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PC leadership candidate Jim Prentice gives speech in Airdrie

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  |  Posted: Thursday, Jun 19, 2014 10:18 am

Jim Prentice and MLA Manmeet Bhullar help present a cheque from the Airdrie Bottle Depot to the Airdrie Food Bank at the Jim Prentice meet-and-greet on June 15.
Jim Prentice and MLA Manmeet Bhullar help present a cheque from the Airdrie Bottle Depot to the Airdrie Food Bank at the Jim Prentice meet-and-greet on June 15.
ANDREW SZEKERES/Rocky View Publishing

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Progressive Conservative Leadership Candidate Jim Prentice stopped by the Airdrie Bottle Depot on June 15 for a meet-and-greet. The bottle depot, along with Sierra Springs Liquor Store, hosted the event.

Prentice spoke to a crowd of more than 150 people on the importance of building-up Alberta’s infrastructure and restoring public confidence in Alberta’s government.

Since the announcement of his campaign on May 15, Prentice has been touring Alberta. He recently stopped in Innisfail for a meet-and-greet on June 4, that drew more than 150 people.

“The agenda that I talk about is the agenda Albertans are speaking about,” Prentice said.

According to Prentice his agenda focuses on five main points: fiscally responsible spending, restoring confidence and trust in government, increasing Alberta’s economic strengths, being environmentally responsible and improving quality of life for Albertans.

From 2004 to 2010, Prentice was elected MP for Calgary Centre-North riding, but in 2010, he resigned to take a job as vice-chairman of the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce.

Hailing from Ontario, Prentice moved to Alberta with his family as a youth and still resides in Calgary today with his wife, Karen. They have three children and two grandchildren.

In May 2014, Prentice returned to politics to run as leader of the Progressive Conservative Party following Alison Redford’s resignation as Premier on March 23, due to the party calling into question her leadership. Prentice has said he returned to politics to help build for Alberta’s future.

“What I’m hearing across the province is people are concerned about centralization that’s taken place,” Prentice said. “(Albertans) need to have decision-making authority for things as important as hospitals, education system, healthcare system, senior citizens.”

Prentice had said the Province has not prepared itself with infrastructure for future population growth.

“Everywhere you go in this province they’re short schools, short hospital facilities, short senior care facilities,” Prentice said.

“This is simply the mathematics of population growth.”

Six new schools have been announced in Airdrie over the past three years. C.W. Perry Middle School, W.H. Croxford High School and most recently an elementary school in King’s Heights are three of those six schools. Prentice said there is still more to be done to keep up with population growth.

“In a fiscally responsible way, we need to build-up this infrastructure,” Prentice said.

“If we need to access debt markets to do that, we will.”

Prentice said the Province needs to build-up infrastructure within the next five years – including schools, healthcare and senior-care facilities. The goal is to pay back the debt incurred within the next 15 years.

At the June 15 meet-and-greet, Airdrie Mayor Peter Brown discussed the importance of keeping up with infrastructure for population booming areas, such as Airdrie – which is expected to reach nearly 90,000 people in 30 years.

“We’re looking very closely at our healthcare needs over the next number of years,” Brown said. “And also funding for specific projects.”

Although asked, Prentice did not directly comment on a 24-hour healthcare facility in Airdrie.

“The circumstances of Airdrie are important,” Prentice said in response to the question. “They’re an illustration of the problem we have province-wide, we have not kept up with our infrastructure.

Brown outlined transportation, library projects and healthcare needs as some of the priorities for Airdrie.

“What Airdrie represents is happening across Alberta, significant growth,” Brown said. “Having to keep up with it and what infrastructure do we need to invest in.”

The Honourable Manmeet Bhullar, Human Services minister, was at the event giving his support to Prentice. Bhullar had worked as a special assistant to Prentice, when Prentice was a MP for Calgary Centre-North.

“Whether it has been the Sikh community or First Nations people,” Bhullar said. “Jim has always proven himself to stand-up for those who need it and today Alberta has a lot of very serious issues in front of it.

During his speech, Prentice touched on the five points of his agenda as well as the importance of transporting Alberta’s oil to the Asian Pacific Basin.

“We today sell our oil for 70 cents on the dollar, but that can be lower in the years to come as we build pipelines,” Bhullar said. “As we build pipelines you need people who are going to work with the First Nations people communities in British Columbia and Jim has worked with them.”

The election for the leader of the party will occur on Sept. 6, 2014. The next provincial election will be held before June 1, 2016.

For more information on Jim Prentice visit www.jimprentice.ca/

For more information on the Progressive Conservative party and candidates visit www.pcalberta.org/


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