My name is Michelle Staples, I live in the City of Duncan on the traditional territory of the Coast Salish people where I have spent the past 21 years of my life. In 2011 I was elected by the citizens of Duncan to serve on council as a representative for our community. I went into my first term fueled by the passion that anything can happen, that we can learn to work together to move mountains!
I mean really how hard could it be to make significant and timely changes inside of local government?
The answer I learned is that while it can be challenging, even heartbreaking, at times, and takes an incredible amount of persistence, it is possible!! And, other than being a continual lesson of discovering the depths of one owns capacity for patience, it is worth every minute!!
My first term on City Council taught me things I never would have believed before. I learned that there are many good people in government and the people who work for the City are dedicated to it and love what they do. (and are incredibly good at what they do! Did you know the the City of Duncan has WON an award two years in a row for its financial accounting!!?? Here is the link - And no, this fact wasn't on Shaw, it is an afterthought on my part but at least I can still share it!! Our accountants are responsible and make recommendations that benefit you for years to come!! Anyways, I digress, back to the speech)
I learned that I won’t always get my way and that I could promise the world to you, bring it to the council table and be outvoted. And I learned , that there is always another opportunity to bring back an idea because new ideas take time, to try again and to never give up.
I learned that our Official Community Plan is not enough, we need to constantly adapt to meet the changing needs of our community & create a vision for community development that looks at how everything fits together - understands you cannot separate social issues from economic ones, for they are all linked to one another That the health of one of these systems impacts the health of all AND I believe in development and planning that balances them all.
We have the ability to build this City into a showcase that boasts what is possible when we work together and I am committed to working through our differences to reach our goals.
I have no political agenda, what I have is passion right here in my own back yard where you can ask me questions, find support, show me a stump that needs to be ground down or share a dream you have to make this City a better place for today, and for tomorrow
On November 15th I am asking that you support me to work with you to reach our dreams. And I guarantee that I will continue to work for you and now that I have the education of a first term, we can roll up our sleeves and get things done!!
Original Campaign Launch Speech October 20, 2014 Good morning I am Michelle Staples I live in Duncan with my seven year old son Mackenzie and have lived in this valley for coming up to 22 years. I would like to begin by acknowledging I am speaking to you today from the territory of the Coast Salish people and am grateful for the many gifts they have extended to me over the past ten years I have been working with them.
Together and with many others, we have worked on forming the trust, knowledge and respect needed to form relationships strong enough to walk on the bridges it takes to create healthier communities.
I would like to also acknowledge all the people who settled in this valley and worked to create the beautiful city we all live in today. Many of our streets boast the established gardens they sowed now, mature enough to provide us with food, shade and fresh clean air.
My great grandfather spent some time here and I often wonder if he or anyone else thought of us when they worked their fields, drank from their wells or decided where main street would be.
I wonder what he would say now if he were to visit. I’m sure he would notice the clean streets and the freshly planted trees but would he know where to find a parking spot for his horse and carriage? Or feel safe walking down the streets late at night? Maybe he would walk to the river only to be surprised to find so many people living on its banks.
Would this have been the dream he was working towards to pass on to his future generations?
I have lived here long enough to see this city grow form a virtual ghost town into a vibrant community - to see racism shifting its views and organic and green become mainstream.
Much has been done here, but there is so much more needed for people here to thrive, for the waters to be protected, for sustainable economic and social growth to unfold in a way that support the best vision this city can create for itself.
A vision that will be apparent long after we have all moved on where our great grandchildren can stand on this very spot and know that everyone who came before them had the courage to build a localised, sustainable and resilient community that new how to take care of every single one of the people who lived in it and the foresight to include its community leaders and the voices of its people in that process. I am here today to continue my participation in working to build such a community and know that with a strong vision and a unified council we can become a destination city that encourages new business and supports innovation.
I bring to this position over 30 years of actively working towards creating a better world. It never really occurred to me that there was any other way to live and so, I have always moved forward with that vision leading me every step of the way.
I have a strong background in small business, non profits and community building. I have education in business administration, communication, film, media, counselling and am currently working roward an integrated master’s degree in community economic and social development, equity studies and leadership. I have a strong network of relationships with organisations, businesses, local governments and youth in this region and a history of innovation, action and accountability.
When you vote on November 15th all I ask is that you know who you are voting for, what is important to them, and how they have engaged in this community – then vote for the people who will continue to show up and help lead all of us to into a future we are proud to pass to our children. If you choose to vote for me on election day you are voting for a representative committed to working for the people of this City.