Tony Goulet says his run for Cariboo North MLA with the Conservative Party of B.C. in the last federal election gave him a taste to seek out political office again. This time, he’s running on a smaller, but no less important, scale, hoping to become one of six Quesnel city councillors.
Goulet says he’s been asked by community members before to run for council, but it didn’t cross his mind.
“This year, I’m ready to jump in,” he says.
Goulet was born and raised in Quesnel, and wears many hats. One of the most visible is that of the Bingo caller at the Tillicum Society’s monthly Bingo Night.
“People refer to me as the Bingo caller,” he says, laughing.
Aside from his Bingo Night celebrity status, Goulet is also the executive director of the Quesnel Tillicum Society, a position he’s held for the last three years. Plus, he’s a local rotarian, and has been a school board trustee for the past 16 years (with hopes to make it 20 – as well as running for councillor, Goulet is running for a seat on the Board of Education again this year).
He’s been president of the North Cariboo Métis Association since he was 19, when he says he “went to a meeting, put up my hand, and didn’t know what I was getting into.” Goulet says he feels the Association has become more self-sufficient, so he is not sure he will run again for president in this month’s election. “I will see what happens with all this other stuff,” he explains.
But Goulet doesn’t see all his commitments as a burden. He believes his many roles fit together well. “I’m in the community. It’s about how much you want to invest your time. I don’t see it as being an issue,” he says. “It’s just about time management.”
Goulet says this year felt to him like the right time to run for council, as he sees a number of things he thinks need to change, and hopes to be involved.
“Of course, with the organization I work for [The Quesnel Tillicum Society], the harm reduction piece is huge for how we move forward as a community proactively, on dealing with that. That’s huge; it ties into everything – from crime to housing to poverty; it’s all mixed into the harm reduction piece. And the mental health piece fits in there as well, so there’s the opportunity for the community to move forward on something,” he explains.
Goulet also says the City’s plan to move forward in the face of largescale summer wildfires is something he sees as key in the next four years.
“I think the wildfires are going to be a norm for us every year, so what do we have in place as a community to move forward on the wildfire situation?”
Goulet particularly would like to see support for local businesses.
“We came off two wildfires and a development downtown [the Reid Street Revitalization Project], which hurt businesses. It was tough, and some closed.
“How do we somehow support small businesses and their investment in the community? They are going to play a huge role in our community. If we close small businesses, where are we going?”
If elected, he hopes he and his fellow council members can put pressure on the province to ensure it invests in communities.
Goulet says he’s been told by others that he could be a good advocate for others.
“I’m easygoing. For me, it’s about, how do we build a strong and vibrant community? We are coming to some economic times provincially, nationally, globally; how do we as a community stay vibrant in years to come?”