That’s a strange way to start a post, isn’t it? Here I am telling you what I will not tell you….
You see, having been keenly interested in politics for my entire adult life; having worked for two mayors and a municipal CAO; having worked in public and government relations; having run three campaigns; and having been a St. Catharines City Councillor, I’ve seen other politicians do and say a lot of things.
A lot of things I would not do or say.
My integrity is very important to me. It’s a trait that should be important to all of us, I think. Integrity, though, is something that can be very easy for some people to give up when they’re campaigning or after they’ve won the privilege of representing citizens at the council table.
It can be very easy for some people to say what they think citizens want to hear; agreeing with them for the sake of agreeing…in order to get their vote.
This is where I’ve always struggled as a politician. I have never been able to tell someone something for the sake of it. I can’t tell people what they want to hear for the sake of it. Everything I say must be informed, accurate, and truthful.
Here is what I will not tell you: I will not tell you that I will lower you taxes.
Here is what I will tell you: Don’t get me wrong. If there’s a way to reduce property taxes without negatively impacting existing service levels, I will do that. I’m sure there are more efficient ways to use the tax dollars collected by the Region. I will always advocate for citizens to not pay any more in taxes than is necessary to ensure an appropriate service level for all of our services.
What I will not tell you: I will not tell you that I haven’t made a mistake.
What I will tell you: We all make mistakes. We continue to respect those people who take accountability for their actions or behaviour and ensure they don’t repeat it. If/when I make a mistake, I will own it and the consequences and resolve to do better in the future.
What I will not tell you: I will not tell you that I support you and your concerns about an issue and then not show that support.
What I will tell you: If I tell you that I am going to fight for something for you and the community, I will fight for it. If we are not on the same page about the issue, I will tell you where I stand, and I will listen carefully and respectfully to where you stand. You may have information that I’ve not heard before and change my mind about something. But if I say that I am taking a particular position on something, I will stand by that until and unless new information becomes available and then I will clearly communicate why I may have changed my position.
I am a straight shooter. Admittedly, some people don’t appreciate my forthrightness, but it’s important to me that you don’t have to guess where I stand on an issue. I mean what I say, and you can be confident that I will do the things I say I’m going to do.
If I don’t know the answer to something, I will tell you I don’t know the answer and then I will go and find an answer and get back to you.