Politics are about to get very interesting in Alberta.
A by-election has been called in the Calgary-Lougheed constituency that was opened up for a by-election by the sitting MLA Dave Rodney resigning the seat so Jason Kenny, the new leader of the United Conservative Party (UCP) could run to become an MLA and lead the party from the Legislature.
Kenny has come a long way in the last year and a half. He resigned his position as an MP so he could run for the leadership of the old PC party with the objective of uniting the right.
After an intense and focused campaign he won that leadership with a large majority. His next task was to convince the Wildrose hierarchy to begin discussions with the PC Party on a merger of the two parties.
The two parties finally came up with an agreement and put it to a vote of the membership of both parties. That agreement was ratified by a 96 per cent vote of the members of both parties.
As a result of the vote the UCP Party was formed and the two old parties were disbanded. The next step in the process was to elect a leader for the new party.. He won that vote again with a majority of 60 per cent.
Assuming that he wins the next election, his real challenge will be to get Alberta back on track to becoming financially solvent again.
By the next election, the NDP government will have us close to being 100 billion dollars in debt. That is a large hole to crawl out of. I am a bit concerned that because of his unprecedented success of the past two years that he may have set himself up for unrealistic expectations.
I will try to articulate some issues that I think he needs to tackle if and when he becomes premier of this province.
There are four key areas I think will be priorities for a UCP government to address, the Government deficit, the NDP Climate Change Plan, Alberta Health Care and Bill 6.
By 2022 the government debt in Alberta is expected to be about 100 billion dollars. The NDP government has made no attempt to curtail their spending.
Deficit spending began under the Stelmach government by allowing the unsustainable growth of the bureaucracy. The NDP government has allowed this same bureaucracy to grow exponentially. Of the 48,500 new jobs crated since the NDP came to power, 41,900 of them are in the public sector.,
The entire NDP climate change plan has to be repealed. Not just the carbon tax. It is all based on flawed science. Science based evidence has proven that C02 emissions into the atmosphere are not a significant contributor to climate change, it is a natural occurrence.
I have yet to hear a politician categorically make that statement in public.
Alberta has the most expensive health care system in Canada, however other provinces have health systems that are more effective with shorter wait times. Our system needs a major overhaul.
Several European countries have combination private public health systems that are less expensive and provide better service.
Bill 6 needs to be repealed. The WCB is expensive and does not provide coverage 24/7. Workers are only covered while they are actually working.
There are private plans available that provide protection for farm workers with protection that will cover them 24 hours a day. Legislation just has to make it mandatory that farm workers have income protection in case of sickness or accident.
If Jason Kenny becomes our next premier he will face a tremendous challenge to meet the expectations of correcting the mess that the NDP has created in Alberta.
It will require the unwavering support of all conservatives to bring Alberta back to its former glory.
by Herman Schwenk