It is an incredible honour to represent Saanich North and the Islands in the British Columbia Legislative Assembly.
The job is complex and it has many layers. To do it well, a person has to be comfortable speaking in public, analyzing difficult legal documents, digging through bureaucratic structures, and listening and hearing the challenges and opportunities of constituents.
And, that is not even the half of it. Getting government to move, is a job all on its own.
My confidence is growing in all these areas. While there is always going to a debate on policy (and there will always be controversial policy), that is only one part of the job.
My favourite part of this role is meeting people. They appear in my office from all walks of life, and from incredibly diverse backgrounds. It has been that way for the past decade, since my days as a Central Saanich Councillor. It is also largely responsible for my less than normal coffee intake.
In fact, many of my closest friends today started as a meeting between complete strangers, over a cup of coffee in a local coffeeshop.
I am also an alumni of the Applied Communication Program (now Digital Communication) at Camosun College. Before politics, I intended on working in the media. That program teaches its students to think critically, collect audio, video and write for the news. In my time at Camosun, I spent more than a hundred hours hosting the Village 900 radio station.
Public participation in our democracy is an important value for me. I don’t expect us to always agree, but it is my hope that you will be interested in engaging your government, and provide your input and feedback into my work.
There are 50,000 different opinions in this riding. I respect that diversity, and hold high the burden of representing those different opinions with a single yea or nay vote.
Dedicated to public participation in governance
So, how does all this come together? Well, from the day I was elected as the MLA for Saanich North and the Islands, I have been experimenting with public engagement.
Under “The Public Circle” banner we host regular Community Dialogues and Community Meetings. We utilized Facebook Live to create a weekly live show to provide regular updates about British Columbia politics.
Despite the number of views appearing very high for our show, retention on social video is a problem. Facebook’s design is to keep you scrolling, so a “view” is a deceiving metric. While it looked like more than a thousand people were watching my Facebook live show each week, the vast majority were watching for less than five seconds. It’s not just a challenge of my show, it is the problem with free tools. Facebook is optimized for you to see their advertising, not my show.
Maybe my content is boring. Oh well, that is a fact I must face. Or, I can evolve.
In December, I decided to start blogging every day. The second stage of this evolution is to turn my weekly Facebook live show into a podcast. The goal is to create content that you can take with you, on your device, in your car, or just as the soundtrack for the rest of your day.
My hope is that you will add this podcast to your library and make it a part of your weekly routine. I will set the very aggressive pace of one, 30 minute show, per week. I will publish it as my Sunday morning blog post.
Ready? Set. Go!
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