Profoundly disappointed: Starke


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August 19, 2014 11:32 AM

Vermilion-Lloydminster MLA Richard Starke. - Christopher W. Brown Photo

After a scathing report from the auditor general, local MLA Richard Starke is hoping to get past the scandals and focus on good governance heading into the fall session of the Alberta government.

The provincial auditor general report outlined problems that the former premier of Alberta had while in office from 2011 to March of 2014.

Starke had the chance to read over the AG’s report and what he found in it was profoundly disappointing and that he was disturbed, he said.

“(Those practices) are not what I’m about, and they are not,” he said. “I would suggest, what my colleagues are about as well.”

Starke hopes to caution people about the report as well.

“Right on Page 2 of the report it says, very clearly, these practices were confined to the premier’s office and that there should be no way or any suggestion that it extends to other parts of the public service,” he said.

The AG report states on Page 2, “This was an audit of the expenses of Premier Redford and her office. It would be wrong for anyone to extrapolate our findings and conclusions to the public service of Alberta as a whole.”

Starke said this isn’t extended to all departments in the province.

“It’s my view, the auditor general is very clear in his statement that there is no reason for that,” he said. “I can only speak for the work that I have done, and we have been very, very diligent in the work to ensure that some of the practices that have been described in the report never happen.”

Starke said that in order for the PC Party to turn around the negative attention that has surrounded them will take determination and good governance.

“If you look very carefully at the work that the government has done over the term of this mandate, there has been some good work done,” he said.

“The Alberta Energy Regulator, which provides a single window for system energy development, is very strong and a much-needed improvement. I could list a number of different things that quite frankly have received little to no attention.”

Starke said that spills over to his own department as well, As minister of Tourism, Parks and Recreation, the ministry implements a tourism framework that is the first of its kind in all of Canada.

“It’s the first time any province in Canada has set out a specific strategy for the growth of the tourism industry, and move it forward for a period of close to 10 years,” Starke said. “I’m proud of that document, and we have a really energized and everywhere that I have travelled and talked to tourism stakeholders, they are extremely positive and upbeat.”

Starke said that delivering good governance means avoiding things that distracts from the good thing that the government does.

“Certainly, we have our share of challenges,and those have received their share of attention and have been well documented,” he said. “But, my focus is focused on the job that the people of Alberta have elected us to do.”

Starke said that in order to do that and deliver that good governance, “You keep you head down and your (butt) up and work hard. That is what we continue to do, and that is what I tell the people in my office to do, I tell them, ‘We have a job to do, so stay focused.’”

Starked quoted former prime minister of Canada John Diefenbaker when talking about the current scandals that the PCs are having.

“(Diefenbaker) said, ‘It’s hard to go hunting for big game, when you keep getting distracted by rabbit tracks,’” Starke said, while admitting that the government has issues that they have to address to continue to help move the province in the right direction.

Starke said the PC Party will move forward from this scandal with a new leader that will be in place by mid-September.

“The PC Party for almost 43 years, had provided strong stable government for the people of Alberta. We are not the leading jurisdiction in a wide number of areas by accident, and certainly it is important that we have a new leader and that direction will be provided from the top.”

Three candidates are in the running to become the 16th the premier of Alberta – Jim Prentice, Thomas Lukaszuk, and Ric McIver. Starke endorsed Prentice last month after months of discussions with the three candidates. The leadership first ballot is on Sept. 6.

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