The next municipal election for Waterloo Region will be held on Oct. 24, 2022. This election will determine the regional councilors in the cities of Cambridge, Kitchener and Waterloo, as well as the regional chair.
The regional council includes the regional chair, eight directly elected regional councillors, and the mayors of the seven local municipalities. All parties work together to coordinate planning, avoid duplication of services, provide a fair and equal standard of physical and human services and protect the citizens of the Region.
Responsibilities of the regional council include public health, community services, waste management, public transit, cultural services, community housing and emergency planning.
This year, there are two new entrants for the municipal election: Colleen James is running for regional councilor for Kitchener and Narine Dat Sookram is running for regional chair.
Colleen James is the owner and principal consultant at Divonify Inc., a consulting firm that leads transformative change workshops and corporate training that address topics such as systemic racism, oppression, anti-Black racism and inclusive leadership.
James founded the company based on lived experience as the only, or one of very few, Black women in her previous workplaces.
“I realised that there was a need to have these conversations so that we can make change. So that we can not just be representation in various roles, but also feeling a sense of belonging in the places where we essentially spend just as much time at as our home, if not more,” she said.
James said if she is elected, her priorities would include homelessness, affordable housing, community services, economic recovery and fostering understanding of the role of the regional council in people’s lives.
“I think the need for the community is really awareness of what’s happening at the regional level and ensuring that our residents know how their dollars, their tax dollars, are being used at the Region and how it’s benefiting them,” James said.
Narine Dat Sookram is a social worker, job developer, and a diversity and inclusion trainer. Sookram has also been the producer and host of “Chit Chat with Narine Dat” and “Caribbean Spice” with Radio Waterloo, appearing on CKMS 102.7 FM for twenty years.
“A lot of big companies, including government funded and privately funded companies, will make things look shiny from the outside. And as a diversity and inclusion trainer, we recognize those things very easily. And so, paid or unpaid, I will reach out to these organisations, and I will let them know that there’s an opportunity for improvement,” Sookram said.
Sookram said that, if he is elected, he would prioritise an evaluation of the region’s effectiveness in service delivery that would allow for better decision making.