By Gillian Slade on January 8, 2019.
Hoping to generate a wider discourse on issues in the Cypress -Medicine Hat riding, Peter Mueller is vying to be the NDP’s candidate in the next provincial election.
Mueller says he brings a different point of view compared to other parties’ candidates and hopes it will give an alternative perspective for voters on the work legislators do for the district.
As a former teacher who has recently worked at the Medicine Hat Public Library, from which he has taken a leave of absence, seeking a life in politics is not something Mueller was naturally drawn to.
Medicine Hat MLA Bob Wanner, who is not seeking re-election, approached Mueller in the fall about running for the NDP. He was not interested at the time but later had second thoughts after his wife, Gwen, pointed out his interest in politics, values and attitudes.
“I’ve made up my mind to be as positive and hope-filled as possible,” said Mueller.
Having written columns for the News, Mueller says he is no stranger to hearing debate, but says he welcomes hearing from those on both sides of issues.
“The essence of democracy is discussion over differences,” said Mueller. “Get away from name calling and blowing up of false facts to denigrate and malign. If there is a disagreement — talk about it.”
He has “tremendous faith” in the NDP’s leader, Premier Rachel Notley, who has faced numerous challenges on many fronts during her term in office, he said.
In spite of the challenges Alberta faces in the oil industry, oil is not going to go away, it will come back but it is also a good idea to look for other sources of power, said Mueller.
The decision to run as a contestant in the Cypress-Medicine Hat riding, rather than Brooks-Medicine Hat, was simply because there would be less travel involved, said Mueller.
Still in the process of understanding all the issues affecting constituents in the riding, he says, he is looking forward to speaking with people about their needs. He aims to be as approachable as possible and will welcome people even stopping him on the street to talk about ideas.
“That’s job No. 1, to be accessible and open to constituents,” said Mueller.
When it comes to healthcare Mueller would like to explore having additional services in Medicine Hat so there is less need to travel to Calgary.
He believes seniors have made significant contributions and wants to ensure they are supported with their needs met.
“They should be an integral part of everything that goes on in Medicine Hat,” said Mueller.
As a former teacher he would like to see more teachers’ aides in classrooms to help students with special needs fully integrate.
He is also looking forward to gaining a greater understanding of the needs of thosein the agriculture sector.
Mueller is a supporter of the carbon tax and says it is a market approach to reduce carbon emissions.
He is hopeful that federal and provincial duties will be fulfilled promptly to resolve issues that are currently holding Alberta back.
The upcoming provincial election campaign will be an opportunity to look at a wide range of issues and perspectives and whatever happens it’s going to be “a great life and learning experience,” said Mueller, who is currently the only contestant for the NDP’s nomination in Cypress-Medicine Hat.
A nomination meeting, or vote, to determine the successful candidate will take place in early February, said Mueller.
The UCP’s candidate for this riding is the incumbent MLA Drew Barnes. The Alberta Party and the Liberal parties have plans to run a candidate in the riding but there are currently no contestants.