By Kristy Koehler, October 7 2019—
The Gauntlet interviewed the Calgary Confederation candidates. In the interest of fairness, all candidates were asked the same set of questions. No follow-up questions were asked and the inquiries were open-ended, allowing the candidate to speak freely on the issues and address the question as they saw fit. The intention is for those in Calgary Confederation to get to know the candidates in their riding.
Get to know Colin Korol, running for the People’s Party of Canada.
The Gauntlet: What qualifies you to represent the constituents of Calgary Confederation?
Colin Korol: I went to film school years ago, and then I started a job in a hospital — started as a service worker, worked my way through distribution and then became a working leader and then a supervisor. I enjoy my job but I always wanted to go back to school, so I enrolled at Athabasca in their communications program and I studied media, communication theory, marketing and Canadian politics.
G: What attracted you to the People’s Party of Canada?
CK: I had an interest in politics and that was my driver. The way the country has gone and is going, that motivated me to get into it. I never saw myself being a politician or doing anything like this, but Max starting this party really motivated me. At the end of the day, we stand up for policies that are better.
I think other parties try to decide which voters they want to appeal to — they say ‘This is our policy and that’s the way it is’ and I don’t think that works in a democracy. Other parties, if there’s a topic that’s contentious or controversial, they don’t want to talk about it. That’s what I love about this party and that’s what has motivated me to run. We are free-thinking and we have a lot of discussion.
G: With the People’s Party being known as a right-wing party, what would attract voters from the opposite end of the political spectrum?
CK: I think, for example the NDP, they want a government that works for them and they want their tax money spent on them and I think the PPC doesn’t want to give money to special interests so I think there’s a commonality there. I also think that again, in terms of expression, in a more free society we need to be able to speak our minds and express ourselves. There seems to be a battle of ideas so I think there’s a lot of common ground that the parties have in terms of how their tax money is spent and I think that the PPC works for people. Their money will be spent properly and they will have a government that works for them and listens to their ideas.
People on the left want their voices heard and I think that’s the mass appeal of the party. We do listen to everyone and we can talk about ideas and find solutions for problems. I find that everything is so mired in identity politics and agendas and I don’t see the same agenda with his party. It levels the playing field for everybody and allows everybody a chance to succeed. People like the common sense platform. I find this party very socially liberal — we don’t want to judge.
G: What are your plans to make education more affordable?
CK: We want life to be more affordable for everyone. Our tax reforms will be good for students, like raising the personal exemption. We’ll reform the telecom industry and bring more competition which means better products and better prices. There’s no plan to defund subsidies to universities so I think tuition will continue to stay the same in Canada. There’s no plan to privatize. I think tuition levels will probably just remain the same — tuition is already subsidized in Canada as it is so we’re lucky in a lot of ways that we don’t pay as much as the United States. If students are earning an income while they’re studying they’ll be taxed less under our plan which will help. You have to consider that the schools have expenses — as long as tuition stays subsidized, tuition will remain affordable in Canada.
G: What are your thoughts on Alberta’s oil and gas industry?
CK: I have a personal connection to this province and it’s oil industry — my dad has worked in the industry for 40 years. They spend a lot of money on carbon capture. They can’t have tax breaks from Revenue Canada — they’re not eligible to receive the same climate breaks as other businesses because there’s a discrimination against the oil industry. Why is that? I think money should be left to companies to come up with innovative ideas. In a province like Alberta that’s so resource-intensive and has an economy based on that, there are a lot of calls to radically transform our economy to one that’s based on alternative sources. I think to do that you have to keep money and revenue coming into the province to develop new technologies. To say that there’s an urgency and throw a whole industry under the bus just to transform our way of living isn’t realistic or possible. I agree that one day we are going to have alternative sources of energy but how are we going to get there? We can only do that by keeping our country and our province prosperous and not kneecapping industry.
The People’s Party is the only party that will use the Constitution to ensure pipelines get built and to make sure that Alberta’s energy gets to market.
G: What are your thoughts on the climate crisis?
CK: I don’t think anyone is really denying that we want to help the climate, but how are we doing to do it? Taxing people and making businesses poor isn’t going to help. I personally don’t doubt that the climate is changing. But, the government is concerned about climate change because they want to use it as a framework to increase taxation, and they do it because they want to improve the environment and lower emissions but to actually consider what the human level of climate change is and what we contribute to it and how that’s going to impact the planet in 20–30 years, it’s conjecture. A lot of scientists are even denying the impact that human activity has on the climate. But, there’s a lot of innovative businesses out there — this party will enrich businesses and give them more capital to try green technologies out. If there’s a good idea that’s profitable and efficient, it’s the free market and the entrepreneur will develop it.
G: Do we have a freedom of speech problem in Canada?
CK: I think freedom of speech is a big problem in the country and especially on campuses. When you’re starting out you want to be exposed to all kinds of ideas and have a balanced idea about history. I think that’s a big thing and I’m a big proponent of free speech — that’s why I like this party so much. Max is the only politician I see that isn’t afraid to say what he wants to say. The thing that’s motivated me to run is that I believe Canada needs to be freer. Universities don’t have a great record on championing free speech or being tolerant of students’ viewpoints. If you can’t discuss things openly, how do you formulate your own opinions and ideas? You don’t need people telling you what you can and can’t say.
I’m against any set of criteria or panels or review boards that control or limit what things can and can’t be talked about. That extends to government control of social media. Even, third-party advertising. I know that Elections Canada tried to limit third-party groups from talking about climate change saying its an election issue and I’m against that, even when it would benefit my own party. I’m personally frustrated by the limits on free speech that I’m seeing more and more in the country and that’s one of the main reasons I decided to run. I’m really concerned about this. I never thought free speech would be threatened and that seems to be what’s happening now.
G: What are your plans for affordable housing in your riding?
CK: I think that by increasing the lower marginal tax rate it will free up some money for people of low income who can put that money towards subsidizing their rent.
G: Where do you stand on issues of national defence?
CK: I think Canada, within NATO, needs to start pulling its weight. We should be contributing the two per cent that’s required and I think Canada has been lagging behind a little bit. Our military absolutely needs to be strengthened. The budget has been cut so much from the military and that extends to the veterans too and they haven’t been looked after. I think there’s just an attitude from the current government that it’s not one of their top priorities and I think absolutely there needs to be more money spent on military and veterans.
G: Why should students vote for you?
CK: I think the biggest thing on campus is that it’s very divisive. There’s a lot of identity politics being played out. There’s a freedom of speech issue — even when I went to school I found that there was a lot of editorializing on some of the papers that I sent in. I had good, sound arguments — I had an interest in journalism, so I thought my arguments were well-founded — but I found that if the professors didn’t agree with me I would get long, long comments in the columns, saying ‘No, no, this isn’t right.’ I think that students are afraid to express themselves now. You see it through what professors tell them to say and do, and some of the motions that Trudeau has tried to pass, it’s concerning.
The reason I decided to run was for freedom and fairness. I think the government has reached too far into all of our lives and taken too much of our money. I feel that a government should put the people first and put that ahead of special interest. We have definite policies. If you want real change, vote for us.
Editors Note: Libertarian candidate Tim Moen and NDP candidate Gurcharan Singh Sidhu have yet to respond to an interview request.