Brian Jean looking to unite Albertans
Wednesday, Sep 27, 2017 11:58 am
With a month to go before United Conservative Party members pick a leader for the fledging party, the former Wildrose leader is saying he will be able to unite Albertans and the province’s conservatives.
“Under my leadership I will be able to unite all of the members, including the members who have stepped aside and are waiting,” said UCP leadership candidate Brian Jean. “I believe they will come back to the party if I am the leader of the party because they will see that I am there to unify all Albertans and all conservatives. I am hoping they will be part of it and I believe they will be a part of it.”
Jean was in Turner Valley and Black Diamond on Monday morning, kicking off a campaign road trip with stops in communities across much of southwest Alberta.
“Rural Alberta needs to have a voice, that’s why I’m here, that’s why I keep coming back here every few months because I believe rural Alberta needs to stand up and say we’re not taking it any more,” he said.
Jean said he can lead the party to victory in ridings across Alberta and that under his leadership the party could defeat the NDP.
“Overwhelmingly Albertans have, in every public opinion poll since last November, they have said that I would win in a majority,” he said.
Jean said he wants to ensure Albertans have more money left in their pockets to decide for their own future.
He said his priority as premier would be lowering taxes and regulations, and managing the provincial economy and public services better. Jean said he believes government should be smaller, but it needs to be there for people when they need it.
“Whether it be there for health care or education or making sure that justice is had when people are committing crimes, all these things are tremendously important,” he said. “I believe that we can have more efficient government making sure that we use our resources properly.”
Jean said he would balance the budget in three years. He said he would cut $2.6 billion in spending immediately, none of it coming from labour.
He said it’s possible to balance the budget without cutting front line workers. He said there is room to reduce the size of middle management in government and Alberta Health Services without effecting service delivery. With 108,000 employees working for Alberta Health Services, Jean said it’s one of Canada’s largest employers with one manager for every five employees. Meanwhile, he said the government has one manager for every three employees.
He said he would look to reduce the size of bureaucracy by freezing all new hires to middle or upper management through attrition. Jean said this would not include front-line workers.
Ultimately, he said the Province will eventually need to repay the money the NDP government has borrowed.
Jean said he wants to reduce Alberta’s interest costs as quickly as possible without imposing significant pain on families.
“You’re talking about three billion a year in interest just for the $90 billion we’re borrowing,” he said. “Three billion dollars, that’s $2,500 per family in interest charges.”