The Wetaskiwin Pipestone Flyer contacted all candidates running for the Drayton-Devon constituency, asking them the same questions. Their responses will be published as soon as they are received.
Mark Smith, United Conservative Party
1) Please tell the readers a bit about your background, including family such as spouse and children and occupation.
I have lived in the constituency since 1985 when I was hired to teach at Frank Maddock High School in Drayton Valley. I taught a variety of courses and was involved in many extra-curricular activities over my 30 year career as a teacher. During those 30 years my wife and I raised three kids who are now grown up and making their own way through the world. After many years of political involvement at the federal level and once we were “empty nesters” I made the decision to run in the 2015 provincial election as a member of the Wildrose Party. I have served as the MLA for Drayton Valley-Devon for the last four years and I am now the candidate for the United Conservative Party in this election.
2) What do you feel is the key issue in this provincial election?
The Economy: Getting Alberta Back to Work
Alberta has 183,000 unemployed people. Every day I knock on doors in this constituency and talk to workers who are struggling to find work and pay their mortgages. I talk to business owners who have gone through their life savings, pension funds etc. in order to keep their businesses open. Alberta needs competitive tax rates, private property rights and sensible regulations designed to create growth and jobs.
A United Conservative government will get pipelines built, fight back against foreign funded special interests and fight for a fair deal in Canada. We will have a constitutional challenge to strike down Bill-69 should it be passed. We will use the “Turn off the Taps” legislation should provinces like BC continue to obstruct the construction of pipelines. We will hold a referendum on removing equalization from the Constitution Act if substantial progress is not made on construction of a coastal pipeline and if Bill C-69 is not repealed.
3) Why did you want to run in this election?
I believe that many of the problems that Alberta is facing today have been the result of poor decisions made by the NDP at the provincial level and by their ally and friend Justin Trudeau at the federal level.
I believe that by running and offering a conservative alternative to the NDP we can start to rebuild the Alberta economy and get this province back on track.
Only when the economy is growing and good fiscal stewardship is being applied will the government have the capacity to take care of those who cannot take care of themselves. I wanted to run in order to bring forward a package of democratic reforms that will place Albertans in the democratic driver’s seat by enacting recall legislation and free votes and a renewal of the Senatorial Selection Act all of which are part of the United Conservative election platform.
4) How well do you think Alberta’s economy has been handled over the past four years?
I believe that the economic decisions made by the NDP have seriously affected the Alberta economy. To be fair low oil prices would have affected the economy regardless of who was in power but the NDP have made a series of economic choices that have hurt the economy and driven badly needed capital and capital projects out of Alberta. Texas and the North and South Dakota, Saskatchewan, the Middle East all have oil economies and have recovered. Only Alberta’s economy is struggling because we have raised both personal and corporate taxes, created labour laws that have made it harder to do business, placed carbon emission caps on Fort MacMurray, been unable to build a pipeline to tide water, appointed anti-oil activists to key energy committees and borrowed and spent to the tune of a $60 billion dollar debt. All of these actions and many more have created instability in the economy and forced approximately $44 billion of capital out of Alberta that could have been spent creating jobs, wealth, increased our tax base and
5) If elected as MLA, what is your first goal?
A United Conservative government has pledged to repeal the Carbon Tax as Bill #1.