Cardston-Siksika UCP candidate, Joseph Schow provided the following answers to SSN’s candidate questionnaire:
1) What are the top issues in the Cardston-Siksika riding and what would you and your party do to try to address those issues?
Schow: I would say the issues for the population of Cardston-Siksika are not much different than anything else across the province. People are already concerned about affordability, access to education, healthcare, and making sure we have a strong economy and jobs. In particular to Cardston-Siksika is the strength of our agriculture sector. We have a lot of producers of my constituency, who have all expressed their concerns about the potential NDP plan to reopen the anti-farm legislation, and they want a government that is going to focus on the needs of agriculture and what the families that grow the food need.
2) Should Alberta implement a provincial police force or retain the RCMP? What about CPP versus a provincial pension plan?
Schow: “What I’m really hearing is the issue of people feeling safe in this province, that is a real concern for a lot of my constituents. As a province, prior to the election, and in a commitment, going forward, as a government, if we’re re-elected would be to continue to focus on the safety of Albertans. So you did see that we put more boots on the ground to help law enforcement and Calgary and Edmonton. We’re also working with Grand Prairie; they are looking to move towards their own local police force. The nation of Siksika has also requested, and is working with the Province on a police force. I think to address the over the overarching issue, which is crime and public safety, we’re adapting. We’re listening to the municipalities and working with them and addressing their needs and their requests.”
On the topic of CPP Schow offered the following comment: “It’s the people’s pension. The report is going to be laid out at some point whenever it’s ready and whenever that’s done, then the people have the chance to look at it and make a decision for themselves.”
3) With a global national push for more green energy how does Alberta integrate and promote the virtues of its oil and gas industry?
Schow: “I feel really strongly that we have a world-class energy sector with some of the highest ethical and production standards in the world, if not the highest. The world needs more Canadian energy, and as the government, our job is to support that. We had to be very serious about being responsible for future generations, but also recognize that like i said, the world needs more Canadian energy and as a province, we’re going to continue to support our sector unlike the NDP whose emissions cap plan, would cost Albertans over $80 billion. It is not a credible plan, and frankly, i think that anybody who sees that would see that it will hurt our province, it’ll hurt our country and we just can’t go down that road. We’ve seen with the NDP wants to do with energy sector in the past and we can’t allow them to that again.
4) The state of the province’s healthcare system remains a top issue for voters. What has to be done to make our system more responsive to the needs of Albertans?
Schow: “Healthcare is a complex issue and it’s something that doesn’t have just a one-size fits all solution. We’ve worked very hard especially in recent months, naming Dr. John Cowell on the AHS board to ensure that we’re meeting our targets. As of Dec. 2022, we have 11,400 physicians, that’s up from the year prior which was almost 1,000 physicians fewer than that. Rural Alberta continues to struggle to attract physicians, but working with municipalities to find ways to solve that problem. We also look at increasing funding we have committed, for example, 72 million dollars over the next three years, to create another 3,400, new seats in post-secondary health care programs across Alberta. We’ve also invested $113 million to add 100 residency training spaces for newly graduated physicians particularly in rural areas which of course is very important to my constituency and also making sure both Siksika and the Blood Tribe have access to health care as well.”
5) Do you have a vision of what this province will look like in ten years and what does this look like?
Schow: “In 10 years, this province has more workers, and families moving to this province who feel like it is a beacon of hope and opportunity. With low taxes, and small government which truly understands what Albertans need. That’s why i ran for office four years ago; it’s why I am running for office again. As a fifth generation southern Albertan, I owe it to my parents, grandparents and their parents, who helped build this province, to keep it a place of opportunity. They moved here because there’s there’s a lot of great opportunity and they worked hard to build this province and i want to continue on the legacy and so an Alberta that i see in 10 years from now or 20 years from now has a strong driving energy sector, great health care, as it does now, great education for families, rural Alberta is thriving.”