- Intended Tweet, Russell Scantlebury (@52ideas, Oct 5, 2014)
As a political geek, I can admit that I watch election night results like some people watch sports. When Alison Redford resigned her Premiership, I understood that it was only a matter of time until the Calgary-Elbow by-election was called. With that being said, two words danced across my mind: “when” and “how”. Or put differently, when was the by-election going to be held and how was it going to play out. Admittedly, the process has been more drawn out and more convoluted then I could have predicted but we are here now.
Even before Jim Prentice called the Calgary-Elbow By-Election, I thought it was going to be close. So when Duane Bratt of Mount Royal University said it was a four party race, I was proud of myself. My assumption – that this would be a four party race – was confirmed by an intelligent commentator. Therefore, to this day, this election is still anyone’s game and the Alberta Liberals, the Alberta Party, the Progressive Conservatives and the Wildrose Party are going to fight until the very end.
Consequently, to help any undecided voters, I thought I would explain why I am supporting Susan Wright. Now, before I begin, let me explain my biases. Like many Albertans, I don’t have a membership in any of the four aforementioned parties. While, I am a federal Liberal, my support provincially has oscillated between the Alberta Liberals, the Alberta Party and the Progressive Conservatives. Hence, provincially, I consider myself a non-partisan Alberta resident. With that background fully explained, let me explain why I support Ms. Wright.
Firstly, she doesn’t want to see more debt racked up through “renting” or “leasing” our government infrastructure. For much too long, the Alberta Progressive Conservatives have tinkered with Private Public Partnerships (P3s). As such, they have tried to partner with the private sector to provide much needed infrastructure. They did this for a simple reason: the Tories thought that they could get infrastructure on the cheap. As the mantra goes, since the private sector is more efficient than the public sector, we should turn as much of government over to the private sector as possible. However, as the outcome shows that mantra has been proven wrong. From Hospitals to Schools, we have seen the problems. One project was driven into bankruptcy and many others came in late and/or over-budget. Thus, the Private Sector when asked to do the job of Government failed completely. Susan understands this and she wants to ensure that the Government of Alberta has the resources it needs to perform its very necessary job. She has fought for this in the past and wants to go to Edmonton to do this in the future.
Secondly, as an energy lawyer, Susan understands that Alberta needs a profitable and strong oil industry that has foreign markets and foreign buyers. This means that Alberta needs to step up its economic game. We need to have an oil, natural gas and energy industry that is a leader, and not a laggard, in environmental regulations. It means we need to have an oil, natural gas and energy industry that is developing new and better ways of harnessing Alberta’s resources and disposing of the toxic by-products. It means thinking of twenty, thirty or fifty years from now when Alberta has to diversify its industries and retaining its professional engineers, lawyers, accountants and other professionals which work in the present oil sands.
Accordingly, I support Susan Wright because she knows that the future will not be the past. Susan understands that the Governments of Ontario, Alberta and Canada will not help in the transition of Alberta as they helped in 1978 to prop up Syncrude and its initial development of the Oil Sands resource that the world not exploits. I support Susan because she understands the Oils Sands is a diminishing resource and that instead of exploiting the wealth for consumption today, we should save it for tomorrow to help in our transition or today to diversify our economy. Ms. Wright has my support because she looks forward and not backwards and on October 27th, I ask you to support her too.