I received the following questions from a citizen of Red Deer. I thought they were indicative of the general population’s feelings about the election/concerns of the city. I asked if I could share the questions and my answers, and she was kind enough to agree. I hope they provide you with some understanding on how I am approaching the election. I warn you now, it’s a bit of a longer read. You might want to grab a snack and a drink.
1) WHY are YOU running for council?
Glad you asked. You can take the short easy way to the answer here via video:
www.facebook.com/unland4rd – it’s pinned to the top of the page.
Or, you can take your time and really dive in with the response below:
2) Of three of your opponents, who would you like to see successful in this race with you and why?
If I stopped to ask some politically minded folks about how to answer this question, I think they would likely be hospitalized by the sheer audacity that I want to answer it (I can hear them screaming: “it’s a trap!” and “you can’t win by answering this question!”). Good thing (for both them and me) that I am not asking them.
Ken Johnston. I recently spoke with Ken at the Saturday Market, and while I had heard many good things about Ken, it was obvious right away from our conversation that he is a councillor for the right reasons. He has a big heart and is trustworthy of such an office.
Matt Slubik. Full disclaimer, Matt and I are friends. With that said, I take my endorsements (in all aspects of life) very seriously. I would like to see Matt on council because he is smart. I don’t mean that in the academic sort of way (though I think he fits that description too), but rather in a social/political sense. Matt and I disagree often which results in vigorous debate. Where I see Matt being good on council is that despite disagreements, what is always most important is not position or being right, but instead finding the best answer.
At this point I do not have a third I feel comfortable endorsing. This is not necessarily a reflection on the candidates but more so because I need to learn more about the reasons they are running and what qualifications they bring.
3) What is the single most important issue to you?
Safety/crime. Everything else we have in this city is a moot point if we don’t have safety. Nice parks, services, etc, all matter little and less if crime is a problem.
4) What is the best thing that you have seen happen in Red Deer in the last 4 years?
The community response to the windstorm we experienced earlier this year was positively reaffirming. It reminded me (and others) on how important community is and also how great of a community we have. It demonstrated that we are not just people living beside each other, we are neighbours and we look out for one another.
5) What is the worst thing you have seen happen in Red Deer in the last 4 years?
Crime. Both petty and serious crime. It’s unacceptable.
6) Crime is a big topic lately. People are talking about needing more policing. Do you feel the same? If you do, how do you think this can be done financially? Some things are worth spending money on – of course – so if you feel the same, where would you cut funding? Or would you?
As you can see from previous answers, this is important to me. I am of the firm belief we need more police. We can’t read the news each day and hear from our neighbours about more break-ins, theft, and violence and ignore the fact that we simply don’t have enough police to deal with the situation.
I don’t want to mince words. This is a cost item. More police will cost money. I am 100% okay with that statement. We can talk about fiscal restraint all we want, but if we aren’t safe, paying less tax is no longer a significant benefit.
So where do we get the money? Two options. 1. Raise taxes. 2. Cut spending somewhere else. I’ll briefly speak to both. I don’t want to raise taxes. However my friend that had his truck broken into this week and my neighbour that had two of his vehicles broken into in the past month would pay more in taxes to avoid this situation. So I am not convinced that increasing taxes for a cause like this is a non-starter. Of course a more palatable approach would be to find money by cutting something else. As a candidate from the outside looking in this is difficult for me to speak to with any sort of certainty or educated direction because I have not had the benefit of debating and having the different budget items explained to me in depth. With that said, one of the first places I will be investigating is the cost of hiring temporary workers (think grass cutters) during the summer. This seems like an area that could be hired out to private industry at a much lower cost than the city currently pays.
The other side of this coin is preventing crime in the first place (not just being able to react to it). To me, this is just as important as having the ability to respond. In “The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make A Big Difference”, Malcom Gladwell explains how cracking down on petty crime (this was in New York), such as graffiti and not paying for public transportation, had a significant impact on decreasing more serious crimes. There is a good reason to believe that this would also apply to us.
7) Due to the fact that every year I come close to having a heart attack shovelling snow from the street in front of my house, Snow removal is a hot topic for me. How do you feel about the current program? How would you improve it? Again, how would you propose funding for changes? (Side note, personally, I would rather take the risk of heart attack every other year, instead of once a year. )
In my twelve years of living in Red Deer I can certainly say that snow removal has gotten better. When I first arrived it seemed to be common practice to start ploughing main roads at 8:00am when everyone was heading to work. Thankfully this practice seems to have been put aside. Your comments are focused on the windrows that are created from the surface-ploughing that occurs on the side roads. When it comes to this, we have made things worse. Expecting citizens to shovel out the space in front of their house so they can park is just not feasible for a good portion of our residents. Add to this, the problem of potholes and roughness that surface-ploughing creates and you have roads that would make even rural Saskatchewan blush!
Like the policing question above, this comes down to money. Is this where we should spend tax payer money? Personally, this issue is below policing to me, but certainly providing basic services (like road clearing) to citizens that pay the city to do just that is more than reasonable. Funding improvements in this area would be similar to the policing answer above.
Thank you for the questions!
Strategies to Manage Persistent Pain, September 16th
Strategies to Manage Persistent Pain Thursday, September 16, 2021 1:00-2:00 pm
Red Deer Public Library Facebook Live
Come learn more about persistent (chronic) pain from our team at Red Deer PCN. You will learn about different types of pain, medication to manage ongoing pain, the effects and benefits of opioids, and the importance of non-medication strategies to help manage your pain.
Presented by Red Deer PCN’s Dr. Myburgh G.P, Jennifer Howe, Pharmacist & Jennifer Wallin, Psychologist.
Tune into Facebook Live at Red Deer Public Library Facebook page for this program.
This is one of a series of health-related programs co-sponsored by the Red Deer PCN and the Red Deer Library.
Watch for others in the series!
Read more stories from the Red Deer Primary Care Network.
Getting My Blood Glucose Back in the Normal Range Gave Me Tears of Joy
Diabetes runs in my family; my mom has it and my grandma did too. Well before Christmas 2019, at a routine physical my doctor told me that I have diabetes. I tried to bring it down for the next 3 months, but I was not successful, in fact it got worse. At this time, the doctor referred me to the PCN Family Nurse. I started seeing her and we made plans for how I could get through the Christmas season. However, I did very poorly as I love sweets. Getting poor readings, feeling exhausted and worrying who would look after my daughter if something were to happen to me left me very lethargic and depressed.
The nurse was patient and very encouraging. She helped me to change my mindset. I decided to take up the challenge to improve my blood glucose. The nurse and I talked about the rice in my diet and portion sizes of rice. I am from an island nation and rice is our staple. I did some testing of my blood glucose after consuming some of my favorite foods and I notice that amount of rice I was consuming did increase my blood glucose significantly. I thought I could never have a meal without it being mostly rice but I have learned now that I can do this quite easily. Even though I have a puppy, I would only walk her for 5 to 10 minutes at a time.
Since my mindset change, I worked to build up my activity. I started with 5-minute stints and pushed myself forward until now I am at one-hour stints. I take the dog for nice long walks and we both enjoy it. People comment on how good I look and how much more energetic I am. I feel really good now, both physically and mentally. The nurse helped to give me the confidence to tackle diabetes. I had tears of joy when I learned my blood glucose is back to the normal range.
To learn more about the RDPCN programs, visit www.reddeerpcn.com
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