I'm Anne Marie Gillis
Most of you will recognize me as your Separate School Board Trustee
(1997-2000), your Sarnia City Councillor (2003-2006) and your City County
In 2018 I ran for Mayor of the City of Sarnia. I was not successful. Instead I put
my name forward to serve on the Communities in Bloom Committee serving
2018-2020 and the Bluewater Trails Committee 2018-2022.
I also have worked with Helen Cole as she created “The Jean Collective","A
Women’s Initiative“ (contributing to workshops via Zoom) and in person
speaking about political life from a women’s perspective . It was my goal to
educate women and help and promote women to enter politics over these past 4 years. Despite the pandemic, I have used my time wisely and productively.
I have remained an observer of the current Council over the past 4 years as well, and have been dismayed by what I have seen. The exit of staff, which began in January 2019 and has continued right up to August 2022 , has been alarming.
Our Council recognized city employees as “our Greatest assets“ and were recognized as such in our Strategic Plan. But this current Council has been continually hostile to each other, and to those they invite to educate them. CBC “ Lack of Respect: Toronto firm backs out of working with Sarnia Council” https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/windsor/sarnia-kojo-institute-1.6362324
Our Council worked together, never disrespected each other or our staff, even when we disagreed. In 2017 because of the grievous violation of the “Workplace Harassment Policy“under the Occupational Health and Safety Act by Mayor Bradley, I was appointed as Intermediary between the Staff and Mayor. Despite that, Our Council continued working on very challenging projects that would “test the patience of Job” and got the jobs done.
City Councillors are a reflection of the community they serve. Their constituents expect them to work together to improve their community. A collaborative, respectful Council can achieve “ANYTHING”.
As your Councillor I will, “Bring Back Civility”.
When there is an Emergency“ I will always have your Back”.
I believe in Sarnia’s Motto “People Serving People”
Anne Marie Gillis was born Anne Marie Stevens, in Saint John New Brunswick, the middle child of Joan and Lo Stevens. Her father Lodwick (Lo), had a long Career with Canada Customs after servingfor the duration of WW2 in the Royal Canadian Navy Volunteer Reserve, on Convoy Escort Duty in the North Atlantic. Joan a graduate of St Francis Xavier University, served during the war years as a Registered Nurse in the Veteran’s Hospital, retiring upon her marriage in1946 (as was the norm) to raise 7 children.
Anne Marie, as an infant suffered Multiple Ear infections leaving her deaf as a child. Following operations and treatment she regained some hearing but has remained “Hard of Hearing“ ever since. She learned to speak and sing with the help of a wonderful teacher at the age of 5. Conversely, she found her political voice at age 12, after confronting her elementary school teacher for continually bullying her classmates because of their religious faith. Anne Marie followed in her mother’s footsteps, becoming a Registered Nurse, working on the newly formed CCU (Coronary Care Unit) in the General Hospital, in Sault Ste. Marie. She met her husband Blair, at Sault College where they were students and married in 1976. They moved to Sarnia due to Blair accepting a position with Dow Chemical upon his graduation, where they raised 3 children. Darryl, Vanessa and Selyn who are all Queen’s Graduates and Professional Engineers.
Anne Marie found her political voice again, as a young mother advocating for children, as a member of the school PTA. She served as Chair of her local School Council and Chair of the Parent-Board Liaison Committee for the Lambton County Roman Catholic Separate School Board. The PBLC acted as an advisory link between the school communities and the School Board Trustees. She was elected as one of the first trustees of the newly amalgamated St. Clair Catholic School Board for Sarnia-Lambton and Chatham-Kent in 1997. She worked long hours with her peers to create new policies that reflected the new responsibilities for the Regional Board. During this time in office, she was also elected by her peers as the Director for Southwestern Ontario for the Ontario Catholic Trustees Association. Anne Marie Gillis was elected to Sarnia City Council in 2003, as a Councillor, and the Sarnia Police Services Board, later serving as Chair.
She was elected in 2006 as a City / County Councillor for the City of Sarnia and the County of Lambton. A position she held until 2018. During that time, she served as Deputy Warden and as Lambton County’s Rep to the Federation of Canadian Municipalities advocating for Municipalities at the Federal Level. She served as Vice Chair of The National Infrastructure Committee. Currently, Anne Marie is continuing to serve her community as a member of 2 Committees of Council.
➢The Bluewater Trails Committee: maintaining and improving the Trails systems in Sarnia.
➢Communities in Bloom: working with the Ministry of Transportation to complete landscaping of Interchange HWY 402 and Indian Rd and Christina St.and introducing new signage at Canatara Park.
Anne Marie and Blair have been married for 46 years. They are dedicating more time to their 6 Grandchildren, especially, Owen and Charlotte who have Autism. Anne Marie and Blair are utilizing their patience, love and knowledge they glean from support groups and teachers, to help Owen and Charlotte make sense of their world, just as Anne Marie did, growing up “hard of hearing “in a hearing world. Together as grandparents, Anne Marie and Blair are helping Owen and Charlotte find their voices, embracing their role as grandparents as well to Myla,Tahia, Keira and Katherine, and are working together to help raise and teach the next generation.
Anne Marie's Priorities
"People helping people"
Bring back Civility
Bring Civility to Council Chambers:
Incorporate Sensitivity training as part of the overall training of New Councillors
Develop a real Action Plan to reduce the Backlog!
Utilizing debt strategically to take advantage of Modern construction methods following the direction of the Climate Emergency Declaration 2019, we can repair or replace assets, so they last longer and cost less to maintain
Re invigorate our Parks utilizing Parks and Rec Master Plan and an investment of $5Million over 5 years to make our parks more relevant to all of our citizens 2-92.
Grow our Urban Forest to improve our Air Quality and expand our Trail Networks.
Mental Illness and our aging demographic:
We need to examine different approaches to accommodate those who are aging out of the Youth Programs. We are seeing encouraging signs amongst this demographic, it is a different story for our Senior Citizens whose safety networks are themselves aging or no longer have the capacity to care for them.
We need to work with other Municipalities via AMO (Association of Municipalities) and FCM (Federation of Canadian Municipalities) and our Health care Systems to lobby as a united voice to all levels of government to address this urgent need.
The Opiod Crises:
Building on what is already in place we need to adopt new strategies.
Looking beyond our borders, Iceland has pioneered a successful model that has been used in Canada. It looks very promising.
In Conclusion , My Leadership Experience and Responsibilities have given me a knowledge base to know what it takes to make our city the best it can be.
VOTE ANNE MARIE GILLIS FOR SARNIA CITY COUNCIL.
"Anne Marie is a woman who means business. She does her research and makes data based decisions"