Potential UCP Candidates Visit with Residents
Pass Herald Reporter
United Conservative Party (UCP) leadership candidate Rebecca Schulz visited the Crowsnest Market last week to speak with residents about the upcoming election for the new party leader. Rebecca Schulz is the MLA for Calgary-Shaw and was elected in 2019.
“Right now, as I watched this leadership ring happening, I know that the success of our party is important for the future of our province,” said Schulz, “We need a leader who can unite our party.”
She said they need to bring grassroots members along with them and provide some leadership for the next generation of our Conservative Party.
“Everywhere I go in Alberta, people are talking about the importance of economic growth, diversification, jobs, but also health care and education,” said Schulz.
Talking to people from the area was important to her, not only here but across the province. Schulz said she wants to focus on the future and create economic growth and opportunities, a part of the reason she came to Alberta from Saskatchewan.
“If you were willing to work hard, you could be who and whatever you wanted to be and chart your own path,” said Schulz, “Over the last number of years, especially under the former government, we saw economic devastation, and that was hard for a lot of people right across this province.”
Focusing on a balanced budget is one of Schulz’s priorities. She said it's important when her kids are making decisions to meet the demands of their time that they aren't paying off the debt from now.
“We can do that while still investing in the things that matter to Albertans; highways, education, making sure teachers are hired to be in classrooms with kids, that the emergency rooms are there and open and that people have access to family doctors,” said Schulz.
Somebody who is going to plan for the future and be open to growth and economic diversification is important for the province according to Schulz.
“When I look at my fiscal plan it was really around 35 per cent of our surplus going to pay down the debt, 35 per cent going to save for the future in the Heritage Savings Trust fund and 30 per cent to address things that are top of mind for Albertans,” said Schulz, “Things like capital projects as well as affordability measures and investment attraction.”
When Schulz reflected on the other candidates, she said she is the only candidate that has experience negotiating with the federal government. She said she was part of an almost $4 billion childcare deal with the federal government.
“I was not willing to accept the first or second deal that the federal government put across the table. We had to fight for Albertans to make sure that small business was included, that all the options parents make were included from day homes and preschools to childcare facilities,” said Schulz.
She now has the backing of Rona Ambrose, someone Schulz said is one of her political mentors and someone she looked up to as a leader. With Ambrose’s support she doesn’t claim to be able to make everyone happy.
“I'm not going to over promise and under deliver but I will work hard for you every single day and be able to stay focused on the things that matter most, but that only happens if we choose a leader for our United Conservative Party who can beat Rachel Notley and the NDP in 2023, and that person is me.” said Schulz.
Schulz called herself a fiscal conservative. Her focus is on a balanced budget, economic growth and health care.
"We spend more on health care than a lot of other provinces per capita, and we don't have better outcomes. We need to fix the health care system,” said Schulz.
Also at the forefront of her mind was issues with education. She is looking to make it so children can get a “world class education” right here in Alberta and then be able to stay here and work.
“We can't do the same old, same old. We can't bring policies that create more chaos and division, that's not what Albertans are looking for, what they are looking for is a leader who can provide a vision of what our Conservative Party is and bring people along.
Uniting the party and the diverse opinions, views and thoughts on different issues is part of the vision Schulz has for the party.
For those interested in learning more about Rebecca Schulz or to learn how you can become a member to vote in the leadership race for the UCP, visit the website rebeccaforleader.ca to find out more.
Potential United Conservative Party leader Travis Toews spoke to Crowsnest Pass residents and The Blairmore Lions Hall on July 25.
Toews was elected to the Legislative Assembly of Alberta on April 16, 2019, as the MLA for Grande Prairie-Wapiti.
Toews and his wife live in the Grande Prairie region and have three children and eight grandchildren. He spent twelve years in a public accounting practice. In the past fifteen years, he and his wife Kim, have managed a corporate family cattle ranching operation and an oilfield environmental company.
He was appointed as Alberta’s President of Treasury Board and Minister of Finance on April 30, 2019.
Speaking with Crowsnest Pass residents he started by saying “It's great to be here, really great to get to this community, it's been good to travel around the province here the last five weeks or so.”
The last time he was in the area he said he was working on the 2022 budget as Finance Minister. He was also focused on the future of the province as the leadership vote for the UCP and supported affirming the leadership of Jason Kenney.
“I believe the best thing for the province [is] stability and stability would mean affirming the premier and heading into the next election,” said Toews, “The premier didn't get enough support and I think he made the right decision by stepping down.”
Toews claims running for Premier of the province was not something he “laid awake at night over the years wishing I could do”, even saying he had never aspired to politics before 2018.
“I didn't want government in my business, and I certainly didn't want them in the middle of raising a family,” said Toews.
When the province voted in an NDP government is when Toews said he took notice of politics.
“I was concerned that the freedoms, the opportunity, the prosperity that we had enjoyed may not be there for the next generation,” he said.
Toews said government's role isn't to create wealth, but to create a competitive business environment where entrepreneurs can see opportunity that government never could and work hard, deploy capital, take risk and grow an economy.
Growth in the entertainment and tech industries were touched on by Toews, along with the need to stop “robbing” the Heritage Trust Fund of earnings. He talked extensively about economic growth and change in Alberta.
“We're seeing economic diversification at rates I have probably not seen in my lifetime, and that's really good news for the next generation who might want a career in an area entirely different than what I might have envisioned when I was their age,” said Toews.
One thing he said about his style of leadership is that tone, style and approach matter.
“I was the finance minister in the last three years in Premier Kenney’s cabinet. I'm often considered the establishment candidate,” said Toews.
He talked about working closely together on a lot of initiatives the last three years with the premier. Toews said he has “a deep commitment to conservative values” which allowed them to work together on fiscal and economic objectives.
Questions for the potential candidate were spread out over a variety of topics. Heated discussion around healthcare started things off, with one person in attendance blaming Toews and the previous government for the current state of the healthcare system.
Another topic brought up by the audience was the 1976 Coal Policy. Toews apologized for the work done by the government and himself in reducing the areas capacity for coal mining.
“The government that I was involved in, I sat around the cabinet table, it made a grievous error,” said Toews.
Talk about the federal government's reduction of fertilizer emissions were also discussed with Toews saying he would work with other provinces to “push back against the feds” on the issue.
“With support of many or maybe most all of the other provinces, we could do it effectively without having to kind of turn to that more punitive action,” said Toews.
For more information on Travis Toews and his policy, go to toewsforalberta.ca to read further.