Brice Unland has been an educator with Red Deer Catholic Regional Schools for 11 years and has decided to engage with local politics by running for Red Deer City council. Getting involved with government is something Unland has encouraged his students to take part in.
“It was something I had thrown around for a long while,” Unland said. “In my job as a teacher, we obviously talk about government and we encourage our students to participate. It seemed like a natural progression and it seemed like something I’d want to look into and see how it works.
“I would like to bring some of my talents and skills to that arena.”
Unland noted he would be one of the younger councillors if elected and he feels that he can bring the perspective of that significant demographic to council. Unland also feels that his experience with representing Central Alberta teachers provincially will be invaluable.
“My involvement in the Alberta Teachers Association (ATA) has me involved with a lot of policy setting, committee work and those sorts of activities which will transition well to being useful on council,” he said.
Unland outlined his platform, which focuses heavily on protecting citizens and property in the City.
“The three main pillars of my platform are community, safety and dialogue,” he said.
“In the community aspect, I feel that as Red Deer grows it is important we maintain a small town feel and the idea that we all know one another.
“With safety, it is a primary concern for all of us and it is something that continues to be brought up in the news and we see it everyday. With dialogue it’s about how we communicate between council and the citizens of Red Deer.
“My belief is that through community we can, in part, take care of some of the safety concerns we have if we maintain that idea that we are all neighbours and that we are all connected in some way – rather then just a citizen living in a large city.”
Unland feels that despite ongoing safety concerns, Red Deer is in a good position to grow and thrive.
“I don’t feel that Red Deer has any sort of drastic insurmountable problems,” he said.
“I am not running for council because I think they are doing a bad job or need to be replaced. I think that Red Deer as a city is doing very well and I think it is a great place to live.”
Unland described his political leanings, which differ socially and fiscally.
“My father-in-law would have described me when I was getting married as socially very liberal and than fiscally conservative. I suppose that is true today,” he said.
“I am a big fan of taking care of those that require help and supporting people in need; at the same time I understand fiscal responsibility and that we need to be very careful with money that isn’t ours in the first place.”
Unland recognized that an important part of working on council is to recognize partnerships and team work, while also bringing all the unique perspectives of your constituents to the table.
“There are valid opinions and perspectives that people hold and it is about making the best decision that will benefit the largest number of people. As far as getting along with council – sure, but we all have a job to do and that job is to bring a certain perspective and be educated and make appropriate decisions.”
Unland expanded on his fiscal views, noting that taxation should only rise if that is reflected in services provided by the City.
“When I talk about being fiscally responsible – the services the City provides are vital and essential and there is nothing I can think of that I would like to see go away, but if we see a tax increase it better be clear to me where those taxes are going and how my services are being maintained or improved.”
He added, “I look forward to learning about the process (of running for council) and going through it. I think it will be an educational experience and I look forward to engaging with the citizens of Red Deer and hearing what they have to say.”