Councillor At Large 2018
City of Thunder Bay
Our Giant Heart.
Tell Me Your Priorities
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A little about me...
I have lived in Thunder Bay for over 30 years. I was born and raised in Fort Frances, but truly feel at home in Thunder Bay. The landscape and views are the best! I have graduated from both a community college and university program in Child and Youth Care, and I am grateful for the experience in both learning pathways. My career began working with youth as a Child and Youth Worker, progressed to managing mental health programs for children, youth and their families, which then progressed to serving as a Professor at our local community college in the Child and Youth Care program. My career direction definitely fine-tuned my skills in realistic and no-nonsense decision making, conflict management, crisis intervention, organization as well as the ability to do ten things all at the same time! My biggest take away from working with marginalized populations is the call and passion for activism…. can you say, Social Justice Warrior?
- Family and community
- Driving change, “Change is good Donkey!”
- Adventure and open-mindedness
- Fun and creativity
- Growth and learning
- Authenticity and integrity
WHAT I DO FOR FUN
- Repurpose EVERYTHING. Pinterest addict.
- Watch Supernatural with my son
- Read a lot and try to keep up with recent literature and news
- Post Selfies when I’m working Sundays at Wojo’s Mojo
- Talk in memes on social media
- Track the latest from Dr. Gabor Maté
- Talk to people, children and youth
- Hang out on my deck with friends and family
- Social activism and engagement
- Get things done
Hard working, ethical and candid. I care about our city and the people who live here.
The status quo has got to go! I HEAR YOU:
• More women are needed on city council; that’s why I am running in this election.
• Safety within our community must be addressed; I want answers, accountability and like you, I want change.
• It is time to start talking about racism, this conversation is long overdue. I have decades of experience facilitating difficult conversations.
• Accountability can only begin by asking questions of city administration; I’m known for seeking transparency and thinking outside of the box.
• People need to know HOW and WHY decisions are made, that’s called transparency; I’m good at asking the tough questions.
• We need to streamline the bureaucracy and find the savings; I love a good challenge.
• Let’s strengthen the best qualities of our city and redirect funds to grow even stronger; we can’t afford not to.
Armed with a diploma & degree in Child and Youth Care, extensive experience in community service management and administration, over three decades of advocacy with grassroots organizations and non-profit agencies, as well as several Board of Director appointments, I am equipped to bring a fresh and unique perspective to municipal government. I hope to make use of my professional expertise by assuming the role of the Children’s Advocate. I am equipped to bring a fresh and unique perspective to municipal government. I will work hard for you!
My son and I at the Coldest Night Of The Year Walk with Grace Place Thunder Bay
Cindy Blackstock and I at Confederation College
COMMUNITY & ADVOCACY WORK
*Past Board Member, Vice President- Lakehead Social Planning Council
*Past Board Member, Faye Peterson Transition House
*Past Board Member, Evergreen United Neighbourhood
*Past Board Member, Meals on Wheels
*Point in Time Counts
*Relay for Shelter House
*Coldest Night of the Year Walks With Grace Place Thunder Bay
*Volunteer TAPP-C Assessor
*Workshop Facilitator at various CYC National and Regional Conferences
*Safe Talk Certified
*Therapeutic Crisis Intervention Certified
*Annual Full Moon Memory Walks
*Parent advocate for navigating Special Education
*CYC Community Development Facebook Page
*Walk for Women of Port Arthur Health Centre
*Food Security Forums
*Various social justice forums
Walk for Women of Port Arthur Clinic
June 25, 2018
What Do Community Members Have To Say About Kim?
"Kim Ducharme is passionate about social justice and will take action to be an ally to our community.
Kim will ask questions and review topics to gain a deep understanding of the issues to inform the best course."
"I consider Kim Ducharme a passionate advocate for the underprivileged. She does not hesitate to speak out boldly when she sees injustices in our community. Perhaps most importantly, Kim is a frequent promoter of local opportunities for personal growth and building stronger, inclusive communities."
"I have known Kim for more than 25 years. She is the most passionate person I know. Her commitment to social justice and equity work is woven into her very fibre. We as a community would be so privileged to have her sit at our municipal table in advocating for everyone in this beautiful city we call Thunder Bay."
-Natalie Corbin, Lakehead Elementary Teacher of Ontario
"Kim Ducharme has always been committed to showing her students the real world, at the same time giving them the tools they need to change it. Her energy and drive to make this community a better place make her a natural leader."
Promoting Resourceful Tax Spending
None of us want to pay runaway tax increases. At the same time, as a city we can no longer wait to take action until it’s urgent as this is proving to be a very costly way to do business. The old saying applies to municipal spending: “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”. We need to move away from “reacting” and instead work on problem solving and prevention. We need to use information to better anticipate major developments, prevent costly repairs and plan for maintenance so that we can effectively and purposefully manage expenditures.
For example, by looking at the information available to us, we can see that EMS calls have increased five percent per year since 2012. Our emergency services are being strained with increasing cost to the tax payers at an alarming rate. Using data to examine trends and look for ways to alleviate these pressures is in the best interest of taxpayers.
Improving Youth Engagement
YOUR FUTURE CHILDREN’S ADVOCATE
The Children’s Advocate for the City of Thunder Bay is an elected official who, in cooperation with the Thunder Bay Children’s Charter Coalition, advocates on behalf of children’s best interests within all levels of government, and across the private sectors and community stakeholders. Presently there is no functioning Coalition and therefore no place to table the pressing issues for children and youth in our community. Given the number of students attending high school in Thunder Bay from remote communities, it is essential that we have a working group to actively examine our services and support of these students. For local young people we need to review what is working and what is not working when it comes to services for children and youth in Thunder Bay. If we want better outcomes for our young people, we must do better on their behalf. A recent study found that half our youth population is not even aware that we have a Crime Prevention Council, therefore they are not even participating in that conversation and they are an essential voice needed for meaningful planning!
In December 2017, the current City Council voted down a resolution to reinstate a Children's Charter Coalition. Let’s re-establish this momentum, let’s fully implement a youth services task force.
Enhancing and Protecting Thunder Bay’s Social Infrastructure
Infrastructure is important to all of us. We need better roads, and we all want better services. In order to improve services, we first need to be clear about what is not working and also find ways to protect what is working.
According to the 2017 Citizen Satisfaction Survey, maintenance of streets and snow removal on roads and sidewalks are hands down the primary areas needed for improvement. Investing in roads will require new dollars and a renewed commitment by all stakeholders to meet the challenges. While I am grateful for the fact that Thunder Bay will receive more than $33 million in federal funding and more than $27 million in provincial funding to build new urban transit networks and service extensions, it doesn’t escape me that these new networks and service extensions will be traveling on roads mostly in dire need of repair. We must get better at identifying opportunities and pursuing necessary improvements with all stakeholders. Let’s start pushing back on federal and provincial downloading and the fact that commitments to invest in roads in Northwestern Ontario continues to be unfulfilled and incomplete. Let’s get innovative and mobilize partnerships to help us reach better road outcomes.
Another outcome from the 2017 Citizen Satisfaction Survey says that eighty-one percent of residents support City services and funding for organizations that address the needs of those who are being homeless or at risk of being homeless. This is great news! Let’s honour this attitude by limiting expensive and reactive spending and begin to improve our needed social support services. Poverty hurts all of us, and poverty costs our city vast amounts of money. As a progressive, inclusive, and economically productive community, finding a better way to mobilize the Crime Prevention Council’s Strategic Plan is necessary. If we have young people who don’t even know this council exists, it stands to reason that they also don’t know about the four key priorities;
Smart on Crime (a focus on evidence-based practices)
Safe women & Children;
The Thunder Bay Recreation & Facilities Master Plan identifies eight Pillars of the Plan, that guide the “community ideology”, which are all equally relevant for our EMS and Police Services;
City Serving & Neighbourhood Focus
An Inclusive City
Age Friendly & Accessible
Positive Places & Animated Spaces
Core & Evolving Partnerships
Services Evolving Needs of the 21st Century
A Measurable Plan
An Affordable Plan
So let’s bring back community policing and neighbourhood police officers. Let’s bring back a modernised version of Neighbourhood Watch. Let’s build stronger neighbourhoods by reconnecting people to one another and policing with the people. Let’s get better at seeking out Indigenous peoples’ needs and responding meaningfully in the spirit of reconciliation. Let’s improve our hiring practices for EMS and police to ensure that the diversity represents our diverse community. Let’s implement cross cultural competencies and inclusiveness as basic approaches for our first responders. These eight pillars are fantastic! Let’s also start pushing back on the province downloading because we are servicing a large geographical area and we don’t have the same proximity as the larger municipalities in the south.
Cultivating Progressive and Essential Problem Solving
Progressive municipalities act long before issues materialize. Let’s start anticipating problems and develop innovative solutions rather than wait for circumstances to dictate the action. Dealing with small problems before they develop into bigger problems is cost effective. We need to maintain continuous and deliberate self-assessments in order to refine our performance, find efficiencies and greater efficacy. I’m all for improved transparency, accessibility and greater accountability. I will maintain my Tuesday Table Talk dialogue even once I am voted in and will be looking forward to hearing from you on more ways to improve accountability.
I am very interested in asset-based approaches where the focus is viewing things as “half-full” instead of “mostly-empty” when it comes to community development. Thunder Bay has a multitude of resources already available in our community for us to maximize for our own development! These assets include the skills and leadership of community members and the capacities of existing local institutions (like Lakehead University, Confederation College, Fort William First Nations, etc.). Mobilization is key!
Restoring Safety and Inclusion
A recent incident in the news shows a young person assaulting an Indigenous woman. Broad daylight. Unprovoked. Intolerable.
Racism and discrimination is a serious issue in Thunder Bay, says eighty-four percent of the respondents of the 2017 Citizen Satisfaction Survey. Last year, Statistics Canada revealed that one-third of the hate crimes directed at Indigenous people in Canada in 2015 occurred in Thunder Bay. This is hugely problematic! I love our city and this is unacceptable! Instead of simply trying to help those who have been harmed, we need to generate the courage and momentum to change those aspects of our community that have allowed this harm to occur. We need to bring back the giant heart of Thunder Bay. Most newcomers to our city are Indigenous. Several recommendations came out of the First Nations Student Death Inquiry, and I am excited to see them come to fruition. Many of these recommendations validate the fact that Municipal governments and local organizations do play a key role in improving outcomes for Indigenous youth and in helping them settle into life in Thunder Bay. This is also where a Children’s Charter Coalition would be most helpful.
Let’s do this! Let’s do this together!
Maclean’s Magazine (July 2017) said it best: “The way forward is clear. Awareness and education leads to understanding and action. We need forums where First Nations leaders, elders, women and youth can join with teachers, city councillors and other elected officials to not only talk about solutions, but also agree upon them.” These forums need to be formed and prioritized. If anything, the most recent incident in the news of an Indigenous woman being assaulted in broad daylight has shown us, that this is necessary immediately. First however, our Municipality needs to admit that there is a problem and a crucial need for reconciliation. I have no difficulty admitting we have a problem in Thunder Bay because I know that is the first step towards making things right. We must change the reality of our city if we want to change the narrative. If Winnipeg can do it, so can we.
On October 22 cast your vote for Kim Ducharme and we will all be stronger together.
Here are some of the things I am interested in mobilizing as your COUNCILLOR AT LARGE.
• Safety within our community. Too many kids have died in our community. I want answers, accountability and like you, I want change. I am anxiously awaiting the OIPRD report and the now delayed Ontario Civilian Police Commission (OCPC) report. I want to work with all parties to ensure that recommendations are addressed in a timely manner and change emerges. Identifying priority neighbourhoods that are struggling with crime and violence and work with the community on developing an action plan needs to be made a priority! A simple step would be to call emergency neighbourhood meetings in those areas struggling the most and start asking the neighbours what they need. Community consultations with neighbours, local businesses and organizations around the topic of safety are needed so that we can focus on creating communities that are more vibrant.
• Discussions about racism. This conversation is long overdue. We need to start building a culture of respect and one that fosters diversity and values inclusion for all. The first step in solving a problem is recognizing that there is one. Our reputation in this province is extremely troubling. Solutions emerge from the process of relationship building. This requires investment of time and opportunities for engagement that allow for listening, fostering insight and bringing forward mutuality. The first step is for the leaders to show up in the neighbourhoods and genuinely engage communities and start listening to people. Public forums and community gatherings should begin.
• A civilian task force. This civilian task force, with significant representation from the Indigenous community, along with other marginalized sectors of our community, would function as a mechanism to gauge the temperature of our community, and serve as an advisory body. Reporting directly to City Council, this task force would act as a bridge between the current racially polarized community and those sworn to protect it.
• Youth Services Task Force and a functional Children’s Advocate. This position needs reviving and mobilization. With the new money coming into the community from the federal government for the Youth Inclusion Program, a critical examination of the service inventory and safeguards is required. We need to ensure that this funding is used in the most effective manner. Many cities have a Mayor's Youth Advisory Council and we need one too. This would provide a voice for the youth of our city, while advising City Council of important issues that concerns the City's younger population.
• Addressing homelessness and poverty. We have a Poverty Reduction Strategy and we need to make sure that everyone in our city knows what it is and what’s in it. By examining vacant properties, we can better explore ways in which to turn them into affordable housing. We need to get these properties working for our community.
• Better support for local businesses. Many current processes are inconsistent, discouraging and creating barriers for success and/or economic development in our community. The City need to improve their relationships with these local businesses who are paying good taxes. The City should be asking local businesses REGULARLY “how can we help you thrive?”
• Better support for local food production. We can look for ways to increase urban gardening. Zoning by laws can permit temporary farmer’s markets and community gardens - let’s address zoning issues and promote food industry in those food desert areas of our city.
• Improved city transportation. I was recently reviewing Kingston’s Five Year Transportation plan, which has many great features! Express routes, bus travel training orientation for high school students, expansions on child fare categories, family passes and group rates for elementary schools – we can do this too!
• Accessibility. City Council needs to be accessible and that means RELATABLE. This means talking the language of the people. I like the idea of a monthly coffeehouse with a City Councilor. I plan to continue my Tuesday Tabletalk with Kim Ducharme (see my Facebook page, Kim Ducharme At LARGE, where every Tuesday, I initiate a chat with the community on a topic).
October 17, 2018