by Colin Smith
If Glenn Van Dijken is nominated as Wildrose Party candidate for Barrhead-Morinville-Westlock in the next election he will bring a thoroughly rural perspective to the role.
The nomination is to be decided at a constituency association meeting Mar. 14. Although no provincial election has been called, Premier Jim Prentice is widely expected to announce it for later this spring.
“I bring strong leadership and integrity to it, coming from an honest, hardworking farm background,” van Dijken said in an interview with Morinville News.
Van Dijken, 52, and his wife Barb have been farming since 1983, initially in the Barrhead area. They now operate a grain farm near Dapp. Over the years, they have raised five children, four of whom have graduated from university, with one still at the U of A.
He has been active in the community, including coaching football and baseball and serving on the council of the Cedar Creek Christian Fellowship church.
Van Dijken has taken part in a number of boards of directors. He currently sits on the Federated Co-operative Limited board of directors and is currently chair of the FCL Audit Committee.
A founding director of the Western Hog Exchange, van Dijken served two years as chairman and five years as vice-chairman. He also spent twelve years on the Neerlandia Co-op board of directors, including six years as president and three years as vice-president.
Van Dijken has been a member of the Wildrose since 2009 and was a founding member of the local Barrhead-Morinville-Westlock constituency association.
He is a strong believer in conservative values, and a major concern is ensuring that Albertans are properly represented. He feels that politics in the province no longer gives people the power to decide on issues.
“I’m looking to be the candidate for Wildrose to essentially get power back in the hands of people,” he declared. “I’m hoping to improve the political climate.”
Van Dijken thinks the opportunity for all party members to make a difference is what sets the party apart from others.
“The Wildrose party believes in the philosophy of representatives answering to the constituents,” he said. “Free votes in the legislature allow us to represent constituents.
“All members are entitled to attend AGMs put forward resolutions and vote on resolutions. Our party is designed to listen to the people.”
That is the reason the fact that nine Wildrose MLAs, including leader Danielle Smith, left the party in December to join the Progressive Conservative caucus will not be fatal to the party, van Dijken believes.
“The general public has to understand that the MLAs, who crossed the floor left the Wildrose party,” he stated. “But the party is more than the MLAs, the party is the people.
“The people will decide in the next election if they would like to see a right-wing alternative to the Progressive Conservatives.”
For van Dijken, independence and integrity are paramount.
“I am not going to be a rubber-stamp MLA,” he declared. “I am able to stand against what I see as misguided.”
The other candidate for the Wildrose nomination in Barrhead-Morinville-Westlock is Joe Gosselin of Morinville.