Drumheller-Stettler MLA and Minister of Agriculture Jack Hayden is looking forward to the next provincial election whenever it may come.
Hayden secured the nomination for the PC Party last spring to run in the Drumheller-Stettler riding in the next election. He is excited to begin the campaign.
“I think an election is going to rebuild a lot (of confidence in the party) because the facts are going to come out. Right now, opposition parties can say what they like, but when it comes election time they have to back it up,” said Hayden. “I have been involved in politics for many years, at the local level as well, and I don’t think I have ever been looking forward to an election as much as I am looking forward to this one. Let’s get into the debates and get these people standing up making these ridiculous statements because I can't wait to defend our government’s record.”
And he says that record is strong.
“We are the only jurisdiction in North America that actually has a bank account. We have one of the highest standards of living in the North American continent. We invest more in education and health care than anywhere else in North America. We actually have money. Our net worth exceeds that of the rest of the country,” said Hayden.
He says the success relates to management at the provincial and local level.
“I know we are fortunate to have oil and gas, but you know what? There is oil and gas in British Columbia, there is oil and gas in Saskatchewan, and they all have deficits. It is not like they haven’t had the opportunities we have had. It is good management, and not just the provincial government, we have been really blessed at the local level with what people have done.”
He feels the next election could be interesting. The Official Opposition Liberals have a new leader, the NDP is still backing Brian Mason, and the Wildrose and Alberta Party are both mobilizing.
“All through my time in public service I have never taken the opposition for granted. Every morning when I get up I am 10 votes behind,” said Hayden.
Through the leadership race, Hayden has put his support behind Doug Horner.
“In the constituency, I asked the executive to put together a list of what they would like to see in a new leader and then have all the leaders come to the constituency and give them an opportunity to speak … and then we voted as to who we would support for the leadership race,” said Hayden. "We picked Doug Horner, so that is the candidate that I supported and that is the candidate my executive have been working for.”
Despite this, Gary Mar edged out Horner in the Drumheller Constituency by nine votes in the first ballot. Hayden said he will continue to support Horner, but is comfortable with any of the remaining candidates at the helm.
“I have confidence in all the candidates,” said Hayden.
“The thing going for Doug was a past Ag Minister, so he understands agricultural issues and has family roots in the constituency.”
Hayden said he has a strong working relationship with Allison Redford, and when he was first elected sat beside Gary Mar in the legislature.
“In fac,t in my school board days, Gary was the education minister. He is a great guy,” said Hayden.
The run off for the PC Party leadership will take place on October 1. Local voting is at the Ramada Inn.