Monday, October 3, 2016

A Mayor With the Skill to Guide us Through Rough Water

There are many reasons to mark an X next to David Penney's name on October 15th.  He believes that Lunenburg's greatest resource is its citizens and wishes to engage them in a meaningful way.  I have seen him chair a meeting and he's a natural.  He's warm,  kind, intelligent, strong and confident. He is a good listener, an eloquent public speaker and he is a communicator.   He is a leader.

I joked once that David Penney would make the perfect Lunenburg Mayor because for the past 20 years he has worked in mental health, but every joke has some truth behind it.  No, no, I'm not insinuating that council needs counseling.  Let me tell you a bit about what David did for a living.

The reason that most people have not seen David Penney out and about in Lunenburg, despite living here for the past twelve years, is that until now, David traveled for work.  He was brought into corporations and many municipal governments to help resolve conflict and to assist organizations with mental health issues when needed.

We all remember the terrible 2014 Moncton shootings  when several police officers lost their lives.  It was David who was called in to help the RCMP deal with this tragedy.  I'm sure his own experience as a former police officer made him an obvious choice for this difficult job.   This is certainly not something that David is going to put on his campaign brochure.  I am writing about this only because I want you to consider the wealth of skill, understanding, compassion and calmness that is associated with this kind of work.

A mayor needs to have many qualities, but one of the qualities that I believe is extremely important is to be a strong anchor in a storm. Someone, who in the midst of crisis, will have the skill to lead the way.  Think of the role that mayor Naheed Nenshi played during the Calgarly floods.  A pillar of strength and leadership.

I'm not being an alarmist.  Chances are that we will get through the next four years without any major catastrophes.  But anyone that pays attention to Nova Scotia politics and who has read the Ivany Report knows that all of Nova Scotia is in for a rough ride.  We have an ageing population, out migration of youth and new people are not coming fast enough to replace those who are leaving.  According to this Chart, put out by The South Shore Housing Action Coalition, The population of residents between the ages of 35-64, will decrease from 874 to 398 in 20 years, if we continue on our current trend.

I just heard one coucillor at the candidates' forum talk about Lunenburg being financially sound.  The problem, apparently,  is everywhere, but within the 4 sq. km boundary of the Town of Lunenburg.  This head in the sand attitude will not serve us in the near future.  We need strong leaders, who are willing to confront our challenges head on, not deny that they exist. We need a leader who has the skill to negotiate our future.

I have complete faith in our future....if we can elect proven, knowledgeable people, with true leadership skills.  We need someone who understands how to navigate conflict.  That person is David Penney.

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