We asked candidates to provide a 300 word (or less) response to the following question: What are the hallmarks of an excellent public servant and how do you epitomize that description? Here are their answers, in alphabetical order. Please note we have not edited or corrected any of the candidates’ responses.
In Cloverdale-Langley City, it’s Conservative candidate Dean Drysdale (former Langley township councillor) against Liberal candidate John Aldag, who has had a lengthy career with Parks Canada, the NDP’s Rebecca Smith and Green candidate Scott Anderson, who works with Bosa Construction.
John Aldag, Liberals
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I worked in the federal public service for 32 years, serving my country in national parks, national historic sites and national marine conservation areas. Throughout my career, I have worked with many public servants who exemplify excellence in public service. Attributes that inspired me include the drive to serve Canada without the need for personal recognition, putting service above self, and listening with the intent of understanding.
I’ve had great successes. One small example was the doubling of revenue and significant increases to visitation levels at a national historic site. In part, these public service accomplishments resulted in one of three national awards I’ve received along with the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal for public service. Members of my team have also received national awards. Service to country was the primary motivator; personal recognition was a pleasant surprise.
Another form of public service is found in the non-profit sector. I have served on boards in the sports, daycare, tourism-marketing and service fields. Service above self has been a prime motivator for me in working to improve my community through my non-profit involvement.
While working in the Northwest Territories in my early 20s, a First Nations elder taught me the difference between hearing and listening. Hearing is simply the act of hearing the words without depth of understanding, while listening includes understanding and empathy. Too many adults talk too much and don’t truly listen. I’ve tried to apply my ability to listen – and understand – what is being said throughout my adult life.
As the Member of Parliament for Cloverdale – Langley City, I will work to exemplify these traits of noble public service that I’ve observed over my career – to serve without the need for personal recognition, to put service above self and to truly listen to what constituents tell me concerning their hopes and needs for a better community and country.
Scott Anderson, Greens
An excellent public servant understands that he lives and works not just for himself but for a better society. Job for job, a position in the public sector may command a higher salary, but someone who pursues a career in public service is motivated by more than just a regular paycheque and health benefits. The work of a public servant can affect the lives of thousands or even millions of people, and a person charged with such a duty must not only have the highest personal and professional integrity but an innate desire to help others.
The public service is what makes a society civilized, and public servants are the guardians of our civilization. Sometimes, as we have seen with this government, public servants have to risk their jobs to protect Canadians in the face of federal intimidation and subversion.
In my case, I chose to enter public service for three main reasons. First, I grew sick of seeing Stephen Harper bully and intimidate scientists and other public servants who put their loyalty to service ahead of obedience to his tyrannical government. Citizens should not have fear their government or accept the lie that economic growth must come at the expense of our air, land and water. Second I want to reverse Harper¹s numerous cuts to our healthcare system that has put it on the verge of collapse. Third, I want to arrest the growing drug-related crime problem in CloverdaleLangley City.
I joined the Green Party because I want to return Canada to democracy and help build a national government on a sound, constitutional foundation.
Dean Drysdale, Conservatives
Did not respond.
Rebecca Smith, NDP
Honesty, Integrity, confidence and communication skills – these are essential traits of an excellent public servant, and these are the characteristics I possess. My name is Rebecca Smith and I live my life by “walking my talk”. I am confident because of it. I do not have to second guess myself because I live with honesty and integrity. There are no secret agendas or dealings in my life, just straight-forward honest interactions. These are the qualities that have served me well as a small business owner and as the steward of not-for-profit organizations. These are the qualities that will serve this electoral district well when I am their elected parliamentary representative.
But there is more to public service that these basic traits. Courage and optimism combined with determination, action-orientation, diplomacy and the ability to learn are all necessary. The role is to inspire trust, and confidence. When we think of great leaders and public servants, these qualities are always present. Though the personalities attached to these individuals have differed greatly, the essential traits have remained the same.
These characteristics produce the ability to deal with setbacks and loss, success and progress with aplomb ensuring that the public served sees that their needs and best interests are being met. My life to-date has been one of developing and honing these skills. I am a cancer survivor and I work in the not-for-profit sector so I know what it is to face setbacks and challenges;. Yet I still press on determined to achieve, dedicated to serving my community, and my nation. I am determined to make a difference and to improve the lives of those I serve every day. I want to serve the people of Cloverdale-Langley City and you can be assured that I am honest, brave, and learning everyday.