Wildrose AGM hosts Little Bow MLA, talks provincial issues
Members of the Lac La Biche-St. Paul-Two Hills Wildrose Constituency Association gathered to discuss and prepare for the provincial election in 2016 during last week’s annual general meeting.
The Wildrose Constituency Association AGM took place at the Centennial Senior Citizen Club on March 25, and featured a speech on the progress of the Wildrose Party from Ian Donovan, Wildorse MLA for Little Bow, and agriculture critic with the Wildrose Party.
“These are interesting times in this province of ours, probably the most interesting in the last 107 years,” said Carl Christensen, association president. “I think we’re making history. All of us are part of that and it’s great.”
Treasurer Debra Lozinksi reported that the budget for the association has a surplus, with a balance of $13,000. Lozinski noted that the last year was quiet, which meant fewer budget expenditures.
After the treasurer’s report, Lac La Biche-St. Paul-Two Hills MLA Shayne Saskiw congratulated Christensen and the other members for their efforts, discussing the growing strength of the party.
“I think people are going to look back and see this was the first riding in northern Alberta that went Wildrose, and was the first step to form a Wildrose government and take out a dynasty that’s been in power for almost 43 years,” said Saskiw.
On the resignation of former Premier Alison Redford, Saskiw said, “We took down a premier. She wasn’t doing a good job for Alberta, and we needed a change.”
He added, “It’s not just the premier. When you look at all these decisions, it’s across the entire board. There’s a culture of entitlement. We’re going to demonstrate that in 2015 and 2016. Each and every one of those MLAs supported Premier Redford’s agenda, and every cabinet minister supported her budget.”
After Saskiw, Donovan spoke to guests, describing his background as a grain farmer, and a former municipal councillor and reeve for the County of Vulcan. As a former member of a PC Association, he distanced himself form the party, developing an enthusiasm for the Wildrose Party and its grassroots approach to politics.
“The problem in politics in Alberta is with MLAs not listening to their constituents,” he said.
Donovan recommended ways to save on government expenditures by taking a serious look at costs, and seeing where reasonable limits can be placed. He criticized the number of government workers employed by the PC Party.
“There’s a chance to be a more conservative party, and I think we’ve shown we have the leaderships skills and that we can. We need to sit there and keep holding the government accountable, and I do appreciate everyone in the province who does.”
Donovan added, “We don’t need to put a work plan together for our leader, because she knows what she’s doing and takes her input from her caucus seriously, and moves forward with it. It’s good to be part of a team like that.”
After the speeches, a question period was held between association members and MLAs.
One guest asked, “Is it true that the government sold some of their assets to China, calling it Crown Land?”
“They are selling some Crown Land,” said Donovan, “I don’t know specifically for the oil sands. They’re getting pretty creative on how they’ve been coming up with things, and there’s lots grazing leases in the south they’re talking about selling. Those are assets they could probably sell and make some money on.”
A guest commented on the inefficiency of the ambulance system, asking who came up with it.
Saskiw said, “With ambulance dispatch, they’ve decided to centralize everything. Ambulance providers say it will result in increased wait times in emergencies.”
Donovan said, “I think you can do things way better locally. You’re close to your local representatives and you can easily give input.”
He added, “I’m 45 minutes southeast of Calgary. Our local ambulance services go to Calgary, unload the patients, and wait until patients are admitted. That’s holding them up around seven hours. So then when our ambulances are waiting, if anything else happens, ambulances from other places like Carmangay, Claresholm, or Lethbridge have to cover for them.”
One of the guests criticized the education system, particularly the new math curriculum, asking what the Wildrose Party would change about it, if elected.
“When we’ve talked about it in our caucus we thought the best response is to go back to what worked before, and to get back to the basics,” said Donovan.
After the question period, members elected the new executive for the constituency association board.
While Christensen is still serving his term as president, Melissa McEachern was elected as treasurer, Dixie Dahlsted was elected as secretary, Amy Dyck was elected as vice president of membership, Kellie Nichiporik was elected as vice president of communications, David Inscho was elected as vice president of policy, and Kathleen Skjersven was elected as vice president of funding.