Daniel Jeffries is a local teacher from the Mirror area running as a candidate in the Lacombe-Ponoka riding with the Wildrose Loyalty Coalition. He has been a pastor, a coal miner and self-employed. He decided to get involved in this election after becoming increasing frustrated with the government's response to the pandemic.
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?
Inflation is caused by too much money following too few goods. With the amount of restriction stimuli that came down from the Federal Government, it's really increased the overall money supply. That extra money is now finding its way into real goods and services, real estate, and that sort of stuff.
There's not much that we can do about straining back on the amount of money that's been brought into service here. Then you can compound that with the supply disruptions during shutdowns and whatnot. Now there's fewer goods going around. That definitely has inflationary factors and those are really beyond our control.
Although if we were to become our own nation, we would look at having our own sort of currency there, which would not be subject to money printing like that. We would be faced with the Canadian dollar right now.
Secondarily to that, there's the notion of price increases. Price increases are not necessarily because of inflation. It's because producers need to pass on the cost of what they're making on to their consumers so that they can continue to make a profit. When we have our producers who are being hit by extra taxes, carbon this and that's—which are really doing nothing for the environment. That extra cost that they bear has to be passed on to us. Since carbon touches every part of our lives, we really feel the pinch in everything that we do from fuel at the pumps, to groceries at the store, everything touches hydrocarbons in our lives right now. So that's a significant thing. We would get rid of all those unnecessary carbon taxes to try and reduce the cost increases that everyday consumers face.
In what ways does your party plan on diversifying Alberta’s economy?
I think what we need to do is focus on what we do the best. We have a large number of skilled workers in the oil and gas field. We have skilled workers in the agricultural field. We've got a lot of these things which have been almost neglected. I think the Federal Government has really worked against our natural industries.
I don't know necessarily that we need to diversify. What we need to do is recognize that carbon dioxide is not the problem and that our oil and gas is ethically produced and the world needs more of it. I would like to see us reboot the oil and gas sector as much as we can and see our farmers be able to thrive so that everybody in Alberta can thrive.
For the government to step in and diversify things, I think doesn't work because the government's priorities are never what the market's priorities are. If we let the free market decide, we allow people to make their own decisions on where they need to diversify. If they see opportunities, the individual entrepreneur can see opportunities where a government cannot. We want to set-up situations so that our entrepreneurs can thrive and really support our economy. They're the real taxpayers when it comes down to it.
In what ways does your party plan on supporting senior care?
We want to make sure that people aren't neglected in those ways. I think a major issue that seniors face is the cost of living. They're on fixed incomes and pensions and things which aren't indexed necessarily to the inflationary pressures here and they're in a tough spot.
We have extended care facilities which are quite expensive. They need to be able to plan for their future. I don't know that we would have a plan immediately to address those things beyond, reducing the overall cost of living.
Then looking forward too as we do some long-term planning, if we can have their children be able to have more money in their pockets so that they can make some investment decision those families will be able to better take care of their seniors when it comes time. They'll have been able to have the cash to make investments planning for the future rather than just living day-to-day.
How does your party plan on addressing the healthcare shortages?
What we need are more frontline workers. We don't need more management there. Although with that being said, our party would like to re-regionalize the health boards there so that local people can make more local decisions.
We've been waiting a long time for things to happen, particularly with this Red Deer Hospital. Why haven't things gone quicker? That's a good question.
What we want to see is the local people being able to get more of the funds into the areas they need. We've got citizens in Alberta, on the eastern, western, and the northern edges of the provinces who could use more hospitals, and of course, then we need to staff them. What we need is those local areas to be able to prioritize and incentivize the ability to keep doctors and nurses up there. If we give them more freedom, they can meet the needs of their people.
We'd also like to change the funding for hospitals, instead of it being, I believe it's called a global funding thing where the hospital gets so many millions or billions of dollars to operate during the year. We'd want to change it so the hospital would be incentivized to provide more services. Instead of getting a flat rate to start the year, they would then get paid by the government for the services that they provide. That would incentivize them to offer more services and stay fully staffed and go forward that way.
Healthcare is a really tough one because there's so many problems that are coming to bear all at once and it's going to take a lot of work to make some changes there.
Does your party have any plans to improve justice in Alberta?
Probably the the chief area of justice that our party has a stance on is the creation of an Alberta police force. We would want to move away from the RCMP and have an Alberta police force there so that we can keep Albertans in Alberta and not have police officers move around the whole country.
We'd like to see some people make connections in the community, be able to stay there, and to have long term effects, rather than having to be moved as per the RCMP policies. Then we could get more control on particular regions there.
An Alberta police force would be a bit quicker to act on taking care of hotspots or flare ups that we have. I mean we've got an issue with gangs and if we can get some better resources put towards that, we can maybe make Alberta a bit of a safer place that way.
Is there anything else you'd like to add?
Our party views a lot of our problems as being rooted in Ottawa. We really feel like a lot of the Federal things that are coming down and affecting our day-to-day lives, are our roots of these issues.
These carbon taxes in particular, this notion of carbon net-zero—which some parties in our province are amenable to—we think that's really nonsense. The world needs carbon dioxide. We need carbon dioxide. It’s plant food. We don't need to be ashamed of it. If we can remove those sorts of unnecessary taxes, if we can remove Ottawa from the Alberta equation, I think we'll be a lot better off.
I think that the people of Alberta are strong enough, wise enough, nimble enough to be able to adapt and to make this province great. Sorry to use that set of words that might trigger some people, but we have the people, we have the resources, to really to really let Alberta shine in this way. We need to just get rid of the shackles of Ottawa and let us be us and away we go.