Pelé Gouda says he’s compelled to be active in politics and he hopes to be able to bring that motivation to the Nanaimo city council table.

VIU student and political activist running for council

Pelé Gouda on the ballot to try to become a Nanaimo city councillor

Pelé Gouda says he’s compelled to be active in politics and he hopes to be able to bring that motivation to the Nanaimo city council table.

The partisan political organizer and activist is currently finishing his bachelor’s degree in political science at Vancouver Island University.

“I’ve been political my entire adult life, studying in the theoretical, abstract and systemic levels but also insofar as how to get those abstract ideas into the real world through studying good policy, through writing good policy,” he said.

Gouda was formerly the policy director for the B.C. Young New Democrats and saw his work there embraced by the membership, he said. He’s also been involved recently in rallying people against the Soldiers of Odin and the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project.

“Once you understand that you’re needed, that you can create positive change in the world, then you ought to do it. I feel that way,” he said.

Gouda said a response to homelessness is one of his two main areas of focus. He said Nanaimo watched earlier this year as city council “dithered away” a needed supportive housing project. On the campaign trail so far, he’s found that people are asking him whether he’s in favour of or against tent city.

“I don’t think anybody’s really pro tent city. I don’t think anybody wants the situation as it is right now,” he said. “I think people are either pro or against solutions and it seems to me that the city so far has not been pro solutions, they’ve just been pro dispersion which is not how you fix your homelessness problem.”

Gouda said another priority is trying to bring decorum and a different demeanour to city council. Nanaimo needs leaders who listen as well as speak, he said.

“There’s this notion that in politics, especially, you have to be so persuasive, but you also need to be persuadable if you want to be effective and if you want to be truly working for the capital ‘G’ good,” he said.

To read interviews with other local government election candidates, click here.

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