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Election 2021: Dan Albas — Conservative candidate for Central Okanagan-Similkameen-Nicola

Dan Albas is the incumbent Conservative candidate for Central Okanagan-Similkameen-Nicola
Conservative Dan Albas speaks in Ottawa on Dec. 8, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld

Unsure who to vote for? Want to know more about your local candidates? Black Press Media has you covered with profiles of the candidates for Kelowna-Lake Country and Central Okanagan-Similkameen-Nicola. As election day approaches, we will publish short profiles of each candidate who responds to our request. These will be published on a first-come-first-serve basis as soon as the candidate comes in for a video interview and completes our written Q&A. All written responses are straight from the candidate, with edits only for grammar and style.

Provide a brief bio of yourself.

Dan Albas was the Conservative MP for the riding of Central Okanagan-Similkameen-Nicola in the 43rd Parliament.

Before entering public life, Dan was the owner of Kick City Martial Arts, responsible for training adults and young people in the mental and physical discipline of the martial arts. Dan is a firm believer in accountability and is well known for maintaining a 24/7 answering service and frequently returns calls on evening and weekends.

In addition to monitoring his own emails, Dan writes weekly columns to provide citizens with regular updates of his activities in Ottawa and is recognized as one of Canada’s top 10 most active Members of Parliament on social media.

How do you plan to lead this riding out of the COVID-19 pandemic? Do you support the implementation of a proof of vaccination program?

The Central Okanagan Similkameen Nicola riding is large and diverse, requiring a multi-faceted approach as we emerge from this pandemic. Aside from the pandemic, we also face climate-related challenges from wildfires and in recent years flooding. In communities like Merritt, Princeton and West Kelowna, forestry is the largest private-sector employer. For many small business owners, they cannot find enough workers to stay open. We have many challenges. The Conservative plan to secure our future is the only platform with a clear vision of how we move forward.

The Liberals in contrast have offered a spending document proposing more of the same approach since Justin Trudeau became PM in 2015. I believe nobody will accuse Justin Trudeau of not spending enough money – he has spent record amounts and promises spending more. The challenge is we need to get results for that spending. Our Conservative platform offers a bold vision that will get results.

Can you name one recommendation from the TRC Calls to Action and any concrete plans to implement the recommendation if you are elected?

Of the calls to action one that comes to mind is #19 — calling upon the federal government, in consultation with Aboriginal peoples, to establish measurable goals to identify and close the gaps in health outcomes between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal communities.

Human health is so important – and more so during a pandemic. We witnessed disproportionate impacts on Indigenous people during this pandemic. Provincial health authorities often make policies without any Indigenous consultation.

In my view, we need to end the Ottawa-imposed “one-size fits all” approach to dealing with Indigenous communities. I believe elected officials have a duty to sit down with the leadership of every Indigenous community within their riding with the goal of taking concerns forward to Ottawa to find the support needed to bridge the gap in health and all areas where this is such a large and unacceptable divide.

What are your personal ideas regarding climate change and how do you plan to represent your riding’s specific interests in this regard, for example, wildfires and extreme drought?

The Central Okanagan Similkameen Nicola has been impacted by climate change. Hot, drier summers have created unprecedent wildfire activity and fire decimated forests will increase flood hazards during spring run-off.

We now have technology for helicopters to fight wildfires where structures are threatened during the night. Despite having this technology, we are not using it while homes are being lost during the evening hours. I would advocate for federal funding in emergency situations where homes are threatened.

We also need improved water management. We need infrastructure to deal with water run-off as well as threats to small community water systems that lack the tax base to fund these projects without assistance from Ottawa.

In Logan Lake the “Fire Smart” program proved to be very effective against the threats of wildfire. I would like to see that program expanded as a federal program and made available to other rural resource communities located in interface areas.

Which Canadian political figure, past or present, inspires you the most and why?

In more recent times I would say Jody Wilson-Raybould. It requires tremendous courage to stand up to Justin Trudeau and to do so not out of self-interest but out of principle and doing the right thing.

For all of this, Ms. Wilson-Raybould sacrificed her seat at the cabinet table, as well as standing in the Liberal caucus after she was fired from the Liberal caucus by Justin Trudeau.

Ultimately it could be argued she sacrificed her political career because of her courage and her integrity.

Many do not realize the strength required to oppose a Prime Minister and the very powerful unelected people who pull the levers of power within the PMO (Prime Ministers Office) — Jody Wilson-Raybould did all of those things and in doing so provided a valuable service to Canadians.