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.
There’s a battle royale brewing between incumbent Conservative MP Nina Grewal and NDP candidate Garry Begg, a retired senior Surrey RCMP officer, in Fleetwood-Port Kells. Ken Hardie is running under the Liberal banner in this riding. For the Green Party, Richard Hosein is running.
Garry Begg, NDP
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I have devoted my entire adult life to public service. I believe it is a high and noble calling. For 38 years I lived that credo while serving as an RCMP officer, ultimately rising to the rank of Inspector. For me, seeking elected office as a member of parliament is an extension to that public service.
I believe it is imperative that an MP is the voice of their riding in Ottawa, and is not merely a voice of their party from Ottawa to the riding itself. When an MP is only the voice of their party in a riding, then that is decidedly not public service.
The New Democratic Party has the notion of public service and the public good coursing through its veins. It is rooted in the very foundation of the party. It is the reason why I chose to run for the NDP.
The work done by Jack Layton was truly inspirational and the strong, principled leadership of Tom Mulcair has been an extension of that. We have seen the notion of the public good – and by extension public service – manifested by Tom so many times in parliament in recent months especially during the debates about the deeply troubling government spying bill, C-51.
Ultimately, public service and the public good is what this election comes down to. The people of Canada and of Fleetwood-Port Kells must ask themselves whether they want to elect an MP who has high standards of public service and commitment to community, and whether they want a government committed to public service. I believe that my career embodies that commitment.
Nina Grewal, Conservative
An ideal public servant is one who runs for Parliament with a strong sense of Canada, being Canadian, and wanting to serve Canada. He or she requires a strong desire to make a contribution to society and to their community. Not driven by political ambition or zeal, they simply want to change things to make Canada a better place. It is important to have an ear to the ground; listening to the grassroots, and to be willing to put in long hours on the job.
Like many immigrants, I arrived in Canada and quickly developed a deep appreciation and love for my new home. I welcomed a country that offered peace, democracy, good governance, the rule of law, and, most importantly, a place of unlimited opportunity.
I loved Canada and wanted to serve Canada. An opportunity presented itself to run for Parliament in 2004 under a leader that I believed in: Stephen Harper. A man of principle and dedication, who was familiar with our western needs and aspirations, Mr. Harper promised to be the ideal candidate to sweep aside years of Liberal arrogance and scandal.
Being a part of a government that is in tune with the wants to desires of British Columbia has allowed me to make a significant difference in my community. It has allowed me to participate internal government debates and to make the desires and concerns of my constituents known.
We’ve reformed the criminal justice system, with dozens of new laws that punish criminals and protect innocent victims. While there remains more work to be done, we are moving in the right direction, despite the opposition and delaying tactics of the NDP and Liberals. Our government has also made record investments in infrastructure – the roads, bridges, public transit, public buildings, etc., that we all use every day. Our community has received investments of over $1.4 billion.
The most gratifying part of my job, however, has been helping ordinary citizens with their problems. It can be tough for an ordinary person to go up against the bureaucracy of Canada when there is a dispute on a pension matter, an Employment Insurance claim, or an immigration application. I’m happy to be there on the side of my constituents to ensure that they receive fair treatment and a just decision. That is the part of my job I like best, because you can be effective in helping individuals.
Ken Hardie, Liberal
At the heart of excellence in the public service is recognition by the public servant of their duty to ensure the constituents of their organization get the help they need.
This goes beyond simply processing requests and managing files. A public servant needs to remember that the average citizen may not know all the details of the services available to them or all of the steps required to access them. ‘Excellence ‘ involves putting yourself in the shoes of the person needing help, looking at the issues through their eyes and working to close the gaps between what the organization does, what the individual needs and what they perceive their getting.
An essential element in this is the principle of ‘fair process’. There are times that an individual will not be satisfied with the services they receive, and an excellent public servant will not walk away from a situation like this simply by quoting policy. Instead, the citizen should be given access ‘up-line’ to more senior decision-makers and given an opportunity to tell their story. This process should continue until the person needing assistance speaks with the person or body accountable for the existing policy.
Not only will individuals feel respected, regardless of the ultimate outcome, they may well contribute to an examination of the policy in question, which could lead to improvements that benefit many others and build public confidence in government and its public service.
Helping resolve individuals’ issues and seeing policies become more responsive have been among the most satisfying aspect of my 26 years of public service. This will be the primary focus of my constituency office should I be elected in Fleetwood-Port Kells.
Richard Hosein, Green
There are many issues facing the Fleetwood-Port Kells riding, however, the root cause of these issues stem from our failing democracy. This has been exemplified by the Conservative government signing of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) Trade deal under a veil of secrecy. The TPP is a wishlist for monopolistic corporations that inherently benefits giant multinational companies while undermining small businesses and startups-against the interest of Canadian citizens. Our current voting system has lost the confidence of Canadians. We must replace the first-past-the-post system with a form of proportional representation. We will determine the form of proportional representation best suited to Canada through extensive public consultation by an all-party committee. The health of our democracy depends on electing Members of Parliament (MP) who are accountable. Green MPs will publish their expenses online, to ensure maximum transparency and accountability, and never use Parliamentary resources for party or personal benefit.
An excellent public servant is committed, authentic, optimistic, a communicator, a learner, a listener, a co-operator, practices inclusive participation, views society from a holistic lens, and stands by a code of ethics.
As an MP, I acknowledge that I have a special duty to my constituents and it would be my responsibility to be engaged and connected to my constituency. Part of my efforts would include regular town hall meetings, continue to use social media, attend public events, and work in partnerships with community advocacy groups. I will make decisions that I believe are congruent with Green Principles and that are in the best interest of my constituents and the greater good. Our platform is available online through www.greenparty.ca/platform please take some time to critically look at all the party’s platforms and make the right choice and vote for a Green candidate on October 19th.