Mayor Maja Tait (second from left) seen here with delegates to a conference in Cambodia where she represented Canada in a program to encourage women to take an active role in government. (Contributed photo)

Sooke mayor again tapped to aid international program

Maja Tait travels to Cambodia to engage women in politics

For the mayor of a small Canadian municipality, Sooke Mayor Maja Tait is punching well above her weight class.

Tait recently returned from a trip to Cambodia on behalf of the federal government sponsored program titled Partnerships for Municipal Innovation.

The program is designed to support economic prosperity and poverty reduction in Mali, Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, Vietnam, Bolivia, and Cambodia. It’s the second time Tait was tapped to travel to Cambodia to help with the initiative.

RELATED: Second trip

“The program is delivered by the Federation of Canadian Municipalities on behalf of Global Affairs, and in Cambodia it focuses on building internal associations that are similar to the UBCM as well as working to empower women in local leadership,” Tait said.

“It is, after all, hard to move your country forward if fully half the population is not part of the process.”

Tait is well positioned to deliver the message as the female leader of a municipality and the president of the Union of B.C. Municipalities and that’s just what she did as facilitated sessions in Cambodia.

But the learning process was definitely not a one-way proposition.

In Cambodia, she said, municipal councillors get directly involved in cases of spousal abuse and divorce, where property division and child custody are factors.

“It was interesting since in B.C. there has been a move to introduce more mediation into a variety of situations. We saw what is working there and bring back some of those lessons to apply here,” Tait said.

She added other aspects of travel to Cambodia were equally instructive.

“Last time we went to the Killing Fields and S21 (a notorious prison in Cambodia) and it was horrific. This time we visited museums and art galleries. Of course, it’s at a very different level, but seeing how resilient people can be after a genocide like that made me think about how our own indigenous people have had to come back from how they were treated. Policies like the residential school system ended fairly recently and we’re still healing from that experience,” Tait said.

Over the course of four years in the 1970s, the Pol Pot regime in Cambodia killed a quarter of the country’s population.

Tait’s travels on behalf of Canada may continue, as the FCM recently renewed it’s commitment to the Global Affairs program.

“It’s not likely that I’ll be returning to Cambodia, but there are other countries within the program where I may be asked to go. I’ll have to consider those requests when, and if they arise,” Tait said.

Tait’s trip came at no expense to Sooke taxpayers and was funded through the federal government.

“I believe that there’s a benefit to trips like this as they provide perspectives on issues that we have right here at home. These are lessons you might never otherwise learn,” she added.



mailto:tim.collins@sookenewsmirror.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

Just Posted

Recent arrests skim surface of Victoria’s human trafficking problem

Port city makes desirable place for traffickers flying under the radar

Victoria Canadian Forces member honored with exceptional Rotary Club award

Capt. Jacqueline Zweng is the Western Canada Ambassador of Wounded Warriors Canada

Oak Bay athletes rule the slopes at Island ski and snowboard series

Oak Bay boys take top ski, snowboard honours

Two-vehicle crash in Langford sends one to hospital Monday morning

Driver sent to hospital with unspecified injuries

B.C. budget expected to stay the course as economic growth moderates

Finance minister said ICBC costs have affected budget

VIDEO: Ottawa wants quick, peaceful resolution to pipeline protests, Trudeau says

The protests have manifested themselves as blockades on different rail lines across the country

Canucks acquire forward Tyler Toffoli from Kings in push for playoffs

Vancouver sends Schaller, Madden, pick to L.A.

New highway proposed between Alberta and B.C.

The route would connect Red Deer to Kamloops

Wet’suwet’en and B.C. government have been talking Aboriginal title for a year

Coastal GasLink says it has agreements with all 20 elected First Nations councils along the 670-kilometre route

Trudeau tightlipped on plan to end protests ‘quickly and peacefully’

The prime minister, who cancelled a two-day trip to Barbados this week to deal with the crisis at home

Canadian standards for coronavirus protection to be reviewed, health agency says

The protocols set out how health workers should protect themselves and their patients

Monday marks one-year anniversary of man missing from Langley

42-year-old B.C. man, Searl Smith, was last seen leaving Langley Memorial Hospital on Feb. 17, 2019

Amtrak warns of delays as railways from Seattle to B.C. blocked by Wet’suwet’en supporters

Coastal GasLink said it’s signed benefits agreements with all 20 elected band councils along pipeline route

Federal emergency group meets on pipeline protests as rail blockades continue

There’s mounting political pressure for Trudeau to put an end to the blockades

Most Read