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Wildrose Party leader set for first campaign

Wildrose Party leader Danielle Smith and Pat Stier

Wildrose Party leader Danielle Smith and Livingstone-Macleod candidate Pat Stier

Wildrose Party leader Danielle Smith is ready for battle.
With a full slate of candidates and comprehensive policies representing the party’s conservative leaning, Wildrose and its leader is ready for the provincial election.
“I call this the longest job interview of my life,” laughed Smith, who has spent the past two years laying the ground work for the new party.
Smith was at Pincher Creek Golf Club on Feb. 14 for a Wildrose Party fund-raiser and to get her Livingstone-Macleod crew geared for an election.
Smith is anxious to begin an election campaign, in which she will tangle head-to-head with rookie Progressive Conservative candidate John Barlow in the Highwood riding.
“We’re ready to go whenever they are,” Smith said of the ruling Conservative party.
As of last week Wildrose had candidates in place in all but three of the ridings in Alberta and those were to be filled right away.
The party has been actively raising money for more than a year to fund a campaign, and has been in election mode since as far back as September.
Smith said Albertans are ready for a change in government and are listening to what Wildrose has to say.
There is no danger, Smith said, of Wildrose and the Progressive Conservatives splitting the right wing vote to allow the New Democrats or Liberals to come up the middle.
“We’re the only conservative party,” Smith said. “They (Progressive Conservatives) are the liberal party.”
Wildrose represents the only real alternative to form the government in Alberta, Smith said.
“People have a choice of the kind of conservative government they’ve been used to,” Smith said of the Wildrose Party.
The Progressive Conservatives, Smith maintained, have gradually moved far to the left in order to nullify the Liberal Party.
Livingstone-Macleod candidate Pat Stier is also anxious to contest the riding against incumbent Conservative MLA Evan Berger, who is minister of agriculture and rural development.
“I’m going to be interviewed, but Evan is going to be reviewed,” Stier said, explaining Berger is going to have to answer to voters for controversial moves by the government surrounding issues such as property rights, power transmission lines and the oil and gas royalty framework.
Smith said Albertans are concerned about those issues, along with education and health care.
“They’re concerned about the state of our democracy,” Smith added.
Smith said the Conservatives did not do themselves any favours with the latest provincial budget.
“It was a disaster,” Smith said of Premier Alison Redford’s first budget. “We call it the Alison in Wonderland budget. There was absolutely no credibility.”
Smith said the government cannot get spending under control, and continues to depend on unpredictable non-renewable resource revenue to bail it out.
“We take a different approach,” Smith said of Wildrose policy, which includes balanced budgets and saving for the future.
Smith said voters in Livingstone-Macleod have a good choice in Stier as the Wildrose candidate.
Stier has a background in agriculture, oil and gas and business.
“He will be able to stand up for the people in this area,” Smith said.

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