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  • Time for Alberta to Lead Again

    During our unacceptably brief one-and-a-half day sitting of Legislature last week, Premier Redford called a debate on the state of the world economy and its effect on Alberta. The following are highlights of my speech concerning this issue given on behalf of my constituents:

    Mr. Speaker, the world is indeed experiencing troubled times, and although the blessing of abundant resources and still record high oil prices have insulated Alberta more than almost any place on earth, we are certainly not immune from the turmoil outside our borders.

    There are several causes of this turmoil but the main ones are these – corruption and a lack of ethics in government and around corporate board room tables; fiscal irresponsibility by governments and individuals; and a culture of “what’s in it for me?” that is becoming far too common among far too many in society. In one word – our problem is selfishness, and its siblings – greed and corruption.

    What the world so desperately needs, and what this province needs to avoid disaster, are leaders and role models and parents with the integrity, courage and wisdom to stand up and do and say what is right – and not just what is easy or convenient. Unfortunately, I fear our new Premier does not understand the need for such leadership because her actions over the last 3 weeks have shouted down her increasingly hollow words and promises of change.

    Alberta needs a Leader to end the era of fear and intimidation that has become so prevalent in this province. We need a leader who shows by her actions that government funding for community services and infrastructure isn’t dependent on a town council’s or individual’s support for the PC Party.

    We need a leader who sees the outright corruption that is the Bill 50 transmission line projects – repeals the Bill fully and starts over with an independent needs assessment so ratepayers are protected from billions in unnecessary costs.

    We need a leader…that doesn’t cancel the fall sitting of the Legislature, then restarts it for 2 days, takes a month off, then comes back for a week, and in justifying it says quote “it is not necessary to be in the house to make government decisions, that’s the job of the cabinet, that’s the job of the Premier.” – Sorry Premier…. Legislation and policy decisions proposed by Government are to be debated and passed by the people’s representatives – not by Cabinet fiat.

    We need a leader who demands integrity and competence from those that surround her – rather than appointing as the most powerful civil servant in a $40 billion dollar government an individual (new chief-of-staff Stephen Carter) whose company won’t pay its creditors despite repeated court judgments to do so. How can one promise to govern with fiscal competence, when her first move is to appoint someone who represents the very opposite?

    We need a leader who understands that Alberta has a spending problem, and doesn’t promise billions of taxpayer dollars for the purposes of blatantly buying votes – a leader who is committed to balancing the budget now – that won’t mortgage the future of our kids to try and save her party’s political hide.

    In short, we need a leader with the ethics and thoughtfulness of a Preston Manning – not a reincarnation of Joe Clark.

    Now Mr. Speaker – I love this province. We have such amazing people and potential. I sometimes sit in wonder as I think about the opportunities at our fingertips.

    On behalf of the Wildrose Caucus and our leader, Danielle Smith, let me assure all Albertans, that the Wildrose stands ready to govern if called upon. We can’t and won’t promise the world – but in these unsettled times, we do promise this:

    We will bring accountability to government by mandating free votes, fixed election dates and (MLA) voter recall
    We will end the culture of fear and intimidation that currently permeates our business, health and political communities
    We will shine a bright light of transparency in every corner and closet of government and will work to clean out the skeletons and cobwebs we find
    We will balance the budget and start saving some of our oil wealth without any delay – because we owe it to our children to do so
    We will target Albertans tax dollars on the things that most matter to them like…teachers, doctors and seniors; and we will cut…the PC corporate welfare handouts, pet projects, executive bonuses, cabinet salary increases, golden handshakes, and deals behind closed doors.
    And we will defend Alberta’s (energy) industry aggressively and competently – we are proud of producing the most ethical oil on earth and will work with our energy entrepreneurs to continually improve upon their already strong track record of environmental stewardship.
    This is what the Wildrose has been and will continue to fight for – and whether Albertans give us 16 or 60 seats in the next election, our principles will remain the same – fiscally conservative, pro-entrepreneur, democratic and transparent, giving a hand up not a hand out, respect for local decision-making, and the protection of the liberties of families and individuals.

    These principles reflect the values of Albertans. If we, as a province, adhere to them, we will weather the global economic storm and become a beacon of prosperity and freedom for all the world. If we continue to abandon these principles – as so many in this House and around the world have done – we will become a tragic and forgotten footnote in history. It’s time for Alberta to stand back up and lead the way again. Thank-you.