I was delighted, even relieved, when Charlie Clark announced he would seek a second term because Saskatoon turned a crucial corner with his election. Not long after, all of Council rode together on a fire engine in the Exhibition parade rather than following the tradition of elected officials riding in separate convertibles. To me that moment was symbolic of Charlie’s humility and invitation to all of us to come together to solve the City’s problems and to build a prosperous, environmentally sound future.
When he says he doesn’t want anyone to be left behind, I believe him because of his record of support for events, causes, and initiatives that seek to produce justice for the marginalized and a bright economic future for all Saskatonians.
Charlie has worked hard at building trust in the Indigenous community as I have seen repeatedly. As a mother and grandmother of an Indigenous and African daughter and granddaughters, and as a member of Iskwewuk E-wichiwitochik/Women Walking Together, a Saskatoon-based group that works on the issue of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, Girls, and Two-Spirits (MMIWG2S), I have particularly appreciated Charlie’s support for municipal action on Reconciliation and the National Inquiry into MMIWG2S’s Calls for Justice.
As someone who feels enriched by the artistic and intellectual life of the city, I am grateful for his support of the Remai Modern, Shakespeare on the Saskatchewan, the Saskatoon Public Library, and other Saskatoon arts and knowledge-building institutions.
As someone who has seen the agony of friends and colleagues losing a loved one to addiction or suffering the miseries of homelessness or the pain of homophobia, I’m grateful that Charlie doesn’t want simply to push such problems out of sight. Instead he acts collaboratively in such ways as initiating a Downtown Safety collaborative to work with the Lighthouse to develop strategies for safely, humanely, and responsibly decentralizing services in the Downtown. The new Interagency Response to Downtown Safety and Well-Being Sawēyihotān pilot project was born from this vision.
Moreover, Charlie is forward-looking and understands that the economic and social health of the city are indissolubly linked, as is evidenced by such successes as his work with the Saskatoon Regional Economic Development Authority to create Saskatoon’s first Economic Growth Strategy, his Mayor’s Roundtable on Infill that streamlined development processes, and his energetic support for building on the success of local start-ups.
We can’t afford fear-based and divisive politics to take us off-track. We can’t afford to lose Charlie Clark as Mayor of Saskatoon!