Three people vying to be the leader of the Alberta Party were in Red Deer Thursday to say why they’re the best person for the job.
Rick Fraser, Kara Levis, and Stephen Mandel, were at the Black Knight Inn to speak with party members ahead of next month’s leadership vote.
Mandel, a former Edmonton mayor and PC cabinet minister, said one of the biggest issues in Alberta is the need to diversify the economy.
“People are concerned about jobs, job stability, long-term job stabilization, diversifying the economy and creating a different Alberta – one that isn’t so dependent on carbon products,” Mandel said.
Opening the Alberta Party’s doors to different cultures and diversifying the party is a goal of Mandel’s.
Fraser, Calgary-South East MLA, said the economy is not the only issue in Alberta.
“Education and health care are always going to be issues,” he said. “We have a growing, young society and in order to have healthy economies for the future, they need to be educated well and healthy.”
Fraser became MLA as a member of the PC Party six years ago. When PC merged with Wildrose in 2017, he decided to leave the party.
Fraser said his experience as MLA will help him lead a new generation.
“I’m not afraid to make the tough decisions,” said Fraser. “In Calgary South-East I was able to build 15 new schools in those six years … and big infrastructure projects to groom the economy.”
Levis, an energy lawyer from Calgary, said she wants to look at the “hard problems” Alberta is facing. She identified health care as a problem which specifically affects Central Alberta.
“The investment dollars haven’t been there in the past, so let’s look at ways we can make sure Central Alberta has the health care it needs, whether that’s urgent care or a new hospital,” said Levis.
Levis said the a lack of revenue in the economy is a problem the government has been “running away from.”
“We’ve been depending on non-renewable resource revenues for too long,” she said. “I don’t think we should be burdening our future generations by relying on that.”
Levis said she wants the Alberta Party to be an organization voters can get behind.
“I bring a fresh new approach to the Alberta Party,” she said. “I’m the only (candidate) who doesn’t have a history with a party that is no longer around. It’s time to make sure we continue what the Alberta Party has been doing.”
The leadership vote takes place Feb. 25-27 through an online ballot. To be eligible to vote, membership must be purchased before sales close at noon Feb. 12.