Nanaimo leadership series aims to educate potential city council candidates

Series begins on April 24 at Beban Park social centre

A leadership series aimed at educating potential municipal candidates is set to begin later this month.

The Nanaimo Chamber of Commerce, Leadership Vancouver Island and OurNanaimo, a society calling for good governance, have come together and host a five-part Civic Leadership Speakers’ Series, with the first session beginning on April 24 at Beban Park.

Sydney Robertson, a spokeswoman for OurNanaimo, said the idea behind the speaker series is to educate individuals on the role and responsibilities of elected city councillors.

“This gives potential candidates the opportunity to really think about whether they want to do this,” she said. “Because I think a lot of people may be interested but it is hard to know whether it is right for you. It is a big commitment. It’s a very public commitment and it is a huge decision.”

Kim Smythe, president and chief executive officer for the Greater Nanaimo Chamber of Commerce, said with council’s behavior over the last four years, the leadership series was needed to better educate the public about the fundamentals of local governance and the basic competencies needed for elected officials.

“We can try to educate the candidates so we have a better level of informed candidate running for office, so that they understand what the job is because if their only exposure of what council does is watching [council meetings] for the past four years, they have a rather unclear version,” he said. “It’s helping those who are interested in becoming candidates, perhaps, see where the boundaries of that job are.”

Guest speakers for the sessions include Carrie Chassels, associate vice-president of student affairs at Vancouver Island University; Patrick Ross, former vice-president of student services at Vancouver Island University; Brian Clemens, a former director of finance with the City of Nanaimo; Al Kenning, a former senior manager with the City of Nanaimo; and Gary Wiekum, a former instructor at the University of Lethbridge.

Following the April 24 session, there will be four optional sessions for individuals to attend, which will focus on the daily duties of an elected official, responsibilities of council members, communications and outreach and how effective leadership can enable a productive council.

With digital communications becoming an increasingly large part of daily life, Robertson said communication and outreach is the theme of one of the sessions because it’s important for potential candidates to understand what can and cannot be communicated to the public.

“We’ve had problems both ways and we really need our representatives to have some clarity on that, that there is information they can share with us and there is information they should not share with us,” she said.

Signing up does not mean an individual is committed to running for public office in the next election. Smythe, who is also one of the guest speakers, said the April 24 session is mandatory because it requires individuals to complete a self-assessment.

“Once you’ve completed the assessment you’ll have a better idea of whether or not you should even be attending the next four sessions or whether you should be thinking about running for council,” he said. “You don’t have to share that self-assessment with anybody but yourself. We’re not going to be ranking you. We won’t be saying you should vote for this person or you shouldn’t vote for that person. This is entirely for you to assess yourself.”

Robertson said there are lots of dedicated people in the community who want to see Nanaimo and its leadership improve. She said the while many have good intentions, being an elected official isn’t for everybody and the leadership series is designed to help those identify whether they believe they could be ready for public office.

“We believe that our city needs much better governance and nobody is going to hand it to us. We need to go out and get it. We need excellent candidates and we need voters to be well-informed,” she said. “We are really hoping that we can have some qualified, ethical, critically thinking councillors next time around.”

Sessions are only available to individuals who have never held public office before. The April 24 session costs $20 and the additional four sessions cost $100. Advance registration is required. For more information, follow this link.


nicholas.pescod@nanaimobulletin.com

Like us on Facebook or follow Nicholas Pescod on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

B.C. Green Party leader Sonia Furstenau outlines her party's climate action platform at Nanaimo's Vancouver Island Conference Centre earlier this month. (News Bulletin file photo)
Green leader Furstenau declared victor in her home riding on Vancouver Island

Cowichan Valley voters elect freshly minted party leader for her second term

John Horgan has been re-elected the MLA for Langford-Juan de Fuca. (File-Black Press)
Horgan trounces challengers to be re-elected in his Vancouver Island riding

MLA has represented constituency of Langford-Juan de Fuca and its predecessors since 2005

Global Village Nanaimo recently opened for the fall at 6581 Aulds Rd. near Home Depot. (Photo submitted)
Non-profit fair-trade store in Nanaimo offering new ways to shop

Global Village Nanaimo open until Dec. 24 on Aulds Road

Conservation officers hope the public can provide information about who shot and left a bull and cow Roosevelt elk near Spruston Road, south of Nanaimo. (Photo: Facebook)
Pair of Roosevelt elk shot and left in woods south of Nanaimo

Conservation officers hope public can help find who killed the animals near Spruston Road

Police in Nanaimo hope the public can help find Ovidiu Bezdan, wanted for mischief and assault. (Photo submitted)
Nanaimo man wanted for throwing merchandise at convenience store clerk

Police in Nanaimo hope public can help find Ovidiu Bezdan, wanted for assault and mischief

Mariah Charleson, Nuu-Chah-Nulth Tribal Council vice-president, left, was among those voicing support for Mi’kmaq lobster harvesters in Nova Scotia that are seeing their catch dumped and taken and property damaged. A solidarity rally was held at Maffeo Sutton Park on Oct. 22. (Karl Yu/Nanaimo News Bulletin)
Solidarity rally in Nanaimo sees support for Mi’kmaq lobster fishers

Indigenous people and supporters gather at Maffeo Sutton Park Thursday

Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam responds to a question during a news conference Friday October 23, 2020 in Ottawa. Canada’s top physician says she fears the number of COVID-19 hospitalizations and deaths may increase in the coming weeks as the second wave continues to drive the death toll toward 10,000. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada’s top doctor warns severe illness likely to rise, trailing spike in COVID-19 cases

Average daily deaths from virus reached 23 over the past seven days, up from six deaths six weeks ago

Two men were stranded on Snake Island after their small boat was blown away by strong winds Wednesday. (News Bulletin file photo)
Boat blows away, stranding fishermen on Snake Island in the strait near Nanaimo

Marine search and rescue team picked up men on windy afternoon Wednesday

A Le Chateau retail store is shown in Montreal on Wednesday July 13, 2016. Le Chateau Inc. says it is seeking court protection from creditors under the Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act to allow it to liquidate its assets and wind down its operations.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Clothing retailer Le Chateau plans to close its doors, files for CCAA protection

Le Chateau said it intends to remain fully operational as it liquidates its 123 stores

100 Mile Conservation officer Joel Kline gingerly holds an injured but very much alive bald eagle after extracting him from a motorist’s minivan. (Photo submitted)
B.C. driver thought he retrieved a dead bald eagle – until it came to life in his backseat

The driver believed the bird to be dead and not unconscious as it turned out to be

Chastity Davis-Alphonse took the time to vote on Oct. 21. B.C’s general Election Day is Saturday, Oct. 24. (Chastity Davis-Alphonse Facebook photo)
B.C. reconciliation advocate encourages Indigenous women to vote in provincial election

Through the power of voice and education Chastity Davis-Alphonse is hopeful for change

White Rock RCMP Staff Sgt. Kale Pauls has released a report on mental health and policing in the city. (File photos)
White Rock’s top cop wants to bill local health authority for lengthy mental-health calls

‘Suggestion’ included in nine-page review calling for ‘robust’ support for healthcare-led response

Green party Leader Sonia Furstenau arrives to announce her party’s election platform in New Westminster, B.C., on October 14, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. Green party says it’s raised nearly $835,000 in 38 days

NDP Leader John Horgan is holding his final virtual campaign event

Most Read