PC leadership candidate Thomas Lukaszuk stopped in the City recently with the hopes of building support for his campaign to earn the position of Alberta’s premier.
Lukaszuk has been touring Alberta to promote his platform and share his views on how he plans to move the province forward.
Lukaszuk said his love for campaigning is making the process pleasurable and that he is enjoying the opportunity to discuss with Albertans about how they envision their future province.
“I love campaigning, I always have. It’s a chance to meet with people and have discussions about what Alberta can be,” he said. “We have three very distinctively different candidates with very different pasts and outlooks for the future. I tend to be very engaged and open and conversant with media, making myself available. I’m open to new ideas and I’m trying to generate new ideas.”
Amid much discussion over the recent release of the Auditor General’s report, Lukaszuk said he wants to deal with the past controversy, but find a way to move forward and bring “Full disclosure, so that Albertans are not always wondering if there is something that they didn’t see yet.
“I think the auditor general started a great job in reviewing the expense practices in the past, but I think we need to go further than that. We need to look at the entire executive council and give full disclosure,” he said.
“If we employed an independent legislative budget office, their job would be to review, in real time, the expenses of the entire executive council. The auditor can do that, but he has to do it department by department.”
Lukaszuk said his vision of a third party legislative budget officer would be a way to keep constant attention on the spending practices of the government. He said he feels this information should be available to the public in order to, “Give Albertans peace of mind knowing that there is an external set of eyes looking at moving forward.”
He added he feels independent figures such as the ethics commissioner and auditor general ought to be appointed by a party made up of 50% opposition members and 50% official government party members.
Other issues Lukaszuk said he intends to address include the provinces ‘infrastructure deficit’, growing the economy through more focus on agriculture and addressing concerns regarding child and senior care.
“We have Albertans that want to work but can’t because they have no child care. The child care on weekends and evenings drops to almost zero. Child care should not be prohibiting factor,” he said. “We’re now putting seniors in hospitals because there’s no senior care available and that’s simply inappropriate. We need to have senior care that is responsive to culture and dietary needs. Quality and quantity of senior care facilities is something we need to focus on right away.”
Lukaszuk added he intends to focus on a lack of adequate education facilities, and would like to make more programs available in smaller post-secondary institutions so that people may remain in their town or area of origin, instead of leaving to either Calgary or Edmonton.
“In our province, premiers determine to a huge extent what the province will look like. The cabinet reflects their vision that gets implemented. People have a chance to decide if they want a positive, upbeat vision of Alberta, with a focus on family issues and social development, or they can look to a traditional platform.”