Politics | DrumhellerMail
09182020Fri
Last updateThu, 17 Sep 2020 9pm
  • Conservatives Unite

    MLA Rick Strankman wasn't surprised that voting membership of the PC and Wildrose Party voted 95 per cent in favour pf unification

    The political climate shifted Saturday afternoon as the Progressive Conservative Party of Alberta and the Wildrose voted to unite.

    Each party held a referendum on whether to move forward together or apart. A clear message was sent as 95 per cent of the Wildrose members that voted and 95 per cent of the voting PC members chose unity.

    While many described this as monumental, MLA for Drumheller-Stettler, Rick Strankman wasn’t surprised.

    “I have been hearing that a long time in the constituency, where people are saying they are sick and tired of the NDP, and saying you guys got to get it done,” said Strankman.

    President of the Drumheller-Stettler PC Constituency Association Mark Nikota said the voting went as he expected.

    “I wasn’t that surprised, on the PC side, they did a lot of work for a long time on that. The number was quite high on the Wildrose side, I was a little surprised about that number,” he said. “When you look at it, the unity people were really encouraging people to buy memberships in both parties, so it’s not that surprising in the end because it was the same group of people that voted in both.”

    He says while it appears to be a strong show of support, of the eligible members, about 55 per cent turned out for the vote.

    “I know lots of people who were not in favour of it just didn’t bother voting, so I don’t know if it is as quite as strong as 95 per cent, but it doesn’t matter in the end, it is going forward,” said Nikota.

    The next step in the process is to pick a new leader. Jason Kenney has indicated he would run for the leadership of the new party and on Monday, Brian Jean officially launched his bid. MLA for Olds-Didsbury-Three Hills Nathan Cooper has been appointed the interim leader of the United Conservative Party.

    Strankman says they are still working on plans to go forward within the constituencies.

    “The interim joint board is supposed to be sending out some instructions and working on some form of modeling for the constituency associations to get together and legalize their relationship for the new party.”

    Strankman feels there should be a democracy path forward as they organize.

    “What ever has to be done, has to be done in a democratic fashion, it is a new dawn and that is something we have to recognize even as MLAs, we are representing tentatively a new party,” he said.

    Nikota also sees a democratic way forward.

    “The next steps are going to be interesting, basically, you are starting from scratch. My feeling is you have to have an open competition for everything, board spots in the local CA, as well as your nominees for the next election,” he said.

    “They have been touting all along that this is grassroots, open and honest. If they don’t have (open competition), that it flies in the face of everything they are putting out there.”

  • Electoral boundary battle heats up

    Nathan Cooper headshot

    Redrafting the map of electoral boundaries is hitting some opposition, especially in the Drumheller-Stettler riding where the proposed new Drumheller-Strathmore riding looks to increase the population and area.
    The interim report of the Electoral Boundaries Commission was released in May and it recommended some big changes to the local riding, including removing Stettler from the riding, and adding Strathmore. This will bump the riding population up from 36,810 to 54,232, a variance of 16 per cent over the provincial average of 46,698.
    The proposal would also expand the area of the riding.
    Nathan Cooper, Democracy and Accountability Critic for the Official Opposition, has concerns.
    “In a constituency like Drumheller- Strathmore, it is going to be north of 30,000 square kilometres and have a plus 16 per cent population, that doesn’t check either of the boxes. It is nowhere close to parity in population and it makes it very difficult in making it effective in representing that constituency,” said Cooper. “I don’t think it has done well for representation.”
    He explains the commission has the power to make exceptions for riding size and population up to 25 percent over the average, based on a number of criteria.
    “The current Drumheller-Stettler constituency, it meets four of the five conditions required for it to be designated as a special constituency,” he said. “The Boundary Commission does have some other options. They could allow Drumheller-Stettler to remain the same and be outside of the 25 per cent population threshold.”
    These criteria include being more than 150 kilometers from the legislature, no town within the division that has a population over 8,000, has a Metis or indigenous settlement, shares a boundary with a provincial border and exceeds 20,000 square kilometers.
    Following the release of the interim report, another round of public consultations began. Written submissions were being accepted until July 16. As well, there have been public meetings scheduled with the Electoral Boundary Commission including one in Brooks on July 21 at 1 p.m.
    “There will be a large show of support for changes to the map in the south-east corner of the province,” he said.
    MLA for Drumheller-Stettler Rick Strankman said they are planning to have local voices heard.
    “We are going to be making a submission to the Boundary Commission for an exception for Drumheller-Stettler,” said Strankman. “I see even less representation for those of us who live east of Hanna. It’s frustrating. I’ve talked to council members from Stettler County and they’re in an uproar because Stettler County is effectively cut in half, and the Town of Stettler is taken out. What kind of a Gerrymandered thing is that?”
    Cooper would like to see a positive outcome for the area.
    “It will be interesting to see what happens at the end of October, once the commission releases its final report. I certainly hope for the people in that region, that they make some changes, and readjust some of those lines, or designate a special constituency.”

  • PLRD disqualifies trustee

    The Prairie Land Regional School Division Board has voted to remove one of its trustees for missing three consecutive meetings.

    Chair of the board Marsha Tkach toldThe Mail that at their meeting on May 25, Trustees have disqualified Ward 2, Subdivision 1 Trustee Jada Hill, however, there are conditions.

    “The motion reads ‘that Jada Hill be disqualified as trustee due to being absent for three consecutive meetings, as per the School Act, Section 82 (1) unless a medical certificate certifying her absence is provided to the board chair prior to June 15, 2017,’” said Marsha Tkach.

    She says the motion is based on the provision of the School Act.

    She said that under the School Act, a trustee cannot absence them self without being authorized by a resolution of the board, to do so from three consecutive regular meetings with the board.

    The Act does allow for the absence due to an illness if the person provides evidence of that illness in the form of a medical certificate.

    Tkach says that she understands that two of Hill’s absences were because she was not able to get away from work.

       The Mailreached out to Ms. Hill for comment however as of press time, she did not respond.

       Tkach said there were six trustees present at the meeting however at the time of the vote, Hill had left the meeting. The remaining five voted for the motion.

  • Twitter slip causes stir

    twitter slip causes stir

    Note: This story has been corrected from an earlier version. Mr. Strankman was quoted as saying“There was some compromise to the electrical system there.” In fact, his quote should have read “electronic system.” The Mail apologizes to the Mr. Strankman, and for any confusion this may have caused.

    A Twitter slip had MLA for Drumheller-Stettler retracting a tweet last week with a disparaging name for the Prime Minister.
    A reader brought to the Mail’s attention a tweet from Rick Strankman’s Twitter account that referred to Trudeau as a “ Gutless puke” on July 4. It was quickly removed from his feed, but not before it was seen by his followers.
    “Something happened for it to go out on Twitter, and we have taken it down,” Strankman tells the Mail.
    He says he does not personally manage his Twitter account, and staff takes care of it, both local staff and as well as staff in Edmonton.
    “There was some compromise to the electronic system there,” he said.
    He adds that he is not a fan of Social Media.
    “I think Twitter is a cesspool, and that’s why I don’t use it and I hopefully use other people both locally and at the legislature who have more refrain than I may at some heated moment. So that is why when it went out, we immediately took it down,” he said.
    “I have no inclination to get involved in it (Twitter),” he said.

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