An outgoing British Columbia local politician has lamented the state of affairs in the community of Fernie in his last remarks as an elected official, taking aim at how hard it is to raise a family in the community, and how he was ‘excited’ to get away from toxic discourse.
Councillor Morgan Pulsifer of the City of Fernie was speaking at the last council meeting of this term as part of a farewell of departing councillors who will not contest the election on October 15.
In emotional remarks, Pulsifer said he’d lived the experience of problems that local government was trying to fix, and his personal situation was one of being unable to balance living affordably in the community.
“I actually left Fernie two years ago because I couldn’t afford to be here anymore,” he said, adding he’d spent the last two years driving to “a community that I didn’t really feel a part of anymore.”
Pulsifer said it was sad because his own experience was not unique. He was born and raised in Fernie, and started a young family here. Despite working full-time as a store manager and a city councillor, he said housing was unaffordable for his family. He was able to find housing for himself and his family in the South Country, outside the Elk Valley and over a half-hour drive from Fernie.
“I’m not looking for a pat on the back I’m just telling it like it is, it’s very difficult to make a go of having a family and earning a living in this community.”
As a councillor, Pulsifer focused heavily on housing affordability, raising affordable housing whenever a large development came before the council to push for more than just high-end housing.
Housing wasn’t the only item he wanted to speak about at the October 11 meeting, using much of his time to say he was disappointed by the community’s acceptance of poor behaviour towards others.
“It was exceptionally disheartening over the last four years to see how poorly members of this community treat one another, and how poorly they treat elected officials, and how poorly they treat the staff and boots on the ground workers in this community.
“On my way in here this evening, an individual we’re all very familiar with, while I’m walking up the steps of city hall, is slow-rolling (and) probably still out there with the express purpose of trying to intimidate the folks in this room. That’s whats happening still, my last meeting.
“Good riddance, I am so excited to be out of this room.”
That individual, Christopher Inglis, was named by the City of Fernie in a release in November last year, calling him out for regular online and offline bullying and harassment of city staff over the course of years. The RCMP are aware of his behaviour, as the City took out a restraining order that was in effect for months in 2021. Inglis runs a popular community group on Facebook where he regularly directs his ire towards government workers, politicians and the media.
Pulsifer’s remarks come at the end of his four-year term. He was elected as a councillor in 2018, and in telling The Free Press he had no intention of running again earlier in the 2022 campaign, said he had been completely disincentivized from public service due to his experience over the last four years.
In what was put together in the spirit of a fond farewell of departing councillors from City Hall, Pulsifer used his last opportunity as an elected official to ask the community to think about the way it treated others.
“Take a good hard look and learn to treat people with respect, because that is what this community is missing. We’re missing a lot of things, but people have lost the ability to treat one another with respect in this community.”
The full remarks from Pulsifer can be found on the City of Fernie Facebook page.
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