Federal Election 2015  

Albas: coming to consensus

Castanet is featuring profiles on all the Okanagan candidates in the upcoming federal election

Dan Albas, Conservative – Central Okanagan - Similkameen - Nicola

Dan Albas isn't interested in fighting with his political opponents. Instead, he prides himself on being able to listen to others and to come to a consensus on issues.

“I don’t use profanity, I don’t use flamethrower-type rhetoric in the House to get my points across,” Albas said.

Before entering his political career, he owned his own martial arts academy, Kick City, in Penticton for 15 years.

He says he had three pillars while owning the small business, and he has taken them into politics.

“Number one, we respect the individual. Number two, we support our communities … and number three, we try to be the change we want to see in the world,” Albas said.

He jumped into politics in 2008, when he was elected to Penticton city council.

Stockwell Day, the member of Parliament for Okanagan-Coquihalla in 2011, elected not to run and encouraged Albas to carry the Tory banner.

He's now seeking his second term as MP in the newly formed Central Okanagan-Similkameen-Nicola riding.

Albas’s family moved to Penticton in the early 1980s. His father was a lawyer and his mother a social worker, but his mother was able to stay at home with him and his two sisters until he was 12 years old.

The family moved to Whitehorse in 1986 for a year, where an accident at age 11 would strongly influence Albas’s life.

“Some kids were playing around with fire, and I was a bit of a scaredy-cat, so I turned to run to go home,” he said. “One of the guys lost control of a flaming ball that hit into a gas container. It was on fire, so the guy kicked it trying to put it out. I was in the path that he kicked it to.”

Albas received third-degree burns to 39 per cent of his body and first- and second-degree burns on much of the rest. He was transported to Edmonton, where he received experimental skin grafts, and then shipped to Calgary to recover.

“For the first time in my life, I was separated from my family. Most of the time, I was completely dependent on other people who were strangers,” Albas said.

Down on himself, the hospital sent in a man who had gone through a similar situation.  

“As bad as my suffering was, it was nowhere near as bad as it could be,” he said. “I realized how lucky I was to have a family. I realized how lucky I was to be in Canada, where we look out for each other.”

The mentor told him to help others when able, which, later in life, led him to join the Rotary Club.

“I do believe a strong, voluntary civic society is important to maintaining our well being,” Albas said. “Sometimes, government cannot do everything.”

Albas believes in being accountable as a politician. He writes a weekly column about what is going on in Parliament and asks for feedback.

“For me, philosophically, I believe people closest to the problems should probably have the most say in the answers.”

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