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Get to know your MLA candidates for upcoming election on May 5

Posted on May 8, 2015 by Vauxhall Advance

Caleb Van Der Weide, Social Credit

Family:
Youngest of five children.

Occupation before politics:
University student at U of L.

Other community/non-profit experience:
Volunteering in Haiti, human rights activism, former president of Lethbridge Students for Life.

What is the most important issue facing the riding?:
I consider the most important issue facing the riding/electoral district and the most important issue facing the province to be the same issue: the lack of principled representation of the social conservative values so many Albertans hold.

If you could change one thing from the budget released on March 28, what would it be?:
If I could make one change to the budget I would stop the funding of abortions. Many Albertans see the killing of the preborn child to be an immoral act, it is one thing to legalize it, but another thing to require others morally opposed to the act to pay for it through their tax dollars.

Why should the voters choose you?:
Voters should choose to vote for me if they are tired of social conservative issues being ignored in the provincial legislature, and want to do something to change that tendency.

Favourite quote:
On some positions, Cowardice asks the question, ‘Is it safe?’‚ Expediency asks the question, ‘Is it politic?’‚ and Vanity comes along and asks the question, ‘Is it popular?’. But Conscience asks the question, ‘Is it right?’ And there comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular, but he must do it because Conscience tells him it is right.

The last book you read:
Ethics, by Dietrich Bonhoeffer.

Dave Schneider, Wildrose

Family: Wife: Sharon ‚ 27 years. Daughter: Kristin‚ 24 years.

Occupation before politics:
I have been a farmer since 1980. I am still a farmer.

Most important issue facing the riding:
I see four very important issues (among many):1. Little Bow is predominantly a rural riding of towns, villages and counties. Obviously health care is a very important issue. A couple of years ago the sitting government cut the number of ambulances in rural Alberta and centralized service delivery in the big cities. The ‘golden hour’ to get to treatment that we used to talk about is disappearing in rural Alberta.

Our fire departments are becoming medical first responders as a result and this system is irresponsibly burning out these invaluable volunteers. We need to get down to the business of fixing this health system. It consumes about half of the provincial budget.

The Wildrose would start with long- term care and addressing the massive bureaucracy of health care. In general terms, those are really good starting points on the long haul to get the system improved and put the dollars back into front-line services. About two years ago the government removed funding for bridges in all of rural Alberta. The counties within this riding all have many bridges throughout their jurisdictions.
A bridge includes those big culverts you see under many roads as well as physical traditional bridge structures.

Many of these edifices are 50 years old, and in some cases more, and have reached the end of their functioning life. Bridge maintenance and replacement can run into hundreds of thousands of dollars per structure.

This cost is now on the backs of the Municipalities. This is crippling to rural Alberta and jeopardizes the vital infrastructure required by our two largest income producing industries: agriculture and the oil & gas sector.

And speaking of costs that are on the backs of the Municipalities, the sitting government is starting to pull back on and again delay funding of the Municipal Sustainability Initiative.
That MSI funding has been a lifeblood for Municipalities throughout this province. It was originally established to provide a stable, consistent funding program that was to make sure that Municipalities had the financial resources they needed to support their local infrastructure priorities.

The Wildrose has a plan called the 10/10 Community Infrastructure Transfer, which allocates 10 per cent of all tax revenues and 10 per cent of surpluses to Municipalities to fund the critical infrastructure we all use every day, from roads to bridges to water and waste water plants and more.

The latest PC budget has just thrown the average working class family into turmoil. An increased fuel tax has added four cents to the cost of a litre of fuel. Income taxes have increased, a health care levy was added. Taxes and fees have essentially been increased across the board, except for corporate taxes and royalties.

If it’s true that we all contributed to the fiscal crisis situation we now face, shouldn’t we all pull our share in addressing it?

The average family that just wants to hook onto their trailer and go into the mountains for recreation for a weekend has been hit hard. Tax increases are a huge issue for typical families of this riding and could cost each family upwards of $2,500/year.

What is the most important issue facing the province: Revenues and expenditures. The Wildrose Party is all about standing up for Albertans. Lower taxes, balanced budgets and a savings plan. The PC budget will bring the province into a total of nearly $31 billion in debt. The Wildrose plan means no tax increases, smaller government, economic growth and services focused on outcomes.

If you could change one thing from the budget released on March 28, what would it be: A financial plan that does not punish Alberta families with tax increases. One that adjusts priorities and thereby delivers world-class services and secures jobs, growth and prosperity for our children.

Why should voters chose you: I represent and support a party that has five priorities that lay out a positive vision for the future of our province. A financial plan to balance the budget without raising taxes or cutting front line services.A patient-centred health-care model as opposed to the centralized top-down and inefficient model of today.

Wildrose will speed up the construction of Long Term Care facilities which will get rid of the bottlenecks in acute care. Education. Schools promised by the PCs are still unbuilt and classroom sizes are ballooning. However the Wildrose plan will speed up completion of new schools and other major education projects. Wildrose will roll back the 30 per cent cabinet raise and the eight per cent MLA raise that the PCs passed behind closed doors right after the last election. No more sole-sourced contracting either.

More transparency. Rural Alberta. Wildrose is a grass roots party. It started from the rural corners of Alberta: the towns, villages and counties. Wildrose will pass a motion to entrench the property rights of landowners into the Canadian Constitution. We will amend Bill 36 to protect individual property rights. We will double water and waste water funding for the next five years through our 10/10 MSI plan. At the end of the day, if elected, I will take community issues to the Legislature.

But I will also take the role of Member of the Legislative Assembly seriously. I believe an MLA’s job is to be accountable and to govern in that same manner. It is an MLA’s duty to take part in government, debate and vote on bills, bring forward the opinions of their constituents and keep informed on government issues. Most importantly, my own personal interests will take a back seat to the interests of the great people of this riding and province.

Favourite quote:
You miss 100 percent of the shots you never take. Wayne Gretzky.

The last book you read:
Unbroken, by Laura Hillenbrand.

Helen McMenamin, Liberal

Occupation before politics:
Farm writer, auditor pesticide testing, science editor Lethbridge Research Centre, Manager Southern Applied Research Association (farmer-led research group), farmer.

Other community/non-profit experience: Currently: chair Waterton Natural History Association; member Oldman River Health Advisory Council, Council Lethbridge Neighbourhoods.

What is the most important issue facing the riding?:
Provincial services, education, health care access, seniors care. Rapid growth in some towns pressuring services that are already stretched.

What is the most important issue facing the province?:
Education ‚teachers, materials and furnishings as well as buildings for students, from peschoolers to post-secondary. Lifeskills, including literacy and numeracy are always urgent ‚ every person needs these skills for survival and children need them when their brains can absorb them. These are not lessons that can be postponed. Children who miss early childhood education are at risk of lesser lives than they might otherwise have.

If you could change one thing from the budget released on March 28, what would it be?:
I’d like to have seen transparency and everyone paying their fair share of taxes, a truly sliding scale for income tax ‚ people with incomes and corporations contributing a little more. Alberta has lots to offer big business, it doesn’t need to race to the bottom in tax rates.

Why should the voters choose you?:
As Liberals, we offer solutions with multiple befits eg subacute, hospice and home care benefit the recipients and their families but also help acute care hospitals to focus on patients who need that care. And, by opening up beds , we ease the flow of patients all through the hospitals‚ from ER to scheduled surgeries, etc.

Favourite quote:
The economy is a wholly owned subsidiary of the environment. Assigned to various people depending on where search.

The last book you read:
I know this much is true by Wally Lamb and The Emperor’s Embrace: Reflections on Animal Families and Fatherhood‚ by Jeffrey Moussaleff Masson.

Bev Muendal-Atherstone, NDP
Family:
Together with my husband, Hans-Henning Muendel, we have three adult married children and four grandchildren. We have lived on an acreage in the County of Lethbridge west of Lethbridge for 22 years.

Occupation before politics:
Life time educator: teacher, counsellor, school psychologist, instructor in the Faculty of Education at the University of Lethbridge in Educational Psychology and Special Education. Contract school psychologist for Palliser Regional Schools and other southern Albertan school districts; supervised chartering for school psychologists.

Other community/non-profit experience:
Past board member of the Lethbridge Chapter of Friends of Medicare; Current board member of Southern Alberta Council on Public Affairs. As a volunteer with No Drilling Lethbridge‚ I helped keep fracking out of urban areas and away from schools; past chair Children’s House Day Care Board. Volunteer with the Schizophrenia Society of Alberta, Lethbridge branch.
Board member and Past President of the Rotary Club of Lethbridge East.

What is the most important issue facing the riding?:
Little Bow is a huge geographical riding consisting mainly of farmland interspersed with many villages and hamlets with diverse needs. Proposed government cut backs to essential public services of education, senior care, mental health and health care impact accessibility greater in rural areas than in urban areas often leaving huge rural areas with little to no access.

The 2012 closure of the Little Bow Continuing Care Centre in Carmangay in August 2012 right after the last provincial election was a prime example of the lack of government communication with rural communities and the needless loss of both long term care beds and jobs in rural Little Bow. We need to care for our aging population with compassion and quality care, keeping people close to their families, not moving them away from their loved ones, most especially not when they are sick and frail.

What is the most important issue facing the province?:
The most important issue facing this province is a lack of adequate leadership on what matters. We need leadership that listens to Albertans and puts the priorities of families first. We need a leader who will fight for and protect the services Albertans expect: schools, health care, job creation, and quality senior care. It is unfair to balance the budget on the backs of Albertans.

If you could change one thing from the budget released on March 28, what would it be?:
It is unfair for the government to blame Albertans for government-made fiscal decisions. Albertans told the Premier they wanted the corporations to pay their fair share by increasing corporate taxes, but this government did not listen. It’s unfair for Albertans to have to compromise their health and education of their children because of PC government poor fiscal decisions. I would listen to Albertans first.We need leadership that has the courage to create jobs, process our resources here and end corporate tax breaks.

Why should the voters choose you?:
The voters should choose me because I will listen to them and not only voice their concerns, but act in their interest, rather than out of corporate ideology. I am in the habit of speaking truth to power. I stand up for fairness. I am not afraid to speak out against injustice.

Favourite quote:
You can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you can not fool all of the people all of the time.

The last book you read:
Roughing It, by Mark Twain.

Ian Donovan‚ PC

Family:
Married to my wife Serena and have a blended family of five children.

Occupation before politics:
I am a active grain farmer still and was a county councillor for 16.5 years before being elected as MLA in 2012.

Other community/non-profit experience:
Am a member of the Mossleigh Lions Club for 19 years and was on lots of local boards. Being a active political person since being elected at 19 years old I have always enjoyed being a community person.

What is the most important issue facing the riding?: Lots of issues in the riding from Transportation intersection changes needed to availability of health services and school funding for smaller schools in the riding.

What is the most important issue facing the province?: The most important issue to the province is managing the growth pressures while making sure we can manage our money to ensure the best value for our money.

If you could change one thing from the budget released on March 28, what would it be?:
The budget was right on the money in my eyes so I think nothing needed to be changed.
Why should the voters choose you?: I would hope that voters would support me as a active community person who still runs a grain farm and understands what Little Bow riding needs to keep being the best place to live in Alberta.

Favourite quote:
If you think you can or you think you can’t you are always right.
The last book you read: Team of Rivals by Doris Kearns Goodwin and King Ralph by Don Martin.

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