A father of three is throwing his hat in the ring for the Vermilion-Lloydminster-Wainwright riding with a contention that the voices of the people are not being heard.
Matthew Powell, who moved to Wainwright in 1988 is from a military family. The oil and gas truck operator says there’s no representation.
“When we elect somebody, we expect them to represent us. We give them our vote and basically it goes directly to the leader of the party and then our voices are silenced. There’s no more representation. You don’t really hear anything from your MLA again until the next election and then you get this big, fancy spiel. We re-elect them and then – same thing again for another four years.”
Powell has a son with Type One Diabetes. He was one of the people who stood up against the province when it attempted to shift funding for insulin pumps.
“This is close to home – and for a lot of Albertans. This is a big deal. It’s lifesaving. And for them to just come after it, ‘Why are we doing this?’ The response was, ‘It’s not about saving money, it’s about creating a better-quality program.’ And in all reality, what are we creating – we are making a big mess here. That’s what we are doing. And we are taking funding from there, so, we can move it somewhere else.”
Last July, the health minister saying that they had listened to stakeholders, walked back the government’s proposal to shift the cost of insulin pumps to employer health plans like Alberta Blue Cross.
Powell is concerned about health care and the need for more doctors in rural areas. Also, what he terms the overreach of municipal government through the Municipal Government Act in proposing bylaws on things like land use. The candidate has been active in a group called Residents of MD61 Land Use Bylaw which has been holding meetings in the Wainwright area to talk about proposed changes to bylaws in that municipal district.
Overall, on the issue of being an independent he feels that he can bring better representation without having to answer to a big party.
“You can’t go to your MLA right now and say what’s going on, because they are not allowed to represent you anymore. They have to tow the party line. I honestly believe that I can speak up for the people because I have no one stopping me.”