I received my Electronic Engineering Technology Diploma as part of the last graduating class from the College of Fisheries in 1985, before it became the Marine Institute. I immediately began work with…Read More
I received my Electronic Engineering Technology Diploma as part of the last graduating class from the College of Fisheries in 1985, before it became the Marine Institute. I immediately began work with Newfoundland Telephone in Bay Roberts, and transferred to Clarenville in 1994 from Clarke’s Beach, at the peak of the Hibernia Project. My wife Tina and I were expecting our first child, Ryan, and came with an open mind and a positive outlook to see if Clarenville was a place where we could settle with our growing family. We bought a house, Tina continued her career in education and in 2000, our daughter Kathleen was born, we were here to stay.
Ryan started playing minor hockey, we cheered from the stands at first, hoping he would enjoy it without my influence, and he did . I was so happy that he started playing a sport that I loved. I felt I had something I could offer the program, so I began helping out on the ice, eventually got into coaching, and served as Divisional Director at every level along the way. Eventually Kathleen joined the program, Tina became more involved, we enjoyed close to 20 years of volunteering, the last 3 years I served as President. We met and worked with many great people, learned a lot about myself, and how to work within a community based organization. It was through this work that in 2015 I received the Clarenville Lions Club Senior Volunteer of the year award, and in 2017 was, once again honoured to receive Hockey NL’s Meritorious Award for outstanding service to Minor Hockey at a Provincial level. I have tremendous respect for volunteers that work tirelessly to provide a safe, stable place for kids to grow up playing a sport they enjoy. It’s important and often thankless work, that helps children grow up to be contributing members of society.
We’re firm believers in the benefits of being physically active. Living in Clarenville offers so many fun activities to enjoy right on our doorstep. We camped throughout the province for years, we enjoy hiking, cross country skiing, snowmobiling, hunting, fishing, golfing, and backyard vegetable gardening. Another physically active group that I volunteer with is the Eastern NL Dragon Boat Club, that my wife Tina helped establish. It supports Breast Cancer survivors, while paddling a 40’ dragon boat. They needed a steersperson so I volunteered. This is a welcoming group, I’d encourage anyone, male or female, to get involved.
Most of my 35 years in the Telecom Industry I’ve been involved as a union activist representing workers as a Shop Steward, Local Unit Chair and as a Regional Representative. I believe in treating people fairly. This can absolutely be achieved without organizing labour but, when necessary, representation of workers with a common voice can help people enjoy secure, rewarding employment. This stability not only helps workers but employers as well. Through these professional and volunteer roles I’ve gained valuable experience, working with people from diverse backgrounds, having different skill sets, to achieve outcomes that work for as many people as possible.
Those of you who know me, already know how passionate I am about where and how we live. Management of our community, our province, and our country has a tremendous impact on our way of life. I’ve always had opinions on political decisions and policies enacted by various levels of government, that I share freely over a coffee or the supper table. It got to a point in the summer of 2018, with news reports circulating about impending power rate increases, with not much discussion about plans to keep rates affordable, I made a conscious decision to get more involved. I took a lead role in an effort to make people and politicians more aware of the effect, that doubling of power rates would have on people already struggling financially.
We organized the Take Back The Power protest, which asked people all across the province to shut off the electrical supply to their homes for 4 hours on July 1st, in a symbolic protest to show power providers and government that we are engaged consumers. It resulted in a consumption drop of close to 800Mw and was successful for many reasons. People felt empowered by actually seeing the results of their actions, they felt united behind a cause, and we had the News media and the province’s attention. This was followed by several protests at the Public Utilities Board, where rate hike applications were being considered, and then to the steps of the Confederation building. Along with two others, we presented a case against the proposed increases at the PUB, on behalf of the citizens of the province. Facilitated by the province’s Consumer Advocate, this was the first time that everyday citizens represented themselves at a PUB Hearing. Along with supporters that attended that day, we were successful in influencing NL Hydro to withdraw it’s request for a 6.5% rate increase. It’s something I’m quite proud of, and was the inspiration for me to become more politically active. I saw the municipal by-election in 2019 as an opportunity to offer myself to serve the residents of Clarenville.
Everyone has a role to play in shaping our community, to support a safe, healthy, positive environment to call home. It might be helping an elderly neighbour, or a single parent family at a time when they need you, or just taking the time to stop and chat, and get to know people in your neighbourhood. There are many volunteers who give their time unselfishly to improve our community, either as part of an organization or as individuals. There are businesses that provide a livelihood for their worker’s and their families, there are professionals who work everyday to keep our residents safe, healthy, or to teach our children lessons necessary for them to live productive lives. I’m proud to support these efforts as a member of Council, and will do my best to contribute to our collective success.
Last modified: January 12, 2021