Dr. Oleksandr (Sasha) Kondrashov
October 15th, 2022, is when every eligible Kamloopsian can share their voice and vote at the Municipal elections. This year I decided to apply the skills I teach my social policy students and ask a few questions to all the candidates and share them with local stand with Ukraine and Facebook communities in Kamloops
I am grateful to Mukwa Musayett Shelly Johnson for the suggestion of adding questions that focus on TRC and NIMMWG, and I modified a few questions that social work students are asked to respond to when they apply to TRU as part of this year’s municipal election questionnaire:
· The Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada (TRC) submitted its final report in December 2015. What does reconciliation mean to you in light of your social location? What has been your engagement with reconciliation to date, and how do you plan to engage when being elected?
· The TRC included 94 Calls to Action. Identify one of the 94 Calls to Action and explain its significance to your future municipal leadership. What gaps will you need to address in your educational experience to date while being elected to respond to the selected Call to Action?
· National inquiry into Murdered and Missing Women and Girls identified 231 Calls to Justice. Identify one of the 231 Calls to Justice and explain its significance to your future municipal leadership. What gaps will you need to address in your educational experience to date while being elected to respond to the selected Call to Justice?
Here is the rest of the questions I asked candidates for mayor and city councillors:
· How do you plan to #standwithUkraine once elected?
· Will the City of Kamloops allow diaspora communities to raise National flags at the city hall, similarly to Ottawa and Winnipeg, on Independence Day and other significant holidays to honour their cultural heritage?
· Will you support a sister city or a twin town relationship creation between Kamloops and Cherkasy, Ukraine, to promote cultural ties?
· Do you plan to create library social work positions in Kamloops, similar to other municipalities in Canada?
The following mayor candidates responded to the questionnaire: Sadie Hunter and Arjun Singh. One person can be elected as a mayor.
The councillors who responded are Dale Bass, Nancy Bepple, George Dorsch, Mac Gordon, Stephen Karpuk, Daphene Nelson, Katie Neustaeter, Jesse Ritcey, and Randy Sunderman. Eight Councillors will be elected
The questions that candidates for School Trustees have been asked to answer include the following:
· Do you know the ratio of social workers to students for elementary and secondary students? What are the criteria for being a social worker in School District No. 73 (Kamloops-Thompson)?
· What are supports in place in School District No. 73 (Kamloops-Thompson) for newcomer children and families? How will you support newcomers to Kamloops in accessing elementary and secondary education?
· What is the School District No. 73 (Kamloops-Thompson) policy around bullying and harassment? What do you think of that policy? Does it adequately address the issue?
Three candidates have responded: Marian Anderberg, Shahriar Behmanesh, Cole Hickson and Jo Kang. Five trustees can be elected.
I fully endorse all the candidates that voiced their support and responded to the Questionnaire for their dedication to Kamloops residents and willingness to share their views in public.
I am thankful to all the candidates who took the needed time and responded to the questions, allowing residents of Kamloops to compare the answers. I compiled the table with all the answers available online https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1t91iQD7mSB1lAKsulPjJl5DtKCT_McuAteTfRv6Y1po/edit?usp=sharing
I encourage everyone to review all answers and make an informed decision on October 15th, 2022.
On Wednesday night, I participated in advance voting and translated all the answers to Mama as it was her first municipal election in Canada. We together came to McArthur Island and made our choices based on the answers we received. It was a memorable experience, and thank you again to all who stand with Ukraine and all the candidates who voiced their solidarity and support.