I would like to thank the members of the Fort McMurray Chamber of Commerce, both for asking the following questions and giving myself and the other candidates in the 2021 Federal Election an opportunity to respond.
I would like to first go off script/questionnaire to tell you a little about myself. I have lived in Alberta for the past 36 years with the majority being in Lac La Biche. I have worked for the Alberta Government as a Child and Youth Care Counselor for most of that time. I have also been active throughout the province supporting the members of my union, the Alberta Union of Provincial Employees where I have been elected to many positions as well as being a Provincial Vice President, a Chairperson of a province wide Local representing Social Workers and being the Local Representative on the Unions Provincial Executive.
I have also been involved in community activities such as being the chairperson of the Lac La Biche Daycare/Dayhome association and a an executive member of the group that puts on the very successful annual Winter Festival of speed, where one of my duties was to supervise the construction of a road race circuit, a motorcycle oval track, runway where over 80 planes have landed, a track for skidoo drag races and all of the support roads and spectator areas – all on the ice of Lac La Biche – in February of each year.
My wife Anne and I raised two wonderfully accomplished daughters who have become even more accomplished adults. I am now thrilled to be watching my two granddaughters growing up in their culturally connected community of Kikino.
I retired in late August.
Now to the questions:
1. What bill(s) would you support being amended or repealed with the intention of benefitting our region? Briefly explain your reasoning.
- Every new government has the opportunity to review and attempt to pass new or replacement legislation. I would want to specifically:
- Ensure that our legislation protecting environmental issues are enhanced but also clarified so that businesses and people affected are clear in what their role is
- Ensure that transfers protecting residents health and educational needs are clarified and protected so that these areas of shared responsibility are clear
- Ensure that Indigenous communities have the same access to healthcare, education and resources as other Canadians and that their Indigenous rights are protected
2. What are the top 5 initiatives, if proposed by any Member of Parliament, that you would be supportive of for the benefit of your constituents?
- Environmental protections
- Health Care availability and protection
- Elimination of tax loopholes and making sure that wealthy Canadians and corporations pay a fair share of taxes rather than downloading the tax burden onto average Canadians
- Housing at reasonable cost and that meets the needs of our residents who live in northern climates
3. Is balancing the Federal Budget within the next 10 years a priority? If “yes,” how would it be achieved. If “no,” briefly explain your reasoning.
Balancing of budgets should always be a concern for any government, but ensuring that Canadians are having their needs met is a higher priority. I want to ensure that Canadians have quality healthcare, education, environment etc are a higher priority. Wealthy Canadians and corporations paying their fair share of taxes while not being allowed generous tax exemptions will go a long way to moving towards a balanced budget and providing for the reasonable needs of average Canadians
4. On October 18th, Albertans will be asked “Should section 36(2) of the Constitution Act, 1982 – Parliament and the government of Canada’s commitment to the principle of making equalization payments – be removed from the constitution?” If the majority answers “yes”, would this be a benefit or detriment to our region?
This will have very little, if any short or long term benefits to our region.
5. Rank these priorities based upon their impact and importance to your constituency:
- Environmental Protection
- Financial support & programs for families
- Modernizing the tax system
- Economic recovery & growth
- Job Creation
- Supporting small business
- Promoting and utilizing Canadian goods & services across the country
- Business Competitiveness
- Trade corridors & interprovincial infrastructure
- Foreign relations
- Attracting foreign investment
6. What is your position on the effectiveness of lockdowns and future lockdowns impacting business?
‘Lockdowns’ have proven to be an overall effective measure to protect Canadians when they are utilized appropriately, but lockdowns also have been harmful to many businesses. Lockdowns need to be done judiciously and the Provincial Governments should work more effectively with each other in implementing such actions.
What is your position on mandatory vaccinations, vaccine passports, and interprovincial travel being impacted currently and through 2022?
- Mandatory Vaccinations are currently determined by individual businesses and by the province for certain occupational groups that work in provincially funded Health Care, Education and direct government operations. There are no mandatory vaccinations for other Albertans. A federal NDP government will mandate vaccines for federal employees and those regulated by the federal government.
- ‘Vaccine Passports’ provide a consistent and easy means for people to prove they have been vaccinated and could also be used as a means for people to prove that they have an exemption.
- Areas of Canada such as the Maritimes have demonstrated that limiting travel to and within their regions has been an effective way to reduce infection rates.
8. Canadian Parents including those in Fort McMurray have long struggled to find affordable high quality childcare spaces. A contributing factor to this is cost as well as the lack of qualified Early Childhood Educators working in the childcare sector. What is your party's plan for developing a strong ECE workforce that can provide affordable, quality care?
- The NDP have long advocated for federal funding to promote affordable daycare spaces with well trained and qualified providers. We have the facilities to provide training in this region, but they will need extra funding to train more workers. There is no point in attempting to train workers unless they are provided with a livable wage. Extra funding may be required to provide spaces for shift workers.
- The NDP support the $10.00 per day program as proposed as current market prices for daycare result in quality daycare being out if reach for most parents. Allowing and encouraging all parents to be able to work and knowing that their children are being taken care of by quality workers is needed to ensure that our businesses can access a supply of workers
9. If elected to represent our region, will you vote based on the needs of your constituents, or to align yourself with your party’s policy expectations? For example, if your party told you to vote in favor of a carbon pricing initiative which would directly impact the residents of Fort McMurray - Cold Lake, would you vote in favour or against?
- When elected to any position I have always taken the position that my vote on issues is based on representing the needs of my constituents. I have, and always will, examine issues carefully basing my decisions on the principles from when I was elected and with a view as to how my vote will impact those who elected me. There will be many issues where there is not a consensus among the constituents and that I where the MP will need to make a decision about what is ‘best’.
- I have never been coopted to vote based on what leadership tells me to do.
- Many carbon pricing initiatives will have a long term positive effect on this region.
10. Please briefly outline your strategy for ongoing reconciliation efforts with indigenous communities.
True reconciliation will occur when both/all parties work together to achieve a consensus. Consensus may be different for each community, but where possible I believe it would be best if this could occur with the broader indigenous communities in each region.