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The season of hope, peace, joy and love

This editorial appeared in the December 21, 2016 edition of the Interior News. You can read or download the original here.

Hope, peace, joy and love are the themes assigned to each of the four Sundays of Advent, and activities associated with the symbolic meaning of the Advent wreath including celebrating spreading light and shedding darkness. As I reflect on 2016 and the Christmas season, I think about examples of hope, peace, joy and love that came into my work as Stikine MLA.

We have much to base hopefulness upon in Stikine. The clean air, water and land surrounding us has, as a whole, become rare around the world and provides a foundation for our well-being. The Skeena river watershed is truly unique in the world with its unpolluted, free-flowing waters supporting intact ecosystems that enable fish and wildlife populations to flourish if properly managed. We have good reason to hold hope in the fact that our local natural resources will sustain us, our way-of-life, and jobs, if we govern ourselves with forethought.

As an MLA I was constantly buoyed in 2016 by the resilience of the people of Stikine to seek the right balance between jobs and the environment. Promoters of peace are the quiet champions of better communities in Stikine. I witnessed it in many situations in 2016. I’m reminded of the dedicated workers and volunteers who organize the Mz Judged event every two years to fundraise for men’s domestic violence programming in our region. Without that amazing effort there is no financial support for this important work. And I am once again in awe of the families of missing and murdered women along Highway 16 who advised me and my Official Opposition MLA colleagues in the Northwest to support us in keeping pressure on the government for much needed public transportation solutions.

Some might wonder how much joy and love are present in partisan political work. But when I see families able to overcome challenges and barriers presented by systems based on government policy that does not meet their realities, then I see deep joy and love between parents and children when they are able to find resolutions and justice. Being part of making that happen as Stikine MLA in 2016 was the most rewarding part of my work on your behalf.

May you have a Christmas season and New Year full of hope, peace, joy and love.

– Doug Donaldson is the MLA for Stikine and the Official Opposition spokesperson for energy and mines.