No matter where you are in the Town of Whitby, chances are you’ll run into Regional Councillor Chris Leahy. As a public-facing representative of the people of Whitby, he ensures that the Town continues to grow into a community that makes everyone proud. Recently, Councillor Leahy spoke with Mr. MacInnis’ Grade 10 Civics class to give them an in-depth exploration of what to expect with a career in regional government.
“Councillor Leahy spent an hour with our Grade 10 Civics class, sharing insights into the numerous ways municipal politics affects our lives.” says Mr. MacInnis, “He paid extra attention to the areas that impact teenagers the most, and gave thorough and insightful answers to questions from the class.”
Councillor Leahy has called Whitby home since 1979 and has been privileged, as both a Councillor and a family man, to watch it grow from a small town to the vibrant, growing community it is today. Having held numerous public positions in Whitby throughout his career, from Vice-Chair of the Town of Whitby Operations Committee to Council Designate for the Whitby Chamber of Commerce, West-Ward Councillor and more, not to mention various volunteer positions like the Heart and Stroke Foundation and the Knights of Columbus, Councillor Leahy has been proud to be a part of the Town’s growth.
Our Civics students listened as Leahy shared the many responsibilities of Council, including but not limited to town services (roads, parks, sports fields, transportation), planning and zoning and financial services and budgets. He explained what our students can expect if they choose to become involved in regional government, like the election process and term length, for example. He also shared the realities of Council life, like the difficulty in separating personal and public life and his advice for navigating those challenges.
“Public life is very public, and your private life and public life do overlap.” Leahy told our students, “You have to be engaged and accessible at all times. Whether you’re out with your family, kids, wife or your dog, everything shows up on social media. It’s a bit of a balance and it’s important to set boundaries for yourself.”
There are myriad rewards to being a Regional Councillor too. Playing a significant role in the development of the Town, having the ability to effectively address challenges faced by its people and the opportunity to engage with a diverse, vibrant and caring community are among them. So is the fact that the position of Councillor can be a stepping stone to a career in provincial or federal government.
“Councillor Leahy showed that being civically minded isn’t just an important attribute, it can also lead to a fulfilling career.” Mr. MacInnis adds, “We were privileged to have such an engaging and experienced councillor talk with us and I look forward to his return to the Castle in the new year!”
Thank you Councillor Leahy for joining us at the Castle!