One of the last Alberta cabinet ministers to make a decision on who they would be supporting during the PC leadership race, Richard Starke, MLA for Vermilion-Lloydminster, has decided to throw his support behind former federal MP Jim Prentice.
“After speaking with the three candidates for leader of the PC party, I have decided to endorse Jim Prentice for leader,” said Starke.
Starke said the reason he came to the conclusion of endorsing Prentice over the two other candidates was because of the vision that Prentice has laid out since the beginning of the leadership race.
“The vision that Jim has for the province and our party, is the strongest and the most insightful of the three candidates that are in the race right now,” he said. “I have been very impressed by my conversations with Jim and the grasp of issues that are key to him and the province as a whole, but also grasping of issues that are important to rural Alberta as well.”
During the interview with the Lloydminster Source, Starke said that he spoke with Prentice on a wide range of issues, including rural issues which the riding Starke represents is prominently made up of.
“Thing like rural road maintenance, things like core and key services in health care and education, and his experience in the field of property rights. These are all important issues in rural Alberta and our constituency as well,” said Starke.
Starke said that he is impressed with the grasp that Prentice has on a range of rural issues.
Starke also made mention of Prentice’s federal experience, and the challenging portfolios he dealt with in Ottawa.
“I have spoken with people in the public sector who worked with him while he was a federal minster and they speak extremely highly of him as a cabinet minster,” he said. “And that is a rare thing, for pubic service workers to sing the praises of a cabinet minister. So that impresses me as well.”
Starke said that demonstrates the respect between the public service workers in your department and if you were an effective minister.
Before making the decision, Starke wanted to speak with all three candidates on a one-on-one basis. When asked if the three candidates were in the race for the right reasons, Starke stated the three candidates all have qualities that can help the province, but in the end the vision he related to the most was Prentice’s.
“Each of the candidates have a slightly different vision of what they would be bringing to the premier’s chair if elected at the party’s convention and they also each bring a different skill set, which is expected,” said Starke.
“To be truthful, there are elements from each of the candidates that I think are valuable.
“I think everyone appreciated Ric (McIver)‘s very straight-forward and candid approach and I appreciate Thomas (Lukaszuk)‘s passion and his view on Alberta and he has a very aspirational view of what Alberta could achieve.”
Starke also said while he has thrown his support behind Prentice, he has asked all three candidates to come to the riding of Vermilion-Lloydminster to meet with riding executives, PC card holders and potential card holders.
The race will be concluded on Sept. 6, and if no candidate receives more than 50 per cent, the top two candidates will be put into a run-off election that will take place on Sept. 20.