HSA VP takes leadership to Nelson city council


By Carol Riviere, Communications

Deep ties to her community and long-time union activism helped HSA vice-president Janice Morrison secure a spot on Nelson city council in the recent municipal election.

"My family have lived here since the 1920's, and I've served my community in many different ways in the 25 years I've called Nelson home," says Morrison. "Having served a previous term on city council, chaired the Kootenay Lake Hospital Foundation and been president of our local chamber of commerce, I feel well-prepared to resume the role of city councillor."

The experience and education Morrison received as an HSA activist also helped in many ways. "From the time I started as an assistant chief steward right up to my current position as VP, I've had lots of opportunities to practice public speaking and active listening skills, as well as a proactive leadership style," says Morrison. "I've also benefited from the great education HSA and our labour affiliates provide. I've taken public speaking and parliamentary procedure workshops at the Canadian Labour Congress's Winter School, and attended election campaign schools put on by HSA and for women candidates."

Morrison also appreciates the direct campaign support she received from HSA and her local labour council. "I am thankful to the West Kootenay Labour Council for donating to my campaign and for endorsing me to all the local union affiliates. I also appreciate receiving five days of paid leave to campaign from HSA's Political Action Fund. This allowed me to have nine days immediately before election day to carry out a very well received door-to-door campaign, walking almost 50 miles and handing out more than 3,000 pieces of campaign literature."

"My involvement through HSA with the broader union movement, like the BC Federation of Labour and the National Union of Public and General Employees, has provided insight into many issues – including living wage jobs, the environment, social justice issues, and the need for adequate health funding," says Morrison. "Many of these issues have direct impacts at the community level, such as where a lack of mental health funding contributes to local homelessness and poverty."

"In my new role as a city councillor, I will continue to speak to all levels of government about the need for public services, using the various avenues councillors have to communicate with provincial and federal representatives. As HSA members, we are well educated and positioned to take on these roles as school trustees, councillors and even mayors, and to advocate for better public services for our communities. I encourage members to consider running in the future."

HSA members step up to serve their communities

Seven of the candidates who ran for election on November 15 were HSA members who applied for and received support from HSA's Political Action Fund.

  • Beth Burton-Krahn, a counsellor on the Palliative Response Team with Victoria Hospice, was elected as a first-time candidate to the Esquimalt Council.
  • Laura Dupont, a program assistant at SHARE Family and Community Services, was elected as a Port Coquitlam councillor in her first run for office.
  • Nicole Gilliss, region 10 member-at-large, was re-elected to a second term as a councillor in Hudson's Hope. Nicole works as a combined lab/x-ray technologist at Hudson's Hope Health Centre and at the hospital in Chetwynd.
  • Lynn Kelsey, an HSA member and long-time steward at South Okanagan Women in Need Society (SOWINS) was unsuccessful in her bid for a seat on Penticton Council.
  • Janice Morrison, HSA vice-president and region 9 director, was elected to Nelson Council. Janice works as a physiotherapist at Kootenay Lake Hospital.
  • Deborah Munoz, a diagnostic electroneurophysiology technologist at University Hospital of Northern BC and an HSA regional EDMP rep, lost out on a seat on Prince George Council by a mere 95 votes.
  • Shelley Quist, a combined lab/x-ray technologist and assistant chief steward at Port Hardy Hospital was unsuccessful in her first bid for Port Hardy Council.

Congratulations to all members who ran for election!