James Friesen and his wife have a blended family of 10 children and they raised all but one of them for a time as a single parent before meeting.
Now the Green Party candidate in Grande Prairie-Mackenzie, a grandfather of 38 and a great grandfather of six, he still remembers what it is like to live paycheque-to-paycheque and he believes that experience would inform his work if elected MP on Oct. 19.
“The two top issues in the riding of Grande Prairie-Mackenzie are the current oil crisis and downturn in our economy that has resulted in job losses for many people, and the cost of rent and food in the face of jobs lost is a cause of concern to an ever increasing number of people, (too),” he said. “It is our duty to leave this world a better place than it was when we entered it. That can best, at least for me, be achieved through politics.”
Friesen is currently self-employed and spent most of his career working in agriculture. He notes the Green Party is the only one that “believes” in participatory democracy, which emphasizes the broad participation of constituents in the direction and operation of political systems.
“We in the Green Party believe that only by governments working together with Canadians can we make this country into all that it can be.”
Liberal candidate Reagan Johnston is grateful to have grown up in Wild Rose Country.
“I believe with my energy and passion for this great province and the fact that Alberta has made a man out of me” should attract voters, he said.
Johnston would take the “Alberta mentality” to Ottawa and work to “get this great country back on its feet.” He said the temporary foreign workers program needs “fixing” so small business owners in northern Alberta can staff their storefronts, and that the federal government should work with the provinces “not against them” to address regional doctor shortages.
“We are a hard-working people and we need our voices to be heard in Ottawa,” he said. “I believe the Liberal party has a leader and a great plan to help Canadians today not in 5-10 or 20 years from now like our competitors.”
Incumbent Conservative Chris Warkentin has represented Peace River for almost 10 years, since the 2006 general election, and told the Journal he is running again because he would be honoured to continue to represent and defend the region’s interests, like the economy.
“I believe that the Conservative Party is the only team that has a balanced plan to weather the international market uncertainty that we are facing today,” he said. “Our team knows that we must continue to expand market access for the product that we produce here in Canada and ensure that the infrastructure is in place to reach these new markets. We will continue to advance a low-tax plan that will support local families, small businesses and local employers.”
He said the other parties only have “unrealistic promises of spending billions of dollars with no plan to pay for it other than stripping Peace Country families of their benefits and raising their taxes.”
Those benefits should include private options for health care and insurance, according to Libertarian candidate Dylan Thompson.
“The Libertarian party is against this unwarranted vilification of the oil industry and advocates allowing private options for care and insurance, which would alleviate the public wait times and the growing fiscal burden on our public healthcare,” he said. “We want the provinces to be free to choose the healthcare system that best fits their needs.”
Thompson, who is running for the first time and said he listens to podcasts and online broadcasts about politics, economics and philosophy in his spare time, said voting Libertarian sends a message to the growing party that there is support out there.
Voting Libertarian sends a message to the world that a part of our country’s population values an absence of social and economic interventions,” he said. “I agreed to be a part of the Libertarian Party after I discovered that their main goal was not to change the world by getting into power but instead to advocate and advertise libertarianism to Canadians. That can include having your voice travel farther by holding a seat in Parliament.”