John Ireland is in the running for a seat at the Lacombe County council table.
“The big picture is that I’ve been fortunate enough to travel over the years to a number of second and third world countries,” he explained. “They would switch government systems in a heartbeat.
“When you come back to Canada and see all of the advantages that we take for granted, a person tends to become motivated more with how we need to keep that advantage going, or that system going, so that we can benefit from it and keep going forward.”
Ireland, who lives and farms south of Alix, said he’s also got a bit more available time these days to commit to the role of County councillor. And although he’s always had an interest in politics in general, this marks his first run as a candidate for office.
“There are so many issues out there on the table,” he said.
“And the role of a councillor in my mind is communication. Being a voice for the people and carrying their issues to the council table – and conversely, bringing information back to (them) from council and from administration. That, in my mind, is the biggest role.”
With voters heading to the polls on Oct. 16th, Ireland said he’s made a point to stop at every house in the division and drop off contact information and to talk with whoever happened to be home, he added. “I’ve gotten a lot of positive feedback for my candidacy.
“I don’t really see myself as having an agenda. I think in municipal politics, it’s not like a party system where you have an ideology that you have to promote and get behind.
“That, to me, is the appeal of the municipal government is that you can go to the table, hear the proposal that is presented, and make a decision without having any position that you have to promote.”
Ireland said that he is a good listener, and that ultimately, it’s the role of a councillor to be discreet and discerning.
“And to be trustworthy – that when people do present you with their issues, often it’s in confidence and it needs to remain as such,” he said.
“I have always been dedicated and loyal, and persistent in the pursuit of a work ethic that I’m proud of.
“I’ve always felt that I have a skill set to be at the council table to do the work; to do the job.” But until now, he admits he was held back by a reticence to campaign.
“But that to me, over the last month and a half, has been the greatest surprise and pleasure is meeting people and having those chats on the doorstep. I have really, really enjoyed that. Both aspects excite me – the campaigning and the job itself.”
Ireland added that he is approachable, and also that he feels a sense of renewal is important as well in the County.
“I think that, in any organization that I’ve been involved with, the committees or the boards really do benefit from a change in personnel once in a while,” he explained. “You can get a different perspective to an old problem, and perhaps you get a creative solution.”
Advance voting will take in the County on Oct. 2nd.