Will the ‘old guard’ Tories work with Redford?

This is to congratulate Alison Redford on being elected as leader of the Alberta Progressive Conservatives. Albertans woke up on Sept. 2 with a new Premier-elect. After a long campaign with six candidates the only woman candidate with a different more progressive platform, calling for change came out on top, defeating candidates with much deeper pockets and endorsements of many PC MLAs.

Redford’s candidacy and platform on public healthcare and funding for education and poverty reduction appeared as a refreshing departure from the predictable Conservative ideology of the last many years.

This leadership election result was an unexpected display of people power, where even citizens from outside the PC joined with the regular members, wanting to influence the selection of the next premier, and purchased PC memberships to support Redford’s platform.

But now we look to the next step. Redford has no obligations to any cabinet or caucus members. She can and hopefully will select a smaller group of cabinet members who are likeminded with the Redford platform.

• We look forward to the promised changes to reverse the cuts to education funding immediately, and providing long-term balanced multi-year funding for the future.

• We look forward to a halt to the privatization by stealth in health care, providing greater transparency and accountability.

• We look forward to the adoption and implementation of an Alberta poverty reduction strategy where all departments will work together to achieve the promised “better Alberta” for all, including the poor.

• We look for much greater environmental accountability in resource and water issues, calling a halt to sale of environmentally sensitive public lands to private interests, etc.

It will be interesting to see how the “old guard” will work with Redford, and if they recognize the public’s clear demand for change and act accordingly. If cooperation and support for change is denied by them, there will be a price to pay at the polls at the coming election. I urge Central Alberta MLAs for their own self-interest to consider the growing appetite of Albertans for more accountability and transparency.

The present leadership campaign results could be considered a rejection of the ‘U.S. Republican’ style politics and adoption of a more compatible Canadian model.

Sam Denhaan

Red Deer

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