Entitlements, budget cuts, waste of taxpayers’ money – all come to mind when the Alberta PC Party is mentioned. Jim Prentice is out to change that. Jim Prentice has five general priorities. First, a focus on sound fiscal conservative policies. In other words, Prentice does not want to run deficits for day-to-day government expenses. Although Prentice does not want to run deficits, he is willing to take on debt to pay for capital projects such as schools, and is planning to pay it off through future surpluses. He is also planning to save for the future, by using half of all future surpluses to retire the debt, and putting half in the Alberta Heritage Trust fund, a fund for long term savings.
His second priority is to restore the public trust and end entitlements. This is key to Prentice’s platform, since the Redford government has had major spending scandals, such as Redford’s $45 000 trip to Nelson Mandela’s funeral, as well as allowing her daughter and her friends to use public jets. They will end sole source contracts for outside consultants. Sole source contracts are contracts which are awarded to a company without competitive bidding. These contracts may cost more than competitive bid contracts, and are sometimes feared to have been awarded by illegal means. Also, Prentice would not allow lobbyists to be hired as consultants in the government, as it can be feared as a conflict of interest.
His third priority is to maximize value of Alberta’s natural resources, as well as respect property rights. This means that he wants to lobby and persuade British Columbia’s government and First Nations groups to build the Northern Gateway pipeline. If the pipeline goes through, it would make it easier for Alberta’s oil to be sent outside of North America and get a better price. If the pipelines do not go through, then rail will be the option to transport oil, which is not as reliable, safe or effective as pipelines.
His fourth priority is health and education. He is not willing to approve a major overhaul of the education curriculum, until he is sure it is in the best interests of students. Prentice is spending 30 million dollars for four starter schools, which are schools with modular classrooms (also known as portables) which can be expanded over time to become a full school with full facilities.
Prentice’s fifth priority is to make Alberta an environmental leader, by bringing in regulations in order to reduce the environmental impact of Alberta, as well as work with the federal government and the US government to harmonize environmental standards. For example, he is willing to keep a $15 per ton carbon levy on 12% of a heavy carbon emitter’s emissions. He is not willing to increase the carbon levy, until the US and federal government follow through with similar policies, so as to not put Alberta industries at a disadvantage.
Jim Prentice is trying to change Alberta government by trying to clean up the weak management of the Redford regime and bring in some reforms. Prentice is promising to clean up, and deliver a more efficient government. Albertans are waiting, and if Prentice can impress Albertans, then there is a good chance that he would get re-elected. The next Alberta election is scheduled between March 1 and May 31 2016.
– Saad K.
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