Rich Valley resident and Onoway business owner Dale Johnson is hoping to earn the UCP nomination in the new riding of Lac Ste. Anne-Parkland.
Johnson is one of five candidates looking to win that nomination in a riding that combines pieces of four current ridings, including the west side of Sturgeon County.
Johnson has been involved in politics throughout his life, and said he has been keeping a close eye on Alberta’s last two elections as past president of the Whitecourt-Ste. Anne PC association. He felt he needed to run this time in an attempt to fix some of the issues facing Albertans.
“I’ve always, always wanted to help people – and that’s pretty much what politics is about,” he said.
“I’ve been sitting back, watching what’s been happening … (and) said, ‘OK, it’s time – I have to stand up and try to make a difference.’ ”
With the diversity of the Lac Ste. Anne-Parkland constituency, Johnson said he sees a variety of needs that need to be addressed, from provincial debt to job creation.
He said he is hearing from people that the impact of phasing out coal is “devastating” on residents in the riding.
“I don’t think anybody in the government currently has really taken a hard look at the actual effects of what that’s going to do.”
Agricultural issues are also top of mind for Johnson, particularly addressing issues related to Bill 6 and making things easier on farmers.
“I honestly believe, personally, that there are two things that drive the Alberta economy: one is our natural resources and the other is agriculture,” he said.
“Farmers are hurting as well, and we’re adding regulations that I don’t think actually should be added.”
A father of two and grandfather of four, Johnson has lived in Rich Valley since 1964, with a short stint in Onoway before moving back out to his family farm. He has owned Country Automotive Specialists Ltd. in Onoway for approximately 38 years.
Johnson spent 15 years on the board of the former Aspen Regional Health Authority before the province amalgamated the health authorities into Alberta Health Services.
He also spent time as a tribunal chair for Alberta’s Persons with Developmental Disabilities program, where he travelled across Alberta hearing cases.
He said those experiences have helped him to understand the outer and inner workings of the provincial government.
Johnson is facing off against Jerry Molnar, Everett Normandeau, Leah Wood and Barb Costache for the Lac Ste. Anne-Parkland nomination.
Meanwhile, in the Morinville-St. Albert riding, five candidates are vying for the UCP nomination: Joe Gosselin, Donald Rigney, Amber Harris, Trina Jones and Dale Nally.
Shawna Gawreluck is the only NDP candidate currently seeking nomination in the same riding, although incumbents such as Trevor Horne from Spruce Grove-St. Albert have yet to declare in which riding they will seek the nomination.
St. Albert MLA Marie Renaud is seeking the NDP nomination in the St. Albert riding.
Current Barrhead-Morinville-Westlock MLA Glenn van Dijken has secured the UCP nomination for the May 2019 election. Van Dijken is running in the Athabasca-Barrhead-Westlock riding after the ridings were redrawn in 2017 and his current riding, Barrhead-Morinville-Westlock, was divided.