Doug Schweitzer

Doug Schweitzer in the running to lead Alberta’s new conservative party

Candidate announces his intention following last weekend’s unity vote

A leadership contender for the newly-minted conservative party is on the road shoring up support.

Doug Schweitzer cast his ballot as a member of the Wildrose Party for the unification of Wildrose and PC Alberta this past weekend.

That followed his vote for unity as a member of PC Alberta on July 21st.

Members of both parties voted 95% in favour of merging the parties in separate events over the weekend.

“We have successfully changed the course of conservative politics in Alberta. Whether you are a Wildrose or PC Alberta party member, or both, I believe we are better and we are stronger together,” said Schweitzer following the event.

“Alberta can’t wait, we must create jobs, get our spending under control, and get Albertans working again. I believe the path to reach these goals is through the United Conservative Party of Alberta and I look forward to continuing to share my plan for how we can get there.

“As a restructuring lawyer, I see firsthand how Alberta companies are struggling. As a father and third generation Albertan, I can’t stop thinking about what kind of province we will hand to our children,” he notes on his web site.

“While low commodity prices deserve much of the blame, NDP policies are making a bad situation worse. We are no longer competitive and too many Albertans are out of work.

“We need a real plan to get Albertans back to work and create the most competitive business environment in Canada. This requires a willingness and determination to address the structural problems created by over a decade of neglect under past PC governments and made drastically worse under the NDP.”

In a later interview, Schweitzer said that it was exciting to see it all come together this past weekend during the unity vote.

“We’ve been out there campaigning for the last month and a half trying to help pull this together and personally I’ve been working on this behind the scenes for almost a year now trying to get both parties to come together.

“Albertans wanted this – when you go door-knocking and you talk to people, they want one strong and united and diverse party to come together and to take on the NDP,” he said, adding he launched his own campaign for leadership during the first week of June.

“Since then we’ve been actively campaigning across the province building up our team and actively working with the Wildrose and PC parties to get the ratification done,” he said. “Now that we’ve got that, we are off to the real leadership race.

“I’m a social moderate and real fiscal conservative,” he said when asked about his own general political stance. As mentioned, he is a restructuring lawyer and said he has seen first hand the economic devastation that many in Alberta have been going through these past few years.

“Companies that we could normally turn around – there’s just been a lack of investor confidence and as a result, companies that would normally be success stories from a turnaround standpoint have been turning over the keys and auctioning off the equipment. Jobs are lost, and this is just not good enough,” he said.

“Alberta families deserve better.”

He said that in his chats with residents, he’s hearing about a lack of fiscal management from the NDP party.

“Alberta used to be the most competitive jurisdiction in Canada – arguably in Canada bar none,” he said, pointing to his campaign policy which includes what he describes as the largest tax relief in Alberta history.

According to the web site, “For Alberta to afford the largest amount of tax relief in its history, Schweitzer has proposed the 9/6/3 Plan and would keep government spending flat during a United Conservative Party’s first term in government. A return to a balanced budget would occur within the first term.”

In the meantime, Schweitzer said he is looking forward to the time leading up to leaders selection in October.

“Just getting out and talking to Albertans – that is exciting and it’s an honour to be able to get out and talk to people about a plan and the future of the province,” he said. “Also, from the exciting standpoint as well to be able to define what the new united conservative party means and what it stands for,” he added.

“People are tired of the Ottawa-style of attack politics and they want someone who is going to be putting forward a positive plan that is going to turn things around in Alberta,” he said.