Ric McIver has entered the campaign for Progressive Conservative leader with promises of a common-sense approach to government based on listening to Albertans, regaining their trust and correcting past mistakes
“Albertans are, and always will be, the boss,” he said at his campaign launch at the Rosedale Estates seniors’ living complex Wednesday. "There's times my government might have lost sight of this fact."
McIver said he had spent a lot of time touring the province recently as he collected the signatures needed to make his campaign official.
“I’m very proud of the fact that the vast majority of the signatures I turned in were from new members, including many who had never been members before,” he said.
“That is the approach I will continue to take as an official leadership candidate for the PC Party – building the party and listening to albertans.”
McIver laid out three key elements of his campaign for party leadership:
- No senior member of the campaign team, or any business owned by a senior member, will be eligible for government contracts.
- The premier’s chief of staff to the premier will make less money than the premier -- “And no, not by giving the premier a raise,” McIver added.
- Active lobbyists will not be allowed to work for the government at the same time
McIver became an official candidate Monday morning when he submitted his paperwork, including the required 500 signatures of support.
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Correcting past mistakes
Although McIver refused to comment on specific party problems of the past, he promised to correct three of his own self-identified political mistakes, should he win.
First, he said he would work to restore funding cut from the Strategic Transportation Infrastructure Program (STIP) that helps fund municipal road works projects.
Next, he said he would restore funding to the province’s water and wastewater management programs, along with the Water for Life program, promising to give priority to reallocating cash to the program in the next annual budget.
He said that while taking the money out of those budgets made fiscal sense at the time, “not putting it back is a mistake I need to fix.”
McIver said he would also eliminate the DriveAble testing program, which he says is unfair to senior citizens who are not comfortable with computers.
“Safety is and always will be the top priority,” he promised. “There will still be tests – road tests included – for people of all ages to determine driver fitness and competency.”
Asked about the most notable of party “mistakes” – the executive suite planned by former premier Alison Redford – McIver said only that “one office in the capital is adequate for the premier of this province, as far as I’m concerned.”
Few candidates in the running
McIver is only the second candidate to officially join the running for leadership; former federal cabinet minister Jim Prentice launched his official campaign on May 21.
Edmonton Area MLA Thomas Lukaszuk, the only other person who has announced his intention to run, has yet to file the paperwork.
Ken Hughes had originally planned to join in the leadership race, but withdrew in order to support Prentice’s campaign.
Nominations will officially close on May 30. The leadership vote will take place in September.