Residents of the Fort McMurray – Cold Lake riding now have a fifth candidate to consider in the upcoming federal election.
Roelof Janssen has added his name to the ballot representing the Christian Heritage Party (CHP).
“I believe it's important we have the right people in Ottawa. I am a Conservative at heart but I realized that the more and more people that run for the Conservative Party are really Liberals at heart or even worse in my opinion,” said Janssen of why he decided to run.
He added, “I am the only pro-life candidate in the riding and I'm the only pro-life party in the riding. I think life is the second most important issue only behind God and we have to realize that.”
Janssen was accepted as the CHP candidate for the Fort McMurray – Cold Lake riding earlier this month after noticing residents in this area are lacking a “good conservative” to vote for. Born and raised in the Netherlands, the newest candidate moved to Canada at the age of 19 in 1980. Five years later he received his Canadian citizenship. He is the owner of a Christian publishing company, focusing on historic novels and study materials.
Together with his wife Theresa, Janssen has ten children and is currently residing in the County of Barrhead. While he feels there may be a slight disadvantage not living in the riding he's running for, the CHP nominee said it doesn't really matter where he lives.
“We have a very good conservative nominated in the Barrhead riding, from the CHP we said we are not going to run against him. The policy of the CHP is that if you don't run in your riding because of a good conservative there, then run in the riding next to you. So I checked out the riding west of us, which was Grande Prairie, and they have a good conservative running as well. Then I noticed that in this riding there's not a good conservative,” Janssen explained.
According to Janssen, the CHP stands with the Conservative government and Prime Minister Stephen Harper on many issues such as economics and Canada's military. However, religious principles is what sets the two parties apart.
“The pro-life part and especially that realization that God is the God of Canada and that we have to obey our creator. That is the main object of the Christian Heritage Party. We are to be obedient to God's word, the bible is the best law that you can find...everything in the ten commandants, that's what the government has to uphold in politics as well.”
Janssen joins a growing list of candidates in the Fort McMurray – Cold Lake riding. Conservative David Yurdiga is hoping to get re-elected, while Liberal Kyle Harrietha, NDP Melody Lepine and Libertarian Scott Berry are running in opposition. Voters will have a chance to hear from their MP hopefuls during a forum being held by the Cold Lake Regional Chamber of Commerce on Oct. 7 at 7 p.m. at the Lakeland Inn. Yurdiga and Berry have yet to confirm attendance to the event, and while Janssen was not listed he expressed it's an event he's hoping to be at.
Religious principles may be a focus for the CHP, but Janssen added that they have a definite stance on many other matters such as oil, the environment and the economy.
“I'm a business man myself. I really appreciate the business in the oil fields; I don't think the pipeline should be cancelled. I think pipelines should be continued to be built, but I don't think we have to be selfish and say that we have to refine the oil here,” explained Janssen. “The oil belongs to God, he has given it to us but that doesn't mean we should just hold on to it. I think we should sell our raw materials to the states.”
The other issue Janssen feels strongly about is Canada's military staying involved in the war in Syria, saying that it's better to make Syria a safe and peaceful place for the people rather than trying to bring them all to Canada.
“I stand completely with Harper in that we should not pull our of Syria. It's very easy for the NDP to say we'll take them all in, well who do they rely on? They rely on the churches to take care of the (Syrian refugees).”
In times of peace, Janssen added that he agrees with Harper on using the army for firefighting and such other emergency services.
Should he be elected MP, Janssen said he would consider moving into the riding to live in Lac La Biche part-time. Even though he doesn't live in the riding, the local CHP candidate is convinced that he can properly represent the entire region.
“In the six weeks off from parliament I would be available in every major centre: Cold Lake, Lac La Biche and Fort McMurray, for a week. I would spend three weeks in the riding and then three weeks at home. My house is still only about two hours from Lac La Biche, it doesn't really matter too much where I live.”
Voters will be headed to the polls in Canada's 42nd federal election on Oct. 19.