Meet the candidate: Langley East — Alex Joehl - Libertarian

Meet the candidate: Langley East — Alex Joehl – Libertarian

  • May. 3, 2017 6:00 a.m.

Alex Joehl, Libertarian

Current occupation: Meat department manager for a major retailer in Langley

What are the three most pressing issues facing Langley East residents, and how will you address them?

Housing Affordability: While many of the issues revolving around housing costs are municipal issues – zoning issues, development fees, and red tape at city hall – the province has a tool to fix the issue – the Agricultural Land Reserve.

There is not nearly enough housing in the Lower Mainland, and the low supply creates the exaggerated prices. The ALR exists to protect farming, yet most of it is not utilized for such. By legislating its uses, the government is under-valuing the land itself and wasting valuable opportunities to develop residential housing. Some ALR land is used by wineries and breweries. While I do enjoy a good pint of beer, I see no reason for the province to subsidize it. The B.C. Libertarian Party would open up the ALR to residential development, drastically increasing the housing supply and, in turn, bringing the cost of housing to where it should be.

Prohibition: There is a crisis involving fentanyl, but it’s not the use of it that is most tragic. Keeping drugs illegal maintains the status quo, with those suffering from drug addiction being forced to purchase their crutch via the black market. If you were able to purchase the drug of choice from your local pharmacy, or produce it yourself, that would be a far safer alternative.

Forcing people with addiction to deal with violent drug dealers and inferior – maybe deadly – products is not a long-term solution. By confronting this as a health issue instead of a criminal issue, we will discover new ways to reduce harm, encourage treatment of addictions, and make our communities safer. And by eliminating victimless crime from the police’s mandate, we allow police departments to focus their limited resources on catching real criminals.

Health Care: Everyone agrees that health care is costing too much money and the current model is unsustainable. What sets the B.C. Libertarian Party apart is our approach to improving it.

The province needs more doctors, yet there are many barriers in place preventing them from working. Not just immigrants struggling to find residency here, but Canadian-born, foreign-trained physicians as well. We need to streamline the process to get patients in to see physicians, of all levels of training.

Our party would also like to see an extension of the current public-private system, allowing health insurance alternatives to MSP, so that consumers can choose an insurance plan better tailored to their own needs. We’d also officially green-light new delivery models, such as primary direct care, where doctors charge a membership fee but work outside the insurance system.

A few more things …

Where were you born/raised? Where do you live now?

I was born in Vancouver, but moved to Surrey when I was five. I spent the majority of my life as a resident of Surrey, with a short pit stop in Kirkland Lake, Ont. in 2003-04. I moved to Murrayville with my wife and son in October, 2015.

If you have run for or served in office before, what have you learned? If not, why are you running now?

Yes. I ran in the federal election for the Libertarian Party of Canada in 2008 and 2011, in Surrey-North and Fleetwood-Port Kells respectively. What I have learned along the way is that the process of campaigning is very time consuming. However, as our party continues to grow, our candidates will begin to get the kind of support from volunteers – and financial support – that the ruling parties enjoy.

Why would you make a good representative for Langley East constituents in the legislature?

Unlike the ruling parties, I’m would not be swayed by special-interest groups. The liberties, rights and freedoms of all constituents – not just those that will get you elected – are equal. It is important to get a voice into Victoria that is not tied to corporations and unions.

Tell us a surprising or interesting fact or story about yourself.

While I make a comfortable living working in the retail grocery business, I like to remind people I’m an unemployed sports writer. I enjoyed covering Lower Mainland and Fraser Valley sports teams for various media agencies for a few years. While the work may have dried up, those are experiences that will stay with me.

Right out of college I got a job as the sports editor of a small daily newspaper in Northern Ontario in a town of less than 10,000. It was there, in 2004 that I last voted for a major party in an election.

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