Central Alberta should have a voice in Jason Kenney’s cabinet, says the Red Deer & District Chamber of Commerce.
“Well needed,” says chamber CEO Rick More. “I think central Alberta needs representation.”
He would like to see a central Albertan in a ministry “with some punch” to help with the economic development of the region.
Ministers tend to have an inside track when it comes to moving initiatives through government. “You get past the middlemen and get straight to the decision makers,” he said.
More said he does not want to single out an area politician deserving of a ministerial position, pointing out there is a lot of ability among central Alberta MLAs, with good fits available for the finance, education and agriculture portfolios.
“There’s some good talent there and I’m sure Mr. Kenney is looking at it closely.”
The NDP government only had seats in Red Deer in the region.
The last minister from cental Alberta was Red Deer South Progressive Conservative MLA Cal Dallas, who served as minister of international and intergovernmental relations from 2011 to 2015.
Red Deer North MLA Mary Ann Jablonski was minister of seniors and community supports from 2008 to 2011, and Luke Ouellette, from Innisfail-Sylvan Lake, served as minister of infrastructure and transportation from 2006 to 2008.
More said “things got done” in the region in those ministries when there was local representation.
“History tells you it’s good for the region, for sure.”
Kenney said Wednesday he will be making decisions on cabinet over the next few days. He wants to see representation from all of the regions, he said.
Mayor Tara Veer said having a local minister “elevates Red Deer’s voice” at the cabinet table.
“It would be welcome news for central Alberta and Red Deer, but I don’t think, necessarily, we have an expectation of that,” said Veer.
As Alberta’s third largest city, Red Deer has some clout and local representatives are able to take their issues and initiatives directly to ministers, she said.
“We have had reasonable success on our advocacy agenda. As Alberta’s third largest city, we have direct communication and access on the various matters affecting Red Deerians and central Albertans,” said the mayor.