Advocating for direct democracy with the BC Refederation Party, Port Alberni resident Dan Cebuliak is running for MLA for the Mid Island Pacific Rim in the provincial election.
Cebuliak said the BC Refed Party, that was established shortly after the 2000 federal election, was essentially formed because it felt that people were loosing their voice in what was happening in the government.
After posting frequently on social media about Alberni Valley unemployment rates, Cebuliak said the party reached out to him to run for MLA.
“I had sort of been expecting it,” Cebuliak said. “When they asked, it was a no brainer, I said Yes, I’m going to run. What’s surprising about Facebook is when you’re an activist, you pick up people from all over the place. It can be a great tool.”
The BC Refed is setting goals to protect agriculture and arable land from development, protect food supply by decreasing soil pollution and improve education standards with more emphasis on the sciences. The party also prioritizes health care, a stable economy supported by transparent, accountable and responsible financial management and safety for seniors in care facilities.
Cebuliak was born and raised in Port Alberni but moved away for close to 20 years. He opened a woodworking shop in Chetwynd, B.C. but after the recession hit in 2008 he ended up loosing his home and business and spent close to 18 months on the streets in Edmonton.
“After I lost the investments I had—my home, all my tools—I was really angry and it was at that point I decided it was time to change these governments,” he said.
The B.C. issues Cebuliak is most passionate about are raw log exports, unemployment rates, health care and seniors’ care.
“What the BC Refederation party is about, is direct democracy. It will be up to the people to decide what the issues are. All I am is a voice,” he said. “The current governments are non-democratic they’re not going to do anything… politicians are elected to work for the people and not the other way around which is exactly what’s happening.”
Cebuliak is all for giving more power to the people to decide what goes on economically. He is also passionate about needing more opportunities for youth employment.
“There’s very little opportunity for the youth to learn any decent trades because those jobs are disappearing at a rapid rate. There’s no businesses that are opening up that are willing to take on apprenticeships,” he said. “Why are we exporting raw resources? We’re taking away employment opportunities… we’re taking away training opportunities. The youth have always gotten the short end of the stick.”
During the course of his campagin, Cebuliak plans to be at all the all-candiates meetinsgs throughout the riding.