Jim Rhode’s Position on Mental Health & Role of the City – News Release & Backgrounder
October 8, 2020 – For immediate release
(Saskatoon, SK) October 10th is World Mental Health Day – an ideal time for Ward 7 candidate Jim Rhode to share his ideas for a municipal role in mental health and addiction support, along with the rest of his election platform.
“My vision for Saskatoon is clear,” said Rhode. “Residents deserve a safe community with planned growth and job creation. That’s the value I would bring as Ward 7’s city councillor: community focused and business minded.”
One key pillar of Rhode’s platform is a broad discussion of mental health and addiction issues, exploring ways for the city to work more closely with the provincial government, health agencies and partner organizations to coordinate mental health support for those who need it.
“This year has brought new stresses and anxieties for our neighbours, friends and family members in Ward 7 and Saskatoon,” said Rhode. “including concerns about employment and the economy, and worries about health and safety in the face of a global pandemic.”
“I believe council has a role in supporting mental health and addiction services from a municipal perspective,” he adds. “We cannot simply standby, when mental health has an impact where people live – right here in our communities. Mental health challenges do not discriminate. I will work toward greater cooperation with the provincial government and community organizations to address these issues that affect every resident and family in our community.”
Rhode’s platform pillars focus on improving communities, making better decisions, and reducing waste while delivering core city services, which all in turn help to alleviate mental health and addiction issues. His platform highlights include the following:
- Jim will integrate mental health and individual wellness into the city’s strategic plan, develop an advisory committee and support system navigators to better link residents to available resources.
- Jim will advocate for the city to better manage the abandoned or condemned houses throughout Saskatoon.
- Jim will seek better alternatives and ask better questions of recent council decisions, such as the expensive new library, the Lighthouse and the bus rapid transit system.
- Jim will stand up for small business to ensure employers and their employees can thrive as we recover from the pandemic.
- Jim does not support any tax increase for the next year, to help workers and families struggling to make ends meet.
- Jim believes the city must provide support and take a thoughtful approach to fund frontline services that Ward 7 depends on, such as police, fire and other essential services. Jim will advocate for increased support for police programming that is helping to tackle Sakatoon’s mental health and addictions issues, including increased funding of the Police And Crisis Team (PACT).
- Jim will look for opportunities to reduce waste, to ensure taxpayer dollars go where taxpayers expect them: core services.
Rhode’s strong platform and attention to mental health and addictions issues, which Saskatonians are raising with him during the campaign, set him apart from his Ward 7 opponents. Rhode is the strongest choice for residents who want their voice heard.
Rhode urges all residents to vote on November 9.
For more information, please contact:
Name: Bonnie Blakley
Phone: (306) 229-5915
✓ A business leader and proud local employer
President of Davis Machine Co., a local manufacturing and machine shop around for over 100 years.
✓ A community volunteer
Past chair of Saskatoon Regional Health Authority and 3sHealth, and board member of eHealth Saskatchewan.
20-year member and past president of Canadian Progress Club Saskatoon Downtown.
✓ A family man
I am proud to call Saskatoon home. Together with my partner, Bonnie, we have raised seven children here in this great city.
A VISION FOR SASKATOON
I have a clear vision for Saskatoon: safe communities with planned growth and job creation.
PRIORITIES FOR WARD 7 AND SASKATOON
✓ Supporting mental health and addiction services
I believe municipal government has a role in addressing mental health and addictions with partners and other levels of government. I will work toward greater cooperation with the Saskatchewan Health Authority and community organizations on these important issues.
- Collaborate with the health authority, the provincial government and school boards, to focus on prevention and promotion
- Incorporate individual health and wellness in city strategy
- Implement a Mental health and addication advisory committee
- Work with the education system on mental health workers in schools
- Support system navigators who can help people access the right services at the right time
- Invest in the Police and Crisis Team as they work to help those with mental health and addictions
✓ Better decisions and better questions
Council is out of touch on many recent decisions, and Saskatonians are noticing. We need to break the council deadlock and get back to what matters: efficient and safe delivery of your services, while ensuring taxpayer dollars are spent wisely. Ward 7 residents need a representative that knows their concerns and has their backs.
✓ Standing up for small business
Employees and their employers face uncertainty. I will ensure that their concerns are heard, and that City Hall isn’t imposing needless red tape and barriers for businesses to thrive. Let’s make Saskatoon open for business while helping everyone navigate our current health crisis.
✓ Support for frontlines
Ward 7 residents count on core services such as police, fire and other key services to be there when needed. I will fight to ensure that these services have what they need to continue to be there for us, while ensuring we are taking a thoughtful approach to their funding.
✓ Reduce waste and support core services
After 30+ years in business, I know that wasteful decisions have consequences. We can’t pass the buck. I will ask the tough questions needed about programs and spending to ensure taxpayer dollars go where taxpayers expect them: core services.
✓ In it for you
I want to serve everyone in Ward 7, regardless of political beliefs or whether you’re new to Saskatoon or a lifelong resident. If you have concerns or ideas for your municipal government, I want to make sure you’re heard. That’s the Saskatoon spirit.
I believe that public transit is a core and critical service to any city. It is also important that the service be responsive to the needs of its citizens. I have heard concerns from Ward 7 residents about the need for a responsive and timely bus system; which I support.
I think it is important that we do a ‘gut’ check before pushing ahead with this project. We need to ask ourselves if this approach is viable and affordable given ridership trends as well as our changing environment due to COVID-19. In addition, the total cost is still unknown but what we do know is that meg-projects typically cost significantly more than estimated.
I am also surprised that in discussing the BRT no one seems to be talking about the newly introduced “on-demand” system that is being trialed in parts of Saskatoon. A system that has been shown to work in other Canadian cities. Could this be a more practical solution that allows for timely and responsive bus service without putting significant burden on taxpayers?
About the new Saskatoon Library
I believe there are more important priorities for Saskatoon than an expensive and elaborate library. I will vote to rescind the decision.
In my experience with large projects, including the Children’s Hospital during my time as Heath Authority Board Chair, I know there are always ways to revisit and revise plans that are this significant to our city.
I think we need to ask better questions; if the goal is to support literacy and reconciliation, and provide computer access to residents, how can we do that with creativity and inclusiveness, instead of a $134-million dollar building?
Zero Tax Increases
I am puzzled by how our taxes continue to increase while our core services and infrastructure continue to deteriorate. Given that and the current economic struggles due to the pandemic I do not support any tax increases in the near future. When elected I will challenge administration to dig deeper and be more creative. And before we see any increases I will question why and where your dollars are going and look for your input to ensure your voice is heard.