The Vermilion & District Chamber of Commerce hosted a Forum for the upcoming Alberta Election at St. Jerome’s School on May 23.
Kory Kralkay welcomed everyone and introduced the candidates for the Vermilion-Lloydminster-Wainwright Constituency.
Darrell Dunn-Alberta Party, Garth Rowswell-United Conservative Party, Matthew Powell- Independent, and Danny Hozack-Wildrose Loyalty Coalition Party attended. Dawn Flaata-New Democratic Party and Tigra-Lee Campbell-Green Party will also be on the ballot.
“This election comes at a pivotal time to ensure our long-term success provincially and locally,” said Kralkay.
Powell said he’d like to see more manufacturing in Alberta and added, “There are so many products you can create from the bi-products of oil. It could diversify the industry and create jobs. Whether agriculture, petroleum, or technology, we need to reduce red tape on inter-provincial trade.”
Rowswell said, “Whether rail lines power lines, etc., we need the economic corridor from Alaska to Churchill. By going through all of the Indigenous negotiations and proper approvals, it’s cheaper to load containers here and ship them to Alaska.”
“Carbon net zero is going to increase the cost of everything,” said Hozack. “We have to defend our right to produce both food and energy for a world that needs it.”
Dunn said, “As long as we are in this room and are human we are going to affect the planet. Talk to me at -40 in the middle of Lloydminster; you have to heat your home.”
Hozack said, “Not only is C02 not evil, it’s one of the building blocks of life. Higher CO2 is making our land more productive and as a result, we are able to feed the world.”
Powell said, “George Carlin said, ‘The earth isn’t going anywhere; we are going somewhere.’ As for the environment, when money is the solution to the problem, I don’t agree.”
Roswell noted that equalization payments are examined every five years and one of the things he’s like to see reviewed is that Quebec’s Hydroelectricity doesn’t get included but Alberta’s energy does.
When asked about LGTBQ issues, residential schools, etc. Powell said, “I’d like to stay away from residential schools. We are dividing ourselves so badly and it’s being used as a tool for political gain. The trans suicide rate is 65 per cent; this is a mental health issue. I’m a Metis man. I don’t see gay or black, I see people living together.
Rowswell followed saying, “I’m for equality not for equality of outcome. This identity politics is a curse that we’ve got to get rid of.”
Dunn said, “I’m not a fan of Pierre Elliott Trudeau but he said, ‘The state should stay out of the bedroom,’ and he created the Charter which guarantees rights regardless of sexual orientation.”
When asked about education and healthcare, Hozack said, “The government should always pay for those but with a mix of private and public then you would get better service. It would create competition, and that’s what built the free world.”
Rowswell said, “Denmark spends 2/3 of what we do with better results, so there’s a better way to manage it. I’ve been advocating for increased roles for nurse practitioners and we have to focus on preventative medicine and primary care.”
He also noted that if we can train healthcare professionals locally they are more likely to stay in rural areas.
Dunn noted that in education there are residents living on either side of a grid road with one student travelling five minutes to school, and the other travelling 45 minutes to school. In healthcare, he said, “If you take a look there are 100,000 people in the catchment area, and with the cross-border situation, getting information is extraordinarily difficult. Senior’s health is an issue in the entire constituency and we need to figure out how to utilize the three hospitals in our area.”
Hozack suggested we go back to regional health councils saying, “Hospitals need to get paid if they provide a service not regardless, and we need to reduce the number of bureaucrats. For personal medical autonomy I’m not against vaccines that have been studied for seven or eight years, but let’s be clear; the (COVID) vaccine wasn’t actually a vaccine; and quite frankly to vaccinate kids under 18 is a crime against humanity. I know a young man who had to get it in order to get a job but then got Myocarditis and can’t work. As for policing, Wildrose is pretty clear; we want to have a provincial police force. This is no reflection on the RCMP, we have the utmost respect for them but we want to change where their bosses are; we don’t want them to be in Ottawa.”
Powell responded saying, “Regardless of what we do when there are federal crimes, the RCMP will come in and override.”
Closing statements included the following:
Dunn said, “I think the role of any MLA is to communicate with the public; listen, talk, and see what solutions can be implemented.”
Rowswell said, “It’s been a steep learning curve but I think I’m a more effective MLA than I was four years ago, and more efficient to get things for our constituency. I’m going to hit the ground running if you give me the opportunity.”
Powell said, “It’s about representation; we need someone who can take your questions to Edmonton. It’s not about vote splitting; I plan on supporting anything the conservatives put out that is conservative values. You’re maintaining a conservative vote but I’m beholden to no party’ I’m beholden to the voters.”
Hozack said, “It’s our duty. Any fair assessment of the 2019 election has to be that the promise is broken. Our team has done our duty, and I will work tirelessly to oppose carbon net zero.”
Advanced voting has been taking place throughout the week and voting day will take place at the Vermilion Regional Centre, Wainwright Communiplex, or Lloydminster Legacy Centre from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. on May 29. Various rural community halls will also have voting stations, and to find yours you can visit https://map.elections.ab.ca/.