Offering a different perspective on Alberta, Opposition leader Brian Jean took his beloved jet boat out for a tour of Sylvan Lake.
Wildrose leader and Fort McMurray-Conklin MLA, Jean drove the boat around Sylvan Lake accompanied by his fiancée, Kim Michelutti.
Stories about hunting moose from his boat and encounters with bears and wolves in the northern wilderness he calls home dot the trip around the large lake in Central Alberta.
It’s a boat he’s owned for 15 years. He talks about his favourite spot on the water, on the Clearwater River near Fort McMurray and how he feels at home in the woods.
After spending Wednesday night in Nordegg, he stopped in Sylvan Lake as part of his summer tour.
Sandwiched between a federal election and a newly called byelection in Calgary-Foothills, the riding former premier Jim Prentice abandoned after his electoral defeat, he is touring the province this August talking with Albertans about their priorities.
“We’ve heard clearly that the economy and jobs is number one, it’s what most people are afraid of right now,” said Jean.
“Most of what we’re hearing is consistent. It’s about jobs.”
In late July, Kerry Towle, the former Innisfail-Sylvan Lake MLA suggested the need for a new right wing political party in Alberta to reenergize the grassroots.
Jean’s response, “Kerry who?”
“Kerry who walked across the floor and couldn’t get reelected?” said Jean. “To be honest I’ve heard a lot of people talk about reuniting the right and making sure it is one united party and I want to be clear I did not get chosen by the membership to throw a lifeline to the PC Party.”
Towle was defeated by current Wildrose MLA Don MacIntyre in the May provincial election.
Jean took his shots at the NDP’s timing with both the byelection call for a vote on Sept. 3 and the wait of a provincial budget until after the federal election in October.
“They’re waiting until the federal election is done because they don’t want Albertans to see exactly what they’re going to do with this fiscal and social experiment in Alberta,” said Jean.
Talking about low oil prices, Jean said the province has had five of the best fiscal years it has ever had in the last eight.
“I think this year is the third highest we’ve ever had,” said Jean. “If we have the third highest in any business and not enough money, I would suggest the problem is not the income, it’s the expenses.”
For 10 years he served Fort McMurray as the MP and sat in the House of Commons as a member of the Conservative Party. His loyalties were on display on the boat, as he said he would continue to support Prime Minister Stephen Harper during this federal election.