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Federal election: Liberal Pam Goldsmith-Jones

Former West Vancouver mayor wants to restore "civility, respect, fairness and accessibility"
Pam Goldsmith-Jones
Pam Goldsmith-Jones considers Bowen Island to be in her neighbourhood. It is only a boat ride away.

Work is all about aligning who you are as a person with what you’re doing each day, says the woman who wants to go to work in Ottawa for the people of West Vancouver-Sunshine Coast-Sea to Sky Country.

Former West Vancouver mayor Pam Goldsmith-Jones is this riding’s Liberal candidate in the October 19 federal election.

“The expression of our values through the public realm is very important,” she says in a telephone interview. And that public realm is suffering under the Harper government, she says. 

“I don’t think our democratic institutions are working properly…. We need to restore civility, respect, fairness and accessibility.”

She says that her strength is to work across differences. We get the farthest, she says, by challenging ourselves to say that we might not agree with another person’s viewpoint but we can see valid truths within those opposing views.

In the early weeks of her door-to-door campaigning, she says that, like her, “people are interested in change and they’re thinking of what it would be like.”

She also believes that the Liberals are “a voice for the environment.”

“The environment is a core value in our region. People are paying attention.”

One of those people is author and UBC anthropology professor Wade Davis. The Bowen Island resident has contributed to the Liberals’ environment plan and introduced Liberal leader Justin Trudeau when the plan was unveiled in Vancouver. 

In an interview with the Squamish Chief, Goldsmith-Jones outlined her position on the proposed LNG plant in the district:

“I have five essential conditions for the project: 1. A transparent, independent science-based review… and that ensures local citizens of the integrity of the process, including protection of the ecosystem. 2. Emissions generated by the plant fit within a national green house gas emissions framework. So that requires admitting climate change is an issue and that we need to put a price on carbon. 3. Local communities and First Nations are consulted properly. I find the Squamish Nation’s recent publication of its conditions to be a big part of that. 4. That the economic benefits including job creation aren’t just token and aren’t just temporary. 5. That land and water safety standards are world-class and that has to be, obviously, clearly defined to the public.”

Goldsmith-Jones has a Master’s degree in Canadian politics and government and recently added an Executive MBA in Aboriginal Leadership and Business from Simon Fraser University to her resume. It hadn’t been her intention to enroll but, after she was asked to speak to the class, she wanted to take the conversation further. “I had unfinished business with wanting to take my experience in the public realm and run it through the business lens.”

Successful economies produce successful social systems that are good for everyone, she says.

This one-thing-led-to-an-unexpected-other-thing tendency was also in play when she homeschooled her three children when they were living on Gabriola Island. It started out as a six-week plan but “it turned out to be such a wonderful experience it turned into six years.”

When her children approached high school age, the family returned to West Van so they could enroll at Rockridge.  “Our house has provided a place to stay over for an entire generation of Bowen kids,” she says with a laugh.

Her family has been in West Vancouver since 1906.

She also says that the Liberal party captures the aspirations of Canadians, whose potential is being untapped and marginalized.

“Canada governs best from the middle,” she says. “It’s important that people aren’t cynical about the role of government. Canada represents an ideal that we all progress together.”

Here in the riding, she says voters have excellent choices in all the candidates. “I have utmost respect for the people I’m running against. I hope people get to know me and that my experience and track record can be put to use.”