My name is Karm Manhas. I am running for a seat as City Councillor in the upcoming Prince George Municipal Elections. This election is important to me and I am running as an advocate for the people. It is clear to me that positive solutions to the current problems is a task that needs to be tackled. I am motivated by the common sense people who I have talked to and that have encouraged me to step forward and make a difference. I am up for the challenge.
I was born in Prince George, BC, and have called Prince George my home for close to 40 years. I know the terrain. In that time I attended the College of New Caledonia. I have worked at the lumber mills. I have also worked in Security and Courier Services. I have owned two Martial Arts Schools.
As I was growing up my parents worked full-time and my grandma helped raise me. The first language I learned was Punjabi. As a child of the 80s I had the enriching experience of being a visible minority as one of the only children wearing a Turban in the Northern Capital of British Columbia. I am fortunate to be a proud husband and father. I have a supportive wife and two amazing young children. Family values are at the forefront of my platform.
I am the owner of Kaiten Mixed Martial Arts Academy. This is a local business located in Downtown Prince George. The experience of owning a successful business in the downtown core has given me much insight into what is working and what may need improvement in the future.
WHY ARE YOU RUNNING FOR CITY COUNCIL?
I am running for City Council so that I have an opportunity to improve the quality of life for my family, my community and for the future of all the citizens of Prince George. I have the tools to make positive change in the community by facilitating events that create culture. More can be done to help Prince George citizens to be successful and happy. These are important goals! What a different city it would be if there was actually these types of positive initiatives for the residents.
Sadly trust in city government is waning. We need to build the bridge between city residents and elected officials. Many feel that elected officials are not working for the citizens but taking care of their own agendas, such as being upwardly mobile, working in government for financial gains. Many in PG feel their voice is not being heard. I would like to be a voice for those who don’t think they are being heard. I believe I represent the silent majority.
This job is not a political stepping stone for me. I am an leader who wants to create the future most of the population wants to see. I am going to ask questions the insiders will not ask and it may people feel uncomfortable.
We speak of diversity, but do we really have diversity of opinion and diversity of thought within Government systems? Even the experts need to have diversity of voices and thoughts before decisions are made. I believe there is many solutions to every problem and there is always a better way we should at-least explore and consider new options. There is always many solutions to all challenges.
I have created a reputation of empowering helping people and groups. The product I create from business is mental and physical health. My platform and my message is running on empowering individuals, families, businesses and groups in this city goal is to help everyone create positive habits of mental and physical health, transforming lives using martial Arts as the medium. We create culture and we need to socialize our community on norms and values that makes happy, healthy and well adjusted individuals.
1.) TRANSPARENCY, ACCOUNTABILITY and HOLDING PEOPLE RESPONSIBLE:
There needs to be opposing voices and critics of every major decision as this is how democracy works. I have proven myself to not be scared to speak out and stand up for the silent majority.
Why is no-one being held accountable for the millions of dollars going missing? There needs to be transparent investigations to what is happening because everyone wants to know they can get the truth from our local government. Trust is very low. This is the check we need. They want to vote for someone that’s brave and courageous. Someone who will ask the tough questions. I propose that we hold more referendums on decisions that affect us all. I believe direct democracy is a great idea. For all government to engage the residents. Then they get a say.
2.) DOWNTOWN DRUGS, HOMELESSNESS and CRIME SOLUTIONS:
As a downtown business owner I am very motivated to find solutions to these challenges. I believe we cannot wait another 4 years. The business district is suffering serious problems. I represent the voices of downtown business owners. These business men and women have invested all their money and times into their businesses. Regarding downtown I think we have all the same goals, but when we speak of equity we need to bring our business owners and our tax payers into the solutions to balance the solutions to our marginalized communities.
I did a survey and found that people are fed up. The general message is that nothing is being done. We want positive change now! The drugs, crime and homelessness has never been so bad. The current solutions are not effective. We want to change this broken system and bring some consequences back. We need equality of the law for all. We will help you with your trauma and provide treatment, but these things do not give an excuse for committing crime. Along with dealing with the homeless, drugs and cleaning up and revitalizing downtown, we need incentives for businesses to start up downtown. We need more locally-owned retail shops, coffee shops, markets et cetera. People want more options. I go out of my way to support better quality local products because I know it makes a difference. Every dollar you spend makes a statement.
3.) LOCAL ECONOMY, FOOD SECURITY and FOOD and WATER DEMOCRACY:
Years ago I organized the largest Food independence food security/Democracy in Prince George History. No farmers no food! This has become an international/national and regional issue. We live in a resource-rich First World Country. There is no reason we should be having food problems.
I want to connect farmers directly with the people that want that food supply. Perhaps a co-op grocery store so that there is a local economy and food security. All the communities and the farmers from the local area should be supplying as much of our food as possible. This is just common sense!
We need to support grow more local food. It does not make sense to be trucking food here from the lower mainland. I propose we get help to set up greenhouses here heated with bio fuel, or co gen or natural gas.
Farmers are the salt of the earth and need to be respected more. I would like to see a forum where the local farmers have an opportunity to be heard in the city. And they should be heard. People are feeling this. I notice an international shift back to farming. This is a good thing and I support it!! This is a serious international /national and local issue.
We want to decentralize and localize our food systems to regions instead of being shipped overseas and costs more as well as threatened by supply chain shortages.
Some suggestions I have for City Council is that we enact initiatives to support food systems in the north. We could allow small flock chickens in the city. We could provide tax breaks for large animal veterinarians. We could provide tax breaks for abattoir services. We could encourage and support the proposed vet program at UNBC. Those would all go a long way to support farming in the area. I believe this topic is so important that we should have a quarterly food security report. Respect and honour the things that sustain us.
We’ve seen what our stores looked like with a few days of supply chain interruptions. We need to be as self sufficient as possible for solutions to our food problems.
We are opening up more McDonald’s and fast food restaurants but our good food small business restaurants are closing. It is shameful! We need more healthier food for a healthier community. We need to teach our youth about healthy food. Not take them through drive-thrus. I would like to see more food trucks to come in to provide an option. It’s festive and healthy!