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Meet the Wildrose leadership candidates

March 10, 2015


The Alberta Wildrose Party is in the process of selecting a new leader. Three candidates are hoping to fill the vacancy created by the resignation of ­Danielle Smith as leader.

The party has invited its members to vote by telephone ballot from March 16 to March 28, with results and a new leader to be announced March 28 at an event at the Sheraton Cavalier in Calgary.

As a non-partisan organization, the Alberta Teachers’ Association encourages its members to engage in the political affairs of the province through individual partisan and non-partisan activities. To that end, members are encouraged to participate in all of the political opportunities that are available to them, and the Association seeks to keep them informed about all candidates and parties for political office.

The ATA News has invited the three declared leadership candidates to provide a short biography and a summary of their educational beliefs for inclusion in this issue. Here is the information provided by the candidates.

Drew Barnes

Drew Barnes and his wife Frances, a teacher, have been married for 27 years. They have three wonderful sons. He graduated from the University of Alberta with a bachelor of commerce degree, after which he owned and managed real estate offices, as well as sold real estate, for 26 years. He still owns numerous small businesses and is an active community volunteer with the Kiwanis Club and past president and past campaign chair of the United Way.

After three years in the legislature, Drew has learned many things that he would bring with him if elected leader. He became an MLA for the Wildrose Party because he was impressed by its commitment to fiscal responsibility and grassroots policy, something that he still fervently believes in.

He supports front-line workers, such as teachers, and believes that budget cuts should not be made there. Because our education system relies on our teachers’ ability to deliver the curriculum in a classroom, he feels we must make sure that it is designed to offer the optimum performance for all parties involved.

Brian Jean

Brian Jean did not provide a submission by press deadline. The following information comes from his website.

Brian is a businessman and a lawyer and, for 10 years, he was a dedicated MP in Stephen Harper’s Conservative government.

Besides real-world business and government experience, Brian has been active in his community, chairing many senior roles in the Fort McMurray business community and serving on charitable boards, including the Children’s Health Foundation (Northern Alberta).

Brian currently serves on the board of the Health Partners International charity, which sends medication and medical equipment to the Third World.

He has a BSc, an MBA and an LLB, but he is more than just book smart. Brian has been a printer, a logger, a farmhand and a registered trapper.

Brian is a committed fiscal conservative who believes in low taxes and small government.

Brian says no to raising taxes

The government of Alberta has a spending problem and not a revenue problem. In 2014–15 the government will take in record revenue even though oil prices slumped in the fall. The Prentice government will also have record spending for the sixth consecutive year. The PCs have created a government that couldn’t balance the budget with $110/barrel oil, and now that oil has slumped, they want to tax you more to pay for their waste and mismanagement.

Brian wants to fix health care

The government of Alberta needs to get the big things right, and there is no bigger thing than health care. Health-care spending is almost half the budget and growing quickly. Alberta spends more on health than any other province, but we get bottom-of-the-pack results. Albertans deserve better.

Brian is listening to Albertans

Albertans are looking for a different type of government. They are looking for honesty, openness, efficiency and hard work. They are looking for positive ideas, a genuine concern for those who need help and a focus on getting the big and little things done right.

Linda Osinchuk

As the mother of four adult children who have gone through the school system in Sherwood Park and then through post-secondary education at the University of Alberta, Grant MacEwan and NAIT, I want to say thank you to all teachers for their dedication to their profession and our children. The future of our great province and country depends on you.

I have been trained as a registered nurse and have the utmost respect for public servants like teachers, nurses and other front-line workers. The fundamentals of government supports are in education and health care. Fluctuating oil prices have again been used as an excuse by the current premier, like the past four premiers under the same PC government, to threaten wage rollbacks. When are the people of Alberta ever going to wake up and smell the coffee? This rollercoaster of building up and then tearing down of people’s hopes and dreams has to stop.

Services, programs and staffing need support, not cutbacks. This approach is not sustainable and is no way to build the future of our province.

From running a $250 million corporation as mayor of Strathcona County to supporting the community as a Rotarian, I believe in serving the people with integrity, honesty and accountability.

Thank you. I hope I can gain your trust and support as I seek the leadership of the Wildrose party. I hope to re-invent, invigorate and provide a new style of leadership for this party.

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