MLA hopes for changes on horizon
Alberta: UCP tackling rural crime, carbon tax impact on industry in 2018
Wednesday, Jan 10, 2018 06:00 am
After a year of campaigning and a party overhaul, Highwood MLA Wayne Anderson is hoping 2018 will be a year of change for Albertans.
“I’m really optimistic,” said Anderson. “Obviously 2017 was an interesting year for the Wildrose Party and the Conservative Party – we started the year as Wildrosers and ended up as United Conservative. It was quite a whirlwind tour of a year.”
Though it seemed as though the party has been in perpetual campaign mode, he said members are looking forward to the next election, which he hopes will be called sooner rather than later.
He said Jason Kenney’s byelection win in the Calgary-Lougheed constituency with 72 per cent of the vote is a strong message Albertans are looking for change.
“We’re looking forward to presenting them with that change,” said Anderson. “The conservative movement is fairly strong in Alberta and really what we’re looking forward to is bringing the Alberta advantage back.”
There has been a lot of change since the NDP took government in 2015, and Anderson said the new United Conservative Party (UCP) is looking to institute some changes of its own. The UCP will continue to lobby against the carbon tax and Bill 6, which were both devastating to Albertans, he said.
If the party is elected, removing the carbon tax will be the first bill on the table, he said.
In the past year, the NDP government introduced its new labour bill and made changes to voting residency, two moves he said the UCP is concerned about.
“Up until now you had to have at least lived six months in Alberta to vote as an Albertan citizen,” said Anderson.
“Now that’s been taken away and you can show up and then vote the next day for an official in Alberta. That’s not right.”
He said the UCP is looking forward to a longer spring session in the legislature, though he said the pre-election session will likely be riddled with more promises made by the NDP.
“We’ll probably hear a lot of false promises from the NDP attempting to bribe us with our tax dollars to convince Albertans the NDP are doing a good job for Alberta,” said Anderson. “But we pretty much have had an opportunity to disrupt that message, I think.”
There are other issues the UCP plans to bring forward in the coming months, including rural crime and working with agriculture and other industries, he said. The UCP claimed in November that crime rates in rural Alberta communities have jumped 250 per cent since 2011. Anderson said the party is working with the federal Conservative Party to address the issue.
“We want to work with the federal party to put together some town halls and some sessions and work with mayors and reeves in rural constituencies to talk about rural crime,” said Anderson. “It’s an issue that’s talked about and I think we need to take some action on it.”
The rural crime initiative was brought forward in the legislature and the UCP requested an emergency debate on the issue, but the request was voted down by the NDP, he said.
The UCP will also be working with agriculture and other businesses to help them get through the year with increased carbon tax, he said.
“I’m thinking a lot about places like Cargill by Aldersyde,” said Anderson. “The amount of costs in transportation is going to affect them and hopefully they’ll be able to get through this in the next little while.”