If you wake up early, go to work, and come home to feed your family, then I support you. I highly respect people who work with their hands. Most of my work has been of the office variety, but I have cleaned buses, done kitchen prep and landscaping, and volunteered as a firefighter. As a secondary duty, currently, I am the ‘OH&S guy’ in the Planning Department of Edmonton Public Schools. Also, my time in the military has shown me what it means to be somewhere in the lower-middle echelons of a large organization; and I work alongside many hard-working and dedicated people who inspire me.
I know that many people work just for a paycheck. They work so they can feed themselves and their families, and so that they can retire with dignity. To that I say: good for you. Keep it up. Make sure your spouse is happy and that the kids get to play some sports or go on a road trip.
For those who form unions to organize labour and protect your jobs, I also support you. My time in the military has taught me the importance of ‘fraternity’, for lack of a better term. I can clearly see that the people at the top are not always pushing down the best decisions, despite their good intentions. Those actually doing the work should have a say in how it is done. The military has an avenue for information to travel up the chain of command (not just down) and I think that similar systems should be in place everywhere. If you are sweating on a production floor and you don’t think that you have the proper safety equipment, or you want time off to help your elderly parents move into a seniors’ home, then you should have the support of your employer to do so. There should be no fear of reprisals for raising concerns to management.
The current morale among City workers is low and that is a shame. I support respecting our employees and providing decent wages. We need to do something to boost the pride that City workers once had. The City can save money by stopping wasteful projects, but not by disrespecting its employees.
I am running for City Council in Ward 3, and I want all civic employees to know that I support you. When I criticize municipal initiatives, I am criticizing the decision-makers at the top, not the men and women who are doing what they are told. I sometimes have creative ideas for alternative service delivery, but we will always need people to do the work. Recently, I toured one of Edmonton’s road maintenance facilities and was awed at the good people I met.
I support keeping jobs in Alberta. I am pro-pipeline, but I would like to see more upgrading here, rather than in Texas: “Refine it where you mine it.” I think that I am the only municipal candidate who talks positively about the oil and gas industry. I’m proud of the role that this industry has had in shaping modern Alberta and our advanced quality of life. Thank you to all of these hardworking people for your world-class approach to responsible resource extraction. We do it the best here. Not only do I support hard work, I value it.
My father-in-law has spent a career in the oilfield and he was able to provide for his family, even when times were tight. During the downturns, the family had to tighten their belts, but everyone made it through. Now his daughter, my wife, has become a successful teacher who has won two awards in her three years on the job. Karly credits her success in part to having a loving family that values hard work and getting one’s hands dirty to get the job done.
To the heavy duty mechanic or the bus operator, if you have been doing the same job for a few decades, then I think you know what you are doing, and you don’t need a twenty-two-year-old recent university grad to boss you around. Your managers should come from the industry you are in and should have a working knowledge of the tasks you complete. The transition of a lead hand to foreman is a decent progression in my opinion.
And good on you if you started a small business and you are now employing people. Are your City of Edmonton business taxes too high? When taxes are too high, companies cannot afford to hire as much, and then people go on welfare. When taxes are lower, there are more jobs.
Switching gears slightly, I want to thank several industries for actively supporting veterans. I just received a presentation from Forces@Work, one of several organizations (such as Canada Company and Helmets to Hardhats) that help former military members acquire civilian jobs. They prioritize helping veterans that were medically released, and I think that that is an important distinction.
But all of these organizations require funding. There will always be a place for these groups, but the government could help more.
Why doesn’t the City of Edmonton do more for veterans? For those who have served 30 years in the Regular Force, there is a good chance that they have been posted to multiple Canadian cities throughout their service. So when they choose to remain in Edmonton, despite the cold, it is a significant comment on the quality of life here. But, unfortunately, relationships can change over time.
Recently, I have not seen much support from the City of Edmonton toward the military. If I am elected to Ward 3, I will seek to give veterans a preferred status on city job applications, which would serve as a tiebreaker among otherwise equal candidates.
On the flipside, I want to encourage more people to join the Reserve Force. I joined at age 29, so you don’t have to be a keen 18-year-old to do so. The Canadian Armed Forces has invested heavily in me with all of the training that I have received, and I think that more people should capitalize on these opportunities. And it is a great outlet to show Canadian pride.
As a Reservist, you have a second job, which means that you may be able to continue to support your family if you are laid off from your regular job. It is a crutch with dignity. Throughout my service, I have heightened my senses of loyalty, leadership, stewardship, hard work, and team work. Although it is not a pre-requisite for serving on City Council, I can’t help but feel that my military experience has prepared me for the collaborative job of being a Councillor.
I believe I will be the only person with military experience on Council, and so I will look out for military members and veterans in Edmonton, not just those in Ward 3.
Additionally, I will look out for all hardworking Edmontonians. I will not bash the oil and gas industry and I will not talk down to you for driving a truck, as so many of our elected officials do while snickering. My last vehicle was an F-150, and I loved the freedom it provided. Occasionally, my father-in-law allows me to drive his diesel three-quarter-tonne Dodge. For all of you still driving big trucks, I hope you get an overtime hour or two in order for you to pay the carbon tax that our provincial government has just imposed upon us.
There is almost no one in the provincial government with oilfield or agricultural experience. While they bash these industries, they are dependent on the royalties and economic spin-offs they produce. So with our provincial government out of order, let’s at least get a common-sense guy elected to City Council who will do what he can to keep property taxes low. But I will only be elected if you support me. I require votes and I am taking donations. If you are up for door-knocking with me, let me know and we will engage the community together.
I won’t be able to win alone. Can I count on you?
North Side Journal
On October 16, vote “Jon D for Ward 3”