News Local

Wildrose coming to town

Kirsten Mundy

Standard Editor

The Wildrose Alliance Party has taken a page from provincial history books in planning how they will change Alberta's government, and they're including Strathmore in that plan.

"This is going to be the way we do business in our party, said leader Danielle Smith. "When I look back at the other successful movement in Alberta, Peter Lougheed. they conducted town hall meetings across the province."

One of her many town hall meetings is set for March 25 in Strathmore. For $25 residents are invited to join her for a meet and greet, and lunch at the Travelodge starting at 11:15 a.m.

Smith explained the last time Albertan's were unhappy with a long-time government, Lougheed lead a change in Alberta from the Social Credit Party, which had been in power for 36 years, to the Progressive Conservative Party, which has been in power ever since the 1971 election.

"What works for the current provincial government.is they like to hold all the cards and control all the decision making," said Smith. "The system we have now doesn't work."

It's the constant support they have received, and the attitude of superiority that comes with it, which Smith said Albertans have grown tired of, and the Wildrose Alliance offers an alternative to that.

"People are frustrated," said Smith. "As an opposition, we have to come forward with solutions."

Smith said her party is offering solutions, to everything from the budget, to health care and municipal funding. For the most part, those solutions are getting back to the way things were once done.

"You have to give them (all levels and arms of government) the revenues for them to make decisions," said Smith.

The general idea behind most of their proposed changes, said Smith, is stream lining the red tape, and making it possible for Albertans to do their business, and the arms of government to make their own decisions.

"If you think you can hire a really smart guy in Edmonton to solve all the problems, we've seen that doesn't work," said Smith. "We support the front lines. The plan is to allow more decisions to be made in local communities."

Smith used the example of long-term health care, as it's a very large concern in Strathmore and rural communities throughout Alberta. The plan is to keep individual funding with the patient, and not make the patient move to where facilities are funded.

This system could possibly mean if there were enough people in the Strathmore area to fund a new facility, there would be a new facility. Smith said they haven't finalized how they would deal with specific situations, but it isn't acceptable to have families hours apart just because beds weren't available.

Smith said presently, it seems like the provincial government just doesn't believe that problems can be solved at the local level.

"You have to have a trust that the local people and the local community are able to best manage those (problems)," said Smith. "There are so many great ideas in each community."

Although she was in favour of seeing local problems solved locally, and giving municipalities and communities the financial means to solve those issues, Smith did say some problems would have to remain the concern of the provincial government.

Although she is still researching what can be done about the problems water shortages have created, Smith said the party is working on it. She would like to see water accessible to every Alberta community, no matter how small, to ensure they are able to grow and remain viable.

"There are some significant issues. We need to ensure municipalities have access to serve the communities that are using the services," said Smith.

If you would like to purchase tickets for this event, please contact Barry Munchrath at 403-608-4762, Greg Helmer at 403-630-4737 or Bryan Thiessen at 403-710-4188.

Smith will also be visiting Drumheller on April 8. For more information on that event, or to purchase tickets, please contact Norman at 403-854-2593, Stan at 403-823-4798 or Rick at 403-552-2106.