On Monday, November 7th, 2022, the latest edition of the Township of Langley Council was sworn in. In the almost 150-year history of our community, there has rarely been so much opportunity for one group on Council to pursue their agenda, due to the election of a majority of one political party.
That being said, the overall mood of this Council seems to be one of collaboration and action, and the first Regular Meeting of Council on November 14th is sure to have a very full agenda. At the Inaugural Meeting, each member of Council was given the opportunity to say a few words, and with the more substantive meetings forthcoming, I wanted to share the remarks I made at the inauguration here. I mean every word of them, and I'm very much looking forward to seeing what this Council can achieve.
"I’m sure many of you have by now seen the video of a certain member of my family on election night, so I’ll keep my remarks brief so that nobody gets too emotional. However, today is a special one for a few reasons. I have the fortune - or misfortune - of being the first person in my family elected to public office. However, my great-grandfather ran in 1956 for the BC Liberals up in the South Peace against W.A.C Bennet’s Social Credit Party, which was almost as wise as running for Council for the first time at 21 years old. We all know how much Councillor Ferguson loves his props, so I have with me today the briefcase that my great-grandad carried with him as he toured the South Peace region many years ago. While he didn’t win, I’d like to think the family tradition of fighting against the political odds lives on.
It struck me today as I was sitting in the Chambers before this meeting, that the first time I ever sat here was when I was 12 years old, and together with my sister – who is here tonight – presented to Council and to former Mayor Rick Green to ask for support in creating the Walk to Remember Memorial at the Derek Doubleday Arboretum. A few things have changed since then, but that was the first moment I realized the difference the local government makes. Thinking of the faith it took for the Council of the day to give a kid and his older sister a chance, it gives me hope that while I have the privilege of being a member of this Council, I might have the opportunity to return the favour, and take a chance on some crazy ideas that make this place even more special.
It’s truly a privilege to be able to have the opportunity to sit here for the next 4 years, and I’d like to sincerely congratulate each one of my fellow councillors. We have the opportunity to do something incredibly worthwhile with the responsibility we’ve been given. After all, why else would we go through one of the toughest job interviews possible, if not to have the chance to leave our community in a better position than when we found it.
We have a responsibility to govern on behalf of those who voted for us, but also those who didn’t. If we forget this, then the divisiveness of our Council will be the thing that people remember about us, as opposed to the progress we have the opportunity to make. I’m looking forward to seeing the members of the public who work to keep Council accountable, and I hope that you continue to do the necessary work of reminding us who we are here to serve.
This community of ours will soon reach and then eclipse 150,000 people, almost double the population when my family first moved here 25 years ago. We’re the second fastest-growing municipality in the Province of British Columbia, and I’m looking forward to getting to work on an ambitious agenda to provide the pieces of a community that our residents deserve and should expect from a town of this size.
However, tough times are ahead. In fact, for a lot of our residents, they’re already here. We need to make sure we can deliver the programs that play such a key role in supporting them, and deliver new ones with the infrastructure required to do so while making sure that we don’t put ourselves in the position of having to make life even more expensive. I believe this Council can navigate these challenges, but that doesn’t mean we can ignore them.
Next year, our Township turns 150 years old. I sincerely believe that these next 4 are some of the most crucial in this long history, and I’m truly honoured to be a part of this chapter. I want to thank everyone who had a hand in organizing tonight’s proceedings, as well as all those who’ve sat on Council before us. To everyone who supported me and helped in ways big and small, I’ll be forever grateful, and I hope you feel like tonight is a special one for you as well.
Lastly, to my friends and family who are here tonight, and those who couldn’t make it: thank you for dealing with me over the last 4.5 years. I know it probably wasn’t easy to hear me talking non-stop about mixed-use zoning, lack of transit, and all the ways this Township was the best place in the world, all things considered. Thank you for believing in me and for your support.
Congratulations again to my fellow members of Council: I’m looking forward to getting to work."