What was supposed to be an all-candidates political forum turned out to be a one-man show. Incumbent Joe Anglin was the only candidate that showed up at the political forum held in Bentley the evening of April 29.
About 75 people came, a very good turn out for Bentley, most expecting and hoping to hear from at least three candidates, and to see them in head-to-head action.
Moderator Connie Jensen, from Concerned Citizens for Democracy, the group that set up the event, introduced herself and explained that the group tries to set up forums where there seems to be a lack of one.
In many cases a local chamber of commerce hosts them.
Jensen was almost apologetic as she explained that despite invitations to all four candidates, the event would not be a debate because of lack of challengers.
She explained that the PC candidate Tammy Cote did apologize for not coming, but neither the NDP candidate nor Wildrose candidate Jason Nixon had responded at all to the invitation to attend.
She was very pleased with the number of perspective voters that turned out that necessitated more chairs being hauled out a number of times.
The Cote campaign had been in Bentley that same day, April 29, as was veri- fied by many in attendance who said PC pamphlets had been delivered to their homes a short while before.
Questions were written ahead of time and also taken from the floor.
After introducing himself and stating why he did not cross the floor but chose to sit as an independent candidate, Anglin responded to a variety of questions.
“If we get a minority government we can do a lot of things different,” said Joe, mentioning that the budget had not been passed yet and explaining that an Independent can pack a lot a clout.
With only one candidate out of four showing up, one might expect that some people who came to listen and ‘learn’ might leave early, but that was not the case. Most stayed right until the end.
When asked what some of his local priorities were he mentioned the hospital in Rocky Mountain House and maybe a dialysis unit in the Rimbey hospital, concerns about the local environment including dis- appearing agricultural land to foreign ownership and development, and how that can effect the economy of Alberta.
He explained he feels decisions for things like education and health care should be made from the grassroots level up, not from the top down. “There should be local control for local needs. That is the most efficient and effective model. Who knows better what is needed than those at the local level?”
“There are lots of ways to cut waste,” he said, noting high paid employees at the upper levels.
When asked about a possible completion date for the Highway 12 bypass around Bentley that has been talked about for over 20 years and seen lots of money spent, Joe’s response was “maybe when you get rid of this (current) government.”
When asked about a seniors’ lodge for Bentley he agreed that seniors should not be split up but have places to stay closer to home with friends and family.
Some things have not worked well he said. “De-regulation of electricity has not worked! You have seen huge increases in costs to the consumer and it will continue.” He has been working on getting companies to have to reveal what the “hidden” charges on power bills are actually for.
How to get the younger voters involved was seen as an issue. Joe feels having them more informed and educated about the system and how it is supposed to work is key and that high school students should be kept up-to-date.
Joe reiterated how he would continue to represent and stand up for his constituents and that he does not have to bow to any party policies.
The event wrapped up around 8:30 p.m.