Myles Chykerda is running as a candidate with the Alberta Party for his second election for the Lacombe-Ponoka riding. He grew up in the Lacombe and Stettler areas. He is currently teaching Classics courses at MacEwan University and working to get his PHD in addition to being an archaeologist with a Bachelor and Master of Arts. 


The LacombeOnline Newsroom has contacted all candidates in the Lacombe-Ponoka riding. Their interviews are being posted to our elections page you can find here.  

Please note: if candidates do not respond to our inquiries, we will not be able to post their candidate profiles.   


How does your party plan to address inflation and the rising cost of living in Alberta? 

The main thing with inflation that we need to keep in mind is we need to approach it with facts and real economic data. I think we've all seen over the last year a blame game being played, especially at the federal level pointing to Trudeau-flation and saying the government printing money causes inflation. Then it seems serious because our current government is essentially doing that. They're printing money to offer with affordability payments to some Albertans, but not all Albertans. 

The important thing here is that Albertans are treated fairly and equitably across the board whatever program is coming out. It should be accessible to everyone. In the last year, the $100 a month payment for the last few months. If you're single and in your 30’s, you didn't get it because you weren't a senior and you didn't have kids. That cut out a big chunk of the population, particularly students. 

Our platform does have an affordability section, but it’s also tied to so many different sections because some people like students might need a little bit of a helping hand. Programs should be available for every Albertan and they shouldn't have any hidden price tags attached there. 

I honestly have not dug into these energy rebates we were getting. Now, that was really just a deferred payment. Our energy rates are going to go up even more. When we look at inflation, now that I mentioned energy, if we look at charts and graphs and everything that people like Trevor Toombe have made, it shows most of the inflation is due to energy costs. Of course, in Alberta, that's always a double-edged sword.  We want oil prices to go up because we get more royalties, but then the energy prices go up and we're all hurt. We need those facts. We need things to be applicable to everyone and they need there to be real solutions, not passing the buck down the road. 

Looking at something like regulating energy prices again and not only energy prices, but the transmission section of most of our power bills, it seems that those keep going up. There is a complicated history there with how the grid has been built out in Alberta but those are things that need to be considered. 

It is a complex global situation. Fortunately, Canada has some of the lowest inflation rates in the G7 and G20. So, I think we can be hopeful about that and as we get out of the pandemic, I'm hopeful things will be set. I know that might sound a little cop-out-ish, but we did go through a few years that fundamentally changed the global supply chain. It's going to take some time to bounce back from that. 

Just one thing I would add in terms of inflation and affordability, pricing or programs, is that the one that really annoyed me was how residents and multi-family buildings that weren't buildings that were sub-metered couldn't get those energy rebates. So again, these are people who are probably hurting. 

I'm on my condo board in Edmonton. It's a building of 219 units, most of them rather small. It's students, lower income people, a few people who are working downtown, but that 50 bucks would have made a pretty big difference. No one in the building qualified and nor did the condo corporation qualify for anything on our bulk purchase of power that we could have passed on to residents. There was a lot of inequality going on in that regard. 


In what ways does your party plan on diversifying Alberta's economy? 

I actually should have called up our 2019 platform. We had various proposals in terms of getting things like film and arts going, et cetera. It’s pretty simple you target particular industries and help things up front, but you have to then continue to go through with it.  

Alberta in the 90’s was establishing some pretty amazing film infrastructure in Princess Edmonton on the ITV studios, etcetera. There was an incentive program if you came in and filmed here. In the 90s, those all went away. The film industry left. The infrastructure just started crumbling and we had nothing. 

One area that I see coming up a lot and was kind of passionate about 15 years ago is video games and video game tournaments. We have in Edmonton, BioWare, which of course became part of Electronic Arts. There's a really neat growing hub there that's not getting a lot of support now.  

Around 2006, a group of friends and colleagues and I got together and tried to get a gaming convention in Edmonton going. This was around 2006-2007. I still have the binder and no one gave us the light of day in the province in Edmonton economic development. This would be the precursor to all these E-sports things. 

With diversification, we can't really jump so much into already established things. There always has to be a look at what is new and provide incentives there.  

With video games, (this was around 2005-2006) Ontario basically did an incentive program that was valued at close to $200 million and a lot of studios established in Toronto. Now, 15-20 years later in Alberta, if we're saying, ‘oh, maybe we can get some game dev studios,” the bus is gone, the ship has sailed. We need to keep an eye on the emerging tech and do what we can to help those things grow and not constantly change our policies.  

If you spend five years growing an industry, the government changes, the new government says ‘no, we're not going to do anything.’ That’s just like switching a light switch on and off. Decades of work might be getting thrown apart and it is not easy to come back from that. We always need consistency in our economic plan or our economic policies. 


In what ways does your party plan on supporting senior care? 

[We're going to be] making sure a lot of decision making is happening at the local level. When we look at Lacombe, the properties owned by the Lacombe Foundation and operated by Bethany, they know what they need. The people on the ground here know where the demand is if we need long term care, long term dementia care, and for seniors who are able to still care for themselves and cook meals and just need an apartment. We need to support those local agencies.  

The other thing I think there is a huge amount of work to be done in is making sure programs, funds, grants, etcetera to help seniors age in place. This is something I think of frequently with my mom, who is 86 now and doing very well. She's happy in her house. It's a little big and I help take care of things around here. She's still on a fixed income. She's paid down the mortgage but things like energy retrofits to replace 30-year-old windows [cost money].  

I think we have a lot of work to do there because the more people are aging in place, they have a more positive life and that can ultimately save public funds down the way. If they're staying at home, that means we don't necessarily have to build another government operated built long-term care facility.  

I believe it was one facility in Red Deer that was built a couple governments ago and the per unit price was something ridiculous like $300,000 or something like that. Putting everything in centralized government control maybe isn't the best thing for the value of the dollar. Ultimately, there's only so many taxpayer dollars that go around and we need to be aware that we're using those efficiently and intelligently. 


How does your party plan on addressing the health care shortages? 

Healthcare workers don't just sprout from the ground. It seems a lot of statements are, ‘oh, we're going to create this many positions in this many years.’ You're not going out and planting a tree and picking healthcare workers off the branches. 

Alberta right now, suffers in the in the realm of recruitment because healthcare demands are a global phenomenon. We're not the only ones here that are a little bit short. The record that our province has over the last 30 years now, is one that shows we don't treat our healthcare workers very well.  

It could be it could be one day—’Oh yeah, we're happy with you. Yay, go healthcare team!’ and the next year the government is trying to cut their wages and everything goes to strike. 

It's like an abusive of work relationship. If you were applying for a job, and you knew the employer or the boss was abusive, kind of bi-polar, two-faced, etcetera, would a $1,200 signing bonus change your mind?  

Then also with healthcare I think a huge problem we've been having, since I would say since AHS was founded, because AHS was maybe the last big structural change that happened was we're throwing more or less money at the same system. We have systemic problems and throwing more or less money at that is not going to change the system. 

We need to have frank open, transparent and blunt conversations about our healthcare system with people who know it in AHS, the frontline staff.  I don't think these solutions are going to be 4-year solutions. That's why nobody talks about them. These are these are 10-year solutions. 

It's really important we do that because if we don't ensure that our healthcare system is sustainable, then you know it might not be there in 20 years.  

I could dovetail that to a lot of government areas I feel where we've lost sustainability. The model that worked in the 1970’s or 1980’s just isn't applicable anymore and we need to adjust things. 


Does your party have any plans to improve justice in Alberta? 

Fortunately, I haven't had to deal with the justice system much or at all. We need to hire more judges. We need more courthouses. There's just so many bottlenecks in the justice system right now. 

Another thing we can perhaps look at are the specific cases that we can pull out of the system. So it's not always heading to the Court of King's bench, but to an arbitration situation. 

A related question was posed by a condo association group and they're asking would you support building an arbitration group for condo owners? Right now, if two condo unit owners start getting in a fight and they take it to legal, it goes to the courts. That's six months until you get in. 

If we can have some of those opportunities for solutions on different levels that can take pressure and stress off the traditional justice system.  


Is there anything else you’d like to add? 

I'm interested in giving people something to vote for. That's why I decided to run. It was the Thursday before the Ponoka Trade Show where I was like I don’t really like any of my choices on the ballot and I'm not going to spoil my ballot or not vote because I just don't do that. Having my background of working so many years in the Legislative Assembly offices, I wanted something to vote for. 

A big area that I care about is post-secondary education, or universities, or polytechnics, or trade schools. They have been absolutely battered and beaten by the last 10 years of government in this province. The last four years of the current government have been particularly brutal in my alma mater, University of Alberta, which should be the premier academic institution in this province has budgets cut by at least 30 per cent. It's gargantuan, it's ridiculous. A lot of these things about university seems to always come down to the price of tuition and ‘oh, we're going to freeze tuition at this rate for three years.’ In the previous government, we had tuition freezes that didn't come with backfill funding so our promised 1 per cent increase became a 2 per cent decrease. 

In a system where we were already cut to the bone, if we want to think about the student experience and their tuition, students can't even go to the department office anymore because we don't have a department office anymore. It's an executive assistant who is managing or trying to manage what four people used to do in one department and they're doing it for multiple departments. It's absolutely ridiculous. With that, a lot of changes and new governance models have been forced upon our institutions by the Board of Governors.  

Probably a lot of people also remember the recent row with Athabasca University, where the Minister was trying to get everyone who works at Athabasca University to live in Athabasca. It's like, how are you going to move 1,000 people to town when there's only 28 houses for sale? These are our policies and there was some shakeups. Their president was fired. This all happens or is enabled by a Board of Governors structure where the Minister can appoint people to do his bidding. We're now seeing, again, some systematic problems in our post-secondary world.  

I think I could summarize this all by saying first, we have to properly fund our advanced education institutions whether that is Red Deer Polytechnic, University of Alberta, NAIT, whatever. These are the places that train people, they produce innovations. We need these institutions for that. They generate billions of dollars in economic activity. We need to be funding these properly. I really hate how in Alberta there's been a wedge driven between Universities and Polytechnics. They're all extremely important. They're doing different kinds of education, but they're all so very important.  

The next thing is respecting the independence of our advanced education institutions. I mentioned their Board of Governors. A lot of these institutions are run kind of jointly between a model of the Board of Governors and the General Faculties Council and that's come into disbalance now. Policy changes or things are being put in place that don't seem to be for the good of the institute. At U of A, this current government keeps talking about reducing red tape, we had a new level of bureaucracy forced on us. In this attempt to save money, we created these ‘super colleges’. The faculty structures still seem to be there, but there's a new level of bureaucracy on top of them. We just hired a whole bunch of highly paid upper management people and this shouldn't happen. We need to give independence back to the institution, so they do things that they know how to do.  

Let a university be a university. It is not a job mill. It isn't just shooting people through and giving them a certain skillset. There is much more than at not just a university, at a Polytechnic, but all of them. It's a period of learning. Particularly with people of out high school learning, discovering themselves, figuring out what they like, it's a whole experience, not just learn skill X to get job B. 

Looking at supporting our teachers in post secondaries, this is a problem across the globe and particularly bad in the States. The sessional or the adjunct instructor problem where people are getting paid 3,000 bucks to teach a course which is ridiculous for the amount of time you put in for course prep, and the education you're expected to have. It's ridiculous. 

It's not that bad here by no means. Academic teaching staff in many places live contract to contract. They don't have stable employment and that is something I hope our government can work with our institutional partners to try and reconcile. Academic independence is very important I don't like the idea of the Ministry of Advanced Education coming down and micromanaging everything, but hopefully this is something we can work on collectively to ensure those instructors have some job security.  

Also, make sure we're also hiring tenure track faculty. In some of our departments we had a number of departments that were top 50 in the world, like English and Film Studies. I'm sure some people will giggle at will English studies. Well, who do you think is writing everything in the TV shows we're all watching? And playing video games. It was ranked 13th in the world. Now they're not even showing up on the chart because the people retired. There was no money to hire back people. We should make sure that funds are there, but also support our areas of excellence. If we have places that are top 50 in the world, let's do something to secure it, whether it be an endowed chair to make sure that revenue is generated there to pay for that person. 

Finally, one last thing is when we talk about actually reducing red tape, I think some of the other parties have it on their books now, is making sure course transferability is across the board. If you take English 101 at Grand Prairie Regional College that should be English 101 to any of our institutes. We have something like we have tens of thousands of transfer agreements which makes things very complicated. Some of our big universities have sort of carved out fiefdoms like this is our place, so it's going to be transferred to U of A but you can't transfer to U of C, things like that. That's annoying. It does not help Albertan students. So we need to clean that up.If someone wants to start their first two years of an education degree at Red Deer Polytechnic and then go to U of A, or U of C, they don't have to worry about that. 

Finally, since I did mention regular Polytechnic and there has been a push to start an education program there. I would personally say I am not in support of that because as we've seen we only have so many dollars to go around. If we establish the same degree granting program at every single institute in the province, we turn everyone into a University. We're not going to have centers of excellence, we're going to have 13 classics majors, I'm just using classics since that's my background, as opposed to let's have one area where or one institute where this is their baby. This is what they're doing excellent and people in Alberta have access to a world class program, not mediocre programs.