions under each subject and was asked to select one question they wanted to answer.

In the third and fourth rounds, the candidates will answer audience submitted questions.

Each candidate will also have two interjection cards, which can be used to give a one minute response or rebuttal immediately after the current speaker has finished their statement. The interjection cards can be used at any time.

Following the final round of questions, each candidate will have 60 seconds to offer their closing statement which will be followed by an address by acclaimed mayor Lee Brain and concluding remarks by Dave McKeever.

READ MORE: More than 35 B.C. mayors elected without contest

Below are brief introductions submitted by each candidate to the Northern View in alphabetical order:

Barry Cunningham

I believe that this Mayor and Council have accomplished some great things together, but I also believe that we still have a lot more work to do. I would like to continue on this road we have started down. I feel I have lots to contribute as part of the team, and if re-elected I hope to be part of an even brighter future for Prince Rupert.

I moved to Prince Rupert in 1977, owned a small business as a flooring contractor for many years, and have been a Pollution Response Officer with the Coast Guard for 18 years. Carrie and I raised three children in Prince Rupert, are now the proud grandparents of seven grandchildren. Prince Rupert has given us so much, and we believe that it is our responsibility to give back in any way we can.

I work to bring common sense and the people’s voice to City Council. I make myself available and approachable at all times, and never shy away from bringing forward any issue at Council. I have a passion for all issues affecting Prince Rupert.

My greatest priorities are to make sure that every development means local jobs, to pursue infrastructure grant money from senior levels of government, and to ensure a good working relationship with our northern neighbours. And I believe above all else that we can work together to make Prince Rupert a city that is liveable for all.

I wish to continue to bring my open approach to represent your needs on City Council, and continue the work we’ve started.

Blair Mirau

As a born-and-raised Rupertite, I have been so lucky to serve my hometown on Council.

For the last five and a half years, I have worked with the Gitmaxmak’ay Nisga’a, first as Economic Development Officer before being promoted to CEO in mid-2016, overseeing the creation and growth of an economic development corporation that now has 15 employees.

My formal education is a Bachelor’s Degree in International Development, a Graduate Certificate in Sustainable Community Development, and I am also working my way towards a Master’s.

Earlier this year, I was also humbled to be featured in B.C. Business Magazine’s Top 30 Under 30.

Prior to working with the local Nisga’a, I was the Grant Writer at City Hall where I successfully solicited over $1 million for the municipality and local non-profits, including winning the World Proposal Championships for my work on the Cow Bay Marina.

And before that, I graduated as a Rainmaker, paying my way through university as a member of the BC Ferry & Marine Workers’ Union and mowing lawns.

If re-elected, the priorities that I want to accomplish the next four years are: 1) fixing our finances by renegotiating the Port Ed tax deal and Port Tax Cap, leasing more of Watson Island, 2) planning for growth by revitalizing our downtown, create more waterfront access, and improve our airport system, 3) promoting sustainability by starting curb side recycling, updating the Official Community Plan, and partnering on poverty reduction, 4) engaging in meaningful partnerships with First Nations and the Resource Benefits Alliance, and 5) enhancing accountability by improving disclosures, creating a code of conduct, and requiring governance and financial training for elected officials.

Charmayne Carlson

I have 21 years of Business Experience, 17 years as owner of Dolly’s Fish Market here in Prince Rupert.

I sit on two committees, the business committee with the City of Prince Rupert and Innovation Labs for the economic development of our city. I am a member of Prince Rupert Tourism, the Chamber of Commerce and the Transiton Society. I am also a mentor for new business owners.

I have experienced the down turns in this city and the economic up turns of this city. They all have their challenges. Mayor Lee Brain and the previous city councillors have done a lot of work to help this city. I am looking forward to working with them, all the businesses, the Indigenous community and all citizens of Prince Rupert to make it everything it can be. A destination, a home to reside in or start a business.

Gurvinder Randhawa

In 2014 I was elected to serve Prince Rupert as a City Councillor. It has been a privilege working with the Mayor, Councillors, and city staff to lay the groundwork for growth and prosperity.

After four years, I am committed to continuing the positive course we set. That’s why I am running for re-election: my experience and skills can play a part in turning our shared vision into reality.

I have known the importance of vision since before moving to Prince Rupert 25 years ago. As an entrepreneur, I wanted to establish myself as the owner and operator of a small business.

I achieved this, while at the same time my wife Sarbjit and I raised three smart, accomplished children. I dedicated free time to diverse organizations such as Tourism Prince Rupert and Coast Mountain College. Meanwhile, I rolled up my sleeves to coach minor soccer and help groups like the North Coast Immigrant and Multicultural Services Society.

Vision must be accompanied by values. I believe in dedication, keeping your word, and seizing opportunities.

As a City Council, we’ve put those values into action. I supported policies that attract new economic opportunities, addressed skills shortages so local workers are prepared to take advantage of new industries, contributed to mutually-beneficial relations with First Nations and neighbouring communities, helped to produce a comprehensive plan to replace our aging infrastructure, and worked to make Prince Rupert more affordable by limiting property tax increases — while developing other sources of tax revenue.

I want to continue cultivating these forward-looking policies by working with residents, neighbourhood community organizations, colleagues at City Hall and other levels of government.

Nick Adey

I was born in Leicester England, and moved to Victoria in 1967 where I attended school and university. I first came to Prince Rupert in 1979 as a summer student, and worked at the old grain elevator. I graduated from UVic with a BA (History), and a teaching certificate. In 1983 I began my teaching career in Kitkatla. I moved to Prince Rupert in 1985, and taught for 32 years at Port Edward, Westview, PRSS, and CHSS. I was a Vice-Principal at both Westview and PRSS before returning to the classroom in 1995. I served for many years as a staff rep in the PRDTU. I also served terms on the Library Board, Golf Course Executive, and coached community soccer and basketball. I am a guitarist, having played in local groups for over 30 years, and teaching music. I retired from teaching in 2017, and I am running for City Council for the first time.

My approach to serving on Council is captured by the phrase “Listen, Learn, Collaborate, Act”. I would characterize myself as thoughtful, fair-minded, collaborative, and as a consensus builder. If elected, I hope to focus on 5 priorities:

Economic diversification: we need to diversify in order to avoid the vulnerability of dependence on a few large industries. Affordability: we need to continue working to address poverty and affordability issues. Environmental Sustainability: this is a global issue, but many initiatives are possible on a local level. I believe there is an urgent need to transition to a greener way of life so that our children can grow in a healthier world. Quality of Life: It is important to recognize the amenities and opportunities that contribute to enjoyment of life and a sense of belonging. I support affordable initiatives to enhance arts and recreation. Continuity: I recognize the good work that has already been done in terms of vision and planning, and will work to build on it as we move forward.

Reid Skelton-Morven

Reid was born & raised here in Prince Rupert, of Tsimshian & Nisga’a descent, is a stepfather of twin girls, and has had a very diverse array of occupations, including founding and co-founding a number of different local businesses. Reid is also a Director on the board of the Prince Rupert & District Chamber of Commerce, as well as the Public Relations Officer of the Prince Rupert Toastmasters.

Reid is running in support of the council incumbents & Mayor Lee Brain’s Hays 2.0 vision for the future of Prince Rupert, and is looking to bring a fresh set of ideas to the council table, and an innovative and entrepreneurial approach to addressing & solving some of Prince Rupert’s challenges

Sarah Dantzer

Hello friends and neighbours. The municipal election is Saturday October 20, 2018 and I am excited for the opportunity to represent you as City Councillor. My family and I have lived in Prince Rupert for the past three years and I knew instantly that this is where we belong.

Between the natural beauty and exceptional community on the traditional Tsimshian territory, it has been my desire to contribute to Prince Rupert in meaningful ways. I have been part of many remarkable opportunities Prince Rupert has to offer through my board positions with Transition Prince Rupert, Prince Rupert Toastmasters, Prince Rupert Special Events Society and the PRPA Community Information Forum.

All my life I have felt a call to action, which has guided me here as I seek to deepen my community capacity by representing you as City Councillor. For the past three years I have collaborated with the City of Prince Rupert and the North Coast Recycle District to operate the Rupert Rubbish Round-Up.

In the spring of 2018 we celebrated the third year with nearly 100 volunteers and over 2000 kg of garbage cleaned up! From this city-wide initiative, grew the Overlook Community Garden, which was built this past summer. Nearly every day, a new idea, or group reaches me, and I welcome these groups, ideas and individuals forward as I believe that it takes a village to thrive and these ideas fuel our future.

It is my hope that the citizens of Prince Rupert will support me and give me the strength of a City Councillor to champion the changes our society is undergoing. Therefore, on Election Day, when placing your mark upon the ballot I hope you agree that Dantzer is the Answer.

Wade Niesh

For those who don’t know me, I am married to Maria and I have three daughters. I am a self-employed building contractor. I wish to continue serving this community for another 4 years. Since I started on council 4 years ago, I jumped into the deep end with full commitment.

Self-employment has given me the flexibility to commit 110%. I have only missed one council meeting and I have participated in most staff/council workshops and when asked to represent the city at ceremonies or community gatherings I try to be there as much as I can. I have taken on roles in the Airport Society/Authority and Recreation Commission. I have also attended UBCM, NCLGA, and FCM municipal gatherings which have taught me a lot to help our community.

Also, supporting our mayor at these events when having discussions with ministers and government staff. These commitments have taken a lot of time from my business and family but have made me a better person and for that I thank you! I wish to continue on the success that this current council has had in turning things around with new revenue streams and taking on huge problems such as the pulp mill.

I have lived through the good times and the bad and worked in different areas of the community with a lot of different people which I believe gives me a down to earth common sense attitude with a broad perspective allowing me to make decisions which are good for our community. Anytime someone contacts me or stops me to talk, I always make time to hear concerns and share solutions. I ask for your support again and thank you for believing in me. Let’s continue rebuilding our community making it better than ever!

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