My first job will always be to Vermilion-Lloydminster: Starke


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September 18, 2014 9:34 AM

MLA Richard Starke

Premier Jim Prentice outlined the new vision for the province and one local name was dropped from cabinet and was sent to the backbenches of the legislature, where he was only 19 months ago.

Vermilion-Lloydminster MLA Richard Starke, who became minister of Tourism, Parks, and Recreation under former premier Alison Redford, was outed as a cabinet minister after Monday’s shuffle.

Starke said that while he is no longer a cabinet minister, he will still do the job that he was elected to do in 2012.

“I will be doing the job that I was elected to do. And that job has always been job one, representing the constituency of Vermilion-Lloydminster as the MLA,” he said. “That hasn’t changed and it will still be my top priority moving forward.”

When asked about some of the priorities he hopes to tackle in the fall session, Starke said that there are a variety of issues that are an ongoing issues for the riding of Vermilion- Lloydminster .

“We have transportation issues in the riding, both in the rural areas and in the urban areas of the province as well,” he said.

“We have challenges in the health-care system in the riding right now.” He added that the province recently signed an MOU with the province of Saskatchewan on the bi-provincial health agreement late in July, “But that has an action plan going forward, that needs to be delivered on and keep moving forward on that file.”

Starke said that as an MLA, you deal with a lot of issues around the riding in all aspects of government.

“There are a lot of individual issues that come up as an MLA,” he said. “People bring their concerns to you on a day-to-day basis, and bring their concerns to me, and between the two offices in Lloydminster and Vermilion and myself, and we work hard on resolving those issues for the people.”

When asked if he accomplished what he wanted to in his 19 months as minister of Tourism, Parks, and Recreation, Starke said that with the help of his staff, he leaves knowing that the future looks bright for the province.

“I feel very proud at everything that was accomplished in Tourism, Parks, and Recreation,” he said. “We announced the new tourism framework which is the only long-term guide document in Canada, We released earlier this summer the sports plan which will help guide the sports in the province for the next 10 years.

“We also announced and proceeded with the rebuilding to the damage to our provincial parks system that happened after last year’s flooding in southern Calgary.”

Starke said that he and his office, did all that was possible to promote Alberta as a tourism destination here in Canada and abroad.

Starke will now be a backbencher in the legislature, but will also have some political sway, he was named as one of the 13 members of the Treasury Board in the province.

Starke said that he looks forward to working on the board with new chair and president of the Treasury Board Robin Campbell, who will also be minister of Finance.

“Treasury Board is a very important committee, of course because it oversees the spending of government,” said Starke.

“It’s a new appointment for me, and I’m really looking forward to it. Because one of the areas that I’ve been a big believer in is that there has to be careful stewardship of the taxpayer dollars in the province.

“Treasury Board is the ultimate overseer of that, and with a new minister of Finance, I look forward to working with Minister Campbell.”

With the cabinet sworn in to office, Prentice said in Monday’s announcement, “The assembly will be prorogued, but brought back in time to preserve the same number of sitting days as originally planned — and to allow new members of the legislature to take their seats.”

The fall session is expected to resume later next month.

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