April 11, 2018
Remembering Councillor Brenda Maisey. When we lose people to the end of life we are suddenly and irrevocably faced with the knowledge of an enormous hole in our lives. This is not only so for the families of those who have left us behind; it is also so for the community in which they have lived and served.
Our friend and colleague in local government, Brenda Maisey, lived in Chetwynd for more than thirty-five years. During those years she didn’t sit idly watching the community go by. She got involved in community life in a big way and made changes, not only in the community she called home but in the lives of people. These changes are still evident today, years after Brenda completed her three terms on Council.
Brenda was passionate about people, especially those people whose circumstances of life rendered them less able, or even unable, to meet the challenges of adequate shelter, child care, proper food on the table, indeed, a table on which to put the food.
I first encountered Brenda while I was associated with Northern Lights College. As a community-based college, one of our functions was to provide life-skills and job training. Brenda was involved in organizing training for women to assist them in bridging the gap between unemployment and employment. “Women in Work Boots,” I remember it after 25 years, intended to put the boots on women so they could put the boots to the industrial job.
I left the College in January, 2001, and did not see Brenda again until November, 2002, when she was elected as a first-term Councillor in your local government. We were colleagues in that role for the next nine years. Astonishing, isn’t it, that time can slide by so quickly, so quietly, while work gets done and while Brenda remains Brenda: compassionate, insightful, always ready to take Council to task if we were not being sufficiently caring of the needs of those who cannot speak for themselves.
I think this habit might have come from her birth during an air raid over London. I can just see her shaking an infant fist at the tyrant and promising him that all his fireworks would serve only to burn him to a crisp, a prophecy that came true.
In her three terms of office Brenda served in a variety of roles: Liaison with the Seniors Society, Economic Development, Healthcare promotion, Liaison with the Museum, and Community Improvements among other Council duties.
Brenda’s passion for accessibility, equal access, and opportunity for all was brought into everything she did in her role as Councillor. As you walk about town today, remember Brenda. Many of the amenities we take for granted and that make our lives better are the result of her being here.
When she retired from Council her influence did not retire with her. I distinctly remember the chastisement Council received in question period when Brenda’s standards of right and wrong with respect to accessibility were, in her estimation, violated or neglected. I don’t recall the details of the issue, but I cannot forget the whipping I got as Mayor for Council’s misdeeds. Thank you Brenda; we shall not forget.
I would be remiss if I neglected to tell you the role she played in my election to the office of Mayor. I was dithering, neither hot nor cold, lukewarm at best.
Brenda called me and in very certain terms told me to get off my couch and take a run at the office and if I wouldn’t, she would – but she really didn’t want to.
Thanks, Brenda, without your prodding I wouldn’t have been here in the best job I’ve ever had. For the past six years and four months I’ve enjoyed the role more than I can say.
As a final tribute, I would like to remind you that the District of Chetwynd also recognized Brenda’s contributions to the improvement of society in 2010 when she was made Citizen of the Year.
Oh, by the way, I discovered an ancient proverb that describes Councillor Brenda’s obvious philosophy: “Rebuke the wise and they will love you.”
Merlin Nichols, Mayor