Nelson resident Michael Dailly is the first non-incumbent to announce his candidacy for city council in the upcoming municipal election.
“I could only do so much fishing, gardening and golfing,” said Dailly, who retired five years ago from a 30-year career with the Metro Toronto Fire Department. He lives in Nelson with Julie, his wife of 14 years, and recently became a grandfather for the first time.
“Nelson’s a wonderful place to live and I want to see it continue and become a better place to live,” he said.
Dailly is no stranger to government process. Over the course of his career he has served as a union executive officer for the fire department, and often worked closely with Toronto’s city council. He was also a worker’s compensation representative, and lobbied the provincial government to change legislation around work-related cancers.
“I’m the kind of person who as things happen, I get involved,” he said.
This means that when his daughter Karen was born with Down Syndrome, he became the vice-president of the Down Syndrome Association and again lobbied the government, this time to change legislation about how special needs students receive education.
Lately, since moving to the Kootenay, Dailly has become passionate about affordable housing and homelessness.
“I’d say one of the major impetuses for running was the homelessness and affordable housing issue, or lack of. The situation around low income folks who live in Nelson has become a real interest to me since I started working with Nelson CARES,” he said. He currently sits on their board of directors.
Dailly is also interested in the environment, and demonstrated it by arriving for the interview on his electric bike.
“I’m not going to chain myself to a tree, but the environment’s important,” said Dailly, who is also active with local environmental group Transition Nelson.
Dailly said he regretted not running in the most recent election, even though he’d only been in town for two years. For the past year he’s been preparing to tackle the role.
“I see myself as a middle of the road councillor as far as issues go. I’m not polarized. There is some polarization on the council and I see myself as the candidate who can bridge those extreme ideas,” he said.
And how to address the polarization, which most recently has manifested as a rift over downtown’s Baker Street Christmas lights?
“I think we have a lot of people in town with a lot of expertise. I don’t have the answers for the issues or the problems, but I do trust we have the answers and it’s about listening to each other.”
Dailly said he believes council loses more by indecision than wrong decision.
“Wrong decisions we can correct. Indecision is lost time,” he said.
When asked what he wanted voters to know about him, Dailly’s answer was simple and direct.
“That I’ll listen. I’ll pay attention and do the best I can. And I want to hear from everyone.”