Four candidates have been confirmed in the Innisfail-Sylvan Lake riding for the upcoming provincial election on May 5.
Vying to become the riding’s next MLA are Danielle Klooster (Alberta Party), Patricia Norman (New Democratic Party), Don MacIntyre (Wildrose) and Kerry Towle (Progressive Conservative).
Each candidate has been carrying out his and her own campaigning over the past several weeks, and the group of MLA hopefuls could gather collectively for an election forum nearer the time of the vote.
The Sylvan Lake Chamber of Commerce confirmed earlier this week it was trying to reach out to each candidate to find out which of them would be willing to participate in such an event.
As of press time, no details had been confirmed.
Representing the Alberta Party is Danielle Klooster, a former two-term town councillor in Penhold who ran under the same banner in the 2012 provincial election.
Klooster feels her political experience, combined with a solid understanding of community, makes her the ideal candidate for the role.
“I understand community, I understand the economy and I understand the needs of business, so I feel like I have a really well-balanced portfolio of experience and skill that gives me a strong ability to be an effective MLA,” she said.
A consultant specializing in community development, economic development and strategic business planning and development, Klooster feels the Alberta Party is the riding’s only viable alternative to the PC Party.
“We have a strong vision for Alberta that’s very common sense and that’s not punitive to Albertans,” she said. “It builds on our strengths in a very sensible way. There’s no extreme things in any of our policy.
“(Constituents) can either do the same thing, expecting different results, or they can vote for a new, fresh vision that has a strong idea of what Alberta can be.”
New Democratic Party
NDP candidate Patricia Norman also ran in the 2012 election, and says her political views and beliefs haven’t changed since that time.
“I want to see education for everybody from the beginning to the end, accessible day care for everybody, accessible housing, better land use and keep our environment safe and secure for all of us,” she said.
Norman, a Red Deer County resident employed as a supervisor for adult individuals with cognitive disabilities in Red Deer, feels the election marks the opportunity to “give (Albertans) another chance.”
“I think we’re due for a change,” she said. “Forty-four years with Conservatives in Alberta — let’s give somebody else a chance. Change is always good.”
Her familiarity with the area, she feels, makes her the choice candidate for the riding.
“I am somebody who lives in the area, and has been in the area for 20-plus years,” she said. “I have a good awareness of what’s going on, and I’m not a new person with the New Democrats. I will show people out there voting that I didn’t run away.”
Wildrose candidate Don MacIntyre became involved in politics after deciding he could “sit on the sidelines no more.”
“The big reason I jumped into this race in the first place is because I saw people being treated callously by a government that had lost compassion for Albertans,” he said. “I’m getting involved, and many other Albertans feel the same way and they’re getting involved. We have to take this province back.”
MacIntyre said the platform on which he’s campaigning focuses on democracy and accountability, education, rural needs and addressing the provincial deficit.
Of the lattermost, he said: “We maintain that Alberta does not have a revenue problem; the government has a spending problem. We are the only party with a plan to balance the budget without raising taxes or cutting frontline services.”
The Sylvan Lake resident and NAIT alternative energy instructor said he wants to see a better Alberta for all.
“I have six children and nine grandchildren, and I have a familial investment in seeing my Alberta prosper and be a holistic place for my family, friends and neighbours.”
PC candidate Kerry Towle wants to continue the momentum she says the Central Alberta area has experienced recently.
And while she’s “thankful” for the recent announcement that an urgent care centre would be funded for Sylvan Lake, she knows there’s still plenty of work to do on the project — work she’s intent on seeing through.
“We had the announcement, and we’re grateful for that, but we want to make sure that it’s the right services for our community,” she said.
Towle also wants to continue to ensure seniors and people in care are treated with dignity and respect, and that landowners’ property rights are protected.
Her experience and accomplishments over the past three years, she feels, make her the ideal candidate to carry the riding forward.
“It’s great to say that you want something — it’s a whole other thing to be able to co-operate with the government to get and achieve what we need,” she said. “We worked really hard over the last three years, and we’re on the map, but we need to keep that momentum going.”