Myles Chykerda has become the first to put his name forward to represent the Alberta Party in the riding of Lacombe-Ponoka.
On Monday morning, he officially announced he’d filed his paperwork with the Alberta Party for the nomination. While it’s a decision he’s been pondering for awhile, it was the recent United Conservative Party debate that solidified him putting his name forward.
“I’ve always identified as a conservative, myself – a small ‘c’ conservative – but I’ve never really been enthralled with the options that the UCP have given us,” he said. “I thought maybe if we got some good voices in the UCP with a local representative, maybe there’d be a chance to change things around…but it was just more of the same old rhetoric. I didn’t hear too many new ideas.”
Despite identifying as being conservative, he has strong reservations of where the UCP is going in terms of providing real solutions for problems facing the province, as well as a wariness surrounding what he calls an increasingly polarizing political atmosphere.
The merger of the Progressive Conservative Party and the Wildrose Party last year, he says, pulled options outside of the NDP “very far to the right.” Although he’d already felt politically homeless before that, it eliminated choice further, and he began talking with people from the Alberta Party.
“I see a group of people who are really there to get together and find solutions for Alberta. I’ve always got the sense it’s people putting the province first, not trying to get into power,” he said.
He became involved with the party on a more official level earlier this year, becoming part of the local constituency association board – a role he’ll step away from as he vies for the nomination.
While it might be no easy task to win over traditionally pro-conservative party voters in the area, he sees a real opportunity for the Alberta Party to drum up support by filling that middle ground between the NDP and UCP.
The UCP, he says, aren’t being completely open and transparent about what voters can expect from a UCP/Jason Kenney-led government.
“I’ve always been suspicious Jason Kenney is essentially using this as a platform to come in, become the saviour for conservative politics in Alberta and then ping pong right back to Ottawa and lead the CPC,” he said.
With the NDP, there’s concern about the ongoing deficit, with no plan to get back to a balanced budget. Locally, he also sees a lack of desire from the current government to communicate with faith-based schools and resolve issues surrounding Bill 24. In fact, he says from talking with people from the Christian schools in the city, Education Minister David Eggen has never phoned them over the course of the past four years.
What Alberta needs, he says, is a party that’s willing to constructively talk with those sitting across the aisle in the Legislature and work to resolve issues facing the province, not leave the floor to avoid debating issues.
“I’ve been consistently impressed with the way, first of all, Greg Clark and now two other MLAs. take the government to task, asking those really hard questions and also proposing some very good amendments to bills and things like that,” he said.
“What I’m aiming for is to be a representative for everyone in this community. Yes, I’m aligning myself with the Alberta Party, but as an MLA, I would want people to feel free to come in and have a reasonable, level-headed conversation about any topic whether they’re the most staunch right-wing UCP supporter, or the most leftist of the NDP.”
Chykerda was born in Stettler, but moved to Lacombe in 1994. He studied at the University of Alberta from 2000-2004 and has a B.A. Honours Anthropology and Classics and joint M.A. in classical archaeology and in humanities computing from the University of Alberta. He has also studied at the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA). He was also appointed by Lacombe city council to the Heritage Resources Committee in September.
At this point, no other nomination contestant has put their name forward for the party.
Incumbent MLA Ron Orr recently won the nomination for the United Conservative Party against Thalia Hibbs. The NDP, Green Party and Albert a Liberal Party all have yet to have any nomination contestants step forward.
Chykerda says he looks forward to sitting down and meeting as many people in the riding as he can in the coming months, as well as “learning from the unique experiences of all my neighbours to help inform relevant and pressing policy stances.”
Chykerda can be contacted via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or via social media. More information will be on his website, www.chykerda.ca, in the upcoming weeks.