A local businessman with extensive municipal and health experience wants to bring back the Alberta Advantage: his first goal is to win the United Conservative party nomination for the new Maskwacis Wetaskiwin constituency.
Richard Wilson is a resident of the Pigeon Lake area, has been married to his wife Rose for 40 years, raised four children, spent many years in land development, served as public administrator of the Westview Health Region, vice chair of the Wetaskiwin Regional School Board and spent 15 years as a County of Wetaskiwin councilor.
Campaigning for the UCP nomination for the new constituency since the beginning of May, he said the idea of seeking the nomination came to him last summer. A friend was helping UCP leader Jason Kenney, and asked for Wilson’s help. Wilson volunteered and was very impressed by Kenney’s optimism, energy and enthusiasm.
“Wow, we feel good again about Alberta,’’ said Wilson at The Pipestone Flyer July 18. Not only was Wilson impressed with the UCP, he had friends who encouraged him to seek the nomination.
The candidate said, looking at Alberta right now, there are issues to discuss. He said he’s been disappointed to hear people say things like they’re embarrassed to say they work in the oil patch. “We should be out there promoting it,” said Wilson.
The candidate said with crude oil around $100 a barrel, there should be no revenue problem in Alberta, and there probably isn’t; there’s a debt problem in Alberta.
As a business owner himself, Wilson said Alberta has dropped the ball by not supporting small business. He said it’s a brutal environment out there right now for small business with things like the controversial carbon tax making life very difficult for small business owners. Wilson said Albertans need a government that’s going to encourage a business-friendly environment rather than regularly bring in new taxes and more regulations, which chases business out of the province.
Wilson said his time serving in the healthcare industry taught him a lot of working hard for efficiency and accountability; the local health region was one of very few that had a balanced budget. He wants to bring those same philosophies to the provincial government. “There’s ways to do it, you just have to get a little inventive,” he said.
Another issue that’s worrying Wilson is the Baby Boomer generation, and the resources they need from society. He said the largest generation in modern history is aging and the government needs to be prepared with an effective, efficient plan. The candidate said there are a lot of people in the Wetaskiwin area who worked in healthcare and very savvy; he hopes to recruit their help if elected MLA.
The new constituency boundaries don’t intimidate Wilson. “I love the new boundaries,” he said. The candidate said he’s always seem people from Wetaskiwin, Pigeon Lake Millet and Maskwacis work together and sees more of that in the future. “I think we’re poised to do some good stuff,” said Wilson, noting that advanced education should be a priority here.
No date is set for the nomination vote, and Wilson has two competitors for the UCP nomination here: Sandra Kim and Donna Andres.