Dan Johnstone “Can Man Dan” poses for a photo in the box truck he camped in as he collected donations for the Edmonton Food Bank at the Southgate Centre Safeway last week. DAVID BLOOM Postmedia Network
Last week, noted local anti-poverty activist Daniel “Can Man Dan” Johnstone announced that he would be running for councillor of Edmonton’s Ward 12.
The region in the south of Edmonton was left with an open seat after Amarjeet Sohi was elected the Member of Parliament for Edmonton Mill Woods for the Liberal Party of Canada this past federal election.
According to Johnstone, he decided to enter the race after consulting members of the constituency.
“They all told me ‘you need to run,’ and that’s what I’m going to do,” he said.
While Johnstone doesn’t currently live in Ward 12 (he resides close to the boundary line, just down Ellerslie Road), he did for many years, only having moved out five months ago, and he retains ties in the community.
Johnstone relies on his charitable work as “Can Man Dan” for his credentials. Over the years, he raised funds and food for various charitable organizations around town.
In his youth, he relied on these organizations himself and in previous interviews has expressed his desire to give back.
“I help many, many struggling businesses and coach community sports … I’m known as a man of the people because I’ve been working with the people for many years now and now it’s time for me to work with them on a new level,” he said.
As this is a byelection, whoever holds the seat will only keep it for a year and a half, a fact that Johnstone laments.
“We’re going to have to work really hard to make sure that something gets done right,” he said.
According to Johnstone, his political platform is to bring a fiscally responsible voice to city council.
He also hopes to re-work the photo-radar system, which he considers a “cash grab.”
He also hopes to fix the public transit system and work towards creating affordable housing.
“It’s the developers who are running the show,” he said, adding that Edmonton’s population, both homeless and otherwise, is growing.
As it stands, there are around 25 candidates running for the position and, Johnstone said, some of them need to drop out.
“Right now, there are a lot of people whose names shouldn’t be there, to be quite frank,” he said.
“I admire that they stepped up and that they want to help their community.”
For more information, visit danjohnstone.com
By Doug Johnson
Wednesday, January 6, 2016 9:51:56 MST AM