Friday, November 07, 2008

We'd like to get to know you (Northern View candidate profiles 3)

The Northern View continues to provide some very informative campaign coverage, with its candidate profiles for the upcoming municipal election. Over the course of the last few weeks the weekly has posted a number of articles and introductions to the various candidates for office.

In this installment we feature the thumbnail sketches of Nelson Kinney, Joy Thorkelson, George Sampson and Joe Viscount, the final group of candidates seeking your vote for Prince Rupert City council on November 15th.

Only Jason Shellenberg remains to be heard from for council participants, apparently not yet having provided his resume outline to the Northern View for our review.

Nelson Kinney
Published: November 04, 2008 11:00 PM
Updated: November 05, 2008 3:28 PM

Prince Rupert has been home to Councillor Nelson Kinney since 1957. I had the privilege to have taught gymnastics and diving and was a lifeguard for the outdoor pool in the earlier years. I was the founding member of the Prince Rupert Figure Skating club. I am the proud father of a beautiful daughter, Candice, who resides in Calgary with her husband.

I own my own salon and for many years I have been very active in the business community. I am a Marriage Commissioner for B.C. Government; member of the Rotary Club, B.C. Lions of Prince Rupert; past Governor for the Moose Lodge; past Lt. Governor of Kiwanis International; and past Exulted Ruler of the Elks club. Committee activities include the Performing Arts Centre Society Board.

I was first elected to Council in November 2002. My focus on Council is on seniors, youth and industry. I strongly believe and am committed to building strong relationships with First Nations and neighbouring communities so that Prince Rupert can continue to support and offer services to the Northwest region.

I continue to work tirelessly as a community ambassador, always eager to participate in local events as a resident and Council representative. I will continue to be dedicated in promoting our City and speaking for all citizens, with a special interest in ensuring a good quality of life for seniors and

I gained much knowledge and experience from the last two terms on council and “thank” the citizens in Prince Rupert for their support and allowing me to serve them. I am committed and dedicated to listening to the concerns of the people of Prince Rupert. I am approachable, accountable, and affordable. I am looking forward to serving the people as their representative on council for the next three years.

You may contact Nelson Kinney by phone at (work) 624-9116 (home) 624-5602 or email

George Sampson
Published: November 04, 2008 11:00 PM
Updated: November 05, 2008 3:28 PM

My name is George Sampson. I am 50 years old, and a father of five.

I was born in Prince Rupert, but brought up in the community of Lax Kw’alaams, B.C. I have lived in Prince Rupert since 1976, and have worked at the Friendship House Association for the past thirty years.

My job consists of working with the Elders and the youth, and I have worked to start a Rediscovery Camp for youth. I worked with the Elders to
coordinate the 1992 B.C. Elders Gathering in Prince Rupert, and was the Friendship House rep for the 2008 B.C. Elders Gathering held once again in Prince Rupert.

I have been the coach or manager of the Friendship House basketball programs for over 20 years. I have successfully brought the Junior All-Native provincial basketball tournament to Prince Rupert three times.

I have sat on the board of the National Aboriginal Committee for ten years. I have an understanding of protocol regarding traditional Tsimpshian territories.

I would like to have a moratorium on coal bed methane drilling that can affect our fisheries resources on the North Coast. I am not in agreement on any fish farms in and around the mouth of the Skeena River.

Part of my job as the community worker is dealing with the homeless and, with the help of co-workers, we try to find a solution.

Joy Thorkelson
Published: November 04, 2008 11:00 PM
Updated: November 05, 2008 3:27 PM

I came to Prince Rupert 34 years ago, fell in love with the community and made it my home. I married a ‘Rupert boy’ and we raised two sons here. My goal is to help our community be a great place for everyone.

I have been employed as a Union Representative for the UFAWU-CAW for over 20 years. I am proud to be known as an activist – social, environmental, and labour. My record speaks for itself:

• Work successfully with local fish companies to create new environmentally sustainable winter jobs and keep the ones we have.

• Work closely with First Nations and fishers for responsible fisheries management that will put fish into fishermen’s boats and North Coast plants.

• Support Rupert workers in their efforts to gain better wages and working conditions and to keep work here.

• Regularly speak out about social concerns, poverty issues, fair treatment of the unemployed, good medical services and on environmental issues. I participate in campaigns to make life better - or I lead them.

I have tried to bring the same integrity to council in my past term. I have consistently been well prepared. I research issues and topics, I listen to others’ opinions and try to engage in a thoughtful discussion. I strongly believe in thorough decision making. I have made some errors – mostly when I did not think to do my own checking up.

I sat on the Library Board and chaired the City’s Green Team.

What I will do as a Councillor:

• Continue to search for well paying jobs in industries that will provide environmentally sustainable long term work. Open up the Economic Development office and process to the community.

• Work with First Nations communities on common issues.

• Create policies for city land sales that make the process more transparent.

• Develop a long term infrastructure plan with a budget for public input.

• Bring issues to the Federal and
Provincial governments for action.

• Preparation, research, openness, transparency, availability and commitment.

I am not shy and will fight for things that I think are right. If elected, I will continue to bring balance to City Council.

Joe Viscount
Published: November 04, 2008 11:00 PM
Updated: November 05, 2008 3:26 PM

I have been a resident of this area for the past 20-plus years and have supported local businesses that entire time.

I have a healthy regard for economic diversity having seen the boom and bust cycle too many times. As a taxpayer I am concerned over rapidly fluctuating increases in taxation. Many friends and acquaintances have been victims of crimes and there have been few changes after years of discussion.

Having worked 17 years of my career with severely acting out youth, I know there are solutions. Homelessness is an issue I have been working with for years as an advocate and have seen many impoverished individuals abandon hope when there are viable options.

We have become in many ways a community of competing voices. Although diversity is desirable, survival of the fittest, the loudest or the greediest isn’t in the interest of anyone.

I support sustainable community development that contributes to the social fabric and will stand against development that tears at it. Development of new economic ventures to reduce unemployment and greater governmental support for local initiatives is high on my list.

I will question the need for in-camera sessions of council as I believe in visible government. I
would seek out public opinion on issues and represent the views of the community. There are issues facing us that I believe would best be resolved through referendum and would support identifying these.

I have heard concerns about the level of policing and would advocate for funding of this resource to an appropriate level. I also recognize that much of the work required by police would be enhanced by other supports.

I would advocate for greater availability of trained social and youth workers on our streets to free up the police. We pay more as citizens for parking enforcement than we do for youth workers and this is bordering on idiocy. Youth programs need to be expanded and children need to be supported to develop positive social connections.

I will question expenditures and freebies to ensure that the youth of this community have a chance.

Simply put, I would do my best to work to represent the community that has provided so much to me.

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