Morishita looks to bring experience, stability to Brooks-MH

Alberta Party Leader Barry Morishita was born and raised in Brooks and his children and grandchildren still live there.

His family came to the community in 1950, operating a mixed farm following WWII, when the Japanese part of his family was interned. His uncle still actively farms the original quarter section in Rosemary. His brothers ranch, one sister is a teacher and the other an engineer. Morishita is part of the community and believes that is important for adequate representation within government.

“People are tired of, ‘Here is the solution, everybody gets the same one.’ There is so much local potential to solve problems and fix things,” Morishita says. “We can elect a local representative who understands the issues and knows the people who live here. It’s not that there aren’t common problems, but some of the solutions are right in front of us. I think we must empower local professionals to do that job and that is something I would champion hard for if I’m the MLA.”

Morishita is no stranger to politics, with 16 years on city council in Brooks, six of those as its mayor. He is the past president of the Canadian Badlands Association, and served seven years on the board of the Alberta Municipalities Association, four as its president. Morishita says that experience has led him to understand the nuances of Alberta’s southeast corner.

Affordability, heath care, education and prioritizing government spending toward core issues are what his party aims to work on. It may not be the most exciting side of governance, but Morishita believes it is the practical, proper thing to do.

“Those systems aren’t working well for our area and they don’t serve our local population as well as they could.”

While door knocking, Morishita says the issues being talked about most are how expensive it is to raise a family, the cost of utilities and transportation, school fees and access to health care.

“We have to look at this from the perspective of publicly funded, publicly available,” he says. “What is the best for the system now and in the future?”

From talking to health professionals, Morishita says the picture is a crisis of resources and shortage of staff. He also says a lack of transparency in a clear privatization process is a major problem.

“If we take people out of the public system, as well meaning as that might be, it detracts from the overall delivery. We need to get out of the mindset that public or private is better. We need to deliver the best product for the patient and we should be looking at options.”

In education, Morishita believes curriculum development must be nonpartisan and set aside for people who know what they are doing.

“You must have teachers, parents and professionals involved. It must be non ideological and be best for the kids.”

Also important is reviewing the curriculum regularly, to keep up with global developments. Morishita wants a more flexible approach to the changing dynamics in the classroom to ensure teachers and students have the resources they need, feeling the Sept. 30 cut-off doesn’t serve that.

“There is nothing more important than this investment. We must prepare kids for a future that is dynamic.”

SAMANTHA JOHNSON, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Medicine Hat News