City Councillor Buck Buchanan is running for the Wildrose Party for the Red Deer North constituency. He initially ran for the PC Party but was defeated by Christine Moore.
Buchanan was granted an unpaid leave of absence from City council until May 5th.
“I was approached by the party last week. I got a call from the leader Brian Jean and I told him that I quite like some of the Wildrose policies and I always have – I just wasn’t keen on their previous leader.”
He added he has received community support since his announcement that he will run for the Wildrose Party.
Wildrose Leader Brian Jean made his way through Central Alberta yesterday with a stop in Lacombe late afternoon.
“The reception from Albertans has been great. They are coming out in all of the towns we’re visiting and they certainly think we are focused on what Albertans want and they are excited for no tax increases,” said Jean.
Jean said he is hearing a number of concerns and issues from Albertans about the current government along the campaign trail.
“I think a lot of people think the PCs have been in government for too long. I keep hearing the same thing – let’s get someone in government who is going to do something different and not just for themselves, but for Albertans,” he said. “I see significant interest for a change and it might be change for one party or another, but a change from the PC government for sure.”
He added the two major issues he has seen from Albertans include low taxes and balanced budgets.
“The craziness of this budget that came from Jim Prentice is how he is adding 59 new taxes – taxing everything from funerals to insurance to gasoline – everything has been taxed. The average family will be hit by $2,500 in taxes this year,” he said. “Now when we are worried about jobs and there are thousands of layoffs right across the province in all different sectors, and we’re worried about oil prices in the future, people are very angry about it.
“This is the largest tax increase ever in Alberta’s history and it’s going to lead to the largest deficit in Alberta history. At the same time the PCs are introducing a healthcare tax and the health tax revenue doesn’t even go into the healthcare system – it goes into general revenue and it doesn’t even cover the cost of the interest.”
Jean said he has also heard concerns over healthcare and education since the start of his campaign.
“People want patient-centered healthcare and seniors’ care that has been ignored for so long in the province,” he said. “People are saying we need a change in our education. We are in a situation right now in Alberta where we were number one in the world (in terms of education) and now we’re not even number one in Canada and we spend a lot more money than other provinces as well.”
As for the polls, they show the Wildrose Party continuing to gain momentum and although Jean said that is nice to see, he doesn’t put much into them.
“I’ve seen the polls be inconsistent, especially with the Wildrose in the past. The polls are a snapshot in time,” he said. “The truth is that I respect Albertans. I’ve been an Albertan all my life and I trust Albertans. I think Albertans are good, solid people and will make up their own mind and will make the right decision.”