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Friday, 31 August 2012 09:27

Collinson wants to be a voice on council for Swift Current residents

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Swift Current resident Joe Collinson is standing as a candidate for election to council in the upcoming local government elections on Oct. 24. Swift Current resident Joe Collinson is standing as a candidate for election to council in the upcoming local government elections on Oct. 24. Photo submitted

Among the candidates who have already submitted their nomination papers for the upcoming civic elections in Swift Current on Oct. 24, there is one name that stands out.


Until this week Joe Collinson was the only candidate for council who is not a serving councillor. The Swift Current native believes the time is right for him to make a contribution.

“There's a lot of good stuff going on right now and I want to be a part of that and I want to make sure that it's done right,” he said.

He left his home town in the mid nineties to study computer information systems at DeVry Institute of Technology in Calgary. After seven years in Denver, Colorado, he returned to Swift Current in 2006, where he is working as a software developer.

“I have been thinking about politics for a very, very long time,” he said. “Over the past couple of years it just seemed to take a bigger role and I've been thinking about it a lot more.”

In February he created a Facebook page called “Collinson for Council” to serve as a constant reminder of his future intentions.

“Then when nominations were announced it was just a matter of talking with a few people and making sure it was really what we wanted to do,” he said.

He grew up in a family where people have strong and diverse political opinions, which often resulted in heated debates over Christmas turkey. He is also willing to stand up and to make his point.

“I like to try to get as much information about what I want to talk about first so that I don't sound like it's just coming off the hip,” he said. “But when I got all the facts and I think that what I got in mind is the right direction to go I don't have any problems making it well-known how I feel.”

He is hoping that people will put some thought into who they will be voting for in the upcoming election.

“I don't want them walking away from that saying 'I just voted these six people for four years and we'll see what happens four years from now,'” he said. “I want the people who vote for me to know that when I go to these council meetings I'm not speaking for myself, I'm speaking on their behalf.”

He felt the City administration has done a lot of good things, especially in the past few years, but he believes accountability will remain a key issue.

“People need to know that when they're paying their tax bill that they're getting the most value for it,” he said. “They need to feel confident that when they pay their taxes they're getting represented and that it's going somewhere.”

He identified the relationship with the R.M. of Swift Current, the proposed Integrated Facility with new school facilities and a long-term healthcare facility as key issues. Swift Current should also take advantage of Saskatchewan's growing economy to ensure residents benefit.

“Those are all really big issues and those go to supporting our community, bringing new people into the community as well as supporting the people who have lived and build this community their whole lives,” he said.

But he cautions that any new development or the replacement of existing facilities with new ones should be done for the right reasons.

“We're a growing city and we need to continue growing and to do that we need to attract new people,” he said. “But we need to not put new things in just because we want something new. We can't just keep on replacing an old thing with a new thing  and spending the money if its not going to help the City in the long run to get people using these things.”

In addition to Mayor Jerrod Schafer, councillors George Bowditch, Gord Budd, Dan Martens and Denis Perrault have already decided to stand for re-election. Retired teacher Ron Toles has also filed his nomination papers earlier this week.

Nomination papers may still be filed until nomination day on Sept. 19.

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Matthew Liebenberg