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Five Questions with…

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Life has been a series of progressively upward spirals for Kyle, planned and aimed like a precision quarterback. Born in Ajax, Ontario, his formative years were spent in the blue collar communities of Oshawa and then Scarborough. A degree in politics and philosophy from SFX was an indicator of his interest and took him to Ottawa to work for some of the Liberal leading lights of the time, doing extensive work as an environmental advisor.

The political winds of change in Ottawa meant he brought his skills to CEMA where he worked with many of the specific interest groups of the region, qualities much valued in his current role as the General Manager of Fort McMurray Métis Local 1935. Ladies and Gentlemen, Kyle Harrietha.

Your life seems to be a process of getting closer and closer to standing for office somehow, somewhere. Is that how it feels to you?

My choice of studies at university were because I saw my life, at some point, being involved in an elected office. I still believe that will happen one day.

You started out in blue collar Ontario and ended up at one of the best schools in the country, Saint Francis Xavier. Did you rise above your schoolmates and the expectations of the day?

Not in the least. Blue collar in Canada doesn’t have the derogatory meaning that it may have elsewhere. Being able to work for a living is part of the Canadian fabric, so too is the best possible education for your talents. I used the opportunities I was afforded.

Your political work, in the background as a staffer to various people, was heavily loaded with environmental issues. Now you are right in the middle of the most fiery topic in the country, Aboriginal rights and the oil sands. Was that a conscious choice?

My career choices have always been about learning by engagement and doing worthwhile work. Politics, per se, have a bad reputation, but once you strip away the emotion it’s all about making things better by consensus.

Is that your political standpoint?

In that it’s part of my fundamental belief system, yes. Politically I yearn for good ideas by good people that have realistic chances of fulfilment. You are an aficionado and expert exponent of the world of social media. Is that the future?

It’s the present. Decisions that can take a second to make have the ability to influence thought more rapidly than ever before in our history. That influence can be a positive factor; it can also flame out a career or a philosophy in the blink of an eye. The instant media is dynamic and breathtaking, but it is not forgiving.

What’s your perfect day?

A work-free, switched-off day involving friends, good music and a relaxing atmosphere. It’s not gonna’ happen anytime soon.

It’s been good to have Kyle in the community these last six years, as his intelligence and opinions add value to the debate that seems to be an ongoing part of our lives in Fort McMurray. Let’s hope we keep him anchored here even as he takes on bigger roles and conversations in the province and country.

by YMM Staffer.