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Quote of the Week
"We need a government that will actually think about the long term, use best evidence and plan for the future by protecting water as a primary resource."
- Dr. David Swann  
   
   

 

All candidates forum at Cowley Community Hall
Story
Kimberley Massey photo
Livingstone-Macleod MLA candidates (left to right) Pat Stier (Wildrose), Dr. David Swann (representing Liberal Party on behalf of LM candidate Alex MacDonald), Matthew Halton (NDP), Larry Ashmore (EverGreen) and Evan Berger (Progressive Conservative).
 
Candidates running to represent the constituency of Livingstone – Macleod (LM) in the upcoming provincial election gathered at an all candidates forum at the Cowley Community Hall last Wednesday, April 11th, discussing policies and answering questions from area residents.
Approximately 100 members of the pubic attended the forum, hosted by the Livingstone Landowners Group, Crowsnest Conservation Society and Alberta Wilderness Association, with Progressive Conservative incumbent MLA and provincial Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Evan Berger, Alberta Wildrose Party candidate Pat Stier, Alberta EverGreen Party leader and LM candidate Larry Ashmore, Alberta New Democratic Party candidate Matthew Halton and former Alberta Liberal Party leader and incumbent Calgary – Mountain View MLA Dr. David Swann (representing the Liberals in place of LM candidate Alex MacDonald) answering questions regarding land stewardship, watershed issues, logging and conservation.
The forum began with opening comments from each of the candidates before opening the forum to questions from the floor.
Each of the candidates stressed the importance of water conservation not only to the future of the riding but also the future of the province.
“We must plan to put watersheds at the top of our priorities,” said Berger.
“We need a government that will actually think about the long term, use best evidence and plan for the future by protecting water as a primary resource,” said Dr. Swann, remarking that the PC government has not done enough to preserve water in Alberta.
Bellevue resident Tim Grier asked the candidates why, if watershed conservation is so important, the government would support clearcut logging of the Castle Wilderness by Spray Lakes Sawmills.
 

“Forest management is more than just waiting for a fire to come along,” said Berger, noting that phosphorus, nitrogen and mercury levels increased significantly while forest health decreased following the Lost Creek Fire in 2003, making the trees more susceptible to fire and pine beetle infestation.
“We have to take an active role to also allow for some logging in order to have a healthy and age-varied forest,” he said.
“Logging is part of an entire strategy to make sure we keep our forests healthy.”
Ashmore said that more sustainable methods of forest management need to be pursued, adding that there should be a moratorium on logging in the Castle area.
Dr. Swann echoed these sentiments, adding that clear cutting should have been stopped many years ago.
“Clearcut logging destroys habitat and reduces quality and quantity of water,” said Dr. Swann.
“We need much better management of our water system and we shouldn’t be allowing developments in the Eastern Slopes that threaten water supply for the future.”
When asked by Beaver Mines General Store owner Jacques Thouin to raise their hand if they would support the legislation of the Castle Wilderness as a Wilderness Park, Ashmore, Halton and Dr. Swann each raised their hand without hesitation, while Berger and Stier kept their hands down.
Area resident Vince Anderson also asked candidates what they would do to encourage economic development in the area.
Dr. Swann said the Liberal Party is dedicated to investing in post-secondary education and new technologies in order to create qualified workers and new and expanding industries for them to work in.
Berger stressed the importance of investing in health care, education and infrastructure in order to draw young families to the area and create jobs in order to facilitate that transition.
“We have lost a generation in rural Alberta,” said Berger.
“We need everyone working together to make our rural communities vibrant again.”
For more information about candidates, as well as information on where to vote and how to register to vote, visit www.elections.ab.ca.
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