BC Libertarian Party candidate Alex Joehl will be running in Langley East. (Special to Langley Advance Times)

BC Libertarian Party candidate Alex Joehl will be running in Langley East. (Special to Langley Advance Times)

Candidate Q&A: Alex Joehl

He is a Libertarian party hopeful running in Langley East

Alex Joehl, Libertarian

Meat department manager from Murrayville, age 38

BIO:

This is my second time running for the BC Libertarian Party, previously also in Langley-East in 2017. I’ve run federally with the Libertarian Party of Canada three times, most recently in 2019 in Langley-Aldergrove, and also competed in the mayoral race in the Township of Langley in 2018.

What really drives my passion for civic engagement is the desire to be an option on the ballot for those that otherwise would have no one to identify with.

You’ll find me throughout Langley, coaching youth roller and ball hockey, in the Kitchen at the Gateway of Hope, or working at the Real Canadian Superstore. And though this former sports writer no longer is reporting on local sports, you may run into me playing beer league hockey.

Facebook: facebook.com/ElectAlexJoehl

Twitter: @alexjoehl

Website:

Phone: 778-862-4605

.

CANDIDATE Q&A:

To help voters make their choices on election day, the Langley Advance Times is asking local candidates a series of questions on issues of importance, asking each candidate to participate.

They were asked to a ‘yes’, a ‘no,’ or a ‘don’t know’ (Y,N,D) response to EACH of the numbered questions for the grid published in the Oct. 15 edition of The News. Candidates were also invited to expand on ANY OR ALL of the questions (to a maximum of 200 words each), with one of their choice to be included in our print edition on Oct. 22. Here’s all their replies.

.

1. Would you vote to fund additional supportive housing units in Langley to reduce homelessness? NO

Throwing more money at housing isn’t the solution to help get people off the streets and prevent further homelessness.

There are many issues that need to be addressed first.

We need to end the prohibition on drugs, which will stop criminalizing addiction and allow people to get help they need.

Rent control-style regulations signal to landlords that it is more profitable to reno-vict residents instead of updating existing housing.

Much of Langley-East is within the ALR. Some non-profit organizations have tried to set up assisted living and addiction-treatment facilities within the ALR but were denied because of an out-dated view of farmland.

Housing prices continue to increase due to a scarcity created by governments. We need more homes. Existing building regulations must be amended. The province can work with municipalities to simplify zoning, like Japan did, to allow more density and legalize all housing types.

Social assistance programs need to be reworked so they no longer punish those trying to get back on their feet. Individuals often see a clawback of their benefits as soon as they begin working, creating a situation where there is no incentive for a person to work those first few hours while on state welfare.

2. Is lowering taxes the best route to economic recovery from the COVID-19 recession? YES

Tax-reduction is a popular topic for any political party, but which taxes to lower or eliminate is much more relevant.

The BC Libertarian Party has a detail tax strategy (available at https://libertarian.bc.ca/2020/09/24/tax-policy) that will maintain essential services, reduce administration costs, and most importantly give relief to the lowest income earners so they can get back on their feet – and stay there.

It is no secret that low-income earners are hurt most by COVID-19-related shutdowns.

The first step toward recovery is to rollback government mandates that keep people underemployed.

But further to that, we need to eliminate taxes that disproportionally affect the most-vulnerable.

Our party would raise the personal exemption to $44,000, instantly allowing workers to keep more of their money to reinvest into our economy. Our plan replaces $700 million in convoluted tax credits with the higher exemption for everybody. A simplified tax code still allows lower-income British Columbians to benefit, but has fewer exploits and loopholes for schemers to avoid paying taxes.

We’d put an end to sin taxes, like on liquor and cigarettes, which also disproportionally affect lower-income earners.

The Employee Health Tax, a burden on businesses that disincentivizes hiring more staff, would be eliminated permanently as well.

3. Should the province provide B.C. residents with a universal basic income? NO

There have been real-life trials of UBIs and the similar NTI (Negative Income Tax) in America, Canada, and Europe. Interestingly enough, both proponents and detractors find evidence in those trials to prove their own point. However, statistics showed it ended with fewer people working, and workers being off longer in-between jobs.

There are some pragmatic libertarians that believe replacing the multiple levels of social assistance with a UBI would make sense, because the savings in administration costs would fund whatever a UBI would cost to implement, and therefore, is the lesser evil of potential government assistance programs.

However, such a plan would transfer funding from those in dire need to everyone, many of whom are quite comfortable, and in the same way a partial transfer from the old to the young if we eliminate old-age security, or the disabled to the able-bodied similarly.

Some progressives may suggest keeping all these existing safety nets and adding the UBI on top of it. This would add huge costs to an already strained budget. And if the response to that is simply “just print more money to pay for it,” the consequence of that action will be decreased purchasing power for lower-income families.

4. Should the B.C. government restrict large, industrial cannabis greenhouses from operating in the ALR? NO

Anyone that feels vegetable greenhouses should be allowed in the ALR but not cannabis greenhouses is a hypocrite. Both commodities serve a purpose in our society.

As it is, land in the ALR is incredibly under-utilized. In Metro Vancouver about a quarter or ALR land is suitable for farming and not farmed, and another quarter is not suitable for farming, yet also sits underutilized.

I would look across the Urban Containment Boundary for opportunities to minimize any consequences of development would have on existing farm land.

In the last century farmers have increased yields at least four-fold, and technology continues to improve, with many more breakthroughs on the horizon. We need far less land for farming to feed the population that previously thought.

And, on top of this, the NDP government has actually made business more difficult for farmers to function, not easier. It’s time we did away with the Agricultural Land Commission, because it no longer serves any purpose other than encouraging speculation among those politically connected.

5. Should the B.C. government speed up the widening of Highway One into the eastern Fraser Valley? NO

Evidence shows that increasing road capacity just adds to traffic by inducing demand, having minimal benefits to the problem road-widening attempts to solve.

However, anyone that has been stuck in traffic in Aldergrove and Abbotsford on the freeway may be at least a bit skeptical.

The BC Libertarian Party is committed to widening highways and upgrading choke points like the Massey Tunnel replacement.

We also would bring back tolls on both bridges and express highways as both a way to fund the projects but also direct user behavior.

Other communities, including nearby Seattle, have express lanes that charge a fee. By adding a direct cost to the infrastructure the user’s behavior will adapt. Perhaps it is worth the cost of the quicker trip for that motorist. Perhaps not, therefore, they shouldn’t be burdened with the cost.

Ideally we’d be able to toll all roads – pay as you go – but that is a policy that needs much more polishing.

Either way, highways shouldn’t be the only focus of any infrastructure plan. Just like Tokyo was able to do, private rail-based transit options should exist, so we’d find a good public-private partnership to help British Columbians get around.

6. Should cities and school districts be allowed to go into debt during the pandemic? YES

School District 35 has been forced to completely change their structure and support of Langley schools since the provincial government began instituting restrictions and recommendations since March.

Just like any business during this time, the school district should be able to dip into the red to cover new infrastructure and training costs.

However, I would demand that the only conditions be that there is a plan in place to pay it back in a timely manner (four years, for example) and that no taxes are raised in relation to the excess spending. British Columbians are already struggling with underemployment thanks to government restrictions, so they cannot afford additional burdens in the coming years as we all collectively try to get back above water.

7. Should the province stop prosecuting drug possession to help fight the overdose epidemic? YES

There should be no law forbidding any one from putting any substance into their body.

The consequences of existing drug laws have been catastrophic. People are taking unclean drugs, leading to deaths, while it encourages an atmosphere of violence in the black market. Meanwhile, those that attempt to get help in kicking their addiction run into barriers, partly because of fear of prosecution.

Regardless of why people turn to drugs – a whole other discussion – it is important that when they do that they are able to do it safely.

Banning a substance will not stop someone from getting their hands on it – any high school student can tell you that. But the illegality of it creates a risk.

If drugs were sold in the open market, either through a liquor store or pharmacy model, it would eliminate a need for a black market (as long as government restrictions didn’t drive up costs; see: cannabis.)

Eliminating the black market would do four things: make drugs safer, potentially less expensive (removing risk of prosecution), make addiction treatment more easily accessible, and allow police to focus their resources on violent crimes such as theft, rape, and murder.

8. Should the province divert funding away from policing and towards social and mental health services? NO

This is a difficult question to answer YES or NO.

There are many great programs in our communities already doing a great job with addiction and mental health support. But others have tried moving in, like Luke 15, and were blocked because of arbitrary ALC restrictions. We need to be inviting to groups like these, not rejecting their efforts.

I also believe that our police shouldn’t necessarily be funded less, but that funding should be ear-marked away from victimless crimes. Instead of spending resources setting up radar traps and lurking behind pillars looking for mobile device-use in cars the police should be focusing on violent crimes, such as theft, rape, or murder. Our police already do a good job, so imagine how much more effective they’d be if they were not busy ticketing someone with a noisy muffler.

In fact, anyone who remembers my 2018 run for mayor of the Township of Langley knows I would replace the RCMP with a local police force, giving us even more control over goals and outcomes.

9. In the era of Black Lives Matter, should B.C. increase the penalties for hate speech? NO

The BC Libertarian Party believes that all individuals are entitled to equal treatment under the law, regardless of gender, sexual orientation, race, ethnicity, or religious belief. This is a long-standing classical-liberal principle that libertarians hold dear. We have long been champions of fairness and equality under the law and by society at large.

We also reject laws or cultural norms that seek to raise one identity group above another.

This leads us inevitably to a rejection of institutional intersectionality.

Intersectionality refers to an ideology which seeks to redistribute social, political, and economic power along the lines of race, gender, and sexuality, by force if necessary, from the privileged to the marginalized, not taking into account the agency, decisions, or capabilities of individuals in either group.

Ultimately this kind of redistributionist must be rejected because it requires violence. Marxism must be rejected because it says the most important characteristic about a person are those immutable traits which they have no will or control over. It reduces individuals to faceless representatives of a group.

This all stands in contrast to a libertarian’s commitment to the defense of individual liberty, and our party is proud to reject collectivism and defend freedom of speech.

10. Would you support more public schools moving to a year-round education model? NO

There are two sides to this debate.

There are many families that depend on the 9-3 school day as a source of not just education, but childcare, allowing them to work during those hours. Summer vacation creates a burden for some families when trying to cover-off summer.

I’ve been there; with only a handful of weeks of vacation time between the two of us, my wife and I have to cover the rest of the summer with help from grandparents and paid day camps.

However, there are other families that do have the ability to go on vacations during summer break.

Doing so during the school year would be a disruption to the child’s learning and also likely in the classroom as well.

Some teenage students have summer jobs that they work to save money for cars and for college, and having school extended through July and August would eliminate that opportunity.

But, in the end, the determining factor in the decision may be what do the students want?

I think we can all agree that when we were younger we looked forward to summer break to recharge, and, just be a kid.

.

OTHER LOCAL CANDIDATE Q&As:

.

Langley Riding:

Candidate Q&A: Shelly Jan

Candidate Q&A: Bill Masse

Candidate Q&A: Andrew Mercier

Candidate Q&A: Mary Polak

.

Langley East Riding:

Candidate Q&A: Megan Dykeman

Candidate Q&A: Margaret Kunst, BC Liberals

Candidate Q&A: Tara Reeve

Candidate Q&A: Ryan Warawa

Candidate Q&A: Cheryl Wiens

.

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

BC politicsBC Votes 2020Maple Ridge

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The two sites in question included a number of commercial buildings, some of them currently boarded up. (Langley Advance Times files)
Deal to add Fort Langley land to Kwantlen reserve called off

Elders and a land advisory group within the KFN opposed the project

The RCMP helicopter. (File photo)
Suspect escapes after police pursuit through Surrey, Langley, Abbotsford

Police chase involved two stolen vehicles, including one taken in Mission

Dwain and Lillian Seymour discovered their Murrayville home was listed for rent without their knowledge as part of a scam. (Langley Advance Times/file)
Guilty plea in Langley rent fraud case

Arrested man admits to 14 criminal counts

Police boats were called in to search the Fraser River after a report that a plane had crashed where the river runs between Langley and Maple Ridge. (Shane MacKichan/Special to The News)
Investigation enters final phase, missing aircraft last seen over Fraser River

Small aircraft was carrying a student and instructor on June 6

Seven-year-old Aaliyah Rosa was found dead in an apartment in Langley in July. (Special to the Langley Advance Times)
Trial in killing of seven-year-old Langley girl delayed again

KerryAnn Lewis will go on trial next week

Mary Foote (right) took part in the Gutsy Walk in August 2020 at the age of 104. She was joined by son in-law Clarence and daughter Edith Olson. (family photo)
Langley woman turns 105 on Oct. 25

In August, Mary Foote took part in the Gutsy Walk to battle Crohn’s and Colitis

IIO Chief Civilian Director Ron MacDonald. (File photo: Tom Zytaruk)
Police watchdog concludes Mounties didn’t shoot Surrey teen at strip mall

IIO finds tragic death of teenager ‘not the result of any actions or inactions’ by the Surrey RCMP

A passer-by walks past a COVID-19 testing clinic in Montreal, Friday, Oct. 16, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Canada ‘yet to see’ deaths due to recent COVID surge as cases hit 200,000

Much of the increase in case numbers can be attributed to Ontario and Quebec

Police confirm human remains were found in a recycling bin in Vancouver on Oct. 18, 2020. (Black Press Media file photo)
Human remains found in recycling bin floating near Vancouver beach

Police asking nearby residents to see if their recycling bin has gone missing

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Emergency crews shut down White Rock’s Five Corners district on Feb. 19, 2020 after an altercation left an elderly man in critical condition. (File photo)
Trial dates set in White Rock manslaughter case

Proceedings against Ross Banner, 71, set for June 2021 in Surrey Provincial Court

The many faces of Daon Glasgow. (Photos: Surrey RCMP)
Glasgow found not guilty of trying to murder transit cop in Surrey

Transit Police Constable Josh Harms was shot Jan. 30, 2019 at Scott Road SkyTrain Station

B.C. Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson visits a North Vancouver daycare to announce his party’s election promises for child care, Oct. 9, 2020. (B.C. Liberal Party video)
B.C. parties pitch costly child care programs in pandemic

B.C. Liberals say they’ll deliver on NDP’s $10-a-day promise for lower-income families

Most Read