The Tricky Matter of Seeking Higher Office

I don’t want higher office.

It’s so simple. I want to become a trustee to serve my community. Education is incredibly important, and all I want is to do what I can to improve it. I don’t have any interest in becoming an MPP or an MP or a city councillor or mayor — I just want to be a trustee. The pay is low, the work is demanding, but it’s helping real people in an area of life that is of vital significance in their lives.

See how easy it is?

Unfortunately for too many people, the position of school trustee is an entry-level job, almost an internship for ambitious hopefuls who hunger for a career in politics. It’s not that unusual for trustees to end up in other political offices. It’s not even a bad thing. But to make that career progression a prime factor in seeking election is wrong.

Why? Because focusing on higher office requires networking, fundraising, researching — in other words it involves devoting time and resources to oneself instead of one’s community. That is to say, prioritizing higher office violates the very purpose of seeking election in the first place.

I’m a dad of two small kids. I’m a seasoned volunteer, both locally and internationally. I want to become a trustee to help out. That’s all. I can’t imagine “climbing the ladder.”

An official investigation found that most of the current trustees of the York Region District School Board (YRDSB) openly sought higher office. This must surely be connected to the fact that countless parents report being unable to contact their trustee: calls don’t get returned, emails go unanswered. I myself have experienced this frustrating problem as well.

If elected, I pledge to focus 100% on doing the job I was chosen to do.

In all honesty, though, this really is the easiest promise I’ve ever made.

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