Thank you for joining me!
I shall pass this way but once; any good then that I can do or any kindness I can show to any human being; let me do it now. Let me not defer nor neglect it, for I shall not pass this way again.
– Etienne De Grellet
I was born in a small town named Panajachel, in Solola, Guatemala on January 7th, 1995. I grew up the youngest of three right beside a beautiful lake named Atitlan. This is where I spent my first ten orbits around the sun trying to figure it out.
I was lucky to go to a school named Collegio El Caminito until grade 5 before moving to Vankleek Hill, Ontario. There I studied at Pleasant Corners Public School from grade 5 until grade 8 before going to Vankeek Hill Collegiate Insitute for high school.
During high school, I juggled four jobs. I played soccer, hockey, rugby, volleyball, badminton, and ran cross country. In grade 12 I almost single-handedly, coordinated and planned all of our high school’s intramural activities for the student body. The activities touched almost all of the student body as they included: ice hockey, basketball, volleyball, badminton, dodgeball and more! When I wasn’t at school I was kept busy playing for my home soccer and hockey team in Vankleek Hill. Over these years, I volunteered as a referee for Champlain Minor Ball Hockey. I was also involved in many ice hockey tournaments as a volunteer and as a player. At our graduation ceremonies, I was awarded three community bursaries, all of which were for my community leadership involvement. Throughout my four years of high school, I managed to squeeze an 80% average, the minimum to get accepted into a couple of programs in University.
I got accepted into Biopharmaceutical Science at uOttawa. I failed many courses after quickly losing interest in the program including organic chemistry, animal form and function, and biochemistry to name some. I had to change my program and biology was what made the most sense so that’s what happened, I switched to the biology program. I hit rock bottom during my third year after I continued to fail my courses so I made the same resolution we’ve all made to ourselves, to try new and better things at the beginning of the semester. So I did. I got a job in a parking lot and spent more time studying. Things were going well, I join our chess club at uOttawa and my grades were improving.
In my fourth year, I started hearing a lot of complaints about our student union including that they were not funding clubs as they should have, that they were stealing money and that they were corrupt all around. So I thought that I could take over the position that was responsible for developing our clubs program and make it significantly better. Once I read through the Student Federation of the University of Ottawa (SFUO) Constitution I quickly realized why things were the way they were with our student union. The constitution is an absolute mess. There is very little to no competition in the SFUO elections because the field of candidates is significantly restricted. SFUO executive candidates must be bilingual which automatically discounts over two-thirds of the voting population. The voter turnout in recent SFUO elections has ranged between 5 and 20 percent. Students are not voting and why would they? Why would they vote for someone who wouldn’t accept them as their leader?
Seeing the list of issues grow longer and longer with our student union motivated me to run in their elections, even if that meant that I had to learn French. It turns out that you can’t develop policy or campaign when you’re busy prioritizing learning a language. I approached my representatives at the time asking them to move a motion eliminating the bilingualism requirement for candidates. I intuitively pointed out that the requirement is bad because it automatically disqualifies the majority of the population. I was told that if I didn’t like it, that I should go to another school. I’ve never been more insulted in my life. I couldn’t believe that the people who were supposed to represent me were actually telling me to go to another school. I couldn’t sleep that night I was so angry.
In my fifth year (last year), to calm me down, I decided to get back into healthy activities by starting 6 clubs including boxing, Brazilian jiu-jitsu, taekwondo, Muay Thai, judo, and extreme camping. Just getting the clubs up and running took significant time, though, and effort. Once 5 out of the 6 clubs gained enough interest, events begun to take place. My best sport was Brazilian jiu-jitsu so naturally, I began teaching brand new beginners the basics. I basically developed this club to the point where we had the most advanced students teach everyone else, for free and for the sole pleasure of doing something exciting. The managers of the martial arts room didn’t seem to like this and proceeded to shut down every meetup or practice that we would set up. One of the facilities managers explicitly prevented students from teaching each other. The primary purpose of the University is to, “promote the advancement of learning and the dissemination of knowledge.” Telling students that they cannot teach each other for, “safety reasons”, and other ignorant reasons is infuriating and should be illegal.
After being told to go to another school for trying to improve our democracy at school and being told that I wasn’t allowed to teach students or be taught by students martial arts for, “safety reasons”, I decided to quit school and do my own thing.
While this was happening, I couldn’t help but notice all the mass shootings taking place across the border. I kept hearing about all the shootings and homicides taking place inside our own borders. Toronto, at about 3 million individuals, about 3 times the size of Ottawa has had over 70 fatal shootings this year alone! This, and being told that my childhood friend, on May 20th at 9 PM was shot dead in Guatemala City pushed me past the tipping point.
My university experience was quite volatile and not as pleasant as I wish it was. I did have the opportunity to create a couple of clubs I wish had already existed at the university to help make my last year at the university be just bearable, but not even that lasted. The facilities manager completely broke us up and shut us down just before halfway through the winter semester. I decided that if I couldn’t help solve the issues facing the university at the administration or student union level, that I could run for office, address, and solve these pervasive problems.
After going through so many things in such a short period of time I was lucky to gain the many unique and valuable experiences that I did. You can be certain that my ideas, skills, talents, passion, drive, and ambition are the perfect ingredients for strong leadership development at the highest office in our capital City of Ottawa.
These are some of the things I have fantasized about while getting to know our government. Just a quick disclaimer, I fantasize about weird things. I always have and I always will.
- I wish we could vote online.
- I wish voting was obligatory.
- I wish people under 18 could vote.
- I wish we had our own version of the autobahn.
- I wish there were fewer cars and more people in Ottawa.
- I wish members of parliament took turns being the chairperson.
- I wish our government wasn’t one of the best, I wish it was the best.
- I wish that voters had the option to make their voting choices public.
- I wish motions proposed in parliament were amended until they passed.
- I wish we could influence other governments to adopt gun legislation reform.
- I wish our standard voting system was the Alternative Voting system and not First Past The Post.
- I wish that at least one person was fined an exponential amount for each time the chairperson was forced to stand up.
- I wish our streets had smart traffic lights that recognized that you were the only vehicle on the road giving you a timely green light.
- I wish that anyone in the world could vote in our elections but obviously not count towards who actually is elected. Just to see who the world that votes would vote for.
Doing it Differently
My optimism and my ambition for Ottawa are magnitudes greater than what you will find anywhere else. I’m the easiest candidate you can talk to and I’m the most direct. I’m putting myself out there on social media platforms rarely used by politicians like Reddit, YouTube, and Snapchat to purposefully make it easy for you to hold my feet to the fire. That’s how it should be with members of public office.
When you elect me, you know exactly what you’re voting for and you will be heard and actions will be taken to meet your legitimate needs. I’ll put out monthly video content so that you can call me out more easily in the case I make questionable decisions or just say what’s up for fun. I intend to get all our council meetings live-streamed on Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube for you and I intend on improving the quality of the recordings. Currently, the chat is disabled for these live streams, I intend on ensuring that the chat is enabled for all live streams.
Next, I’m a young man, just a grown-up kid like you. I like to play chess and poker in some of my spare time and sometimes I even stream on Twitch. So we can play some games online on occasion when we’re taking a break from fixing the biggest problems facing Ottawa. One of my ideas is to get some digital life-size chess sets built around the city with 24/7 video surveillance. The reason for this is because chess explicitly teaches you that the best way to improve your game is by learning from your biggest mistakes. This is why I’m laser-focused on finding Ottawa’s biggest mistakes with your help. This is necessary in order to learn from our mistakes so that we can improve and grow our city at much faster rates than in previous years.
I’m in favor of having a poker room or even a casino on our side of the river close to downtown to help pay for our city’s development and to help keep our taxes low.
It’s 2018 and Bitcoin is a decade old. Our generation is transitioning into the era of the Internet of Things (IOT), AI, cloud computing, autonomous vehicles, virtual reality, digital identity and more. My vision for Ottawa includes helping us transition into this amazing and exciting space as soon as possible. This means that I intend on helping Ottawa embrace and adopt these new, powerful, decentralized technologies. We can start out by accepting Bitcoin as a payment method for city services. Let’s get with the times and welcome the benefits of innovative, decentralized, free, and open protocols and strive to integrate those characteristics into our future ways of governance so that we can achieve better consensus within our society. I’ll push to digitally connect the entire City of Ottawa. We’ll set up truly free and open high-speed city wifi around Ottawa until we’re fully connected. Basically, I’m trying to achieve an outcome where Ottawa can operate at its absolute best, free from as much distraction and short-term thinking as possible.
Lastly, I’ll propose that we get the canal lanes widened while planting more trees along it to help preserve our canopy cover across the city. I’ll get the orange lights around Ottawa to be phased out for modern, sky friendly alternatives. I fully support replacing the lanes we have around the canal now for trademarked all-weather synthetic track surfacing to fit 5 x 1.22 m lanes on each side of the canal all the way through. Maybe we should set up more restaurants along the canal.
When it comes to policy development, my philosophy for it is derived from one of my favorite philosophers of all time, John Rawls. He has provided us with a fail-proof model for identifying what truly might be unfair.
Being born in Guatemala, a third world country, as a child I was exposed to extreme levels of poverty. I witnessed the horrors of gang and gun violence which are sadly still highly prevalent there today. This is also what motivated me to run in these elections. Just seeing all the mass shootings taking place across the border, realizing how much gun violence takes place inside our own borders, and losing my childhood friend to gun violence in Guatemala City this past May made me realize some things. I was inspired by the March For Our Lives campaign. It was one of the strongest calls to action that I have ever witnessed. So I decided to minimize my regret and stand up for what I believe.
John Rawls’, “A Theory Of Justice” published in 1971 lays the groundwork for how I will strive to have our policies, rules, and regulations developed. Rawls tells us that things as they are now, are patently unfair. The statistics presented and repeated over and over by souls like Bernie Sanders, point this out. So Rawls advises us to imagine that we’re alive and fully rational just before we’re born. To imagine that we can design the world in which we’re going to be born in. It’s ours. We pick out the political rules. We pick out the economic rules. We pick out the social rules. We design the world, and once we’re born, we’re going to be born in that world. This is the world that’s going to exist for your lifetime, for your children’s lifetime, for your grandchildren’s lifetime. Rawls continues to explain that once we’re born, we’re not going to know where we’ll be born, where we’ll come from or what we’ll look like. If we’re going to be born black or white, or Hispanic or Irish or Asian or French or German or Scottish, male or female, rich or poor, abled or disabled, gay or straight. All we know is that we’ll be born in one of ~7 billion places. This is what Warren Buffet likes to call ‘The Ovarian Lottery’. Now what kind of rules would we like to have for that society not knowing which Ovarian Lottery ball we’re going to get?
We live in one of the most serene and safest cities in the world, and that I appreciate. As mayor, I’ll help our city utilize its intellectual capital in order to realize and actualize our city’s true potential. I have things worth giving, ideas worth sharing and talents worth developing. When you elect me Mayor, I will transform Ottawa into one of the most vibrant and healthiest cities that you have ever seen without a doubt, and that’s not a promise. That’s a hard guarantee that you will not get anywhere else.
Thank you for following my story.
I wish you a beautiful day.
ON OCTOBER 22nd BETWEEN 10 AM & 8 PM
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