Election 2023: Funky Banjoko – Independent

What are your thoughts on the oil sands sector?

Well, I’ve worked in the oil and gas almost all my career, starting with Shell Nigeria for 10 years, and then came to Fort McMurray to work for Nexen Energy now they called CNOOC. So it’s a sector that I’m well familiar with. I think it’s a natural resource that we need to maximize. But we need to be responsible in the way we are, harness the resources and distribute it with respect to the environment, that area, we need to do better. Other than that, we just need to continue to manage the oil and gas and have stronger partnership with the industry and maximize the advantage of having the oil sands benefit to us. In terms of even fabrication and other aspects of all science that I see being done in other cities, we need to bring those to Fort McMurray and create more jobs. And so I’m well familiar with, with the process. And I think all we need to continue to do is manage the market, manage the distribution and do better with the environment. And of course stronger partnership with them with the industry, hold them accountable.

Do you have any plans or policy regarding emissions from oil sands?

Yes, so for emissions, we need, like I said, we need to ensure that there is more respect for the environment, we need to the carbon taxes, for instance, shouldn’t be passed on to individuals, but to the industry, those who are emitting the, the carbon to our Earth. So I would want to ensure that we hold the industry and everyone that is involved in the processes that affect the environment, hold them more accountable, get them get a buy-in not necessarily for penalty and things like that, but create even incentives. Like some of the our logistics fence like diversified. For instance, they’ve already started looking at how to reduce the carbon that goes into the system. Kudos also to the oil, oil sands and other companies that are using buses just to reduce the number of cars that go to sites. So those are policies and processes that we can we can work on and ensure that we continue to increase the buy-in in this region. So to manage the environment. And of course, oil spill and things that can affect our environment, hold the industry accountable, hold, ensure, that they are committed to environmental responsibility, just as the government is and the one other thing that we need to do is to work with Indigenous people. They have always advocated for protecting the Earth, protecting the land. So we need to work with them and get their ideas and partner or come with them and the plans that they have. Companies, I mean organizations, like ACF and Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation and others who are already doing some work on this for procurement, what we buy, we need to think environmentally to them, that the contractors that we engage, we need to ensure just like safety has become the watchword, we need to make environment the watchword and we need to the same way we we talk about safety, companies need to start talking about environment in all meetings.

What are your plans for addressing EMS response times?

EMS? The centralization of emergency response hasn’t worked for us as a region. As you may well know, there are some places in the rural that doesn’t have street addresses, like the city, so when you centralize it and the calls go to Edmonton or Calgary, this when, when there’s an emergency, it’s a matter of life and death. We are losing people to this centralization and those are things that I will do as an MLA. I will speak for this region this is not working for us, we need to do better. Let us manage the process here locally. I use an example during the debate about two nights ago. If you asked me to go to Anzac and after, you tell me where to turn and all that I have an idea because I live here. But if you are talking to a dispatcher who is in Edmonton, he doesn’t know it, no, okay. Timberlea. If I say, Walnut Crescent, and most people know. So we need to manage it, that we haven’t seen any advantage. Rather, it’s a waste of time. And we are losing people. This is dangerous. And we should do all we can to advocate that this be returned back to us. We have a good fire department. We have a good police department. They know the area they live here. They know what to do. That’s what I want to say about EMS. It’s not working. I brought it up. Mayor and council have talked about it, we need to do something about it.

Do you have plans to address inflation or economic plans in general?

Oh, thank you. So my last motion that I tried to move, unfortunately, that has been my last meeting on council, is that we need to develop. Right now we use the Alberta Poverty Reduction Plan. That is not working for us in Fort McMurray. Fort McMurray is much more expensive than most places. So the plan that works in Red Deer, or Calgary will not work here. So we need to bring it back to our region. And look at what works here. The cost of living, the cost of renter’s the cost of doing anything is much more expensive. And then we are so we have a population of people who are homeless, we have clearly some immigrants, Indigenous peoples who are worse off for, you know, trying to make a living. So we need to address these and we need to tailor our poverty reduction to what works for us as a region.

Why did you choose to run?

Why I chose to run is because as a councillor, I have seen the challenge that we see. Mayor and council, we do a whole lot. But there’s a, there’s a lot of frustration. Our voices are not being heard. At the province level, we need a leader who’s going there to work for this region, we need someone who knows how to connect the dots. Right now there is a disconnect, some of the bills that should be handled by the province is being handed down to us. We can’t even afford it. We started off with a budget, an annual budget of 1 billion, sometimes per annum. Now we are down to 500, 530 million. We can’t afford to be paying for airport to be paying for the heroes and others. So we need to do better. So that’s why I actually didn’t plan to run. But I was told I will be a good fit. And I looked at it and I said why not? My head and my voice will be heard in any country. And I have a presence that can’t be ignored. And I have also performed and that’s why people say you would do it. So lots of things that I set up, set out to do as a councillor, can only be effective if we have a strong representation at the province, same thing that Mayor and council is asking for. And that’s why I got the nominations to run. So that, and I’m ready to do it. I’m blessed with a lot of energy. I’m blessed with physical, mental fitness. And I’m prepared to work for this region. And my time my candidate, this is different. I am the candidate, I am not an alternative. I am there. I’m going to work for this region. The region is my master. I’m reporting to this region. That’s the interest that I have. And that’s who I’ll be working for. And that’s why I’m running.

What makes you the right choice?

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If someone is undecided, what would you do or say to convince them?

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Anything else regarding plans or policies or anything you want the people to know?

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You can listen to the full interview here: Election 2023: Funky Banjoko – Independent.

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