Glen Ockerman says he is up for the challenge, should he be elected as Reeve. Ockerman has spent 13 years as a Division 1 Councillor for the County of St. Paul and is ready to sit at the head of the table. Among Ockerman’s priorities are reducing crime, being fiscally responsible, maintaining roads & access points, increasing livability & recreation and continuing with County expansion.
“I want to be Reeve, I truly do. The County of St. Paul has invested a lot of time and money into me. I’ve learned a lot and I’m ready. The reason I want to be Reeve is to make it a better place, and nothing else.” Ockerman says with his 13 years experience on Council he is ready for the next step. “I have the ability, the credibility to lead and I enjoy municipal politics.”
Crime a Top Priority
Ockerman says one of the first items on his agenda is to tackle crime, “we have people in their homes, in our rural communities and at our lake lots, three nights out of seven, they’re just getting hammered. Their homes are broken into, their vehicles are getting stolen. There’s no respect.”
Ockerman explains a peace officer would not help the situation, that’s it’s a much deeper problem. “A peace officer is a false impression [of safety and security]. A peace officer can’t deal with criminal or property law. They can only enforce the traffic law and the County bylaws. They could maybe do a patrol, but they couldn’t even stop a crime. It’s a real false illusion.” Peace officers also cannot carry weapons or a side arm, making it dangerous on them, as a criminal could have a weapons and the officer would be going into a situation untrained, not equipped and unprepared.
The RCMP are doing the best the can to deal with the crime situation, explains Ockerman, “our policing, the RCMP, is provided by the government, and they’re doing a very good job. What I see is lacking is the criminal justice system, holding these guys to account.” Ockerman notes that many suspected criminals are caught several times and released on low or no bail. “If they got caught four times, they probably did 100 jobs.”
“We have to get after the provincial and federal government and bring about better legislation. We have to expedite it. We don’t have enough judges and our courts are overloaded,” Ockerman is prepared to drive the campaign from the grassroots, “obviously, Ottawa is not hearing us. The province isn’t hearing us. It has to start at the grassroots. I have people in the County who are scared to be in their own homes!”
We need to hold the criminals accountable. So if they are caught doing a crime, they’re not out in two or three days doing it again. There needs to be fear put into the criminals, like there’s fear put into the criminals! – Glenn Ockerman Candidate for Reeve County of St. Paul
Ockerman hopes to lead under a platform of fiscal responsibility, “it’s a commitment, that if elected, I’m going to lead by example and hopefully the rest of Council will support me.” Ockerman plans to put forward a reduction in the Reeve’s salary by $500 a month or $6,000 a year. “This is the direction I would lead Council, we have to be fiscally responsible. In these economic times, there’s mom & pops and their hardly paying the bills. In these economic times, governments have to reflect that.”
As for taxes, Ockerman hopes to give the people more value, “we need to start giving the people more value with the tax dollars they are giving us. We need to look at doing things differently, so we can stretch our tax dollars.” Roads and construction is one area Ockerman would like to explore, “who’s building our roads and how they’re building them. We need to open all of it up and look at it. Plus, know what our costs are, so Council can make the best decisions.” Ockerman says that the overall maintenance and quality of roads will be held to a high standard, “roads will always be a top priority, they are the most visible and the most used. They use them to go to their business, go to their homes, recreate and everything else.”
Recreation & Livability
A program Ockerman is very proud of and will move to continue investing in is the FCSS, “it has such a great social impact on our residence. It’s keeping the youth involved and assisting our seniors in staying at home.” The County co-funds a FCSS program with the Town of Elk Point. Lead from the County office, the program has expanded in the two years since its merger with the Town of Elk Point. Offering social and recreational programs, including movie in the parks, youth engagement, nights, seniors’ programming, income tax training and assistance, and much more. “We’re breaking new ground. Who would have every thought 10 years ago we’d have movie nights in our rural communities?”
Recreation is vital to the livability, says Ockerman, “if you put $100,000 into the rink every year, do you know how many kids you would be helping? You’ll be helping youth for the rest of their lives.” Ockerman is a big believer that by getting kids involved in sports and extra-curricular activities, you can help shape model citizens. “It’s proven, it’s been documented, that if you get kids involved, they become better citizens and then they become rate paying citizens later and it makes the community better.”
He notices that these facilities aren’t just for the youths, it’s for the whole family, “they’re a place for the grandparents to go watch and enjoy their family.” Ockerman says he is for the County increasing their support towards the neighbouring communities recreational facilities; including, arenas, curling rinks, ball diamonds, etc. “It’s making a healthy community, where we want to live.” He recognizes that without these facilities the livability of the County residents would greatly diminish. “We have to keep those facilities healthy, because they are the heart of our community.”
“All of these facilities we’re talking about costs have gone up expedientually,” through operational costs, age, and insurance, Ockerman says recreational facilities in the region have taken on a lot more costs in recent years, with little increase in funding. “Do we maybe have to look at investing more? I would say so, it’s an investment.”
Maintaining Lakes & Campgrounds
“I’m proud of the work we’ve done to subsidize lake lots and maintain our municipal campgrounds,” Ockerman hopes to continue to provide the people with access to the County’s natural beauties, “it’s not my money, it’s the people’s and if they tell me they want a place to go park the camper and do a family gathering. It’s their dollars and I have no problem supporting them.”
Honouring Frank Sloan
“If I could ever put a plug in for a Councillor it would be Frank Sloan,” Ockerman says Councillor Sloan, of Division 5, was a mentor to him and he takes all his guidance with him through this journey. Sloan, has stepped down from municipal politics to deal with health issues. Ockerman says it was his kindness that helped shape him. “21 years on Council and on the FCSS. He is calm, level, intelligent. He never downgraded anyone and he was truly there. He was a lightning rod for me.”
Ockerman hopes to lead and make decisions in the same manner Sloan did, “when he sat at that table, he never thought of Frank Sloan. He always thought of the people. Sometimes he voted for things he didn’t really want, but he knew it was best for the people. He’s good, good, good people!”
“We all wish him the best. I know he’ll be coming through and we’ll see him back again.”
Saturday, October 7th, the advance polls are open for the County of St. Paul. Information on how, when and where to vote is available at county.stpaul.ab.ca. Information on special ballots for the incapacitated is also available.
The municipal election will be held on October 16th. For more information visit, county.stpaul.ab.ca/Election.
Lakeland Connect supports all candidates in the upcoming municipal election. If you would like an interview contact Jena 780-207-5898 or [email protected] There is no charge for the interview.