Dave Dale has been a teacher for the last 25 years. He currently teaches Grade 6 in Delburne.
He lives in the hamlet of Mirror and has a passion for helping Albertan teachers and students.
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 first thing we're going to do is reinstate supports for the most vulnerable people in Alberta. So those are the seniors, and people who have disabilities who had their government payments defunded in 2019. We're going to go back and pretend that never happened. It will be as if they have been tied to the cost of living for that entire time. That will be a real big support for those of us who have the most vulnerability in Alberta.
We also have an affordable housing plan where we're going to have 40,000 families in affordable housing. By the end of five years, we're going to build 8,500 more housing units and offer 11,000 more families rental supports in the places they're currently renting. There's also $120 million that will go into the Indigenous housing capital program. So that's going to work on that end.
On the other end, we're going put a hard cap on utility rates. We are going to cap the amount of money that students have to pay to go to a university, or college, or get post-secondary education.
Then we have a jobs plan as well where we are creating investment opportunities and we're going to attract an estimated $20 billion into the private sector investment, which will lead to about 47,000 good paying jobs. We're going to do this by creating an Alberta's future tax credit, which is targeting growth in emerging industrial sectors—so new technologies.
We're going to supercharge the Alberta petrochemical incentive program that we created when we were in government and then we're going to use a performance fast pass system to speed up the approvals of projects for responsible companies.
If your company has been really responsible and following all the rules, maintaining all of the regulations that they need to in terms of pollution and safety and all that kind of stuff, we're going to use that performance indicator to fast pass any expansion or new projects that company might want.
We're also going to consult with the Indigenous communities on the expansion of the Alberta’s Indigenous Opportunity Corporation. We have a big competitor in the States with the new Inflation Reduction Act that's however many billion dollars. They're pulling a lot of investment into the States and we need to have a way to compete in Alberta to bring some of that investment back.
With those two things combined, we hope to improve the economy for everyone and make life more affordable.
In what ways does your party plan on diversifying Alberta's economy?
[Our] jobs and investment strategy.
We will of course continue to support the oil and gas industry, which is the backbone of our economy, but by targeting growth in new technologies—whether that is using our existing infrastructure to look at an energy economy in hydrogen, whether we're looking at renewables, whether we're looking at high tech sectors that haven't even emerged yet, or high-tech banking which there's been a lot of in Alberta, especially in Calgary.
All of those tax credits and programs are looking at how we can use our existing infrastructure to supercharge growth, not just in energy, but in also diversifying our economy into that knowledge economy and into products and services that we haven't offered before. Also taking the existing products we have and using them in new ways like we haven't before.
In what ways does your party plan on supporting senior care?
Seniors will be part of the funding model that we are using for all of those people who are our most vulnerable. Making sure that their funding is indexed to inflation and we're going to back that up to 2019 and make sure that that indexing happens all the way along instead of the way it has been under this government.
Within our healthcare plan, by creating our family health teams, our seniors will be able to get more support in health team care clinics and that will reduce the demand on emergency services.
Then we also need to look at how we are funding and looking after seniors in the seniors housing that we have. A lot of which is quite old and a lot of which is going to require either renewal or a reimagining. Those are things that we will have to look at, examine, and plan for the future because some of us who are running are closer to that than we'd like to think.
How does your party plan on addressing the healthcare shortage?
In healthcare, we've got a couple of different plans. Firstly, we are going to build the expansion of the Red Deer Hospital. We've committed to, if we win government, having shovels in the ground by 2024 on that which is way overdue, probably 15 years overdue. We're going to do our best to speed that whole process up and start right away, but we also have our primary care plan.
For our primary care plan, the plan is we are going to create family health teams. By doing this we are either going to support doctors in existing clinics or even create new clinics where inside the clinic of the doctor, we have all kinds of related health professionals, [including] pharmacists, mental health therapists, nurse practitioners, psychologists, everybody is in. It's like a one stop shop and by putting everybody else together, we can really increase the efficiency of that clinic and make sure that doctor is not spending all of their time doing the paperwork and administration, but they're doing the things that they need to do. If you as a client or a patient need to go and get your prescriptions renewed, maybe you don't need to see the doctor for that, maybe you just need to go see the pharmacist at the clinic and they can review that and you're ready to go.
It uses everyone's time more efficiently. If you need to be referred to some specialist, that specialist may be right in the clinic and so your referral is much more quick. That's an amazing plan that has been used in some places in Alberta already and around the world and has been extremely effective.
We are also have committed to having the largest recruitment drive in Alberta history for health professionals. Health professionals are in great demand around the world and we have to be competitive both in our pay rates, but also in the way that our health professionals are treated. Certainly, throughout the last four years, they have not been treated with respect and we have to turn that around. We have to make Alberta a welcoming and inviting place for health professionals to come and make a life and a career and raise their families here.
We also have committed to an Innovation Fund and the point of the Innovation Fund is to have the best tech available for improving procurement, for improving patient file movement, for improving outcomes in hospitals, and all that kind of stuff. That's a $75 million fund over 4 years to encourage Alberta-made solutions inside of Alberta.
Does your party have any plans to improve justice in Alberta?
Everybody's looking for a simple solution to a very complex problem. We have a number of proposals that we have put forward.
We have committed to hiring 150 new police officers, but also at the same time 150 new social support workers, whether those are social workers, or mental health workers, or addictions workers. So that we can address some of the underlying causes of crime and disorder in Alberta today. We've also committed to keeping the RCMP and not getting rid of them.
We've committed to restoring the funding that municipalities had when the UCP took away the ticket fine funding for municipalities. Most of the cost for the 150 new officers and social support workers will come out of that $32 million that will be returned to the municipalities.
Then dealing with mental health, addictions, and affordable housing, all of those programs together are helping to deal with the underlying issues behind the increases in social disorder and crime, while also addressing the need for more police officers and frontline workers to deal with people who are in crisis.
Is there anything else you’d like to add?
Well, I'm a teacher, so I got a bee in my bonnet about education and the NDP is certainly going to support public education and have committed to funding in a sustainable fashion.
We have already determined that just due to enrollment growth over the last four years, we're about 2,000 teachers short to keep class sizes the same as they were just four years ago. [We’re] increasing the funding for those 2,000 teachers and making sure that we have supports in place for vulnerable students in our classrooms.
That's something that really has bothered me is that. I have students in my classroom with a wide-range of abilities and disabilities but the support is not there to support those students. If it's just me and 26 kids. It's awfully hard to do to meet all the needs of the kids who can't read, or the kids who come from another country and speak three other languages, but not English very well.
We need to have the supports in place so that all of the students in our system are able to reach their full potential. That is something that has motivated me to run in this election because I don't feel like my kids can advocate for themselves and I need to stand up and do it for them.