CHIEF ROBERT (BOB) CHAMBERLIN
“A TRUSTED AND PROVEN LEADER”
March 19, 2019
Re: Robert Chamberlin seeks the 2019 Federal NDP Nomination for NANAIMO-LADYSMITH
Dear fellow New Democrat,
I am writing to seek your support for one of our party’s most important positions, I am seeking your support to secure our party’s 2019 nomination for Nanaimo-Ladysmith riding. I would like to share information with you about myself.
I am an Island-born First Nations person, I grew up in Nanaimo and spent the majority of my adult life working and living in Nanaimo. I was born in Alert Bay on Vancouver Island, B.C. Although I have lived in other parts of BC and travelled through-out the country, Nanaimo has always been my home base, especially given that my adult son continues to reside here.
From my early years, I understood the socio-economic challenges of living in limited (poor) conditions since those were the conditions that my community, the Kwikwasutinuxw Haxwa’mis First Nation endured. Further, our family was raised with modest means in Nanaimo, so I deeply appreciate the struggles of working very hard every day trying to make ends meet. As a single dad, I raised my son with core values that matter to me: working hard to build a life we can be proud of, being community-minded consistent with our First Nations teachings, respecting the people and the environment around him, and being accountable and responsible for his actions.
Professionally, early along my career path, I worked in many fields, including commercial fishing, construction, and digitization of archival records. After successfully dealing with some challenges in my young life, I turned to the teachings and values of my culture and leaned on the support of my people through our potlach system and related cultural events over the years. For a brief time, I even became involved in local drama productions at Western Edge Theatre, performing in two plays – working alongside of Frank Moher.
In 2004 I began working on housing construction projects, helping to build a house in the Departure Bay area for Bill Holdom (twice our NDP federal candidate in Nanaimo-Alberni) and engaging in extensive conversations about the state of our riding and about new directions and changes that could advance our riding through political action. In 2005, I ran for election as Chief of my own community and won (little did I know then that I would one day be seeking the same position as my old boss and fellow-worker!). Winning that election was the beginning of a life- long journey of carefully listening to what matters to people, trying to facilitate discussion and debate, finding common ground and building relationships, advocating with conviction and learning – growing my skills – and more learning.
As you can see from my bio, I have proven experience in leadership and governance. I have had the privilege of being re-elected as Chief every two years since 2005. I am very proud of what we have accomplished for my community on Gilford Island – completely rebuilt the village with new homes, a new innovative water system, infrastructure, electrical upgrades, the improvements to the delivery of health services, sound financial management – we really have improved the quality of life. In so doing, I acquired many skills, such as navigating and engaging federal bureaucracy, setting and managing budgets, community engagement and making decisions consistent with community direction, and seeking out opportunities to keep us moving forward. It’s a matter of building trust and making sure to conduct business in way that maintains confidence and trust.
Serving as Chief of my nation opened doors to wider responsibilities regionally and nationally. For the past 10 years I have served as the Vice-President of the Union of BC Indian Chiefs and have made presentations to Standing Senate Committees, various authorities and bodies on a wide-range of issues, always advocating on behalf of the people I represent. Ultimately, I have dedicated my career to raising awareness about our most urgent democratic, environmental and social issues because I strongly believe that a better way forward is achievable. For example, I would like to focus on key issues of improving health-care and pharmacare, seeking practical ways to create more affordable housing options to all, exploring ways to protect our coast and bringing new green technology education programs to our local University and creating space to grow the economy of this riding. Further, related to economic considerations, I am committed to raising concerns around some of the Government’s key programs such as seeking to expand Canada’s Pension Plan contributions for stay at home parents (to go beyond existing limitations for child rearing and to include those individuals who care for family members requiring such care).
To conclude, I believe I now have the skills, representational experience and the energy to serve the broader community of Nanaimo-Ladysmith. To me, First Nations and NDP values have converged for a long time, and I can embody that convergence. I am respectfully asking for your support on March 30, 2019.
If you have any questions or would like to discuss my campaign, I am happy to answer questions and meet in person. I can be reached at (250) 974-8282 or at RChamberlin@shaw.ca. Additionally, Melissa Louie has kindly offered to support my work and can be reached at (250) 268-9490 or at email@example.com.