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  • Albertans support scrapping Daylight Saving Time

    Daylight savings shadows

    Albertans have spoken up loud and clear, and the majority is in favour of scrapping Daylight Saving Time.

    NDP MLA Thomas Dang introduced Bill 203, which, if passed, would repeal the Daylight Saving Time Act and Alberta would remain on Mountain Daylight Time year round.

    The Standing Committee on Alberta’s Economic Future sought public input for the bill. The deadline for written submissions was July 28. The resulted were clear. Of the 13,562 submissions that came in either through written submissions or from an online form, 10,090 were supportive bill 203, just 3,271 voted no, and 201 were undecided.

    Drumheller-Stettler MLA Rick Strankman wasn’t surprised by the results.

    “I think most want to leave it the same (Year round), but everyone has their own opinion,” said Strankman.

    He said living close to the Saskatchewan border, sometimes Daylight Saving Time can be cumbersome when doing cross border business.

    At one time, he says there may have been issues in the agriculture sector for scheduled practice such as milking, but automation could now solve some of the problems.

    The Alberta Association of Agricultural Fieldmen made a written submission to the committee and it said the majority of it membership are in favour of changing back to year round Alberta Standard time.

    Starland County Ag Fieldman Al Hampton says he has no problem with keeping it or scrapping it. He says it really has no bearing on agriculture

    ‘If it makes everyone happy, why not? If it is the only thing the NDP do, it might be a good thing,” chuckles Hampton.

    In the Drumheller Camrose Region, 578 responded with 422 saying yes to Bill 203 and 143 said no. Nine were undecided. Most who voted yes said their reasons were because it is disruptive and is of no benefit.

    John Shoff, owner of Reality Bytes sees no use for the time change. He sees it as archaic and points to great productivity losses by businesses during the changeover. There is also an increase in automobile accidents.

    “Get rid of it, it is such a joke. No one benefits from it,” he said. “It is totally irrelevant, everyone should get rid of it. We could be on the cutting edge like Saskatchewan.”

  • Brian Jean makes campaign stop in valley

    Brian Jean addresses a group of Drumheller residents last week at Yavis Prop Room on the campaign trail for the UCP leadership. mailphoto by Patrick Kolafa

    While the nomination period for the leadership of the United Conservative Party is well a week away, the campaign is in full swing as Brian Jean made a stop in the valley last week.

    The former Wildrose Party leader was on a tour through East Central Alberta and dropped into the Yavis Family Restaurant to meet with residents on Wednesday, August 30.

    “The campaign is doing really well, I am seeing people all over the province and the reception has been excellent,” said Jean.

    Membership sales to vote are on sale until September 29 and Jean has been focusing on that as he moves forward.

    “With a membership, not only do you get to decide who the next leader of the party is and the next leader of the province, but more importantly you get to decide on the policy of this new party and ultimately the policy for the government of Alberta,” he said.

    He says his experience differentiates him from the other leadership hopefuls. He has run over a dozen successful businesses and also practiced law prior to becoming an MP federally, and then entering into provincial politics.

    “There is no one in the race as far as I am concerned that has as much experience politically or in law or business,” said Jean.

    He said Albertans are looking for a leader.

    “Right now Albertans are looking for someone to unite them, somebody to bring them together, and someone who has a common purpose and strong vision on where they want to take Alberta, a better Alberta than it is currently under the NDP. I believe that I am that person, I am a uniter, I pull people together, I empower them, I encourage them,” he said.

    It has been a lively campaign period, with Derek Fildebrandt, a vocal Jason Kenney supporter, resigning after it was learned he was renting out his government subsidized Edmonton home. This week Jean has been fielding questions about overspending in the Wildrose Caucus budget.

    Jean hopes the spirit of the campaign doesn’t damage the brand of the party.

    “We have worked so hard to unite Albertans, to unite the PC Party with the Wildrose Party and to maintain a 95 per cent vote in each area has not been an easy thing to do. My concern is to stay united, I will not be getting into the mud, and I will not be throwing it. I hope that other candidates recognize the long term negative ramifications of doing so, take a step back and recognize the greater good of the party and for Alberta to stay above the fray.”

    Along with Jean and Kenny, Calgary lawyer Doug Schweitzer and former Wildrose president Jeff Callaway are also in the running.

    Members of the UCP go to the polls to select a leader on Saturday, October 28.

  • 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.”

  • Heather Colberg wins Mayoral Race

    Heather Colberg wins the Drumheller mayor election on October 16, 2017 (mailphoto by Terri Huxley)

    Heather Colberg has won the seat to be the next Drumheller Mayor by a landslide.

    She defeated former long-time councillor Sharel Shoff by 1636 votes.

    “I can’t even put it into words,” began an emotional Colberg. “It’s such a surreal feeling. I wanted the best job in Drumheller and I got it.”

    She now becomes the first female mayor of Drumheller.

    “For me, it’s not about gender, I feel ready and I just happen to be a female,” said Colberg.

    Overall, 2,432 people or 46.25 per cent of the population were able to hit the polls on Monday, October 16.

    “I’m pretty impressed actually, I think people were really engaged and wanted to have a voice and I can assure everyone that this council will be a listening council and we will be listening to the people that voted us in,” said Colberg.

    She has an ambitious agenda full of new ideas.

    “I’m so grateful that the people gave me the confidence that I could do it,” Colberg continued. “We’re going to work closely with administration.”

    The council she will be leading will have a mix of experience and fresh faces. Incumbents Lisa Hansen-Zackaruk claimed a seat with 1204 votes, Jay Garbutt with 1113 votes, and Tom Zariski with 1089 votes.

    New to council are Fred Makowecki who captured 1847 votes. He is joined by Tony Lacher who also faired well with 1450 ballots. Kristyne De Mott trailed behind with 1297 votes.

    “It looks like it’s going to be a great council so that’s exciting. I look forward to the ability to deal with all the issues that people brought up,” said Colberg.

    Sharel Shoff put up a good fight for the mayoral spot with a carefully planned campaign over the last two weeks as well.

    “I think I ran a good campaign and I put out the points that I felt was more important to Drumheller,” Shoff began. “I believe in change, I’m not painted with a brush of standing still. I believe in forward thinking. I wish all the new council and mayor lots of luck as they move forward.”

    After 13 years on town council, Shoff plans to spend more time with her family.

    “I’m not disappointed or anything. I’m really happy to get back to my regular life as being on council takes a lot of time. I look forward to spending time with my family and my grandkids. It’s a positive thing for me,” said Shoff.

    The results will be made official on October 20, 2017.


    (mailphoto by Terri Huxley) 

  • Sorenson hosting Open House next Wednesday

    Kevin Sorenson

    Sorenson will be through the Valley to meet with constituents on August 16 to update them on what has been happening and also to learn what their concerns are.

    “It gives people a chance to come forward and bring issues in,” said Sorenson. “I’ll speak for a few minutes and talk about what I have done for the summer and what we are preparing to bring in the fall and kind of get a sense of where people are and the issues that they think are the most important.”

    He says many concerns he hears aren’t necessarily on the national stage but the province.

    “The economy is always the toughest thing. Looking at some of the job numbers in Alberta, we see some marginal gains, and then some losses. Though there is a recovery in the United States and Canada is tagged along on that recovery, we are seeing some growth in the economy, but it hasn’t been in Alberta to any degree,” he said.

    This includes trade issues, including the US not signing on to Trans-Pacific Partnership.

    “The Trans-Pacific Partnership for agriculture is massive. Whether the Americans go along with it or not, it still gives us preferred access into some of these Asian countries where there is an appetite for our food and some of our cereal grains and Canola, and lentils,” he said. “ So what are we doing? Are we cutting back on any trade agreements now? Are we just focusing on NAFTA as a country? Does Trudeau have any idea what he is up against when he is going up against on trade issues?”

    He said he is pleased that the government has brought in former cabinet ministers MPs Rona Ambrose and James Moore to assist with trade.

    “But what leadership do we have and do constituents understand the significance for them on their farm, or the agricultural spinoff companies… it is very important we see some of these things happening,” he said.

    Another big change for the party is its leadership. He said Andrew Scheer is getting a positive response.

    “I am excited, he is getting a good reception from Prince Edward Island, and he has been out in B.C. with the fires and working alongside some of the people out there,” said Sorenson. “I’m pleased with that. I am pleased he is taking his family with him for a lot of the tour and they are making a good connection with Canadians as well. As people get to know him better they are going to like him and I know his abilities.”

    He is sure the topic of provincial politics will come up.

    “There are some big things happening in the province with the two parties coming together, everyone is focusing on the leadership and the trials in Alberta, but when we get back to Ottawa we want to know where constituents stand on some of the other issues as well.”

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