Oak Bay News
Cheryl Thomas can honestly say her political roots run deep.
Not only was her great-grandmother active in the campaign for women’s right to vote, but her grandfather had the distinction of running against Tommy Douglas early in his career.
Today, Thomas brings a long history of community and political involvement to her position as a Liberal candidate in the Victoria riding.
“I’ve always been involved behind the scenes and I’ve run both provincial and federal campaigns, so I understand the chaos of an election,” she says.
Passionate about cultivating leadership and collaboration, Thomas is an educator of leadership and teamwork, both here at home at the University of Victoria and previously at Sharif University of Technology in Tehran, in addition to Royal Roads University and Camosun College.
With her children grown and having returned from eight years teaching overseas, the time was right for her to run as a candidate herself, she says.
While abroad, “I saw Canada’s image eroding considerably … I have five-year-old and nine-year-old grandsons and this is not the world I want them to grow up in,” Thomas says.
Born in Saskatchewan and raised on a farm in Stettler, Alta., where her father was a veterinarian, the message growing up was one of building society and community.
“That’s part of who I am,” she says.
“I guess I’m an idealist; I keep thinking we have to do better than we have.”
After moving to Greater Victoria in 1990, Thomas was a leader in the Parent Advisory Councils at Willows Elementary and Oak Bay High. She served on Victoria’s Film Commission for six years and currently serves on the boards of the Victoria Harbourside Rotary Club and the Oak Bay United Church.
Key issues this election include the environment, housing and infrastructure, and Thomas would like to see the federal government more involved in those issues, but in a way that makes sense to local jurisdictions.
“It’s what I do in business – I help people solve problems, and to do it collaboratively.”
On a personal level, Thomas would also like to raise awareness of organ donation.
“We have a system in Canada that people have to opt into and a lot of the time people think they’re a donor but they’re not,” she says.
Conversely, many European countries require people to “opt out” instead, which increases donation levels while still giving people a choice, she says.