Mayor Diane TherrienMayor - City of Peterborough, Ontario, Canada
Diane's Story :
I’m often asked if I always wanted to be in politics, and the truth is no.
Looking back, I can see that I was always political – I had a strong sense of justice and what was right. This got me into trouble sometimes when I was younger- I asked a lot of questions in school which wasn’t always appreciated by my teachers. 🙂
When I moved to Peterborough, I got involved through volunteering with the Community Race Relations Committee, and an organization supporting Indigenous graduate enhancement. Later I worked for the YWCA and the Poverty Reduction Network, which led me to be involved in municipal politics.
I attended several city council meetings to give delegations on the importance of rent supplements, food security, and other issues impacting low income people in Peterborough. During this time, I started attending Monday evening meeting on a regular basis. I found myself disheartened with some of the representation around the table. Not only did I feel there were voices missing, but there were some members who were overtly dismissive of constituents who came to speak to agenda issues.
The responsibility of an elected official is to be representative and respectful of everyone, whether or not you agree with them. You are elected to represent your constituency, and that’s something that I take seriously. For those reasons and more, I decided to run for council.
As someone who didn’t grow up in Peterborough, I was told on more than one occasion that I would never win, that no one knew who I was. I thought “well I better knock on every door in the ward and introduce myself ! ”
That strategy helped me win.
I replicated that strategy four years later, when I decided to run for mayor. I’m grateful for the support that people have given this council, and I look forward to working hard to make Peterborough’s future even brighter.