NDP candidate says resilient economy a major goal

Kieran Quirke says education, health can’t be neglected

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.

Kieran Quirke, NDP

1) Please tell the readers a bit about your background, including family such as spouse and children and occupation

I was born-and-raised in Alberta and live in Devon. I graduated from the University of Lethbridge with a BMgmt in Marketing, and from MacEwan University with diplomas in International (Asia Pacific) Management and Small Business Management.

I’ve been passionate and dedicated to improving community and industry together throughout my career. I’ve held various crew and executive roles in oil and gas and construction, chaired a regional economic development board, and chaired the Family & Community Support Services (FCSS) & Community Investment Operating Grants committees for the City of Edmonton Community Services Advisory Board, and am I strong advocate for mental health and addictions treatment, and juvenile diabetes research, in the region.

2) What do you feel is the key issue in this provincial election?

With Alberta having been left on the boom-and-bust resource royalty roller coaster for too long, economic diversification is a major issue facing our province, so I’m excited Rachel Notley has a made-in-Alberta plan to get more value for our resources at home and diversify our economy, creating 70,000 jobs while still leading the fight for a pipeline to tidewater (TMX).

With 15,000 new students coming into our schools every year, it’s critical that we invest in our education system to meet the demands of Alberta’s future, which is why Rachel Notely has planned to fully fund enrolment this school year.

It’s also critical we have a health care system that meets the needs of our growing and aging population, which is why I’m proud to be running on a team committed to strengthening, protecting and investing in universal public health care and saying no to risky experiments with cuts and bringing two-tier, American style health care to Alberta.

3) Why did you want to run in this election?

I’m running because I was in Nisku when oil collapsed in 2015 and I experienced first hand what happens without a diversified economy that experiences boom-bust cycles.

I’ve seen Rachel Notley’s plan work to diversify our economy, within oil and gas and in other industries as well, and want to bring a more resilient recovery to Drayton Valley-Devon. This, in addition to strengthening our social and environmental responsibilities, makes for a new oil economy and a balanced, forward looking future for Alberta that I can get behind.

4) How well do you think Alberta’s economy has been handled over the past four years?

With the oil collapse in 2015 leading to the worst recession in nearly 40 years that impacted revenue, it has been a difficult four years. We were elected just as this started, and the conservatives before us had driven our economy into a ditch by this time: They had no plan to diversify our economy, and hadn’t saved for the future when times were good, even in 2014.

Despite these challenges, rather than cut and fire like governments had done in the past, Rachel Notley chose to build and hire, and invest in jobs for Albertans. Alberta’s economy was handled very well in that we have the lowest taxes in Canada, and the best debt-to-gdp ratio per capita – the best balance sheet in Canada.

A few actions we took to build a recovery that lasts include: Cut the small business tax by a third; Raised taxes on corporations and the wealthy, while maintaining Alberta as lowest taxed province in Canada; Cut the deficit by $4 billion without firing thousands of teachers and nurses; Grew Alberta’s tax advantage to $11.2 billion and; Created a $40-million transition fund for coal workers to replace income, retrain, and get placement in other positions.

5) If elected as MLA, what is your first goal?

My goal is to help build our communities in Drayton Valley-Devon through:

Priority #1 Attracting diverse energy, agribusiness, and tourism projects into the region including oil & gas, geothermal, solar, hemp, and water quality systems.

Priority #2 Protecting and growing services for education and healthcare, specifically in mental health and addictions.

Priority #3 Strengthening opportunities for our families and communities for a more resilient future.

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