Correction (11:45 a.m., Feb. 22.): Strankman did not leave the United Conservative Party due to ‘top-down control’ but rather because of the Drumheller-Stettler riding UCP election that took place in September. Voters expressed their right to vote and Nate Horner was selected as the UCP candidate for the upcoming election.
Drumheller-Stettler MLA Rick Strankman, now an Independent member of the legislature, has officially put his name forth in the upcoming election.
The announcement made Mon. Feb. 18, outlined Strankman’s goals for the constituency in terms of property rights, economic development, reduced tax load and better representation in the Legislature.
“After nearly seven years as an MLA shackled with Party-first priorities, it is clear that Alberta’s party system of government has stripped effective representation and across-the-board best interests from Alberta’s citizens,” Strankman said.
“Running for election and winning office as an Independent will enable me to restore the priorities of all Drumheller-Stettler citizens to the front lines of the Legislature and advance their priorities for resurrecting Alberta’s prosperity.”
Strankman was voted out as the United Conservative Party (UCP) candidate for the 2019 provincial election with Nate Horner winning the vote back in September 2018.
As an Independent, the seasoned politician believes this route will provide a better representation of constituents when in the legislature.
At the announcement made Monday, Strankman listed his four top priorities for the Drumheller-Stettler constituency.
The first was the goal to entrench requisite property rights for all Albertans, particularly farmers and ranchers.
Advancing a new irrigation project for the Special Areas, along with other infrastructure initiatives, were identified as important priorities to help accelerate the Drumheller-Stettler riding’s economic development and elevate local prosperity.
He mentioned a few areas to make this a reality including a mesh of public and private partnership to get new irrigation technology to the Special Areas as agriculture is the second largest industry in the constituency.
His third priority was reducing taxes for young people, families, companies, seniors and more to encourage development in the area.
“Alberta needs a better solution to global warming impacts than a carbon tax.
“In addition, current issues important to Alberta’s young generations need attention, ranging from environmental priorities and improved job creation to targeted advances in education and community development,” Strankman said.
Herman Schwenk, president of the Rick Strankman reelection constituency association, felt the decision for Strankman to run has created a unique opportunity.
“I think it’s important in this constituency while we have this opportunity to elect an Independent MLA because an Independent MLA represents the people that elected him,” said Schwenk. “The problem with MLA’s that are elected with party affiliation is once they are elected they have a higher priority to serve the party rather than the people that elected him.”
At the heart of the campaign, Strankman hopes to push a harder line of conservatism that resonates with voters while delivering fair democracy to the legislature.
“Central to all of these initiatives is a grassroots direct democracy model for input into these, and other provincial initiatives that must respect and reflect the priorities and opinions of all the citizens of Drumheller-Stettler. Like all of you, I want your voices heard in Edmonton,” Strankman said. “My helpers and I will conduct regular community consultations across the constituency on issues important to our people.”
The provincial government hasn’t called the election but must do so between March and May of this year.