A gesture of support strengthens local politician

 The election of Alison Redford as Premier Designate of Alberta has been hot news on the provincial scene since voting day on Saturday October 1st.  The first woman to hold this position in Alberta history, a three-year rookie of provincial politics, Mrs. Redford’s election as the Leader of the Alberta PC Party came as a bit of surprise, as Gary Mar was a strong favorite, all signs indicating a very possible victory for this veteran of the provincial political scene.
 In the Capital Region there was a dynamic following for Mr. Mar, spearheaded by a faithful group of local business people and by Mr. George Rogers, the MLA for Leduc-Beaumont-Devon constituency.  As an MLA, Mr. Rogers is allowed to support a candidate for the office of leader of the PC Party, a long as he does so away from his constituency office, outside of work hours, and away from the polling station.  So on a windy Saturday morning, a group of loyal Gary Mar supporters gathered to erect a tent on a street corner, lay out the food and refreshments and for more than three hours hosted a “Gary Mar BBQ”, the proceeds going to the Leduc & District Food Bank, which got richer by $550!
 Clarence Shields, owner of BlackJack’s Roadhouse in Nisku, is a keen and long-time PC friend and a Gary Mar supporter who was instrumental in organizing this BBQ, purchasing the necessary food items and other supplies, as well as loaning the sturdy tent.  Mr. Shields is the son of the late Jack Shields, a popular Member of Parliament for sixteen years, for the Athabasca- Fort McMurray constituency. Having grown up in a political family, Clarence did not hesitate to show his support of Gary Mar, sharing that “great people like Gary Mar will ensure a great future for Alberta”.
 George Rogers kindly clarified the process; how the votes would be counted, and how Mr. Mar would need 50% + 1 to win this PC Leadership race.  If no candidate were to reach that high percentage of the votes, then the PC Party Alberta Headquarters staff might have to count all the 2nd choices expressed on the third candidate’s ballots.  This form of voting has elicited controversy and strong comments from the public and PC leaders, and it is rumored that the PC party will scrutinize this method for future elections… The Premier designate will soon have to be sworn in as the Premier of Alberta, followed by the appointment of a new Cabinet, and by the announcement of an election sometime between now and the spring of 2013.
 Late into the night, the results were made public; Alison Redford, a Calgary lawyer who stopped practicing in 2005, was announced the winner. She delivered a dynamic speech, repeating for the entire province the few promises that were her campaign’s platform: the return of hundreds of teachers to the classroom, and an immediate improvement of Alberta’s healthcare system.  She boldly stated to the large audience of PC members gathered at Northlands that the People have voted for CHANGE.  “Alberta has been blessed with tremendous advantages and unheard of opportunities, so it is our responsibility to make Alberta the best place in the world!” was one of Ms Redford’s bold comments.
  Jocelyn McKay, a councilor for Leduc County, was willing to share her opinion of George Rogers’ support of Gary Mar: “I respect George Rogers for backing a candidate he strongly believed in.  Because when you stand up and say “I support this candidate because I believe he or she will do great things for our province”, it makes you a better politician, one that others can have faith in.”
 George Rogers did not hesitate to support a candidate that he had known and respected for many years in Alberta’s political arena: hopefully regional voters will remember -and duplicate- this faith and loyalty when they are asked to vote for Mr. Rogers in the next Provincial Election.

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