As the leadership race for the United Conservative Party (UCP) steams ahead toward the election day for Alberta’s newest party is announced — Oct. 28 — interim leader Nathan Cooper continues to face a busy agenda.
“It is a very exciting time to be a Conservative in this province and we look to the future of our province,” said Cooper in a Sept. 18 interview with the Pipestone Flyer.
The UCP leadership race has been heating up lately as the days dwindle. However, Cooper says the atmosphere is not a cause for concern.
“Leadership races are always an exciting time. They’re a competitive process, and and the end of the day they are a race,” said Cooper.
As the four candidates Jeff Callaway, Brian Jean, Jason Kenney, and Doug Schweitze continue to campaign Cooper says it is not too late for voters to get involved.
“The cut off for membership in the party is the 29th of September,” said Cooper.
Members of the UCP’s legacy parties automatically have their membership carried over, providing it is correct and up to date.
“I continue to remain positive about the race,” said Cooper.
The UCP will be facing off in another race against the NDP party come the 2019 provincial election and Cooper says the party is already addressing public concerns regarding NDP practices of putting the government first and putting Albertans out of work.
One such issue is the NDP stance against Alberta’s coal industry.
“Certainly the government has made a number of commitments to accelerate the shutdown of the coal industry,” said Cooper. “I think it’s important to fight for our coal industry.”
Rather the completely discredit the coal industry and wipe it from Alberta’s economy the government should be exploring the options that could improve technologies, which would have an impact on an international scale, says Cooper.
With the NDP continuing down their current track Alberta’s will see numerous consequences as jobs across the province burn up with the dismantling of the industry.
“Obviously we’re going to see significant job losses across the province,” said Cooper, who also alluded to risks this will bring to the economy.
“And perhaps more importantly a major negative impact to some of these rural communities, like Warburg,” he added.
Finding replacement jobs in small communities can be tough, and with the loss of coal related jobs residents will be forced to pack up and leave the communities, searching elsewhere for their livelihood.
Whether or not the actions can be reversed if the NDP were ousted in the 2019 election is a difficult topic to speak to, says Cooper. “It will depend on just how far down that path we’ve travelled.”
As the newly minted party, Cooper says the UCP and its members are hopeful and positive about what the party can provide the province. “People from all across the province have been speaking about a united, Conservative, compassionate party.”