Keith Parrill thinks Alberta deserves better and as far as he’s concerned, there’s only one party that will truly demand better.
The Lacombe-Ponoka Freedom Conservative Party (FCP) candidate was the last in the area to register as a candidate, beating the 2 p.m. March 29 deadline by a narrow five minute window. However, he says he’s talked about running for a while and it was time to finally put his name forward.
“Basically it was put up or shut up,” Parrill said. “I have a passion for what this province has to offer – the oil and gas industry has been good to me and my family and I’m not liking the way things are going, how Alberta’s been treated…I’m going to do this for the betterment of Albertans.”
Parrill is originally from Newfoundland, but moved to Alberta in the mid 80’s and is now a Lacombe resident. For over 30 years, he’s made a living in the oil and gas industry, including 16 years as a utility power lineman and the last 14 as a safety inspector for companies like Enbridge, Suncor and Imperial Oil – which is where his passion for the energy sector comes from.
In fact, it was being part of that industry during the time of then-Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau’s National Energy Program – a federal policy estimated by scholars to have cost Alberta $50-100 billion and considered by Albertans to be one of the most unfair policies to every be implemented – that got Parrill engaged in politics.
His discontent with the province’s treatment and the disconnect of Ottawa and the western provinces was so deep, that while he says he holds many conservative values, he considered himself to be a “staunch separatist,” and three decades later is still willing to consider Alberta’s secession from Confederation.
Parrill says he could have challenged incumbent MLA Ron Orr for the UCP nomination in the riding, however, it was Derek Fildebrandt and the FCP’s desire for provincial equality or independence that resonated most with him.
“I’ve always felt Alberta deserved better, and if that meant getting out of Confederation, I would advocate for that immediately,” he said. “However, there a process for a province that doesn’t want to stay in Confederation…You have to negotiate and the FCP offers that as part of the platform.
“I don’t want to go out tomorrow and tear down every Canadian flag, but I think Alberta has a lot to offer this country and we need some self-governance in Alberta to start looking after Albertans.”
To him, the key issues facing Alberta are security, particularly in Lacombe-Ponoka where rural crime has increased. He believes the issue could be resolved by moving away from the RCMP to a provincial police force, which is part of the FCP platform.
“I have an issue with the federal government controlling our police force here,” he said. “I think we’d get a better bang for our buck, we’d have more money for police in certain areas where required.”
Getting Albertans back to work, and affording the ability to have a balance between work and home life, is another major issue. Right now, he says, many in the oil and gas industry are struggling to put food on the table, no thanks to the carbon tax and other environmental policies put in place by the provincial NDP and federal Liberals.
“That’s disgraceful in a mineral and resource-rich province. We should be the attraction of the world,” he said. “We have some of the most stringent rules and regulations, yet we’re being dumped on as a big polluter – especially Fort McMurray and the oil sands.”
Parrill, in his various roles in the oil and gas industry, actually worked 23 years in the oil sands, and says what much of the public isn’t shown as the reclamation process, and now there’s a strong need to build confidence back up in the industry, and with the oil companies to attract them back to Alberta, and in turn, create jobs that have been lost over the past four years.
He says it’s necessary to get people working again so that money can be put into social programs that take care of seniors and veterans, which he believes are both being treated poorly.
At present, he’s under no delusions the FCP and its 24 candidates will make a big impact and somehow form the next government, but says putting his name forward now, regardless of whether he is successful at the polls April 16, starts a four-year process for the next provincial election, which he also plans on running in.
To learn more about the Freedom Conservative Party, visit the website at www.freedomconservativeparty.ca.
Those looking to reach out to Parrill can do so by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at (403)
He will also participate in All Candidate Forums at the Lacombe Chamber of Commerce on Wednesday, April 3, as well as at the Blackfalds Chamber of Commerce on Monday, April 8 from 7 p.m. until 9 p.m. at the Blackfalds Community Centre.