Who will ultimately replace Alison Redford?

The Calgary–Elbow riding has been a Progressive Conservative stronghold since it was founded in 1971.

Candidate’s platforms are all generally the same with a few variations between parties. Care for seniors, updating Calgary schools, healthcare and maintaining Calgary infrastructure are what the candidates are talking about. 

This riding has a total of five candidates competing to win the seat vacated by former Premier Alison Redford. The candidates are:

• Alberta Party – Greg Clark- Twitter
• PC- Gordon Dirks- Twitter
• Wildrose -John Fletcher- Twitter
• Alberta NDP -Stephanie McLean- Twitter
• Alberta Liberal Party- Susan Wright- Twitter

SEE ALSO: (Calgary-Foohills, Calgary-West)

Calgary Journal Note: For the Q&A portions of this article—with each of the Q&A’s being conducted through email— the candidates were charged with answering the questions asked of them using a maximum of 100 words.

The Calgary Journal byelection team made multiple attempts to get John Fletcher to take part in the Q&A portion of this article but were refused.

Photo taken from Greg Clark’s Facebook page.Greg Clark, Alberta Party

Clark, an Alberta native, has been with the Alberta Party since 2012, serving as their Vice President of Communications until deciding to run for a leadership spot in September 2013. Clark studied political science at the University of Victoria, and has demonstrated an interest in both the positive and negative impacts of politics on society.

Platform tidbit: Reinvest in inner city schools by addressing the backlog of maintenance for schools in the Calgary–Elbow riding. To learn more about Clark, visit http://www.greg-clark.ca 

1) What do you think is most at stake for your party?

The Calgary-Elbow byelection is an opportunity to introduce the Alberta Party to people who may not know much about us, and to share our moderate values and vision with them. We have an opportunity to talk about issues that matter to people; public education, access to front-line healthcare, increasing post-secondary participation and improving environmental performance to enable continued economic growth.

2) What is the biggest misconception that the public has about your party?

The biggest challenge for any new political party is name recognition and awareness.

3) What is your approach to establishing trust with your electorate?

It is important for me as a leader to be accessible and authentic. I take pride in being accessible via Twitter and Facebook, but also in person. I’ve spent most of my first year as leader of the Alberta Party travelling the province and talking with people in their communities. It has been a remarkable experience and it’s something I really enjoy.

Photo taken from Gordon Dirks Facebook page.Gordon Dirks, PC 
Dirks, the current Minister of Education for the Progressive Conservative Party has a long history in Canadian political arenas. He first served in the Saskatchewan cabinet as both the Minister of Social Services and the Minister of Urban Affairs in the 1980s. From 1999-2010, Dirks worked on the Calgary Board of Education as a trustee and chair.

Platform tidbit: Restoring public trust in government by improving accountability and governance, and by putting an end to entitlement. To learn more about Dirks, visit http://www.votedirks.ca/?gclid=CLHH7c_swsECFQKSfgodG5QA-A 

1) What do you think is most at stake for your party?

The Progressive Conservative Party has a strong record in Alberta with a thriving economy, world-class health care and education. I think what’s at stake in this byelection is maintaining a strong voice for Calgary-Elbow within the government. There’s hard work to be done in the areas of flood mitigation, and keeping our communities strong and vibrant. I’ve committed to be a champion for my constituents and ensure their voice is heard within government.

2) What is the biggest misconception that the public has about your party?

The constituents of Calgary-Elbow need to feel confident that their representative in the Legislature is approachable, present and listening.

I will be their champion within the Alberta Government. I’m committed and doing what’s right for the constituency of Calgary-Elbow and all Alberta families. Premier Jim Prentice is the leader to deliver a stronger future for Alberta, and we in Calgary-Elbow can work with him to make that happen.

3) What is your approach to establishing trust with your electorate?

Listening, being present, being responsive and available, following through on commitments, and being a champion for the community.

Going door-to-door in this community during the byelection is the first step in establishing trust. I am a man of integrity who values trust a great deal.

Trust is foundational in a positive and constructive relationship; that is the type of relationship Calgary-Elbow constituents deserve with their MLA and that is the type of relationship I pledge to have with them.

Photo taken from Wildrose Party website.John Fletcher, Wildrose 

Fletcher, while a rookie to Alberta politics, is no stranger to high stress and demanding jobs. He has served as commander of the Reserve Army of Alberta. He started up his own law practice — J.E Fletcher Professional Corporation — and he was vice president of the oil and gas company Ranger Oil Limited.

Platform tidbit: A focus on making post-secondary education more accessible to Calgarians and addressing labour shortages in key industries across the board. To learn more about Fletcher, visit http://www.votefletcher.ca 

Photo taken from Stephanie McLean Twitter page.Stephanie McLean- NDP 

McLean, who was born in Calgary, earned a law degree from the University of Calgary. Since earning that degree, McLean has experience in different types of court cases at the Alberta Provincial Court, Court of Queen’s Bench and Alberta Court of Appeal. She founded her own law practice, SVM Law, within the past year in Calgary.

Platform tidbit: She will work towards having the prosperity of Alberta’s oilsands industry benefit all Albertans instead of a select few. To learn more about McLean, visit http://albertandp.ca/stephaniemclean 

1. What is most at stake in this election from your party’s perspective?

Our perception in Calgary. The NDP has come a long way, but we’re still growing. We have a new leader and our strategies are shifting to reflect that. Moving ahead, Calgary will be more of a focus for the NDP, and I hope we are proving that during these byelections. I’m hoping our hard work pays off and Calgarians see that the NDP is a progressive choice for all Albertans.

2. What is the biggest misconception Alberta voters have about your party?

I think people south of Edmonton, write us off too quickly. The NDP is growing fast and we have incredible support in the capital city. That’s no accident. We are an established party with sound policies that would benefit every Albertan. As we expand our resources to Calgary, Albertans can expect to see a lot more of the New Democrats and I hope they’ll take the time to find out what we’re really about.

3. How will you establish trust with your electorate?

I communicate openly about who I am, what I stand for and why I’m running. I make myself available to chat with constituents or to take part in community debates and I walk the talk. If I promise voters or tell the media that I’m going to do something, I follow through. The problem the PCs have had for so long is that they are unwilling to be transparent and up-front with Albertans. Alison Redford showed us what happens when the truth comes out.

Photo courtesy of Susan Wright Campaign team.Susan Wright, Liberals

Wright, while not having an extensive background in Alberta politics, does have a long 26-year history in the Alberta oil and gas industry working with Alliance Pipelines, NOVA Chemicals and Unocal over that time. She also has experience as a legal strategist and has served on the Board of the Calgary Heritage Initiative.

Platform Tidbit: She will push for a requirement that all government contracts over $10,000 be fully and immediately disclosed to the public as open data. To learn more about Wright, visit http://www.wright4elbow.ca/ 

1. What is most at stake in this election from your party’s perspective?

The future of our public education and healthcare systems is at stake. The voters in Calgary-Elbow want change. They have a choice, they can vote Wildrose — a party that trusts the marketplace above all else and supports privatizing our education and healthcare systems — or they can vote Liberal, a party that believes public services like healthcare and education should remain public. Liberals believe that we can balance our strong economy with a strong society, and use Alberta’s substantial resources to make our public institutions the envy of the country, and the world.

2. What is the biggest misconception Alberta voters have about your party?

I still run into a few people when I am door knocking who think the Liberal Party is somehow “anti-oil” which simply isn’t true. I spent over 25 years working in the energy sector; I know how important it is to Calgary and Alberta’s economy. Just because our party believes the energy industry can do better with regards to environmental stewardship — a long-term vision for energy that includes alternative energy would be a start — doesn’t mean we are against the industry. As silly as it seems, that is a distinction I cannot stress enough.

3. How will you establish trust with your electorate?

The lack of trust goes beyond the individual spending scandals that get all the headlines. The problem is systemic; 194 agencies, boards and commissions (ABCs) are spending about two-thirds of our tax dollars. These ABCs are not subject to the same standards of accountability as other government ministries; Premier Prentice has said he will review “the governance” of these agencies, but that doesn’t go far enough. I support holding ABCs to the same financial reporting standards as government ministries, so Albertans can ensure their tax dollars are being spent wisely.

Editors’ Note: Thumbnail photo courtesy of Daryl Mitchell on Creative Commons.

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