She walks into the coffee shop wearing a neon yellow safety vest over her long winter coat. A light blue backpack hangs on her arms, on the verge of falling off. Walking slowly up to the till, she orders hot chocolate, complete with whipped cream, chocolate sauce and, of course, a straw. She sits down opposite me on a high chair facing the window and looks out at Victoria Avenue.
The more comfortable she gets, the more animated she becomes. Her brown eyes shimmer, peering out from beneath the brim of her blue Tilley hat. Her bright pink lipstick settles into the creases of her lips as she enthusiastically takes me through her life, talking about everything from her life before politics, her candidacies in one municipal and two provincial elections, her creative work as a playwright, and her future plans.
The day is grey and chilly but Evangeline Godron is colourful and warm.
The municipal election last October was not the 84-year-old’s first go at politics--she ran for the Green Party in provincial elections in both 2011 and 2016 and most recently, she ran for mayor in October 2016.
Being defeated in the elections has not slowed Godron down. She isn’t even discouraged by the fact that she came in last place with 767 votes in the municipal election. She says it’s more about “the issues.”
“I knew that I could stand a good chance of not getting into [the] mayor position, but my ideas are more important, that they move forward.” Godron says her election strategy was to talk to as many candidates as possible, in an effort to plant the seed of her ideas in their heads. “I knew some of them were going to get in,” she said.
She was right.
Andrew Stevens, now Ward 3 councillor, is bringing forward some initiatives that line up with Godron’s, specifically the support of Housing First. “Evangeline brought certain issues into the debate and into political discussions at the civic level that weren’t really being talked about,” he said.
“She continues to have a lot of passion for anti-poverty initiatives, specifically Housing First and homelessness, and I would say that’s precisely the kind of conversation we needed to have during the mayoral race.”
“She’s a very original, unique and genuine person and that’s something that’s hard to come by,” Stevens said.
Godron is excited that some of her ideas are making their way into the city’s policy. She says she is encouraged by Mayor Fougere because she says he has brought forth initiatives for ending homelessness while others in the Mayor’s seat have not followed through.
The city, in fact, unveiled a Housing First project on Jan. 13.
During the election, some people expressed reservations about Godron’s candidacy; however, Godron is not phased.
“I make sure I become knowledgeable on the subject and continue working towards it,” she said. “I work at the things I believe in.” Godron thinks that’s what sets her apart from other politicians, who promise to do things and don’t follow through after they’re elected.
“But I’m not like that,” she says.
Godron hasn’t given up on politics. She is planning to get a Master’s degree in Women’s and Gender Studies at the University of Regina. She hopes to continue writing plays and plans to run for whatever comes next, be it city council, school board trustee, mayor or a seat in the legislative assembly.
One thing is certain about Evangeline Godron: she is enthusiastic.
“I got one job about five years ago, and the man who interviewed me said, ‘If you were to use one word, [an] adjective, to describe yourself, what would it be?’ and I said ‘enthusiastic.’”
“I don’t give up, because I’ve been working on these ideas of human rights, civil rights, climate change [for] 95 per cent of my life.”