I read the announcement about the All Candidates Forum in last weeks Pioneer. This forum is one of the only opportunities voters have to hear each candidate speak publicly, and potentially have the candidates address issues that are important to them. I appreciate the time and effort the committee puts in to organizing the event, but there is a big problem.
All four candidates are men, and the organizers are also all men all from similar socio-economic backgrounds. And this is a problem because it doesnt reflect the diversity of the people and perspectives that our government is elected to represent.
We all experience life in different ways. We encounter different barriers be they personal, cultural or physical to success and participation. In order for society and government to work for us all; to be healthy and grow, we need to enable diverse voices and their unique experiences to contribute to political dialogue.
An educated middle-aged man cannot accurately represent a young single mother, despite his best intentions. An able-bodied person does not navigate life the same way a person with a disability does. Sadly, First Nations people often face different or more obstacles than white people.
Someone who has always had comfortable access to money cant relate to the issues of poverty. We need to hear and acknowledge all of these (and many more) stories in order to build a resilient community.
I invite you to join us in insisting upon diversity in representation for a world that includes us all.
Maxine & Barrie Hawes
Editors note: The Pioneer checked with the Forums organizing body, the Columbia Valley Chamber of Commerce, and Executive Director Susan Clovechok confirmed it was publicly advertised for several weeks that the volunteer-run committee was looking for members and everyone who stepped forward is on the committee.