Speakers – 8th WRC: Terrace

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untitled2Keynote Speaker
Mr. Robin Austin, MLA
Skeena Valley
Robin Austin was re-elected as the MLA for Skeena in May 2013. He was first elected to the legislature in May 2005, and again in 2009.Robin is the New Democrat Opposition spokesperson for Northern Economic Development.Robin was born in Britain and spent his early years living in Ghana, West Africa, before returning to the United Kingdom where he completed his schooling.
After graduation, Robin pursued a bachelor of arts degree from Strathclyde University in Scotland, where he majored in hotel management. It was while working in fine hotels abroad that he met his wife, Colleen, a Canadian.Robin spent several years in Toronto before moving to the West Coast, where Colleen has her roots. After working at UBC, then moving to Victoria, where he had a hand in opening Camilles, a popular restaurant in Bastion Square, the family decided to settle in Terrace.
In Terrace, Robin pursued his social work degree and was employed as a community schools coordinator for a non-profit society, as well as serving as a foster parent.
It was while acting as a foster parent that Robin’s passion for politics was ignited. Seeing both the deep need for resources to improve the lives of children, and the government’s lack of action, Robin was determined to act to improve the system.
During his first term, Robin was the Opposition critic for fisheries, and was the chair of the Special Legislative Committee on Sustainable Aquaculture. As chair of the committee, he delivered a report that made 55 wide-ranging recommendations to improve aquaculture in the province, including a recommendation to move the salmon farming industry to ocean-based closed-containment within five years, in the interests of protecting wild salmon stocks.
As the critic for fisheries, Robin spearheaded efforts to keep the mouth of the Skeena River fish farm free, as well as efforts to protect the Sacred Headwaters from coalbed methane extraction. Robin has also served as Opposition critic for Education and Natural Gas Development.
Robin and his wife are the parents of two young adults.

untitled3Aboriginal Perspective
Mrs. Sharon Bryant
Sharon is the Laxghibuu Clan of Kitsumkalum; She was born and raised in her father’s community of Lax Kw’alaams and then moved back to my mother’s community of Kitsumkalum in 1998 and received her Laxghibuu name of Liit’aam Laxdaaw Gyibaaw in 1996.  Mr. Bryant is married and they have five (5) children and six (6) grandchildren.


untitled4Christianity Perspective
Captain Jim VanderHeyden & Deb VanderHeyden
Born in Ontario and raised on the shores of beautiful Georgian Bay where their family still resides. Began to attend The Salvation Army in 2001, entered CFOT (College for Officer Training) in Winnipeg, Manitoba in 2005 and were ordained as ministers in 2007. Have lived and Ministered in Quesnel, Fort St John and now in Terrace, BC. We enjoy our work and look forward to the Lord’s plans for our future..

untitled5Islamic Perspective
Maulana Taha Syed
After Graduating in 2011 from Ahmadiyya Institute of Islamic Studies in Toronto, he has worked as a Missionary in Canada, USA and in Africa for sometime. Currently he is serving as Imam at Baitun Nur Mosque, Calgary. Taha has keen interest in interfaith dialog, he has traveled across Alberta and presented Islamic perspective at various conferences. Taha also likes to spend a lot of his time in the education and training of youth, he regularly holds special sessions for Ahmadiyya youth. He likes Hiking and is an active member of Tahir Hiking Club.

untitled6Sikh Perspective
Hargit Singh Bhander
Born and raised in Punjab in a Sikh family. Immigrated to Canada in 1995 and lived in Terrace. Working at Rio Tinto in Kitimat. Volunteer and past executive member of Skeena
Gursikh society terrace BC.