I believe that there are five major issues facing Strathmore-Brooks right now: 1) the economy and taxes, 2) health and long-term seniors care, 3) education, 4) rural issues, and 5) accountability from government and politicians.
1) Having already spent the $17 billion Sustainability Fund and now planning a debt of $30 billion, Jim Prentice has left Alberta economically vulnerable. With depressed oil prices, our local economy is hurting, badly. When rigs aren’t drilling, the entire local economy sags.
The last thing that we should do in a recession is to raise taxes on everyday Albertans. However, that‘s exactly what the Jim Prentice budget does, raising 59 taxes that will cost the average Alberta household $2,500 every year. Coupled with his weekly flip-flopping on whether to impose a Provincial Sales Tax (PST), this is very bad news for the economy and families.
Just as the first rule of medicine is to “do no harm” to one’s patient, the first rule for government should be to “do no harm” to the economy.
The Wildrose’s detailed balanced budget plan would prioritize spending towards frontline services by cutting waste, excessive management and corporate welfare subsidies to balance our budget by 2017.
We will roll back the $2,500 in PC tax hikes, reject a PST, pay down the debt, and save money in the Heritage Fund once again.
2) For nearly two decades, four successive PC premiers have promised to fix seniors care in Strathmore and Brooks, but all we’ve seen are photo-ops. The Wildrose will reallocate funding from lesser priorities to ensure that we get proper long-term care for our seniors. Now.
3) Alberta once had the best education system in the English-speaking world. Now, we don’t even have the best in Canada. The Wildrose will refocus our education curriculum on essentials, and scrap “discovery learning” math. Parents will see a simple ‘letter’ grade on their children’s report card; teachers in Strathmore-Brooks will see resources shifted to them instead of Edmonton bureaucrats.
4) For far too long, rural Alberta has taken a back seat in this government. The Wildrose platform makes rural Alberta one of its top five priorities. We will start by protecting the rights of property owners, repealing legislation that has trampled on those rights over the last decade.
5) Finally, the issue that triggered the election itself: accountability. The Wildrose will ensure that we do not waste another $28 million by breaking fixed election date laws, and make it illegal for MLAs to cross the floor without a by-election. We will also roll back the huge pay increases that PC MLAs have voted themselves in recent years. Politicians should never get a raise while raising peoples’ taxes.
These are five big priorities for the five big issues facing Strathmore-Brooks. I want to get to work on them right away.