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My Unspoken Speech at the Waterloo Region Women’s March

Thank you to Melissa Durrell for asking me to speak about the Waterloo Region Women’s Municipal Campaign School at the Women’s March on Saturday, Jan 19,2019, instead of herself. Unfortunately, at the last minute, I was not allowed to speak. Here is my speech.


Waterloo Region Women’s Municipal Campaign School.

Run like a girl, put your name on a ballot

Run like a girl, put your name on a ballot

A week ago, the Honourable Bardish Chagger, House Leader and MP of the Riding of Waterloo, handed me her copy of the brochure for the very first Waterloo Region Women’s Municipal Campaign School on Sat. Nov 19, 2005.  She was a member of the committee and a community volunteer.

Two of the outcomes of the day were to provide women with reasons why their presence is important in elected office, and increase the ways in which woman could support, run and/or mentor women in the 2006 municipal campaign. The outstanding keynote was a discussion by the Honourable Karen Redman MP, and Government Whip, now our Regional Chair, and Elizabeth Witmer,MPP and former Deputy Premier. None of us who were there will forget their honest and moving discussion about being a woman in politics.

With me as Chair, we moved on over the years with a campaign school before each municipal election with some success. The  most notable was Waterloo Council in 2006 with half of the council and the Mayor being women. Other city councils increased from one  to  two women, five in the Region and more women school trustees. Then Waterloo council slipped back to less women. Wilmot Township never changed. It had been all men since 1973.

In 2018, the committee decided that the Campaign School needed to be bold. Our slogan: 50% women elected in 2018.

In January of last year, inspired by the millions of women marching in Washington and around the world in reaction to the election of Donald Trump and the defeat of Hilary Clinton in the United States, women marched for women in Waterloo Region. Inspired, a record number of women, 164, came to our first Campaign school day for the 2018 election. A record number of women went onto run and to win.

Waterloo Council once again has over 50 percent women. North Dumfries has over 50 percent women and Wilmot has 50 percent women after no women since 1973! Half of the municipal mayors and chair are women.  Well over 50 percent of the trustees on the Waterloo Public Board are women.

We reached 48 percent women for the total of municipal councils. The last provincial election, 4 of the 5 MPPs for Waterloo Region were women. We should be proud of what we have done.

Many thanks to all the women politicians of Waterloo Region who spoke at or worked on the Campaign school over the years. Solidarity, even though some male politicians said they were grooming the competition. And many thanks to the women who have been part of the Waterloo Region Women’s Municipal Campaign School committee over the years, many of whom are now local, provincial and federal politicians. Could those who are here, both politicians and committee members wave.  Let’s give them a cheer.

Our work is not done. Now is the time to participate ourselves with volunteering and advocacy against violence against women. Now is the time to support our women politicians.

 

Monument for the Homeless Fills a Need to Say Goodbye.

A client representative died in my early years as Chair of the Region’s Employment and Income Advisory Committee. Disabled, Ed still came regularly to our monthly meetings and he volunteered for the local Liberals on their campaigns. He was estranged from his family.

A neighbour in his social housing complex found him and his body was carried away to the morgue. Ed’s was cremated and his funeral was paid for by ODSP.  He was buried in an unmarked grave.

When the committee found out about Ed’s death and burial, we wanted to do something for such a great committee member. So I suggested passing the hat for a gravestone and found out the cost was 200 dollars for a simple plaque. We also paid for a small obituary. We raised the money and had a memorial for him presided over by Rev. June Anderson. Former Cambridge Mayor Claudette Millar came to represent the local Liberals.

Ed’s mother and sister found out about his death through the obituary and went to see his grave. They sent us a letter thanking us for the stone. They had been estranged from him for many years.

A few years ago, Birgit Lindenberg used this blog to write obituaries for the homeless. because they died and no one cared. Many homeless, even though they are buried by the Region, do not have a gravestone, just a number as shown the Record article, Caring for the Unclaimed Dead

Those homeless do have people who cared for them. Whether other homeless people, workers at the soup kitchen or downtown residents like Birgit. As the famous line in Death of a Salesman says, “Attention must be paid.”

Monument to the Homeless

The monument will provide a place for ceremonies and memories of those who have passed. It will also provide a reminder that the homeless are people who had lives and friends and family. Critics, if you feel that money needs to go to help the homeless, I hope that like me, you contribute to the organizations that help them.

Gofundme page

House of Friendship

YW

Working Centre

The Bridges Cambridge.

Supportive Housing of Waterloo

 

 

 

Thank you

Thank you everyone for your kind words about my loss last night. As one door closes another opens.

Thank you to everyone who voted for me. Thank you to all of you who worked on my campaign, not only this time but for the last 18 years on the Region and the 10 years on the Public School Board.

It has been worth it.

Sincerely

Jane Mitchell

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Gallery

Scenes from the 2018 Campaign.

This gallery contains 19 photos.

 

Endorsements

All endorsements are unsolicited, gathered from Facebook, twitter and the Record.

“I should add that if we lived in Waterloo, the top of the Regional Council ballot for us would be the incomparable @janemitchell. She’s spent her entire adult life making Waterloo Region better, and Waterloo should be very grateful she continues to want to serve!”
John Shewchuk, Past Chair, Waterloo Region Crime Prevention Council 
“Jane Mitchell has my vote for Waterloo Regional Representative. As a Regional
Rep & GRCA chair she helped our community avoid floods and supported policies to
protect water quality & water volumes to support jobs, farms & sustainable economic growth. Amazing lady to support.”
Louisette Lanteigne Environmental Activist, Winner GREN Environmental Award

“Jane Mitchell has contributed greatly to our community. Among her many
accomplishments was the support for more quality child care when many other
politicians didn’t care. Given her grit and experience she still has much to offer. “
Penny Curtis Retired Director, Emmanuel Daycare, Long Time Childcare Advocate

“Jane Mitchell is deeply committed to serving the citizens of Waterloo region in
her role as Regional Councilor. She actively serves on a number of Regional
Committees and is known to be very rarely absent from meetings or events. She is a woman of integrity who will not compromise her principles and speaks for what she believes in. Whether it be the establishment of the Waterloo Infant Toddler Daycare or standing up for future residents of a Supportive Housing project in Waterloo, Jane can be counted on to advocate for those who don’t have a voice.

I have known Jane for many years. When I first met her, she was the librarian at
Renison College Library, I worked in the library on the main campus and our paths crossed many times in the course of our work. At that time, Jane was also serving as a trustee with the Waterloo Region School Board and I was a Commissioner for the Girl Guides and we were being faced with user fees for using school space for our meetings. Jane offered supportive and encouraging guidance on how to appeal to the Board and even though we did not succeed, we knew we had someone on council who understood our position and the impact the decision had.

Jane is also founder and the coordinator for the Waterloo Region Women’s
Campaign School. This school not only encourages women to run for office but also provides them with valuable tools on how to run a successful campaign and how to themselves professionally to the public. The value of this school shows in the number of successful women politicians we now have serving us in Waterloo
Region.
As one of those who is inspired by Jane, I strongly urge you to support Jane in the upcoming municipal election by casting your vote for her as Waterloo Region
Councillor”
Laurie Strome, Community Volunteer and Activist. Winner Waterloo Award

Fresh ideas and perspectives for the Next Term

My Ending Speech from the Rogers Regional Councillor Debate.

The Region of Waterloo and the City of Waterloo have long been part of an evolving vision. Manufacturing of rubber, sausage, buttons and beer evolved into ideas and technology.  Alms houses evolved into the House of Friendship, SHOW and the Working Centre.

Here are a few issues requiring that our region evolve again.

Climate Change.

 We need concrete actions to reduce emissions and mitigate climate change. The cities and the Region have pledged to reduce emissions by 80%. Listening to the new ideas of environment organizations like REEP and Tritag will help us reduce and mitigate.  

Cycling

 As a teen, I used to cycle safely all over Waterloo. My older daughter was hit by a truck while riding in a painted bike lane. Cyclists advocate the new idea of segregated bike lanes and bollards to keep cyclists and cars separate.

Affordable Housing

Our vision must evolve when a booming economy, road and transit development create the unintended consequence of more expensive housing for citizens. Regional staff is already working on a conference that brings together developers, experts, politicians and citizens to come up with new ideas. The Region is already placing the “hard to house”and giving them the needed supports.

Opiods

The Regional Integrated Drug Strategy has 4 pillars, Prevention, harm reduction, rehabilitation and recovery, and Enforcement and Justice. It is not just about Safe Injection Sites.

Economic Development

The Ion has already brought new space at the long vacant NCR lands. We need an Aerospace Industrial Park.

New Provincial Government

I have been a councillor through Conservative and Liberal governments. We need to be flexible, lobby and evolve to keep Waterloo Region thriving.

 

 

GRT meeting at WPL and an interesting bus ride home

An interesting full house meeting at the Waterloo Public Library concerning the GRT changes when the ION train starts including the new fare cards. However, the most interesting part of the evening was the bus ride home. I took the 9 o’clock number 9. It is the one that takes a detour through the industrial area off Kumpf drive.

Had a nice chat with one of the women who works nights at one of the industries. I have seen her and her sister  workers before on this bus at this time. However the most interesting part of the trip was the stop where a handful of people got on in what seemed to be the middle of nowhere. The industry worker told me they were people who worked at St. Jacob’s Outlet Mall. After work, they had walked down the long dark trail to the only bus that evening. Miss it and it was an endless dark walk to Northfield.

Fortunately, the 2018 route changes once the ION train starts will help them. A new route, 19a and 19b will go along Kumpf and then up to the St. Jacobs Outlet Mall. It will be daily every 15 minutes and every 30 minutes on Saturday. It will link with the Northfield ION station for the women coming from Conestoga Mall.

It is great to see this improvement. Not only making things more convenient for people going to the St, Jacob’s Market and Walmart but also for those working in retail and manufacturing.  Transit has long been lacking in many industrial areas  leading to the Catch 22 that you need a car to get a job but the jobs pay too little for you to get a car.

GRT network with ION