Thursday , 18 August 2022

MLA candidates second forum tonight in Bonnyville

Left to right: Independent separatist candidate Kacey Daniels, Alberta Advantage Party candidate David Inscho, Alberta Party candidate Glenn Andersen, NDP candidate Kari Whan, UCP candidate David Hanson, Alberta Independence Party candidate David Garnett-Bennett get ready for the All-Candidates Forum last Thursday in Cold Lake. 

The six hopefuls for the Bonnyville-Cold Lake-St. Paul riding will discuss their platforms and election issues again tonight at Dr. Brosseau school in Bonnyville.

The candidates spoke in Cold Lake Thursday to a packed room at the Lakeland Inn.

The main topics were pipelines, economy, and jobs, while questions touched on changes to the education system, health care issues, and social problems like addiction.

Here are their Opening Statements:

NDP Candidate Kari Whan

“I am a teacher at Cold Lake Elementary School and I have been for 16 years. My priorities are families in this area. Families depend on funded public health care, funded public schools in good repair, and jobs. Jobs are a top priority for myself and the NDP and we’re putting jobs and economic diversification first. We know there has been recovery in Alberta, but not every Albertan has felt it and our goal is to ensure that every Albertan does feel it.

“Rachel Notley has been a champion for the pipeline and has been pushing and pushing. She’s been relentless in that fight. Besides that, we’re shipping by rail right now to get those resources we all own to market so we can get fair value. Diversification is a big part of this plan and will increase the number of jobs available by the thousands.”

UCP Candidate David Hanson

“I’m going to start with good news – in just 12 days we get the opportunity to get our province back. A little about my background, I’ve been married to the same lady for 37 years, Donna. We’ve got two great kids. One of them is a brand new doctor in Bonnyville, married to a lovely young lady who’s a veterinarian. They have an eight-month-old daughter named Lily. We also have a daughter that lives in Edmonton who is an RN. I’m very very engaged and protective our of medical services. The idea that me or my party would allow cutting frontline services is absolutely ludicrous.

“I’ve been married for 37 years and over 37 years in the oil and gas industry. I started at 17, when I started work, you could walk to a work site with a pair of steel-toe boots and a lunch kit and you’d be put to work. Nowadays, the young people in our area, if you’re going into the oil and gas industry, or any industry, you’re probably looking at a $1000 in safety courses and protective coveralls and all that gear, so it’s something we need to work on changing.

“I was the MLA for Lac La Biche-St. Paul-Two Hills. I was started with the Wildrose and then we became the United Conservative Party and I’m proud to say that we had 95 per cent support for both of those parties. We saw the need to avoid a vote split in the upcoming election. It’s very important because our province cannot afford another four years of this.

“During my last four years, I thought I was quite effective as an opposition MLA – to the point that I got the nickname “Dialysis Dave” because I was relentless in pushing the health minister to get the Lac La Biche dialysis unit that used to be in a broken down bus in the parking lot. Now they have a new state of the art dialysis within Lac La Biche for those who deserve it. That’s the type of fight I can provide to this new riding of Bonnyville-Cold Lake-St. Paul. There is no fight too big or small for me, I will take on all comers.

“A couple of the specific issues I’ve heard…one of the big things that affects the whole region is Highway 28. Unfortunately, I have a document called the 2018 Construction Program. It lays out the plan for the next three years from the government. There’s one project on Highway 28 between Smoky Lake and Cold Lake, and it’s unfortunately just in the planning stage and it involves the intersection to Fort Kent. That’s the only thing we see for Highway 28. Absolutely shameful.

“This constituency produces roughly 30 per cent of the bitumen royalties to the province. We should not have to beg to have our major artery between here and Edmonton expanded, or even kept up. I look at the ruts and the potholes in that road that have been sitting there for the last four or five years getting worse and worse, if we don’t do something soon, we’ll be rebuilding the whole infrastructure of the highway. It’s something that is going to be on my priority.  Scott [Cyr] and I have been battling the province on this for the past four years. It basically fell on deaf ears as you can tell by this.

“The programs that everyone relies on, I’m referring to AISH and PDD and health care and education, they need a robust private sector. We can not support any of this without a robust private sector. Our party will support and promote business and get our province back on its feet.”

Alberta Party candidate Glenn Andersen

“My name is Glenn Andersen and I am the Alberta Party candidate for the Bonnyville-Cold Lake-St. Paul constituency. Over the past couple weeks, I’ve spent some time door knocking in your community and I learned a few things about Cold Lake hat I never knew before. You have way more hills than I ever anticipated, more stairs to the doorway than I ever anticipated, and I think I know every pet name and how many pets you have in your house because of the stickers on your doors. I think that’s a great idea. Whatever fireman thought it up, I love it.

“As far as the Alberta Party one of the key things for us is the economy. We will lobby hard against Bill C-69 and Bill C-48. We will fight for things that matter to Albertans like fix Bill 69 and getting the Trans Mountain pipeline and/or Northern Gateway built. We need to implement the Canadian Free Trade agreement and enhance small business opportunities. That act has already been approved as of April 7, 2017, so we can to intra-provincial business across Canada and we still can’t get it done.

“I don’t know what it is about Canada, but we can’t work together to get things done. The same thing is happening with the pipeline. We know that you cannot tax your way to prosperity and you cannot create jobs by raising taxes. The carbon tax will be cut to help homes, businesses, and farmers.

“Second to the Alberta Party is fiscal responsibility. We will keep deficits and debt levels below all over provinces. We understand Albertans do not want a steady stream of permanent deficits.

“Third, child care. We create a better future for children and grand-children by supporting child care based on financial means. We think that’s very important to all Albertans.

“Fourth, education. We will work with educators to develop and deliver the best education for all Albertans. We will focus on new skills training to adapt to the changing world. That’s very important for Alberta at this time. The world is changing dramatically and we have to keep up with it. If you look at the percentages of students going into post-secondary education, the national average is 22-24 per cent, Alberta is 17 per cent. We’re way below that average, If you look at what we participate in for student loans, Albertan gives 20 per cent, next closest is Manitoba 32 per cent, New Brunswick, 35%, jumps to 50 per cent, then max is 90 per cent for student loan reimbursement from a province, that’s Newfoundland. How do we encourage our students to go when it’s so expensive to go to post-secondary? That’s our greatest resource.

“Health care. Keeping all Albertans healthy, we’ll consult with all interested Albertans and find the most efficiencies possible without compromising health care delivery and accessibility.

“Seniors. The population of Alberta is rising. We need to listen to seniors to more fully understand their needs. We need to provide them with the quality of life healthcare they deserve.”

Alberta Independence Party candidate David Garnett-Bennett

“I am David Garneett-Bennet. I am representing the Alberta Independence Party candidate. Like many others, ten days ago I was faced with a very difficult decision. I was checking out parties and I was checking out how I was going to vote. What are we going to do? I reached the conclusion that I wasn’t happy with anything that I saw. I looked at I had to go within my heart and soul, and say what are we going to do that’s different. I found the party that aligned with my key values: honesty, integrity, transparency, and accountability.

“I have not seen that in 114 years. That’s 1905 to 2019. We have to do something different. The definition of insanity is to do the same thing again and again and expect a different result. My conclusion on my observation on the last six cycles of elections, 24 years is I don’t see any difference.

“I can not go on putting debts onto my kids, and future generations. I’m a businessman. I cannot run in the red. I cannot run in a deficit. These issues have to be addressed and we have to stop lollygagging, we have to stop ignoring that big elephant in the room. The economic instability, these things we can rectify. We can deal with this. But we have to step up and take ownership of our economic trouble that we’re in. Everyone in Alberta in connected, Everyone is united. I’m predominantly oil. If you’re an oilman, gasmen, a farmer, or you serve every one of them. We’re all united. We all serve each other.

“We’ve got to stop asking for permission. Right now through confederation, we ask Ottawa what to do. We asked for a pipeline. Common sense and straight money and accountability prove we need a pipeline. I don’t have to prove that to anybody. Not only that, but we’re resourceful. We financed it, we privately financed it and it got kiboshed. What are we going to do? Are we going to keep asking? Or are we going to start demanding our rights?

“What the Alberta Independence Party asserts is we demand our rights. We make a really bold statement and I haven’t seen anybody say that we’re going to build a pipeline and get our stuff in order, other than Alberta. If we have to we’ll consider separation. If we do so, we do that with a 50 plus 1 vote. We do not want to have to do that, but bring it to a referendum, even if that opens up the door. What would the benefit be? We have to address another elephant. Equalization. We have to look at it. Fifty billion dollars goes out, that’s so big I can’t even conceptualize it. We get 10 billion back. That means we gave 40 billion away. We need accountability, We’ve got to stop that. We’ve got to take care of Alberta first. When we have abundance, which we do, through taking care of ourselves, that is what we’ll achieve. Through independence, we immediately have rights. A pipeline is guaranteed. We don’t have to ask for it. Road rights, right to transport, it’s guaranteed. It’s something different.

“Is it radical? I don’t know. Look at the state of the economy right now, and ask yourself if anyone couldn’t benefit from having a bit more money. We have the resources, we have the people. You’re the most valuable things out there. we have to stop being exploited. It’s up to us. We have to take ownership of this situation. The Alberta Independence Party has a platform that will peacefully and legally empower every one of you.”

Alberta Advantage Party Candidate David Inscho

“It’s a very great privilege to step in front of an audience when the chairs are full.

“My name is David Inscho. I have been involved in politics for about 30 years. I am originally from a small farming community north of St. Paul, St. Lina, so St. Paul and the surrounding area has been my home for roughly 60 years.

“I am married to a wife who is extremely tolerant and she allows me to do this sort of thing, which I greatly appreciate. I have two adult children and right now five grandchildren. I’ve been an executive member of the former Wildrose party, I’m the provincial executive and also served the local constituency association. I’ve been a member of the Mallaig Legion for about 20 years and I served practically all areas of their executive. I’ve been about 25 years with the army cadets.

“What will our party do for you? We believe very strongly in education of all our students. We think that a student has to get a very good rounded basic education. The whole adage of reading, writing, arithmetic. I think that those are some of the things we don’t have anymore. They’re slipping and slipping badly and we need to go back and fix it. We also at the same time need to teach life skills. Students need to know how to balance a cheque book. They need to know how to count cash back when you go to a store. These are simple things. But these are things that need to be dealt with.

“School choice. It is in our view a parent’s choice to send their child to any school they wish. Whether that’s homeschool, charter school, private school, Catholic school. You’re the parents – it’s up to you to make the best decision for your child.

“Crime. How many of you have been affected by rural crime? I imagine it’s quite a few. Our standard of rural crime. The RCMP are having a terrible time to keep up with the amount of people communities want. We have communities that are funding to have more RCMP members, but they can’t provide them. They can’t keep up. What we are proposing is to literally provincially hire more sheriffs, elevate their training to get to full police level. We’re also advocating to hire more prosecutors, and we’ve got a lot of vacancies in the provincial court system. We need to hire judges. There’s no point in police catching a criminal if you don’t have the prosecutors to prosecute and the judges to judge. The final point I want to emphasize, is we believe very strongly in restituion on the part of the criminal. I think that it’s high time that when a criminal bashes holes in your house that you don’t want to see them walking the street before you’ve even had the chance to have your house repaired. They need to take responsibility and pay for the damage they’ve caused.

“We do believe in greater autonomy from Ottawa. One of the things is dealing with equalization. As it stands right now that is a federal jurisdiction. But that agreement will come up again, and quite literally an Alberta Advantage Party would not sign unless it is favourable to Alberta. The current one is most definitely not.

“We have plans for taxes. At the present time, approximately $18,900 is the threshold when you start paying provincial tax. The so-called poverty level is $24,000, and it makes absolutely no sense to us that you should be paying provincial income tax when you’re below the poverty line. We would raise the tax level basic exemption to $24,120 from the current $18,900. For literally every Albertan, that puts money in your pocket to get full purchasing value for your dollar.

“We’re also introducing a $200 tax credit for every child below the age of 5. This is a move forward tax, so if you don’t need that tax credit this year, you can carry it forward to the next year or the next year until the child is 5. You can accumulate that credit. After the child turns 5, a $200 tax credit towards sport, extra-curricular activity. That is not a carry forward.

“Our energy program would and will put jobs immediately, within thirty days, you can get back to work. The biggest problem that causes the trouble is the regulation.”

Independent separatist Kacey Daniels

“I don’t have a platform like the rest of you. I am a separatist. There is no way we’ll ever get a fair deal from the corrupt government of Canada. It’s not going to happen.T here’s no point in even trying.

“If you have guns – good for you. If you want to shoot somebody in your yard who’s robbing you, put one in their leg. Try not to kill them. These are things that need to change.

“It needs to go back to the way it was when I was a kid where mom and dad could make a living and the kids were happy because a parent was home. Doesn’t matter if it’s mom or dad. But somebody there to take care of them. Child care – it’s going to have to happen, But as far as government-subsidized child care, I don’t believe it should happen.

“Health care is only going to get more expensive. The population is expanding and aging and there’s nothing you can do about that except more money. We have to throw more money into health care.

“That’s about all I have to say.”

About Michael Menzies

Menzies is the editor-at-large for Connected Media Inc. Born and raised in Vermilion, he started in May 2018 during his NAIT Radio and Television practicum and reports on local politics, sports, and community issues. He became the Bonnyville Pontiacs play-by-play voice during the 2019-20 season. He also comments on provincial and national issues. Menzies hosts Connected! Evening Monday-Thursday at 5 o’clock. He also likes to buy books and read some of them.