December 17, 2014
Press Release from Progressive Conservative Caucus
Premier Jim Prentice and Danielle Smith announced the unification of Alberta’s conservatives as nine members of the Wildrose caucus unite with the Progressive Conservative caucus, which will continue to welcome further Wildrose MLAs.
“Throughout my public and political life, I have always believed conservatives should be united in bringing our common principles and combined energy to public service. Today, we once again represent the full diversity of voices and regions from across Alberta – north, south, urban and rural,” Premier Jim Prentice said. “Alberta is stronger today with these committed people working together. Our province needs united leadership and shared purpose in tackling the challenges ahead.”
Smith resigned as Wildrose leader this morning and the caucuses have agreed to unite under a set of aligned values and principles, including: respecting property rights, strengthening local decision-making in health care, and committing to sound conservative fiscal principles.
“When I became Wildrose leader more than five years ago, I did so with one singular objective in mind: to return to government the conservative values and principles that I had spent my life defending. Under Premier Prentice’s strong leadership, I believe we can work together to lead Alberta with a renewed focus on the values and principles that we share,” Smith said.
A transition team will work through the integration of the new members into the PC caucus, including legislative affairs and staff matters.
Aligned Values and Principles
“In this time of economic uncertainty, it is imperative we come together to make the necessary decisions to chart us through these challenges and make our province stronger than ever.”
The policy principles listed below align with the government’s current policy agenda, and in particular with the five priorities of the Premier and the Mandate Letters sent to his Cabinet Ministers.
MLA-driven review of existing property rights legislation including recommendations for improvement
Development of a public prioritized infrastructure list for major capital projects and maintenance
Commitment to running the most ethical and transparent government in Canada
Free votes for private members’ bills, private members’ motions and government bills dealing with issues of personal conscience
Commitment to a caucus briefing, debate and vote on all proposed government legislation and major spending initiatives prior to their public announcement.
Strengthen health care decision making at the local level
Commitment to increasing patient choice in health care within the auspices of the Canada Health Act
Development of a plan to make our health care system fiscally sustainable given the changing demographics of our population
Commitment to addressing Alberta’s school shortage and maintenance backlog
Ensure each school board is using a grading system that is easy for parents to understand and objectively grades a student’s skills and knowledge of the provincial curriculum
Commitment to the basics of reading, writing and mathematics in the provincial curriculum
An ongoing commitment to protecting the rights of parents in making informed choices pertaining to their child’s education
Budget and Finances
Development of a new multi-year fiscal plan based on fiscal conservative principles to maintain Alberta’s triple A credit rating, that will balance the budget, bring an end to debt financing, including for capital, and pay off the provincial debt
Protect and strengthen the Heritage Fund as a means to reduce reliance on non-renewable resource revenues
Limit operational cost increases to the rate of inflation plus population
A commitment to not implementing a provincial sales tax and keeping Alberta’s income and business taxes the lowest in Canada
Environment and Energy
Developing an aggressive strategy to promote more consumer use and adoption of cleaner burning fuels and alternative energy sources such as domestically produced natural gas, solar, wind and geothermal power
Strengthening the effective monitoring of our province’s air, water and land quality and a commitment to keeping our province’s environment clean
Maximize the value of our natural resources by expanding access and pipeline capacity to multiple international and domestic markets
Ensure that our tax and royalty regimes continue to be attractive to investment when compared with other competing jurisdictions, and work to decrease unnecessary red tape
Develop a stable and predictable municipal funding model
Streamline and consolidate the various municipal granting programs to achieve less provincial and municipal red tape
List of MLAs that have crossed the floor:
Danielle Smith, MLA for Highwood
Rob Anderson, MLA for Airdrie
Gary Bikman, MLA for Cardston-Taber-Warner
Rod Fox, MLA for Lacombe-Ponoka
Jason Hale, MLA for Strathmore-Brooks
Bruce McAllister, MLA for Chestermere-Rocky View
Blake Pedersen, MLA for Medicine Hat
Bruce Rowe, MLA for Olds-Didsbury-Three Hills
Jeff Wilson, MLA for Calgary-Shaw