First time Terrace city council candidate Brenda Wesley says she’ll draw from her Tsimshian cultural roots if elected and advocate for the proper stewardship of the land, social programs and the promotion of sustainable industries.
Wesley, 56, is from Lax-Kw’alaams (Port Simpson) where she spent the first 36 years of her life after which she lived in Terrace for 20.
She worked first in First Nations education and then as a teacher at the Suwilaawks Community School.
Wesley is a member of the coastal family known as Gitandau, which is the village’s speaker house, so she grew up representing the chief and tribe and says politics is in her blood.
She says she might be developing a reputation as an activist, and is a member of the environmental group Northwest Watch.
She says she is running for council because she thinks there are regional concerns and questions that need to be voiced and dealt with locally.
“Council meets with the province regularly,” said Wesley. “They have regular dialogues, so they are able to bring their concerns forward at that level.”
She noted the millions of dollars in annual revenue from tourism in the northwest is substantial and that turning the coast into an oil and gas hub is foolhardy.
“A true business person isn’t going to take one part of their business and totally sabotage it to bring in a new line of inventory,” said Welsey of the trend of mineral extraction and oil and gas expansion taking over the traditional northwest revenue sources of forestry, fisheries and tourism.
“The Skeena is the only river that has five species of salmon that tourists can come to one place and get what they want,” she said.
She also said she has seen too many people leave the area because of high housing costs.
“I have concerns about families who have lived here for many years, and are having to uproot because they can’t afford the rent here.”
She has a Masters degree in education from Simon Fraser University.
Wesley currently volunteers with Literacy BC, the Nirvana Metaphysics Centre, the Prince Rupert Wildlife Centre, and has in the past been a volunteer coach for basketball and volleyball.
“A sustainable, responsible business economy, that’s important for me as a person and as a Tsimshian person and community member,” she said. “I’ve already developed a reputation as an activist, which I am not too sure about, but oh well.”
Wesley was nominated by Malcolm Roderick Graham and Anne Barbour Hill.