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An Interview with Stacey Piercey (Part One)

October 1, 2018

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Interviewer: Scott Douglas Jacobsen

Numbering: Issue 18.A, Idea: Outliers & Outsiders (Part Fourteen)

Place of Publication: Langley, British Columbia, Canada

Title: In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal

Web Domain: http://www.in-sightjournal.com

Individual Publication Date: October 1, 2018

Issue Publication Date: January 1, 2019

Name of Publisher: In-Sight Publishing

Frequency: Three Times Per Year

Words: 3,677

ISSN 2369-6885

Abstract 

Stacey Piercey is the Co-Chair of the Ministry of Status of Women Sub-Committee of Human Rights for CFUW FCFDU and Vice Chair of the National Women’s Liberal Commission for the Liberal Party of Canada. She discusses: personal and family background; early life and impact on experiences; professional experiences and professional certifications; being a former candidate member of the Legislative Assembly of British Columbia for the BC Liberal Party; running for politics in Victoria-Swan Lake, and politics as a trans or transgender person; being a mentor at the Canadian Association for Business Economics; being the Vice Chair of the National Women’s Liberal Commission for the Liberal Party of Canada/Parti Libéral du Canada; being the Co-Chair for the Ministry of Status of Women Sub-Committee of Human Rights at CFUW FCFDU (Canadian Federation of University Women); and hopes and fears, regarding Canadian culture and public discourse, in 2018/19.

Keywords: Co-Chair, Liberal Party of Canada, Ministry of Status of Women, Stacey Piercey, Vice Chair.

An Interview with Stacey Piercey: Co-Chair – Ministry of Status of Women Sub-Committee of Human Rights, CFUW FCFDU; Vice Chair National Women’s Liberal Commission at Liberal Party of Canada | Parti libéral du Canada (Part One)[1],[2]

*Please see the footnotes, bibliography, and citation style listing after the interview.*

1. Scott Douglas Jacobsen: What is family background regarding geography, culture, language, and religion or lack thereof

Stacey Piercey: My family and I are from the island of Newfoundland, for generations we have resided in Placentia Bay. It is somewhat rural, steeped in traditions, accompanied by a robust evangelical background from being Salvation Army. We have developed a strong sense of independence and resourcefulness from this isolation, believing in self-reliance, community and compassion for others. We lived off the land, close to the sea and benefitted from what we were given to us by nature.

2. Jacobsen: What is personal early life for you? Did this familial background impact perspective and experiences of the world?

Piercey: I grew up in a small town, working class, with the primary industries being that of shipbuilding and fishing. I had a great childhood, I was in every activity imaginable, from the arts, sports and community groups. I prefer intellectual pursuits and technology. I had lots of friends and a rather large family. Later I was married, and my life was somewhat normal with the advantages and privileges of our time. I got to travel, and I think that helped me come into my own. I believe growing up where I did put me on the right path, with a passion for volunteering, community building and social skills, and confidence in myself and my abilities.

3. Jacobsen: What were the professional experiences and educational certifications before the current human rights work?

Piercey: I have a degree in economics and business administration from Memorial University and a college diploma in information technology with a focus on accounting, business, and computer applications. Also, certificates in investing from the Canadian Securities Institute. I moved away after school from my home in Newfoundland, due to the lack of professional opportunities. I worked in advertising in Toronto. I managed other businesses until I eventually started my own. My first venture was in educational resources, my second was in digital marketing, and now I am working at being a writer. I always have been very active socially and in volunteering my time with groups such as Toastmasters, political parties, women’s groups, public education, the church and executive boards. Even more so I have always better myself through painting, writing and music lessons. This list goes on and on. I am the type of person who is involved in something, I am a passionate reader and consider myself a life-long learner.

4. Jacobsen: You were a former candidate member of the Legislative Assembly of British Columbia for the BC Liberal Party. What inspired this move in professional life?

Piercey: I was not inspired to be a political candidate. I turned down the request several times. I consider myself to be an introvert; I was not where I wanted to be in life for this opportunity, I was coming into my own, after my transition and regaining my confidence. I didn’t think I was the personality type or someone who is out-going nor did I want the attention or was comfortable being in the media. I did attend political meetings and socialized within organizations my whole life. It is a safety thing for me, hanging out with politicians, lawyers, investors, and community leaders as they are well behaved, and it is a safe place for a respectable transgender woman. I know now; my friends get me in and out of trouble at times. I was very concerned as a transgender woman about the problems I would face. It took me a while to realize how much I have overcome with my transition. I learned to speak up for myself, ask my friends for help and to go right to the top to solve the issues that I had. I was always there doing this work behind the scenes. Eventually, I was in a situation where I became known to people beyond my social circle. I was overwhelmed. I didn’t realize how vital a transgender woman with the Liberal Party of Canada was around the world. I had a lot of amazing people that encouraged me to run, I realized it was my time, and I eventually said yes for the experience and to see if this was me. It is a great honour to put yourself forward and to run for public office. I did run into problems. I faced my fears, and I have become better because of the experience.

5. Jacobsen: Also, you have a first attached to running for politics in Victoria-Swan Lake. One of the firsts for the trans or transgender community as a result. It is not central to the quality of character or political party platforms-and-policies, but it is an important facet of the narrative of professional, and personal, life. What was the reaction or feedback from the public as a trans or transgender political candidate in Victoria-Swan Lake? Obviously, as we both know, the general public can be mixed on the trans or transgender community, for a variety of reasons.

Piercey: I honestly don’t know where to begin. Campaigns take on a life of there own. I started mine out on a tv spots saying “jobs, jobs, jobs, this election is about the economy.” But my campaign started years before that in retrospect. I was advocating for transgender human rights; I was someone on many executive boards, I was a business owner, I knew people from my neighbourhood, I had friends that wanted to help me, family support and I was in tune with the issues in Victoria-Swan Lake from all of my involvement in the community. What was strange, this experience was more like a public roast for all of the hard work that I did behind the scenes. The image created of me in the media was not me, I spent my time knocking on doors and talking to people. It was weird to read the paper and see what I said when I don’t even know how to think like the comments I saw, and at the same time having to explain it. Politics is local, but my campaign gained international attention once the word transgender came out. Despite all of the policies that I worked on, the studying I did to prepare, and the training that I did receive, it was difficult to focus my campaign on the issues because for many I was the first transgender person they met. I had moments where it was more about me justifying my existence and my right to be a candidate. I felt like a teacher and, was distracted at times, I was pigeoned-holed or considered a gimmick and dismissed because I was a transgender woman. I think I received extra criticism because I was transgender, and I was harassed beyond belief online. And I saw some things that made me sick. I was the image and the face of transgender people. I understood, what I was doing was ground-breaking. That was the campaign that I saw from my seat watching the public.

What I was doing the whole time, I was meeting my riding. My riding was great to me in person and as an individual. I got to meet my neighbourhood, make friends, and speak to groups. I wish I had more time to get to know them all; I felt safe; I was welcomed into homes, I sat at kitchen tables, shared in a coffee, rode the bus, walked trails, and I even walked someone dog. I became my riding, I learn to speak with one voice for their concerns, and I have tremendous respect for the BC Liberal Party that took a chance on me. I don’t think they nor I knew what I was going to go through. I have been told, that I was fearless to do what I did, but I always did this. I impressed myself, I did the work necessary, I ran a good campaign, people enjoyed meeting with me and talking to me too, and I grew as a person beyond my wildest dreams. I recommend this experience to everybody. It is too bad some dismissed my accomplishments because I was transgender and that hurt, I think it made everything harder for me, and I am so proud of what I accomplished. I was studying to be a Citizen Judge at the time, so I held myself to a high standard, and that did help. Now I help others get elected, and I have watched since then other transgender friends run for office. I would have received more votes and probably could have gotten elected with any other party, but I wanted the training, the friendships and to do this with a government that was in power for 16 years. My background confirmed to me of the choices available. I am a BC Liberal. I still didn’t know what they think; I do feel like I crashed the party. I didn’t realize I would be kicked out of the LGBTQ community because I ran with a party that was a coalition of Liberals and Conservatives. I was considered entitled and evil by my friends at the time. In their minds, I cross the floor and join the enemy. I think others were scared for me and tried to protect me too or worse educate me. It was all so strange, and I never had so much fun before either. Afterwards, with all the parties having transgender candidates in BC, transgender human rights was established nationally in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. It was all worth it. Because I know what my life was like before I transitioned, I lost so much that the average person takes for granted and I will never get all of that back again. Now I have equality under the law, and I can rebuild my life.

6. Jacobsen: How did you mentor at the Canadian Association for Business Economics? How do you mentor? What are the basic, and then advanced, dos and don’ts of mentorship?

Piercey: I have been with the Canadian Association of Business Economist for a while. It is an excellent organization for an economist in Canada. We get to practice our presentations within the group. I am privileged to know, meet and be a part of this collection of economists from the public and private sector. I also get to share in the information, through webinars and in-person meetings and presentations. I was a coach in sports, I am an executive advisor and have been in the mentor role on many occasions with other groups. I was encouraged to be a mentor, to help other individuals in banking or government that were economists starting their career, as I could be of great assistance. I was a mentee first, for a year to get to know the program. Now I am a mentor to others. It is about being an economist. It is where despite our background we share a perspective, exchange knowledge and ideas with others.

The mentoring program involves activities such as information sharing, informal teaching, general career advice and coaching. It is part of an overall strategy to encourage members to reach their career potential, enhance career development, offer supports, increase networks, and open lines of communication with other members. I act as a guide, adviser and sounding board. This program enriches the work-life experience, discusses options without judgment and provides feedback. We establish an atmosphere of trust, explore choices and possibilities, providing information and instruction, and I, act as a role model to assist the mentee. My styles have been to go for coffee and chat, create a safe environment, with an understanding of helping. I learn as much in this setting too because we share experiences and support each other. I may be older, or the mentor, but we are equal, as economists.

7. Jacobsen: As the Vice Chair of the National Women’s Liberal Commission for the Liberal Party of Canada/Parti Libéral du Canada, how did you earn this station? What tasks and responsibilities come with it? How do you maintain moral excellence in professional conduct while in a high-level national position?

Piercey: I am a member of the Liberal Party of Canada, I have taken on many roles over the years and have received lots of training. I was a director and was on a few committees; then I was asked to join the BC Women’s Commission as the riding association representative. It seemed simple enough to speak up for the woman on the riding association as an executive member. Then very quickly I became Direct for Vancouver Island to Director with the province of BC. Then when I moved back to Newfoundland, I was voted Chair for Newfoundland Labrador Women’s Commission, and I speak for this province on our national board and lead our commission here too. I am also on the provincial executive for the party with our seven federal Members of Parliament. I am on the policy committee provincially, and the policy committee with the Women’s Commission too. I became and was voted Vice Chair for the National Commission after our President left to run for the leadership of a provincial party. I connect the ridings in Atlantic Canada as Vice-President. Also, I am part of the Women caucus with all of our women Member of Parliament; we work with government ministries, especially the Ministry for the Status of Women. The commission promotes gender equality, encourage participation in politics and gender policies in this country. What I like most is the friendship from having a representative from each province and territory in Canada, and that support network, I can not say enough how great it is when we have our meetings and to check in with the country through these ladies. I don’t think about maintaining moral excellence; I am more concerned about staying on top of things, to be honest. I do trust all of my experience, and knowledge gained has created the person I am today. I have learned when to speak up, I might not be the smartest or most knowledgeable on any subject, but I do lead and give other the confidence to try to voice their opinions or stand up against injustice. I am still learning. It is a prestigious title, and I often forget. I am just me, and I enjoy this role, and it doesn’t feel like it is work either. Then someone will ask me about it, and I share some stories, and I get a hug or asked for my autograph, then it hits home, this is important. I have learned much from the women with the Liberal Party of Canada on this commission, we are an incredible team, and we have our way of doing things. They are my strength, and my motivation to make this a better world. I realized I am in this role because of all of the work I have done, all the boards and campaigns that I have been a part of and I am so proud of this title and the policies we have created.

8. Jacobsen: As the Co-Chair for the Ministry of Status of Women Sub-Committee of Human Rights at CFUW FCFDU (Canadian Federation of University Women), what tasks and responsibilities come with this position? What are the main difficulties and subject matter covered through the federation

Piercey: I have been a member of the Canadian Federation of University Women for a while, I have been on the executive with my local chapter, with the education trust fund and I enjoy our social groups. These ladies are great, and we do so much in the community. What the CFUW is, it is a national organization working to ensure that all girls and women have equal opportunities and equal access to quality education within a peaceful and secure environment where their human rights are respected. We work to reduce poverty and eliminate discrimination. We create equal opportunities for leadership, employment, income, education, careers and the ability to maximize potential. We strive to promote equality, social justice, fellowship and life-long learning for women.  This role as the Co-Chair for the Ministry of Status of Women Sub-Committee of Human Rights is somewhat new for me. Besides chairing this committee, I am on the CFUW Standing Committee on Advocacy. Both groups have two major reports that we are presenting. The advocacy committee reflects on all of the work that the CFUW does in communities with other organizations. We are connected to and support many groups through our affiliated clubs across the country. With the Status of Women Human Rights Subcommittee, we are now working on a major report, a National Initiative of Preventing and Responding to Violence Against Women and Girls. There is a focus is on Sexual Assault Policies in Post-Secondary Institutions in Canada. It is a big deal because the CFUW holds special consultative status with the United Nations (ECOSOC) and belongs to the Education Committee of the Canadian Commission for UNESCO. We send delegations to the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women. It is a real privilege to be on this committee, and we do fantastic work.

9. Jacobsen: What are hopes and fears, regarding Canadian culture and public discourse, in 2018/19 for you?

Piercey: I will be honest with you; I am a little concerned about Canadian culture and public discourse right now. There is a new attitude in politics around the world that I believe currently to be unhealthy. There is the empowerment of intolerance, excuses to hate others and methods to discriminate that doesn’t look the same as it once did. I noticed the world is a little more hostile in tone and the line that I consider to be decent has been pushed a little further than what I am comfortable in seeing. I am not worried, this is temporary, it will pass, and it will get better over time. I think we are watching a social backlash as there is a changing of the guard from generation to generation around the world. In Canada, we are privileged to lead the way for the next generation. I see that with the election of Justin Trudeau as Prime Minister. He is the first world leader that was my age, with the technology of my generation and the values I am familiar with growing up. We will probably see more change as the world comes together in the next 30 years than we have in the last 300. So I have some fears, they are short-term, and I have great hope, in the long run. I do believe the future will only be better.

10. Jacobsen: Thank you for the opportunity and your time, Stacey.

Appendix I: Footnotes

[1] Co-Chair – Ministry of Status of Women Sub-Committee of Human Rights, CFUW FCFDU; Vice Chair National Women’s Liberal Commission at Liberal Party of Canada | Parti libéral du Canada; Mentor, Canadian Association for Business Economics.

[2] Individual Publication Date: October 1, 2018: http://www.in-sightjournal.com/piercey; Full Issue Publication Date: January 1, 2019: https://in-sightjournal.com/insight-issues/.

Appendix II: Citation Style Listing

American Medical Association (AMA): Jacobsen S. An Interview with Stacey Piercey (Part One) [Online].October 2018; 18(A). Available from: http://www.in-sightjournal.com/piercey.

American Psychological Association (APA, 6th Edition, 2010): Jacobsen, S.D. (2018, October 1). An Interview with Stacey Piercey (Part One)Retrieved from http://www.in-sightjournal.com/piercey.

Brazilian National Standards (ABNT): JACOBSEN, S. An Interview with Stacey Piercey (Part One). In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal. 18.A, October. 2018. <http://www.in-sightjournal.com/piercey>.

Chicago/Turabian, Author-Date (16th Edition): Jacobsen, Scott. 2018. “An Interview with Stacey Piercey (Part One).” In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal. 18.A. http://www.in-sightjournal.com/piercey.

Chicago/Turabian, Humanities (16th Edition): Jacobsen, Scott “An Interview with Stacey Piercey (Part One).” In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal. 18.A (October 2018). http://www.in-sightjournal.com/piercey.

Harvard: Jacobsen, S. 2018, ‘An Interview with Stacey Piercey (Part One)In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal, vol. 18.A. Available from: <http://www.in-sightjournal.com/piercey>.

Harvard, Australian: Jacobsen, S. 2018, ‘An Interview with Stacey Piercey (Part One)In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal, vol. 18.A., http://www.in-sightjournal.com/piercey.

Modern Language Association (MLA, 7th Edition, 2009): Scott D. Jacobsen. “An Interview with Stacey Piercey (Part One).” In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal 18.A (2018):October. 2018. Web. <http://www.in-sightjournal.com/piercey>.

Vancouver/ICMJE: Jacobsen S. An Interview with Stacey Piercey (Part One) [Internet]. (2018, October; 18(A). Available from: http://www.in-sightjournal.com/piercey.

License and Copyright

License

In-Sight Publishing and In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal by Scott Douglas Jacobsen is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.
Based on a work at www.in-sightjournal.com.

Copyright

© Scott Douglas Jacobsen, and In-Sight Publishing and In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal 2012-2018. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Scott Douglas Jacobsen, and In-Sight Publishing and In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.  All interviewees co-copyright their interview material and may disseminate for their independent purposes.

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