Extremely good year for Alberta: Starke

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December 30, 2014 9:00 AM

Richard Starke, Vermilion-Lloydminster MLA, with Premier Jim Prentice, said that last year was an extremely good year for the province of Alberta. - Christopher W. Brown Photo

"(Alberta) remains at the top, or near the top, for every economic indicator out there." – Richard Starke

Despite some political hiccups in the Progressive Conservative party, Vermilion-Lloydminster MLA Richard Starke said that 2014 has been an extremely good year for the province of Alberta.

“We remain at the top, or near the top, for every economic indicator out there, whether that be average income per household, or the lowest or closest to the lowest unemployment in Canada,” Starke said in a year-end interview with the Lloydminster Source.

“Our economy in the province of Alberta continues to perform extremely well and our population continues to grow.”

Stark added that people are coming to Alberta for numerous reasons.

“They are coming to Alberta not only for the quality of life, but also the economic opportunities the province awards folks,” he said.

Looking at his riding of Vermilion-Lloydminster, Starke said that there have been major advancements in the riding in the last year that have helped residents.

“A number of things happened, to focus on Lloydminster, the biggest thing was the work that was being done right after the 2012 general election was the signing off of the MOU on the bi-provincial health agreement.

“It was a really important step forward in defining how the province worked together on the delivery of health care in the city,” Starke said

But 2014 isn’t the end of the process, Starke admitted.

“This is an ongoing process,” he said. “To have the MOU signed and updated, which hadn’t really been looked at since the 1990s and have this updated and have a framework in place was huge.”

Asked if there was any particular piece of legislation that was brought forward over the last year that made life easier for the people of Vermilion-Lloydminster, Starke said that there wasn’t one piece that was aimed just at his riding, but all the legislation passed would have effects in the riding.

“In terms of the legislation that was brought forward, in terms of the condo act that was passed earlier this month, or whether it’s other legislation that make it more streamlined for the energy industry, these are the types of thing that aren’t specific to the riding of Vermilion-Lloydminster, but for the people right across the province of Alberta,” he said.

One of the biggest news stories in the province of Alberta in the last year was the election of Jim Prentice as the next premier of Alberta, after former premier Alison Redford resigned after to a spending scandal.

Starke, who endorsed Prentice during the leadership campaign, said that Prentice has proven himself to the people of Alberta in the last few months since taking over the reins from Dave Hancock in September.

“It’s always been very critical for Alberta to be a player on the national and international stage. We are a trading province, and we export a large percentage of the product that the province produces. I would say that the challenge is to get full price for that product,” he said.

“It’s essential for the premier of the province to be visible, and well respected in national and international circles.”

Prentice is that man, according to Starke.

“Premier Prentice does both of those things, with his time in federal public service, he has already reached out and made very important contacts with Premier (Christy) Clark (British Columbia), Premier (Brad) Wall (Saskatchewan), Premier (Phillipe) Couillard (Quebec) and Premier (Kathleen) Wynne (Ontario). He also has made very important contacts with governors south of the border, including Governor Chris Christie, of New Jersey, who will be a very important ally moving forward in growing the relationship with the United States.”

Prentice only was able to obtain the position of premier after Redford resigned after months of attacks from opposition members.

Asked if Redford’s legacy is still an issue that the government has to deal with, Starke said that this government is about looking towards the future. “I think the best answer is to look at the four byelections in Alberta this year. People want to move on, and certainly our government and our premier want to move forward,” he said.

Looking forward to 2015, Starke said that the overriding issue that will dominate the first half of the year will be the fluctuating energy prices in the province.

“We are very much an energy-based economy, and have been for some time,” he said. “Certainly, Premier Prentice realizes how hard the fluctuating of prices are on the province’s ability to do good planning and good, stable service provisions.”

Starke said the Treasury Board, which he is a member of, have been having hard decisions to get rid of some of the volatility.

“When you have about 25 per cent of your budget from one source,” that volatility is a reality the province has to deal with right now, according to Starke.
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Despite some political hiccups in the Progressive Conservative party, Vermilion-Lloydminster MLA Richard Starke said that 2014 has been an extremely good year for the province of Alberta.

“We remain at the top, or near the top, for every economic indicator out there, whether that be average income per household, or the lowest or closest to the lowest unemployment in Canada,” Starke said in a year-end interview with the Lloydminster Source.

“Our economy in the province of Alberta continues to perform extremely well and our population continues to grow.”

Stark added that people are coming to Alberta for numerous reasons.

“They are coming to Alberta not only for the quality of life, but also the economic opportunities the province awards folks,” he said.

Looking at his riding of Vermilion-Lloydminster, Starke said that there have been major advancements in the riding in the last year that have helped residents.

“A number of things happened, to focus on Lloydminster, the biggest thing was the work that was being done right after the 2012 general election was the signing off of the MOU on the bi-provincial health agreement.

“It was a really important step forward in defining how the province worked together on the delivery of health care in the city,” Starke said

But 2014 isn’t the end of the process, Starke admitted.

“This is an ongoing process,” he said. “To have the MOU signed and updated, which hadn’t really been looked at since the 1990s and have this updated and have a framework in place was huge.”

Asked if there was any particular piece of legislation that was brought forward over the last year that made life easier for the people of Vermilion-Lloydminster, Starke said that there wasn’t one piece that was aimed just at his riding, but all the legislation passed would have effects in the riding.

“In terms of the legislation that was brought forward, in terms of the condo act that was passed earlier this month, or whether it’s other legislation that make it more streamlined for the energy industry, these are the types of thing that aren’t specific to the riding of Vermilion-Lloydminster, but for the people right across the province of Alberta,” he said.

One of the biggest news stories in the province of Alberta in the last year was the election of Jim Prentice as the next premier of Alberta, after former premier Alison Redford resigned after to a spending scandal.

Starke, who endorsed Prentice during the leadership campaign, said that Prentice has proven himself to the people of Alberta in the last few months since taking over the reins from Dave Hancock in September.

“It’s always been very critical for Alberta to be a player on the national and international stage. We are a trading province, and we export a large percentage of the product that the province produces. I would say that the challenge is to get full price for that product,” he said.

“It’s essential for the premier of the province to be visible, and well respected in national and international circles.”

Prentice is that man, according to Starke.

“Premier Prentice does both of those things, with his time in federal public service, he has already reached out and made very important contacts with Premier (Christy) Clark (British Columbia), Premier (Brad) Wall (Saskatchewan), Premier (Phillipe) Couillard (Quebec) and Premier (Kathleen) Wynne (Ontario). He also has made very important contacts with governors south of the border, including Governor Chris Christie, of New Jersey, who will be a very important ally moving forward in growing the relationship with the United States.”

Prentice only was able to obtain the position of premier after Redford resigned after months of attacks from opposition members.

Asked if Redford’s legacy is still an issue that the government has to deal with, Starke said that this government is about looking towards the future. “I think the best answer is to look at the four byelections in Alberta this year. People want to move on, and certainly our government and our premier want to move forward,” he said.

Looking forward to 2015, Starke said that the overriding issue that will dominate the first half of the year will be the fluctuating energy prices in the province.

“We are very much an energy-based economy, and have been for some time,” he said. “Certainly, Premier Prentice realizes how hard the fluctuating of prices are on the province’s ability to do good planning and good, stable service provisions.”

Starke said the Treasury Board, which he is a member of, have been having hard decisions to get rid of some of the volatility.

“When you have about 25 per cent of your budget from one source,” that volatility is a reality the province has to deal with right now, according to Starke.

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