A Starke vision for Alberta


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November 15, 2016 12:00 AM

HAT'S IN THE RING A rapt crowd listens as Dr. Richard Starke, Lloyd's Alberta MLA, talks about his vision and his views on uniting the right in Alberta. JAIME POLMATEER LLS PHOTO

Alberta Progressive Conservative Party leadership contender and local MLA, Richard Starke, laid out his vision for Alberta at a rally of supporters on Saturday.
Starke wowed ‘em in Calgary earlier this month at a PC confab and had the media asking where did this guy come from and why hadn’t we heard of him before?
During his speech at the Lloydminster Exhibition Prairie Room, Starke touched on policy, what the PC Party needs to do to get ready for the 2019 election and his views on uniting the right by joining the PCs with the Wildrose Party.
“Now we need to spend time crafting policy, we need to spend time rebuilding our membership support base, we need to welcome new members and we need to identify and mentor an exciting and diverse new group of candidates,” Starke said.
Going further into policy, he said the province needs to get back to being a business friendly environment where enterprise and entrepreneurship are encouraged, not vilified, and where profit isn’t a four letter word, leading to cheers from his supporters.
He added Alberta needs a competitive tax regime, a reasonable and easily navigated regulatory structure and a government that recognizes that business operates best when the government creates an environment for success, then gets out of the way.
Starke also had a thing or two to say about the future of the province’s health care system.
“Tomorrow in Alberta our health care system must be unshackled so that the brilliant medical staff we have working in our world class facilities are allowed to bring their full compassion and their full skill set to bare, and where our world leading researchers can provide the world class care I know that they’re capable of,” he said, to more applause.
In merging with Wildrose to unite the right, Starke said he doesn’t see it as feasible, for reasons like the simple fact there isn’t enough time to logistically combine the two parties before 2019, and other more ideological differences.
“I want to go through some of the most glaring problems that we have with that…first of all, there isn’t enough time,” he said, speaking directly to fellow leadership contender Jason Kenney’s approach to joining with Wildrose.
“Mr. Kenney’s plan involves the willing self-destruction of two viable political parties and then the formation of a new party, which last Saturday, I coined the term Frankenparty, and then having that new entity some how up and ready to roll in 2019, assuming of course that Rachel Notley actually does us the courtesy of waiting until then—It can’t be done; it simply cannot be done, there isn’t time.”
Starke said he also worries that, by joining forces with the Wildrose Party, the resulting Frankenparty might be more inclined to abandon the political centre, which he said is essential in being a successful Alberta government.
The centre is where the PC party has been historically, he said, and where it needs to stay, but with the further right leaning Wildrose in the mix, a potential for a shift in that direction could be all too real.
“And above all ... will it be ready to govern, especially in the face of the challenging situation that we will have when the NDP leaves government in 2019?” he asked the crowd.
“Change for change’s sake, and change without a clear plan forward, that is not a strategy for success.”

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