A Ponoka resident has announced his plans to run for the NDP nomination in the Red Deer-Lacombe riding.
Doug Hart has been an active member of his community’s democratic and political processes for more than 30 years.
The NDP hopeful hosts a background in both nursing and education with an undergraduate degree in nursing as well as graduate degrees in both educational administration and health promotion services.
Hart spent from 2001-2008 serving as the academic vice president at Grande Prairie Regional College and served as acting president from 2006-2007, as well as time working at Alberta Hospital and Red Deer College during his 40-year career.
Hart stated aside from his background in education and health care, he is also strongly committed to rural Alberta and the issues related to agriculture and environmental sustainability.
Hart has run in four past provincial elections as the NDP candidate for the Ponoka-Rimbey riding twice, then twice more when the riding changed to Lacombe-Ponoka.
“I’m not a fair weather friend – I was the candidate in Ponoka-Rimbey when we got less than 10 per cent of the vote,” remembered Hart of the 2012 election in which he was the NDP candidate. “I’m committed to social democracy, it’s not something that is a fad or that I’m doing just because it’s popular.
“I’ve always taken the good with the bad, but this time I’m feeling particularly optimistic,” he said. “With this being my first time running federally I’m quite enthusiastic about the process and I like what I’m hearing on doorsteps.
“People are telling me they’re not happy with the Conservative’s policy, and their secrecy agenda and the Harper is so proud of (his party’s) economic record, yet unemployment is still as high as it is.”
Hart stated he believes the Conservatives are using a ‘slight of hand’ agenda to distract Canadians. “I think Thomas Mulcair and grassroots New Democrats are going to give the Conservatives a wake-up call in October.
“The Conservative record in environment, infrastructure and health research is abysmal without even looking at the legislation they are passing to stop protecting watersheds,” said Hart. “Access to water and health are important things to consider when Canadians are deciding who to cast their ballots for.”
Hart added he is proud of the NDP’s record over the last 60 years in regards to public ownership and administration of health care and access to physician/ health care services. He added making sure people have things where they need them and when they need them is a big part of the New Democrat platform.
“We’ve been hearing the same promises from Harper that we heard from Prentice – the whole ‘trust me’ thing,” said Hart. “And now I think Canadians aren’t trusting them and I think people are finally starting to say, ‘No more,’ to another four years of the same old tired thing.
“They should be focusing their attention on job creation, the economy and our international reputation instead of spending all of their time passing ‘anti-terrorism’ legislation.”
He added he is proud to live where he does, stating he enjoys the rural lifestyle especially since he has worked in major cities most of his life. “We could’ve moved to urban centres but my heart is in rural Alberta and my wife and I wouldn’t have it any other way – my obligation is to the people in my riding.”
He added he wishes to remind voters to, “Be judicious – don’t take things for granted.
“There are winds of change in the air and if you’re not part of a solution you are part of the problem.”