RM candidates face the issues

by Phil Ambroziak

The turnout may have been small, but the message was huge.

Those seeking a role on the next Rural Municipality (RM) of Meadow Lake council all agree that every eligible voter should visit the polls on Election Day tomorrow (Oct. 24), not only to support the candidates’ respective campaigns, but to also contribute toward a prosperous future for the community.

“I just want to tell everyone to get out and vote,” said incumbent Division V councillor Perry Brookes. “In the past, we’ve only had something like a 27 or 28 per cent voter turnout, which is not great. We shouldn’t have to brag about what we’re going to do because everyone knows who we are and what we stand for – just go out and vote and tell your neighbour to go out and vote.”

Brookes’ comments were made during an RM all candidates forum, the first of its kind in RM election history. Organized by the Meadow Lake Library and the Meadow Lake and District Chamber of Commerce, the forum attracted a small crowd of close to 15 people eager to hear what the candidates had to say about both themselves and the issues. In the hot seat were incumbent reeve John Lawson, Division III candidates Colleen Hakes, Ronald Johnson, Bob McIntyre, Don Morin and Blair Mysko, and Division V candidates Brookes and Ken Schiele. Rodger Zuchotzki, who is also seeking the position of reeve, was absent.

“I’ve worked as a maintenance supervisor with the school division, and I’ve worked at the pulp mill for a number of years,” Mysko explained when asked why he would be an ideal person for the job of councillor. “I know how to manage and make decisions to get things done. I also have experience with problem solving and working with people.”

Hakes said she was asked by ratepayers to put her name forward in Division III.

“It is a responsibility I would take very seriously,” she said. “I am an active volunteer with the Lions Club and the Red Cross, and believe my leadership skills would be an asset. Most importantly, as a council we need to listen, communicate and help each other.”

As a former councillor, Morin said he is a good listener. He also said all members of the community share similar problems and concerns, something he would like to help them address.

McIntyre hopes to bring his experience with various provincial bodies to the table if elected while Johnson, who is also a former councillor, believes he still has something to contribute to the community.

A former school division board member, Schiele is hopeful his previous experience will translate positively as an RM councillor while Brookes joined municipal politics in 2006 following a lengthy career in the logging industry.

“There is a lot of unfinished business in the RM – that’s why I’m back here again,” he said.

Lawson, who described himself as an active volunteer throughout the community and beyond, reminded voters he doesn’t bring with him a personal agenda.

“I plan to continue to do what is best for the RM,” he said. “I also have flexible work hours. A lot of people are tied up with jobs or farming, but these days you need to attend meetings with the different levels of government. You can’t ask someone to come off their combine to meet with the government in Saskatoon or Regina. I was also a teacher for 41 years, so I know how to work with anyone.”

Among the major issues raised during the forum were wildlife management, road conditions and the new Northland Pioneer Lodge.

“The biggest problem in my division are these little, four-legged things that run around and build dams,” McIntyre said. “This doesn’t just happen in my area, but other areas too. Something needs to be done.”

Feedback? Text it at 240-4553 or email pride.news@sasktel.net

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