Nathan Pachal for Mayor of Langley City
Reflections on why I think Nathan Pachal is a great candidate.
Meet Nathan Pachal, the man running for mayor of Langley city. As a citizen of the community, he was concerned about the future of transportation in his area, green spaces, public safety, and affordable housing. He noticed the city wasn’t being a leader in the area of public transportation and wanted to help change that. So, he took a risk and decided to do something about that.
Nathan has been on council for two terms now, and has decided to put his name forward to become the mayor. As he put it in our interview, he doesn’t want to be known as a one issue person. He wants his community to thrive in every facet.
One piece that stood out to me, was his commitment to collaboration. Of course, every politician and leader has goals they would like to accomplish ‘if elected’, but you can’t reach any of those goals without support and teamwork. Remember, with mayor and council there are 7 people total. You have to get your team onboard with your idea. That seems like it is Nathan’s strong-suit. As you will hear in our conversation, even if he vehemently disagrees with another councillor on an issue - he will still grab coffee, lunch or have a sit down with the person to try to build rapport.
Aaron Pete from the Bigger Than Me Podcast is a reader-supported publication. To receive new posts and support my work, consider becoming a free or paid subscriber.
After my recent run in my First Nation communities local election, it is clear politics is never easy. People will always have their opinions, no matter whether it is your friends, family or community. That is why, it is commendable, for anyone to put their name forward for public scrutiny.
Running in politics has only gotten harder with the advent of the internet. Now, it takes no work to write an insult, make assumptions, and tear people down. Moreover, people don’t see you — they see what they want to say. If you say you care about public transportation, the environment and safety — people will hone in on the issues that stand out to them. One person may role their eyes at the idea that the environment is a pressing issue. Other’s will get mad that the environment isn’t the only issue on the agenda.
What happens more often that not, is the candidate becomes a caricature to the general public. If you support the NDP in Canada, you must be a socialist, union supporting, tree-hugger. If you support the Conservative party, you must be a trucker-supporting, politically incorrect person, that is only worried about inflation and Canada’s economy. I’ve never found this approach very fruitful.
Personally, I think both sides have a vital role to play. Some may not know this, but our western culture is predicated on an adversarial system. Within the legal system you have Crown versus defence. In our political system we have left versus right. Both, bring key perspectives. Typically, the left is concerned with vulnerable populations, unfairness, inequality, and creating social programs. In contrast, the right is often concerned with fiscal discipline, traditional values, and smaller governments. Now of course, this is an oversimplification and within these sides both can make new issues the pillar of their side.
The takeaway I hope most have is that people are complex, and by extension politics is complex. This should be embraced. During municipal, provincial or federal elections we should embrace the nuance. Try not to pick sides, try not to reduce people down to one issue, try not to demonize people you disagree with. Instead, try to see their perspective, give people the benefit of the doubt, and try to have faith that everyone is striving for the good - even if we disagree on what the good looks like.
I know that their current mayor has some controversies leading into this election. In June 2022, according to City News, City of Langley Mayor Val van den Broek was censured by council for what it described as “conduct unbecoming”. Council alleged the mayor “misused her power” to “target, intimidate, and threaten an employee of the city, including by making unjustified and false statements about the employee.” 1
On August 06, the Langley Advance Times reported that Mayor Val van den Broek claimed the exact same thing happened to her. According to her, she had been subject to bullying and harassment by other council members. 2 To be clear, it would’ve taken a majority of council to vote on having her censured. Whereas Mayor val van den Broek is making this claim about 6 other people.
Personally, I think Nathan would make a great mayor of Langley city. He is knowledgeable, keen and very enthusiastic. After speaking with him, it is clear he knows how to work with other levels of government and build long-lasting relationships with other stakeholders. Through my run, I realized how important it is to have a vision for your community - if you want to lead it. You can’t just point out problems, you have to share your hopes for the community. Nathan does an excellent job at this, and has a strong attention for detail.
I am confident that the city of Langley will make the best decision for them. To listen to the full podcast with Nathan visit us on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts or YouTube. Don’t forget to subscribe to the podcast, rate the podcast and share this newsletter with your peers.