If you’ve ever seen me canvassing the neighbourhoods of Kingston, you may have also noticed a car following slowly behind. While it may look like a scene from some pulse-pounding political John Grisham thriller, the situation is far from dangerous – though for me, it is thrilling. Contained in that car are my wife, Shyla, and my two children; or, as I like to think of them, my mobile support system. I wouldn’t be here today, doing what I’m doing, doing what I love, without them.
Here’s the thing: my decision to enter politics was not a ‘me’ decision – it was a ‘we’ decision. My wife and I are a team, and the choice was made together. The political, as they say, is also personal. In fact, by its very nature, politics is not a solipsistic endeavour; it’s a fluid, dynamic conversation made up of many voices and ideas. The success of any political vision is not dependent on just one person, but rather, a supportive network of people who share a similar – though not identical – perspective as well as a common goal; this is why Shyla has been not only been an invaluable source of support, but has also played a vital part in defining the very platform on which my campaign stands.
Her insight gives me perspective and her influence behind the scenes is everywhere; most notably in the artistic elements of my campaign where her strengths flourish (and mine are most wanting). She’s passionate about every element of my platform, and the canvassing car rides with our children are just one way she supports me, what I stand for and what we are trying to accomplish for Kingston – and by extension, our family and everybody else’s.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s not easy to explain the complex idea of local democracy to young children, but the fact that Daddy is running for mayor is not lost on them. They understand, even at this very young age, that with love and effort, you can affect change. They see Dad doing it. It’s a small seed, but with the right encouragement, it will grow and develop in their consciousnesses over the years and make them stronger people.
On a larger scale, I hope the same holds true for Kingston; that we’ll band together to affect the changes we want to see; that we will support one another, draw from one another’s strengths and grow. This unity is the basis of my platform and I believe it is the best place to start. After all, it starts from the heart. It starts at home and home is where we all begin.