Paul Allen Survey

On August 29th, after receiving Paul’s request for statement in response to his first survey regarding ‘new comers’ and ‘long timers’, Paul and I had an email discussion which I concluded with the response below.

Dear Paul

I have been giving this survey some thought since I received your query last week. While I believe such consolidated pictures of candidates views on various topics can be helpful, I am troubled by these first two questions which set a poor tone for the debate.

Second, I have great difficulty with questions which steer me into answers in the strongly agree to strongly disagree spectrum. It gives you a gauge of sentiment only. It does not offer the opportunity for solutions to be identified.

How is that helpful?  How is it actionable? As a resident, and now as a candidate, I want ideas and actions. Where is the strategy?

I am running for Council in ward 1 Picton because I have skills and experience which I believe can help the County and it’s residents. Specifically these are skills I developed spending more than two decades studying government finances around the world – national, regional and municipal. I have some experience and context for the County having chaired the Environmental Advisory Committee since the beginning of 2020. During my career managing government bonds I came to understand that successful government was not just about government balance sheets and income statements but qualitative factors as well and thus I began studying environmental, social and governance risks to governments (and their citizens/residents). This sparked my interest in the EAC.

During COVID I spent time volunteering at the temporary food bank in Picton which similarly gave me insight into vulnerability in our community, specifically food insecurity (which I find myself flabbergasted by given the agricultural bounty around us!) This goes to our social risks. I want to work on solutions to this.

I have only been living here in Picton for four years but have been coming here since I was 5 years old.

Whether someone is from a family that has been here for generations or a newcomer shouldn’t be the issue and to focus on it as your starting point I feel just fosters division.

The questions should be what do you think the County’s issues are and what solutions are you proposing. And those ideas can come from anyone in the community regardless of longevity. The person who has been here for generations has enormous context to offer and can keep us from reinventing the wheel. The newcomer may have seen something work somewhere else that we can draw upon and avoid mistakes made elsewhere.

The guide for me in much of this can be found through the County Foundation’s Vital Signs project which I believe gets far too little attention and can offer some real guidance in setting priorities and strategies.

Best Regards

Jane Lesslie

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