In the same way a family ensures their future by instilling values, building a financial foundation and allowing ideas and individualism to foster, I have spent considerable time the last few months listening to Cypress-Medicine Hatters and Albertans about our economy, culture and future.
A family, of course, does it in their home, throughout community organizations and with extended family members. I have spent my time outside the Legislature holding Town Halls, drinking tons of coffee, attending public events, basketball and hockey games and listening -- listening to many new and innovative ideas. What is overwhelmingly evident is that Albertans are deeply concerned with our government’s deliberate decline of our economy, accumulation of debt and interest expense (2019: $2.3 Billion in annual interest) and orchestrated changes to our culture, values and education system.
When I stand in the Legislature and the NDP announces a cap on oilsands production, yet another spending and tax increase, or more bureaucrats being hired to centralize health care or record keeping, I immediately know how negatively this will affect our families and communities. It hurts that a mother of two hardworking 20 something year olds tells me that, despite actively searching, they are now past 2 years unemployed.
Cypress-Medicine Hatters are deeply concerned and a large majority have told me their preferred solution: Fiscal conservative Unity. At first, this surprised me. However, it accurately indicates how deeply dissatisfied Albertans are with the NDP government’s direction. Just 2 years ago, Albertans told the wasteful, entitled PC party that “NO”, you can’t break your word and call an opportunistic election a year early. Albertans value one’s word and honor. They are hard workers who look for value for tax dollars and a government that cares more about families, communities and social needs than power and entitlement.
It is abundantly clear however, Albertans are expecting all fiscal conservatives to engage in discussions to see if values, policy and governance are similar enough to form one unified, conservative party. On all accounts, the inalienable values that Albertans believe in, hold true. These core values are smaller government (Alberta spends 25% more per capita than any other provincial government) and empowering communities through local decision making. Albertans also value greatly enhanced equity and fairness to eliminate corporate welfare as well as choice in health care and education. In addition, they often tell me about their strong desire to strengthen property rights and grow individual and family opportunities.
My chief aim is to ensure that Cypress-Medicine Hat values and needs are promoted, respected and not compromised in the discussion and unity process. I ask that all interested constituents contact me so I can fully understand all our needs and ideas. Let’s return Alberta to its position as a leader in Canada, where opportunity and jobs make families and communities strong!
Drew Barnes is the MLA for Cypress - Medicine Hat and WIldrose Official Opposition
Shadow Minister of Health