Ken Cundliffe likely was not a name that many Canadians outside the Lloydminster area would have known a little over a week ago. Now, the Lloydminster native has become known to people across the country after posting an open letter to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on his Facebook page.
Evidently, a lot of people agreed with him or were at least interested by what he had to say as the post has been shared thousands of times. In the letter, Cundliffe describes the harsh times his community is facing, and across the province, as a result of the economic downturn. The oil slump has lead to numerous job cuts and created dire situations for many families in the Prairies. Cundliffe was calling for help for the West. Cundliffe wanted answers.
He says he hopes he receives an answer from Trudeau, but not for himself. He just wants to see the public addressed, some sort of indication that the federal government understands and is looking for ways to help the West, and hopefully, will “get some stuff moving and resolved.”
“[The letter] was inspired by our community and all of Alberta, families and friends [of those who’ve] lost jobs and people scared,” Cundliffe explains “…the final straw that got me to write it was I was talking to a relative and her husband works at a small oil facility, and another coworker was laid off there. They’re pretty much exactly like my wife and I: small family, he was the only one working, and they’re rural Alberta so they really don’t have many options on where to work.”
Cundliffe says the response to his letter has been mostly positive and he was even contacted by a man from Montreal who looked up his phone number just to discuss the topic further and mention his own opinion on the matter. At this point, several media outlets from coast to coast have picked up his story, including sources in BC and Newfoundland, and even the CBC.
“I just wanted people to start talking about it. Yes, my letter was addressed to the federal government, but it’s got to start somewhere. They’re both new governments, we know that, our provincial and federal governments…but the excuses have to stop that they’re new governments. They took these roles. They got voted in and it’s here, it’s now.”