After more than four decades in power, the ruling Progressive Cosnervatives have developed a culture of “entitlement and attitude,” says Lacombe-Ponoka NDP candidate Doug Hart.
“Forty-one years of overwhelming majority has led them to believe that anything they do is OK with Alberta voters. And we haven’t held them accountable,” said Hart, 62.
The Tories long rule has led them to become too closely tied to big corporations, which expect their support to be rewarded with favours after the election. “I think that we’ve evolved into a quid pro quo environment between big business and corporations and the government.”
He also doesn’t like the government’s bigger-is-better mentality that allows corporations to prosper but mom and pop businesses struggle to make ends meet. Government privatization has also not benefitted Albertans because it has eroded everything from the quality of highway construction to health care and services for seniors.
Hart, who lives on an acreage south of Ponoka, said the Tories have also ignored the challenges faced by rural communities where schools and businesses are closing and young people must leave to find jobs.
He wants to see more of the province’s crude oil refined in this province rather than piped elsewhere to become a value-added product.
Hart was trained and worked as a registered nurse as well teaching and administering at Alberta Hospital, Red Deer College, Red Deer Regional Hospital Centre and Grande Prairie Regional College. He has served on many provincial and national boards including the National Board of the Association of Community Colleges.
Hart, who is married to Ina and has four grown children, said as a college administrator he had experience in balancing budgets and serving the public and counts integrity as his strongest asset.