THUNDER BAY – POLITICS 2.0 – My name is Lori Paras and I am one of the 7 candidates that have been endorsed by LEAP in this election and I am campaigning for a seat as a Councillor at Large.
I have built a platform of Putting People First that encompasses three pillars of change that I would like to bring to the city of Thunder Bay.
Pillar 1 addresses the need to Build Economic Growth and Prosperity within the city, Pillar 2 speaks to mending the social fabric through a Community Care Initiative that includes building a Treatment Centre built on a model of “complete care” that avoids the pitfalls that many addicts fall through when trying to access detox centre’s, treatment facilities, halfway houses, housing and aftercare programs and Pillar 3 endeavours to improve Communication and Citizen Relations within city hall.
I also believe it is time to establish trusting relationships with the Indigenous community to foster reconciliation and develop business partnerships with First Nation communities.
As my time is limited this evening, I would like to speak to you about a portion of the Leap manifesto that advocates for respecting the inherent rights and title of the original caretakers of this land and I am quoting now from the Leap website that reminds us that….” The treaties form the legal basis of this country and bind us to share the lands “for as long as the sun shines, the grass grows and the rivers flow.”
We must with all our strength and courage stand beside our indigenous brothers and sisters to ensure that their future changes to embrace their right to equality in all sectors of society, their right to their land and their right to self-determination. Their culture must be protected, their lands must be protected, and today we have the responsibility to help in the protection of their lives from individuals who would do them physical harm. We as citizens of Thunder Bay must step forward and be that shield in every arena that does not respect or value their lives. We cannot just say at the beginning of a speech that we are living on the territorial lands of our Indigenous brothers and sisters and believe that that acknowledgement or gesture is enough to start the process of reconciliation. We must let this community, this province and this nation know that the day of dishonouring our agreements and abusing not only the indigenous people of Canada but all minorities is over.
Changing the course of Thunder Bay, whether it is financial or moral, begins with the citizens deciding to vote into office new voices with the goal of balancing council chambers with a multi-cultural and multi-gender perspective that is more representative of who we are as a community today.
I personally never experienced true humility until I sat by the fire with an indigenous elder. Their love and compassion, their understanding and guidance, put me on a path to wellness and I will be forever grateful.
So I am running to sit on a city council that needs change and I believe that the true hope for this community lies in the hearts and actions of everyone in this room this evening. There is no time left to debate the subject of equality for all, and there is no time left to debate the importance of protecting the life of this planet. We need to Leap into our future building true partnerships, with true commitments, being led by true compassionate hearts. Thank you and Meegwetch.
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