Friday, December 2, 2022

2022 Municipal Election Candidate Profile: Eric Ennis

Candidate Name: Eric Ennis

Position Sought: Councillor

Email: eric@ericennis.ca

Phone: 519-868-6534

Bio:

At 24 I moved to Meaford from Mississauga because of my family’s 40-year visiting connection and my desire to maximize my quality of life. Since moving here, I have:

  • Served on the Municipality’s Economic Development Advisory Committee
  • Joined and served in the Meaford Rotary club and its Youth Committee
  • Completed the Sustainability and Behaviour Change program (UCalifornia)
  • Started the Master of Economic Development and Innovation program (UWaterloo)
  • Continued my volunteering with Scouts Canada as: Scouter with 1st Owen Sound, Assistant Team Lead for the Risk Management team taking 300 Canadian youth to the World Jamboree in South Korea, and various National-level positions as an elected council representative
  • Contributed to projects with the Institute of Southern Georgian Bay, Imagine Meaford, Save Georgian Bay, and Transitions Meaford

After graduating from UofT with an Honours BSc in Psychology I worked in recruiting for 4 years, including with businesses in post-industrial communities like Meaford, which suffer from the “hollowing out” trends of the last few decades. This summer I began working on economic development and community engagement initiatives with the Métis Nation of Ontario’s Lands, Resources, and Consultations branch.

In my free time, I run our small family homestead off the Irish Block.

Explain your primary reasons for your decision to seek election to Meaford council:

1. I feel responsible for being part of the solution. Meaford is where I am building my life, and given my age, I will live through the future consequences of today’s decisions. Therefore, ensuring that our community offers us a high quality of life now while not depriving our future descendants is crucial to me.

2. I have a unique perspective and feel obligated to apply it. I am significantly younger than the other candidates and so I have experienced today’s problems as a young person at the start of my career. A great place to live should be able to provide opportunities for its young people, and I can advise how to achieve that. My academic experience taught me how to absorb and analyze information to understand and navigate multi-factorial problems and keep an open mind. My work and volunteering experiences showed me how to overcome analysis paralysis and make rational decisions with the information available, act as a global citizen, leverage social networks, and work within small-town labour markets. Finally, my domestic and international travels have taught me about how other people have solved problems that we are experiencing; and all solutions started with taking action.

In your view, what should be the top priorities for the council that is elected on October 24?

The day-to-day running of the municipality, balancing budgets and tax rates to suit the needs and capacities of the community, and ensuring crucial services are provided should always be top of mind. However, I think the following issues are also current priorities:

  • Official Plan and Bylaws: incoming council needs to ensure that the OP and subsequent Bylaw revisions result in a set of rules that will guarantee Meaford gets only the development it deserves
  • Combating “hollowing out” and the lack of housing and labour: Small towns in North America have been struggling from a lack of working people for decades. This trend must be reversed for Meaford to thrive. Solutions to this problem must address the lack of attainable housing because it is the biggest barrier to entry for someone looking to join and contribute to our community
  • TCE and SkyDev: Council must determine whether they feel these projects are worthy of our community and then stand by and act on their decision with conviction
  • Open doors for community-led initiatives: listening to their needs and using supportive resolutions to help meet those needs
  • Team up with neighbouring municipalities and the county to find efficient solutions for the bigger issues

Explain the role of councillor (or Mayor/Deputy Mayor) as you understand it.

Ontario’s Municipal Act says that councillors should represent the public’s interests by determining what services and programs the municipality should offer and then ensuring that resources are in place to offer them successfully. They must also maintain the integrity of the municipality’s finances and act with transparency and accountability. To me, this means that councillors need to:

  • thoroughly understand the interests of the full breadth of their electorate
  • have a strong analytical decision-making framework to apply to all situations
  • clearly articulate their decision-making framework during their campaign and stick with it
  • be adaptive to always use the most up-to-date information
  • listen to all incoming ideas and proposals, championing the good ones and condemning the bad ones
  • use their position to inspire and invigorate others to follow their example as contributing members of the community

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