Alberta’s families build for the future by instilling values, creating a financial foundation and allowing ideas and individualism to foster.
Since the NDP came to power in 2015, I have dedicated considerable time to listening to Albertans about our economy, culture and future as a province. By engaging families just like yours at town halls, public events and basketball and hockey games, I have had the opportunity to listen to many new and innovative ideas.
What is overwhelmingly evident is that Albertans are deeply concerned about the NDP’s deliberate attack on our economy. The accumulation of record debt and deficits means that interest payments will top $2.3 billion annually by 2019. At a time when over 84,000 good, full-time jobs have fled the province and families are buckling down to save, it is inexcusable for our government to show no restraint. Albertans are equally upset with the NDP’s orchestrated changes to our culture, values and education system.
When I stood in the Legislature, and listened to the NDP announce a cap on oil sands production, more and more spending and tax increases and new bureaucrats being hired to centralize our health care system, I immediately knew these decisions would affect Alberta families and communities in a negative way. It actually hurts to sit at a community meeting and hear a hardworking mother of two kids tell me she cannot find a job, despite years of searching.
In my riding of Cypress-Medicine Hat, people have told me they are deeply concerned and proposed a solution: fiscal conservative unity.
At first, this surprised me. As I thought about it, however, it occurred to me that this was a sign of how deeply dissatisfied Albertans are with the NDP government. Just two years ago, Albertans told the wasteful and entitled PC government that NO—it couldn’t break its word and call an opportunistic early election without consequence. Albertans value one’s word and honour. Hard working Albertans expect value for their tax dollars and a government that cares about families, communities and social needs more than power and entitlement.
It is abundantly clear that Albertans are expecting all fiscal conservatives to engage in discussions to see if their values and polices are close enough to align and form one unified party.
Alberta families just like yours have told me what matters to them: smaller government (Alberta spends 25 per cent more per capita than any other provincial government), local decision making, equity and fairness (eliminating corporate welfare), choice in health care and education, the absolute strengthening of property rights and individual and family opportunities.
My chief aim is to ensure that the needs and values of my constituents and all Albertans are promoted and never compromised in upcoming unity discussions. I ask that all interested people contact me so that I can fully understand the positions of a wide variety of Albertans. Let’s return Alberta to its position as a leader in Canada, where opportunity and jobs make families and communities strong.
Drew Barnes is the MLA for Cypress – Medicine Hat and the Wildrose Shadow Energy Minister