I recently announced that I am running for city council and I am grateful for the outpouring of support that I have received! People are asking for lawn signs and sharing content on social media about my campaign. Just this last week my FaceBook Page soared to over 500 likes!
With all the momentum building for my campaign I want to write a little about my background so that you can get to know me better. I have always remarked, during election season, how it feels empty to just vote for a name on an election sign that I see as I drive by. So I feel that it is very important for me to be as transparent as I can be. But I have to admit up front, it is a little out of my comfort zone.
My late brother Isaac was severely autistic and never spoke a word in his life. My family moved to Red Deer in the late 90s because there were better services available for him here. While it's easy to fall through the cracks, I can say from personal experience that there are many people in our city doing great things to help families like mine. My brother died almost a decade ago but he is still in my heart. I see him when I talk to a senior citizen who is living in poverty and I look into his eyes when I pass a homeless person on the street.
There is no one-size-fits-all solution; as much as the average person who has no personal experience with developmental disabilities wants one. It takes compassion, empathy and patience to make a positive difference for someone like my brother. My experience growing up with Isaac helps me to understand the bigger picture of mental health and social justice in our community. I am constantly looking to understand how everything is connected and where an innovative solution may be found. Closely related are issues around seniors care, affordable housing, drug and alcohol rehabilitation and housing first. These are issues that I am passionate about because I feel I can relate to them.
I have been very privileged to grow up in Red Deer. I went to Hunting Hills High School and Red Deer College. As I was growing up so was this city; the population effectively doubled in the years since I was in middle school. I know now that the boom was because of our thriving oil and gas industry. People came from all across Canada to our province and many landed in Red Deer.
I have effectively made a living in the oil and gas industry. I say effectively because, as we all know, it ebbs and flows. The boom years seem like they'll never end and the recession hurts badly. But Red Deer has pushed through it. I've been laid off from high paying oil patch jobs and had to make personal sacrifices. I deeply understand how important it is for the citizens of our community to get the best value for their tax dollars. I also know that it is imprudent to plan for 20 more years of growth based on a booming oilfield that may or may not come through for us. As a city we must live within our means and save for the future.
I started my oilfield career as a roughneck on a service rig. I worked until they shut us down in -49C. I worked in the snow and mud. I have been covered head-to-toe in oil. I've been as far north as Rainbow Lake and as far south as Brooks. To the west I worked 97 days straight on a rig in Hudson's Hope, BC and to the east I've drilled for oil near the USA boarder in Manitoba. I know what it's like to work hard and I have done it all so that my family can have a good life.
With all that said, I am an environmentalist and who better to lay claim to that title than an oilfield worker. I am very fond of that place where all my air, water and food comes from. I have seen environmental catastrophes covered up and I have seen vast landscapes degraded. But there is reason to be optimistic. Attitudes are changing, technology is improving and our industry has made leaps and bounds when it comes to taking environmental issues seriously. I see programs in our city such as organic waste collection and efforts to conserve water and energy making the impact our city has on the environment less severe.
I am very bullish on emerging technologies such as solar panels and battery storage. It is very quickly becoming a reality that the way we generate and use energy is going to shift. I have looked into solar for my own house and it is very close to making economic sense. Without rebates and incentives I can get a net zero system that will pay for itself in under a decade. I suspect that in a few years we will see mass adoption of this technology and our city will have to adapt, quickly. However in the meantime the biggest gains for the environment and the wallet will come from energy conservation and efficiency strategies; which are largely behavioural changes and building upgrades.
Red Deer is the city that I grew up in and this is where I choose to raise my family and run my business, Bullseye Safety Training. I have 4 wonderful kids and a loving wife. I have personal vested interest in seeing this community continue to prosper and my success is your success. We have a lot going for us here. We need both a steady hand at the wheel and a long view for the way forward.
This summer I will be out door knocking and meeting as many Red Deerians as possible and I would love to hear from you!
Let's go for coffee!
Please feel free to email me (email@example.com) or contact me on social media; just search for "Wieler4RD" on most platforms or use the hashtag #CoffeeWithWieler.
I invite you to support my campaign: