It has been an exciting year in Alberta politics. The Mail took some time with Drumheller-Stettler MLA Rick Strankman to discuss the year that has been.
Top of the list is the formation of the United Conservative Party (UCP). In March, Jason Kenney won the leadership of the Alberta Conservative Party. Then in July, the United Conservative Party was formed by the merger of the Wildrose Party. In October, Kenney became the leader of the newly formed political entity.
“I compare Jason Kenney to a salmon swimming upstream, facing the rocky outcropping and facing the possibility of being hunted by a bear, and every time he faces a challenge, there is a new level of success,” he said.
“He has achieved lots of political success. He works hard and his work schedule is unbelievable.”
He is impressed by his new leader.
“I am anxious to see his performance in the chamber because he is such an eloquent speaker. I tell my constituents they need to listen to the fluency of what Jason Kenney says,” said Strankman.
One of the success he points to this year is the passing of UCP deputy leader Leela Aheer’s private member Bill 206, which allows adoption agencies to publish profiles of prospective adoptive parents.
He says the party has had more success with amendments to other bills.
Of course, the economy was front and centre for much of the debate this year and Strankman is concerned about Alberta remaining competitive.
“I was watching American television and the voting going on down there where they are removing 15 per cent from corporate tax. I don’t know the full ins and outs and technicalities there, but I feel like I have fallen and have a concussion. They are making a big deal of this, whereas in this province in a week to 10 days, we are going to be raising the Carbon Tax by 50 per cent,” said Strankman.
“For the Americans to reduce taxes it is going to create an unfair tax regime for economic development here. I’ve been wrong before, but all the signs here point to a lot of negativity for economic development.”
His wish for the new year?
“A reduction in the Carbon Tax.”