by Lindsay Ducharme
Don’t call it a downturn, call it an opportunity. That’s the message by-election candidate Chris Flett is stressing in his election campaign.
“I definitely think infrastructure should be our number one priority especially with the downturn in the oil sands, it’s temporary and provides temporary labour that wouldn’t normally be available. It gives us time to catch up on infrastructure projects and take advantage of it,” he said.
“One thing I am really promoting is hiring locals and local companies that have local offices rather than just the cheapest bidder. I truly believe while the bid may be a little more expensive, the benefit to the community as a whole would be much greater. Now is the time to refocus on local,” he added.
In fact, Flett believes council as a whole could benefit from some refocusing. With a background in serving and representing a membership, he is currently a business agent with IUOE Local 955, he believes his background and experience could help lead council in a new, more transparent and open direction.
“One of the things I think is extremely important is fiscal responsibility. The expropriation of land and things like that, those kinds of documents, should always be accessible by the public by default and I don’t think the way it was handled was the way it should be done. I believe there was some missing information and that never should have happened. It should be accessible to anyone who wants the information,” he explained.
Flett, who also serves on the board of directors for the Justin Slade Youth Foundation, previously campaigned for the liberal nomination for the federal by-election. While he did not receive the nomination he believes the defeat was a blessing in disguise allowing him the opportunity to follow his passion while serving the community he was born and raised in.
“When I looked back and really thought about it I have a six year old girl at home and being a member of council would allow me to give back to my community and be involved but still live at home.”
As a family man himself, Flett is passionate about keeping families together. He expressed his frustration with the delay on the long anticipated aging in place facility and believes it’s time to “get the shovels in the ground.”
Flett strives to be a voice for residents, and if elected he promises it will be a voice that refuses to be ignored. “I have a strong voice. I wouldn’t be bullied or pushed around and I truly believe I am capable of actually listening to the public.”