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Public Engagement critical – Rural NL needs more…

Politicians are representatives of the people in the regions in which we are elected. I strongly believe as a young individual and a community-oriented person that we must work from the grassroots – build from the ground-level up. I believe in public consultation and involving my constituents in the process through regular public meetings, community/Town hall meetings, door-to-door discussions, availability at public events and also the forum of the social media to communicate. There is an expectation in today’s modern society that politicians be available to their constituents more than ever.

IMG-20130918-02748        I had the privilege of meeting Alberta’s NDP Leader Brian Mason who believes that public engagement is critical to a more democratic society. The Alberta election is about three years away. However, the Opposition Wildrose Party (right-wing) and the New Democrats (left-wing) are working together to reach out to youth across Alberta to change the political landscape from the 40+ year reign of the governing Progressive Conservatives. They are participating in seven or eight debates across universities and colleges in major cities across the province.

On September 18th, 2013, I took public transportation (LRT) to University Station in Edmonton to the Lecture Hall at the University of Alberta. I was very surprised to see about 400 people, mainly youth gather at the event. It was refreshing as a youth and as a politician to see such interest as these two Leaders raised the bar and reached out though public debate of the issues and keeping it real. The Alberta New Democrats have been very vocal against the PC budget cuts of 7% to the education system. This campaign has garnered much support in their Edmonton base with currently four MLAs from the Capital and evident support from repeated cheers during much of the debate.

There were many issues brought to the forefront such as energy, pipelines, economy, post-secondary education, health care and public services. I enjoyed hearing the differing viewpoints of Leader Danielle Smith and Leader Brian Mason. The issues facing Alberta (a commodity economy) in many cases mirrors Newfoundland & Labrador on a smaller scale. We must conduct long-term planning and evaluate the impacts our aging demographics will have on program and service delivery.

On September 25, 26 and October 1st, I held a series of Public Meetings in St. Anthony, Sandy Cove and Roddickton. It was an excellent opportunity to hear concerns, issues and ideas of those living in the community. Meetings brought out about 150 people total and included those as young as 19 years of age. This is all very positive, as you can listen to the views of constituents and share information. It reduces barriers and builds trust. There is power in the voice of everyday people and commend you all for stepping up! Together we will build a stronger economy in the District of The Straits-White Bay North.

Public engagement is critical – rural NL certainly needs more of it!

Live Rural NL -

Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA
The Straits-White Bay North 
NDP Office of Public Engagement critic 

Water – A Necessity in My Life

Every morning when I awake from my bed, if the shade is up the first sight I see is the towering mounds of land we call Labrador. I get incredible views of Mainland Canada, as Labrador is within a short distance of 14 miles away.  I commute each day to work viewing the scenic Strait of Belle Isle on Route 430. As a proud islander, there is something rejuvenating of seeing the water and the economic value that drives our economy as the fishers work peacefully on the water.

A few days ago, I slowed my car and decided to pull over as the little boat had caught my attention. How wonderful it would feel to be on the water that day versus sitting at my desk in an enclosed office. Although I have a window, it can not compare to the open space and a sense of freedom you have while spending your day in  a boat. One can go wherever the waves take you.

For recreation purposes I enjoy canoeing and rowing. I remember fond memories with father during a few weeks when I spent fishing with him. I was only 13 when he passed, just getting a taste of the open water and being able to work with him. Although I am not a fisherman, the profession is very dear to my heart and runs quite deep in my family line to when the first Mitchelmore’s came from Devon County England in the 1800′s and prior. After living in Alberta for a few months, I found myself planning vacations near the ocean and frequented lakes. There is a yearning to be next to this substance that brings me much happiness. It is good for the body, mind and soul…

The Great Northern Peninsula has so much to offer as we live Rural NL.

Christopher C. Mitchelmore

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