In a Nutshell…

In a Nutshell

Endorsement from an ex-pat Canadian in Japan

“I had the pleasure of working with Ned Milburn for approximately three years, in the early 2000s. At the time, were both in managerial positions in a large company in Japan, managing groups of foreign staff from various countries. At the time, we were dealing with a company that didn’t always respect the rights of its employees, which was compounded by the fact that the large majority of our staff were new to the country, and did not know the language, nor their rights as employees in a country that was new to almost all of them.

“One thing that made Mr. Milburn stand out amongst the managers was his high level of dedication in bringing forth the concerns of his staff to the company. Ned was very dedicated to standing up for his staff’s rights, and ensuring that they were treated fairly, and in accordance with the law. Each month, at the end of our 2-3 day meetings, when we had our final debriefing with the upper management, Mr. Milburn was always one of the most vocal managers in the room, getting more information from management, and regularly challenging them when the policies they set were either not reasonable, or against the law entirely. He would analyze contracts in detail, to ensure that they were both legal, and as ethical as he could get the company to make them. And often he would follow up his issues by doing further research and presenting it to the company, which resulted in actual changes for not just his staff members, but all foreign staff in our company across the country.

“I have met a wide range of individuals all across the world. Mr. Milburn stands out as one of the most ethical, earnest and responsible people I have ever known. If I were ever in a position to vote for him to represent me at any level of government, I would not hesitate a moment to do so, as I would be able to rest well at night knowing that he had my best interests in mind, and would work his hardest to represent those interests. In voting him as the Dartmouth Center candidate, you can do no wrong.”

– Jay Matwichuk – Yokohama, Japan – Summer, 2016

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My response to a question from “The Coast”:

Why should residents of your district vote for you?

I bring informed vision through diverse experience.  I have worked as an educator in a variety of settings.  I have been an advocate and leader in structural reform and labour law compliance while employed as manager on an international team in Japan.  I have brought about reform in accounting processes with a multi-million dollar seafood exporter after returning to Canada in 2005.  I founded my own business repairing and building guitars, and I co-founded and co-manage an international business with my wife.  I have proven my ability to adapt to and thrive in new conditions.  I am an analytical and creative problem solver, who has proven his ability to achieve results and communicate effectively in a team setting.  I have strong ethics and morals, and am never afraid to advocate for my community, even when it puts me in a position of personal detriment.

 

Platform Issues

The leaflet I distributed touches on 4 core areas, but can only hint at the underlying ideas.  Below shows further details of these core areas.

Sustainability – Review services to find efficiencies and save money – I am not a trained accountant.  Yet, when I worked for a Japanese seafood exporter for over half a decade, the owner recognized my strengths and gave me increasing responsibility for oversight of accounting processes.  This company was over 10 million dollars per year, and single invoices were several hundred thousand dollars each.  Through my analysis of accounting and banking practices, and my ability to find creative solutions, I was able to find efficiencies in processes to save the company time and money, and to increase accuracy.

A non-glamorous part of a City Councillor’s job is to scrutinize the budget and make sure all expenditures and services are running as efficiently and effectively as possible.  We truly need the most bang for the buck to make sure we will have enough money to maintain our basic services in the long term.

I pledge to do my very best to make certain residents’ municipal tax dollars are being spent in the most prudent and efficient way possible.

Environmental and Economic Sustainability – These two points can go hand in hand if creative solutions are found based upon experience and vision.  Global warming is accelerating.  We must accelerate our movement away from the rampant use of fossil fuels and accelerate our movement towards renewable energy.

Presently, there are other jurisdictions in the world that have requirements to include renewable energy in new developments.  I advocate for the adoption of a gradually increasing municipal requirement for new developments to incorporate a certain percentage of renewable wind & solar energy.  For example, a 7% requirement for the next 5 years, followed by another 5 years of 14% renewable, etcetera.  By the time we reach 2050, we will be a long way towards achieving zero emission targets for our new developments.

There are many spin-off benefits.  Businesses will have to step in to supply, install, and service these products.  New and long term sustainable job growth will result.  This is a revenue-neutral plan to strengthen our municipality’s environmental stewardship and promote long term job growth.  Present home owners will benefit by the growing availability of these products and services.  There is a strong will in the public for greater environmental stewardship, but single home-owners alone cannot make policy change that will result in significant results.

And please understand, there are household size wind turbines with diameters of approximately 1 metre that are quieter than heat pumps and air conditioners, but have enough power to run a refrigerator, and that cost only near $500.  There are other components necessary in these systems (batteries and a power converter), but a full system is surprisingly affordable.  We need people with vision, knowledge, and courage on our City Council to make the right decisions!

Sustainable and Livable Communities – A prime concern for many residents is that new developments should be appropriate (in keeping with the style and height of surrounding pre-existing neighbourhoods), and that green-spaces should be valued and preserved.  Infilling every square foot of greenery is short-sighted and does not work towards community building.  Shade trees and green-spaces alone encourage neighbours to congregate.  Where possible, green-spaces and courtyards should be planned into the design of new developments.

New development should be designed with consideration for multiple modes of transit – not just the automobile.

New development should be designed with consideration for mobility challenged members of our community.

New development should be designed with consideration for inclusion of localized amenities, to lessen the need of commuting for basic needs.

New residential development should be designed with consideration for a more even dispersal and inclusion of affordable housing units.

Safety and Transport – A common theme stated by Dartmouth residents, and urban HRM residents as a whole, is that road and crosswalk safety is an area of prime concern. Traffic calming is a concept that is common in Europe, but less common in North America.  A very inexpensive trial of chicanes, speed-tables and other traffic calming solutions could be effectively undertaken at several areas with significant need for traffic calming.  There have been effective changes recently near Agricola Street in Halifax.  Dartmouth’s Pleasant Street, Prince Arthur Street and many other residential streets exist that could benefit from simple and inexpensive traffic calming solutions.

Crosswalk Lights – Flashing amber is the international road standard for “slow” and “caution”.  It does NOT mean “STOP!”  We have a problem with injury and death in these lighted crosswalks in the HRM.  In Montreal and other locations, there are dedicated crosswalk lights that activate first an amber light, then a red light for road traffic, only after which the walk light turns on for pedestrian traffic.  I propose that through attrition, when maintenance is required, we replace our dangerous flashing amber crosswalk lights with the much safer system that includes red-lights for vehicular traffic.

Bike Lanes – We are making progress with bike lanes in the city.  Our work isn’t done yet.  Criticisms exist from both sides.  Loss of parking space and loss of car lanes are stated by car drivers.  Lack of safety and lack of inter-connectivity is stated by cyclists.  We must carry on our work to improve the bike lanes in our municipality.  Looking to other jurisdictions that have successfully implemented bike lane systems will go far in helping us achieve effective results in an efficient manner.

Public Transit Options – Having lived in 2 of Canada’s major cities and in Japan, and having visited other major world cities in Europe and the USA, a common thread exists in the robustness of their public transit systems.  A pattern can easily be seen that robust transit systems have interlocking transit routes and rail is always a component.  There is much we can do to improve our bus system through re-tooling for interlocking routes and avoiding redundancy.  But we cannot consider our transit system to be truly modern and efficient until we begin to incorporate rail transit as a fundamental part of our infrastructure.  Many people will jump to the conclusion: “Rail is too expensive!”  But at the same time we have had MULTI BILLION DOLLAR proposals for new bridges in the HRM.  New bridges will do nothing but increase vehicular congestion, encourage car usage, and increase our emissions.  Parking congestion will get worse.  Road rage will get worse.  These multi-billion dollar proposals have many many negative impacts.  LRT (Light Rail Transit) should be strongly considered, not only in places with existing rail tracks, but also along certain corridors on both sides of the harbour.  Rail transit is a relatively inexpensive but very reliable form of low-emission public transit.  Rail transit helps build “community” by putting residents and workers of a certain area together where they can develop face to face familiarity.  As well, every station tends to become a small hub of economic activity.  Rail transit will help to lower our emissions and lessen our traffic and parking congestion.  If we want to consider ourselves a truly modern municipality, it is time to lay the groundwork for a rail transit plan that will serve both our short term and long term growth needs far into the future.

Diversity & Accessibilty – There is strength in diversity.  We must ensure that communities and amenities are accessible as much as possible for all members of our communities, including seniors, mobility impaired persons, families with young children, low income residents, and deaf & blind persons.  Improving accessibility includes physical alterations to infrastructure.  Improving accessibility includes reforming our transit system to be more robust and reliable.  Improving accessibility includes rethinking our approach to affordable housing with consideration for more dispersed availability.  Improving accessibility includes making certain our vision of new developments has provision for localized basic amenities such as banking, shopping, and medical centres.  Improving accessibility includes a short and long term vision for multiple modes of transit options.

Respectful Communities – Sadly, racism and bigotry are part of the human condition.  That said, racism and bigotry will fester and grow if left unattended.  We are seeing a rise of racism and bigotry at this moment in world history.  The best way to combat racism and bigotry is through education and talking about it.  We must develop an ongoing collaborative plan to combat racism, homophobia, and other bullying and bigotry in order to keep our communities as respectful as possible.