Wetaskiwin is getting due attention by Premier candidates. Recently Gary Mar visited residents in the Wetaskiwn Library and more recently on July 5th 2011, Doug Horner spent two hours exchanging ideas with residents in the Brady Room of the Legion.
As Mr. Horner strongly stated in a recent newspaper article and repeated a similar message to the Wetaskiwin crowd, “I am a unite the Progressive Conservatives candidate. I believe strongly in those values and principles that we have as Progressive Conservatives — compassion, innovation, commitment to excellence, fiscal responsibility — but I am not ideologically driven by the dogma of the dollar.” He went on to say, “Government has to have those qualities.”
“When Premier Stelmach stepped down I knew I was going to get asked what I was going to do. So I went home and talked to my wife of 31 years. She asked me what’s wrong. (with the Party) What would you need to fix it. The problem is our party is divided. We’ve had this problem within our party for the past 15 to 20 years. We lost our connection to our roots, our values and our principles. We are basing our decisions on dollars and dogma and not through the values and principles we have. Yes Progressive Conservative is about fiscal responsibility but it’s also compassion, family, innovation, and commitment to excellence.”
Mr. Horner addressed his platform items such as education where he described how, as Minister of Post Secondary education he implemented the process of cooperation as opposed to competition among them. Upon questioning about the labor market, he responded that we are in dire need of permanent immigrants to satisfy a declining workforce (with the retirement of baby boomers).
His opinion on healthcare was expressed by stating we need to break down the old system and make it more effective. He went on to illustrate the commercial opportunities offered in the healthcare system such as the vaccine created at the University of Alberta and used throughout the world. “The needs of the world are in energy, food fibre and healthcare.” That is why an Asian multi millionaire invested millions of dollars in the University of Alberta. Mr. Horner was adamant about the need to establish trading relationships with Asia, the fastest growing economies in the world.
He talked about the need for the government to perform better when communicating with its residents pointing out that in Alberta we have significant regional differences requiring different communication means and messages. The needs in each geographic region are quite different. Should we be putting more dams in southern Alberta? Or should we be dealing with the drought in the Peace country?
He closed by saying it was a real pleasure to be in Wetaskiwin and appreciated the audience attendance on such a beautiful Alberta day. He said his uncle advised him when he was running around the province with Peter Lougheed, often they would come into a hall where two people were having coffee. But you talk to them because talking to people is how it starts.