Q12 for a Better Langley: LEADERSHIP

Questions 11 & 12 were both only asked to the 4 Mayoral candidates

BETTER LANGLEY: How do you define leadership in relation to local governance? Briefly provide 2-3 examples of times where you’ve shown leadership in business and/or public office.


A note about highlighted answers: Better Langley favourites are selected based on progressive principles of economic and environmental sustainability as researched through the works of Jeff Speck, Charles Marohn, Charles Montgomery, Donald Shoup, Melissa & Chris Bruntley, Charles Schwartz, Ken Greenberg and many others. Additionally, my academic background in political science, philosophy, religious studies, and real estate all provide both a knowledge base, process of critical thought, and biases. In order to reduce personal bias, answers were read anonymously, separate from the candidate before selecting a “favourite” to highlight.


SPARROW (Independent): True leadership within the role of mayor is an essential strength. The mayor sets the tone and more than just ensuring a meeting is run smoothly, they ensure the table is a place where all voices are valued, respected and fully contribute to the decision-making process. The council table must be a safe place to present different ideas, for respectful debate and for the coming together and collaboration of differing views. The mayor must not only bring to the role the skill of conducting a respectful and effective meeting but also the ability to ensure councillors and staff feel safe to think outside the box and step out on a limb with their own unique ideas and perspectives. 

My entire working career has in one way, or another been focused on relationships. It’s an area that I am not only passionate about but one which I am also continually seeking ways to improve on. It’s a skill that benefits all aspects of my life and strength that I can confidently say I bring to the role as mayor.

I am proud to have the track record I have over the two terms I served as councillor for working with all members of council to see ideas and solutions move forward. Being part of a group of individuals where perspectives and ideas are different requires your ability to bring people alongside you and to build consensus to see anything accomplished. The mayor’s role, just as it is a councillor’s, is by its very nature based on collaboration. No one person on council can do anything alone. To see results and to move anything forward you’ll need at least four other members of council to agree with you. No one can make promises that don’t include working with your colleagues to achieve them. 

During my time on council, I put forward a motion for the creation of a council strategic planning policy. This was something that had never been done before and when I initially had the discussion with staff regarding the need for this policy, I was told I’d never get it passed by council. Not only did it pass, but I believe it was unanimous.

I was shocked, after first being elected to council to find after all of us running in the election and making promises of what we would do if elected; there was no mechanism in place for us to then sit down as a council and decide on what our collective direction for the term would now be. There was no training on working together or how to move an idea forward into policy.

I am proud to say after the hard work of myself and my colleagues it is now policy that every council do the work of setting the direction and goals of the council every term. Those who are new to council this term and future terms will have benefited from this. I’m proud of this work and I believe it is also example of my strength and my strong belief in the importance of relationships to see anything move forward in local government.

Being able to take an idea, present it to others on council in a collaborative way which allows and encourages other’s input into the further development of that idea and ultimately then its endorsement is a skill. It’s something that comes easier to some more than others, but ultimately it is a skill no different then ones which are required by other careers.

A lack of this skill can be mitigated by specifically selecting to only work along side those people who share your views and who will ensure that one way of thinking is in the majority; but this in my opinion diminishes the collaborative organic process that is the best parts of what is a democracy.  

WHITMARSH (Independent): Leadership is about building a team of diverse people who enjoy working together who respect and value each other. It is not about titles or controlling the agenda. Good leaders inspire others to do their best and to collaborate together for a common purpose. In the Township of Langley, we need to have a Mayor and Council willing to work together for the purpose of moving the Township of Langley forward as the best place to work, live and play.

I have shown collaborative leadership throughout my 8 years on Council with some specific examples to include outlining the importance of having an Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) framework for TOL and having Council approve its creation. I demonstrated collaborative leadership in working with Council to move towards full-time fire service in Brookswood-Fernridge and a fully staffed additional truck in the Willoughby firehall.

In my private work, I have led a university department that has grown from a small department to one that now has over 40 full-time staff and faculty, 200 full time students, 400 student-athletes, strong academics, and programs in Recreation, Omada Teambuilding, and Athletics (which has won numerous National Championships). I also teach a Business Leadership course in the Great Wall MBA program based out of three cities in China.

WOODWARD (Contract with Langley): True leadership is outlining a vision for the community’s future clearly, with a plan to get it done, with the ability to bring a great, new, qualified team together that is ready to govern on day one.

COLEMAN (Elevate Langley): Leadership anywhere in life is doing what’s right for the people you represent. It’s about protecting the best of what’s already in place and creating the future people want.

As Willoughby was growing the original discussion was to expand the aging RE Mountain high school. As MLA I led a partnership with the School Board, Municipality and the Provincial Ministries of Education and Finance to build a brand new RE Mountain High School and renovate the original school into a middle school that was renamed. It was a complicated deal that achieved a great result. The new RE Mountain high school is amazing

I would also like to mention the leadership I provided as the Langley Events Centre went from just a concept to a completed project. Along the way, many new elements were incorporated to create a multi-use facility that is the envy of other municipalities in the Lower Mainland.

The 216th interchange wasn’t going to get done if the Township the Province and the Federal Government couldn’t get focused on the solution. I facilitated an agreement that worked for all parties and helped them get the funding organized.

NOTE: as the Minister of LNG I also led the process for the largest private investment in Canadian history which is the LNG facility in Kitimat. It will provide clean fuel replacing coal-burning power plants in Asia.

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