Myles Chykerda says the province needs to explore its options.
The Alberta Party candidate for Lacombe-Ponoka believes more options need to be explored to improve the economy, healthcare, education and the environment beyond those presented by the NDP and UCP. To that end, he wants voters to consider the Alberta Party as a real option before heading to the polls April 16.
If what he’s hearing at the doors is any indication, there is an appetite for such an alternative.
“Things have definitely changed a lot, even in the past couple of months…More and more people are hearing about the party,” he said. “I’m trying to hit at least 100 doors a day and there’s a lot of uncertainty. I’m hearing 80-90 per cent of the doors and people I talk to say: ‘I don’t know who I’m voting for yet.’ They’re interested. They want to hear ideas.
“There’s a lot of unhappiness with just how negative politics has become, how it’s really Jason Kenney and Rachel Notley dueling it out. It’s almost become a cult of personality with those two parties; It’s not about government.”
He can relate. After all, that’s part of why Chykerda put his name forward as a candidate hopeful for the Alberta Party in October. He later received the nomination, by acclamation, as the party’s candidate and was the first to formally register as a candidate for the 30th Alberta Election in the area.
Now, he’s trying to break through the increasingly polarized atmosphere created by the NDP and UCP to have an “honest discussion” and work towards finding “real” solutions to issues facing Alberta.
Of course, one of the main issues this election is the economy. On this front especially, Chykerda believes there needs to be discussion with grassroots Albertans.
“There’s this idea that in order to balance the budget, we have to forget about people, but there’s a balance in between there,” he said. “We need to have an honest, open conversation with Albertans that this is what things cost, and if we need to roll back a bit, let’s be honest about it.”
He says some of the measures the NDP put in were well-intentioned, such as the increase of the minimum wage and changes to statutory holiday pay, but they were rolled out all at the same time, offering little time for citizens to adjust, which he says goes back to a need for improved dialogue.
Chykerda also says Alberta needs to do everything it can to get a fair market price for oil, while thinking outside the box to get a pipelines built.
“Everyone’s transfixed on Keystone and Trans Mountain XL, but are there other options available where we could find landowning groups more amenable to letting a pipleline through?” he said. “It’s another route to investigate. We need to be as multifaceted as we can.”
Although Chykerda said he wasn’t sure he supported an outright axe of the carbon tax, on Saturday Alberta Party Leader Stephen Mandel announced that if the party were elected, they would scrap it has hurt small businesses, families and non-profits.
Instead, Mandel said he would rather offer incentives for citizens and small businesses to reduce emissions, rather than penalize them for carbon consumption.
Healthcare is another key issue, particularly in central Alberta where, according to the Society for Hospital Expansion in Central Alberta (SHECA), just $228 per capita is spent on health infrastructure investment, compared to over $1,100 per capita in Edmonton and Calgary and $2,086 in the North Zone.
However, he doesn’t believe throwing money at the system will solve anything, and refers to past four years of the NDP government who put billions into healthcare, but nothing that truly affected Lacombe, Ponoka and Blackfalds – especially the latter which does not have a health care facility of its own at all.
“I do believe strongly in the public health care system, but I think we need to start investigating the challenges Alberta Health Services is having right now and go beyond putting more money in the same system or less money into the same system,” he said.
“It’s an area that will suck up as much money as we throw at it. There’s always some new cutting-edge technology that will cost millions of dollars a unit, there will always be something we can throw more money at. We need our health care professionals to communicate where the balance is so we’re providing an excellent low-cost health care system.”
Education is another key issue, and Chykerda says the Alberta Party will be revealing details on Bill 24 – Gay-Straight Alliance legislation – that he hopes will alleviate concerns from the Christian school community on how it was rolled out.
With the election cycle now past the halfway mark, there have been numerous additional Alberta Party platform policies and ideas put forth, and more to come. Those interested in finding out more on Chykerda’s Facebook page, website (www.chykerda.ca), Alberta Party website at www.albertaparty.ca, or by emailing him at email@example.com.
The Lacombe Chamber of Commerce also hosted an All Candidates Forum on Wednesday, April 3, however it occurred after the time of press. Readers can find the Lacombe Globe’s coverage on the event on our website at www.lacombeglobe.com and in print in next week’s issue.