Todd MacLean - Nominee for District 16 Cornwall Meadowbank

Todd MacLean is officially nominated by the following three members of the Green Party of Prince Edward Island: 

  • Perry Williams
  • Sue Williams
  • Bill Hogg

 

Biography

Todd MacLean’s career and community work has been steadily gearing him toward a life in politics for the past 20 years.

Growing up in Meadowbank, MacLean spent much of his childhood exploring the forests, fields and streams around his home, and helping out on his family’s mini farm. Graduating from Bluefield High School as valedictorian in 1996, MacLean then went on to graduate from UPEI as valedictorian with Honours in English in 2001.

Gravitating toward music teaching/performance for his professional career to date, MacLean is a musician, music teacher, freelance journalist and published writer. He was a weekly columnist with The Guardian for 12 years, was an environmental columnist on CBC Radio, served as a weekly entertainment commentator on CBC TV in 2010, and was awarded 2015 Music PEI Media Person of the Year. Playing saxophone/piano/guitar, MacLean is a highly sought-after accompanist, and was voted Music PEI’s Music Educator of the Year in 2010 and Musician of the Year in 2011. And as a writer, MacLean has worked particularly as creator/Editor-in-Chief on the book called Global Chorus: 365 Voices on the Future of the Planet – an anthology of leading global thinkers on humanity's future on Earth.

Local community support and involvement has been a key focus for MacLean – coordinating fundraiser events for local organizations, being a small business owner with his wife, Savannah Belsher-MacLean, and, in 2021, being an online talk show host, raising funds for local charities. In these ways and more, connecting with Islanders has long been a priority for MacLean: And he is now ready to bring his experience to help to serve our Island and its people through work as an MLA.

Candidate statement

"If chosen to be the Green Party District 16 candidate, and if elected as MLA to represent Cornwall-Meadowbank, I would work hard, day in and day out, to make sure that every constituent voice is heard and acted upon. What will be most important to me is what is most important to my constituents, and to Islanders as a whole. My work in this regard will hinge upon two methods: 1) Listening, to make sure that those whom I am representing will know that they are truly being heard – and to learn, as I will have a great deal of learning to do; and 2) Acting upon what needs to be done with patient persistence.

To be able to work hard to help meet the needs of the community of my roots, Cornwall-Meadowbank, would be a position that I would embrace in supreme dedication and honour."

Additional information

What is your connection with the district in which nomination is sought? 

I grew up on the Meadowbank Road, and lived there for over 20 years of my life, and my parents lived there for over 35 years. My connection to the place and its people continues to run deep within me – and I suspect it will for the rest of my life. I still have family who live in the area, and I still keep in touch with neighbours and friends from Cornwall-Meadowbank, and I know, and love, a lot of people in the community.

Please describe your alignment (and/or any disagreement) with party values or policy, or with positions publicly stated by Green MLAs (please provide examples): 

I find that I am in full alignment with most PEI Green Party values and policy points that meet my attention. For instance:


- I am in complete agreement with the Green Party's stance upon the King government's 2021 Housing Progress Report. Public housing is certainly not being constructed at the rate that Islanders need. Lynne Lund's work to press the government on their lack of attention toward Summerside's housing crisis in particular is great to see, because affordable housing is one of the most crucial issues that PEI is currently facing, and it will continue to be – especially if inadequate funds, attention and resources are not allocated toward this issue – toward Islanders who so desperately need affordable homes.

- I applaud the Green Party's recent requests to the King government for the fall Capital Budget. It would be an excellent move to roll out one-time spending upon necessary infrastructure upgrades, in cases such as: Improving and expanding seniors' housing and shelter facilities, environmental infrastructure upgrades, better ventilation in Island schools, etc.

- Michelle Beaton is also doing excellent work to press for better governmental supports, and better sticking to commitments, for Islanders struggling with mental health. The fact that the construction of the new mental health hospital as been pushed ahead to be four years later than King's election promise is absolutely unacceptable – particularly within this year when, in the wake of COVID, Islanders' mental health is at an all-time low.

- The Pay Transparency Act that Trish Altass is consulting upon is also a highly important Act, and I am eager to see how this unfolds. Government and all Islanders alike must take note that similar legislation was recently passed in Ontario to help eliminate the ongoing pay gap between men and women, and measures need to be taken on PEI to bring about the same changes – because it is absolutely absurd and despicable that such prejudice is still in place here in Canada's workforce in 2021.

What would you describe as your most important personal value(s)? 

I would like to quote The Dalai Lama to answer this question, as I recently came across a quote of his that truly sums up what is central to my personal values: "For me, the fundamental question is better relations; better relations among human beings—and whatever I can contribute to that." Although, I would personally paraphrase this statement to read, "For me, the fundamental quest is to strive for better relations: better relations among all humans, with the Earth, and all beings with whom we share this great planet – and whatever I can contribute to that."

What is your ability to commit time and other resources to your campaign?

I will be putting my private music lesson practice on hold, in order to focus properly on campaigning, from now until at least the beginning of November, and beyond that time, if I do get elected as MLA. So, I will certainly be aiming to be doing 6 days per week of campaigning during the 26-32 day writ period.

Thus far, I've received messages from 8 people who would like to help me out on my campaign, but I'm confident/hopeful there will be much more – as I have yet to have time to read through the well over 150 comments in response to my social media posts about my aims to run in the District 16 by-election. One of my friends has told me that he would like to donate to the campaign, and I am also confident that I could drum up monetary support from at least 4 to 5 other donors, and I will certainly be able to put forth some of my own money as well for this campaign. I’m hopeful as well that I’ll also be able to recruit some good social media support from the Island music community, where I’m connected to...well...I suppose, in all honesty...almost every musician on PEI.

Please tell us about your education and work experience. 

There are a number of experiences that I have had in life that are not noted in my resume that I feel have all added to both my character-building and my ability to connect with Islanders. These include experiences such as:

 

  • Being involved in school and Cornwall community sports in my youth – including soccer, basketball, rugby and track & field – and I was the captain of the Bluefield Mens' Soccer Team in grade 12.
  • Working as the News Editor for The Cadre student newspaper at UPEI in my 3rd year of university.
  • Being a member of the UPEI Theatre Society, in which I performed in plays such as A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Goodnight Desdemona Good morning Juliet, and also acting in community theatre productions such as ACT’s presentation of The Tempest in 2000.
  • Hosting the Graduation Awards Ceremony for my graduating class at UPEI in 2000.
  • Working for Island Radio – CFCY/CHTN/Magic 93 – as a DJ radio announcer from 1999 to 2001.
  • Working as a kayak tour guide with Outside Expeditions in Brudenell and North Rustico in 2001.
  • Working in Toronto in 2002/2003 at CN Tower as an elevator guide/attendant and as an usher at the iconic Second City Comedy Club, while performing in the Toronto music scene with my band, The Rude Mechanicals.
  • In working as a newspaper columnist for The Guardian for 12 years, I wrote over 600 articles on local events, meaning that I connected with thousands of Islanders through this process, in promoting and celebrating the beautiful treasure trove of musicians that we have here on this Island.
  • In the promotion of the book Global Chorus: 365 Voices on the Future of the Planet, I spoke at a number of Island schools and events – including Queen Charlotte Junior High, Englewood Consolidated, Bluefield High School, the Bonshaw Women’s Institute, and Charlottetown Rotary.
  • Performing as a musician at a variety of Island festivals, events, conferences, banquets, ceilidhs, community fundraisers and more, throughout the past 25 years of my music career. 
  • Traveling to Europe, Cuba, Jamaica, Dominican Republic, across Canada three times, and across the United States. 
  • Receiving the Inspiring Young Alumni Award from UPEI in 2016, in the same year that Heather Morrison received her Distinguished Alumni Award.
  • Emceeing UPEI's 50th Anniversary Celebration, and performing in the finale performance with The Rude Mechanicals in 2019.
  • Creating and hosting the “Quarantunes Isolation Concert Series” online, starting the week after the COVID-19 lockdown began in March, 2020, presenting a different Island musician each week for three months.

 

Community involvement, experience in organizations

  • PEI Arts Grants Jury Board Member - Fall, 2020
  • Upper Room Music Fundraiser Coordinator - "The Food and Warmth Show" - 2005-2013
  • PEI Writers' Guild Board Member - 2008-2010
  • Green Party EDA Board Member for Cardigan - March-May, 2021
  • Music PEI Award and ECMA Award Jury Member - Several times over the past 15 years
  • Jane Goodall Institute Roots and Shoots Launch and Link Program for Youth - Toronto, Ontario, October 2015
  • PEI Coordinator of Jane Goodall public talks, and interviewer of Jane Goodall at Delta Hotel in Charlottetown, October 2016

 

Achievements/Accomplishments 

Please tell us about any personal achievements or accomplishments that you are particularly proud of. 

  • The creation/compiling/editing of the book Global Chorus: 365 Voices on the Future of the Planet was one of the most challenging and most rewarding experiences and achievements of my life. Following its publication, my wife Savannah and I travelled on a cross-continent book tour, which was also a great accomplishment and adventure in itself. And of course, meeting Jane Goodall (one of my true heroes in life) on a couple of occasions, and having the opportunity to interview her for Islanders – these were amazing opportunities that evolved out of Global Chorus.
  • Throughout my teaching career, I have taught upwards of over 150 students in private music lessons – and it makes me very happy to think about how music has enriched the lives of all the students I've been honoured enough to teach.
  • Organizing fundraiser events on PEI has been a beautiful experience – such as the Food and Warmth Show for The Upper Room, and the "Nigwek: Something Good Is Growing" Organic Festival – and now most recently with the "Todd's Rainforest Lounge" online talk show this past year, fundraising for an array of local charities.
  • Savannah and I also had the pleasure and honour of restoring a historical home, from 2016-present, called Hazelbrook Homestead, and we were able to secure it as a Designated Heritage Place in 2018.
  • It's also been a real honour to be a performer on the Island music scene in a number of ways over the past 25 years. What a wealth of musical artistry we have here, and it's such a constant joy to be part of it, and to perform for locals and visitors to our province alike.
  • Living in the country in PEI, with Savannah and our two cats, and being committed to a sustainable Earth-friendly lifestyle, enjoying life with our families, supporting our communities in any ways we can, and connecting with Islanders here in this incredible place where we're lucky enough to live – these are also achievements and experiences that I'm proud of, and thankful for, on a daily basis.

 

Prior political party involvement: 

I became a member of the PEI Green Party in 2012, and I also spoke at a Green Party event at The Guild in that year. As well, I was a Green Party EDA Board Member for Cardigan - March-May, 2021. I haven't had any other involvement in other political parties.

Email address: [email protected]