By Trevor Busch
Taking up the party banner for a second time, Little Bow NDP candidate Bev Muendel-Atherstone is ready for the challenge of a provincial election should Albertans be headed to the polls in 2015.
Previously the Little Bow NDP candidate in 2012, Muendel-Atherstone was acclaimed for the constituency nomination in late February.
During the 2012 election, Muendel-Atherstone pulled in 767 votes for a third place finish behind the Wildrose’s Ian Donovan (6,756) and the PC’s John Kolk (4,477).
“It’s wonderful to be able to be representing Little Bow NDP constituency, and to have the confidence of the members of the constituency association, to be their candidate,” said Muendel-Atherstone.
MLA Ian Donovan, who won the 2012 election in the riding under the Wildrose banner, crossed the floor to the ruling PCs in 2014.
Donovan was recently acclaimed as Little Bow’s PC candidate for an upcoming election.
“There’s only one candidate right now that’s actually been nominated, and I haven’t heard any others yet,” said Muendel-Atherstone. “I’m out there, I’m on the doorsteps, door knocking and campaigning, and letting people know that the NDP has a strong presence and we are the party that’s actually standing up for Albertans. We listen to Albertans.”
Muendel-Atherstone is concerned that government cuts to education have resulted in larger class sizes, and that Alberta needs to be building, not delaying, new schools.
“I’m a long-time educator. I’ve taught school in various places — the hardest grades, junior high — and I’m a counsellor, I was a psychologist. With so many kids having educational behavioural problems, I have worked in several school divisions as a school psychologist. I’m very concerned about children with special needs receiving the right kind of education.”
She also believes all Albertans should benefit from the resources of the province, and that government should be doing a better job at delivering the services people count on such as hospitals, schools and seniors care. According to Muendel-Atherstone, the closure of the Little Bow Continuing Care Centre in Carmangay in July 2012, against the wishes of many families and the community, highlights the government’s choices in disregarding the best interests of Albertans.
“I would like to see education and health care accessible to everyone and not being cut back. Little Bow is very diverse — it’s one of the great things about Little Bow. We have a varied economy, and one of the things we need to support is options for Albertans, not just certain sectors, but all aspects of the economy. We need a diverse economy — that will make it a strong economy.”
With low oil prices and low revenue, Muendel-Atherstone indicated Alberta families should not have to pay for the government’s poor planning, but instead, corporations should pay their fair share.
“In the past, the government has given all kinds of royalty holidays to oil companies and reduced corporate taxes, and we actually need to be making sure corporations pay their fair share. A one per cent increase in corporate taxes would bring in half a billion in revenue to Alberta coffers.”
Constituents throughout the riding should expect to see Muendel-Atherstone alight on their doorsteps in coming months as speculation continues to escalate about a provincial election in 2015.
“The party in power makes those decisions, and we just follow, but it looks like everyone is getting prepared, so we’re getting prepared as well. During the last campaign, I went to all of the outlying areas, and my signs were throughout the constituency. I have supporters in all of the different areas. I’m going out and listening to people, and finding out what their concerns are.”