Alberta’s Wildrose releases platform

The new leader of the Wildrose party has released its five priorities for the upcoming Alberta election.

A balanced budget by 2017 without raising taxes is the foundation of the platform Brian Jean presented in Calgary on April 8.

“We will achieve this with actual reductions in government, only by cutting PC waste and protecting our front line services,” he said.

While short on details Jean said he would fill in the information gaps as the campaign progresses toward the election on May 5.

The plan  calls for a renewed savings plan where 50 percent of budget surpluses would go into the Heritage Trust Fund to grow the account to $200 billion in 20 years. The party would also set up a contingency account that should reach $35 billion. That money would then be diverted to debt repayment.

The next priority is to develop a patient centred health and seniors care program where more decisions are made at local levels. The centralized Alberta Health Services that currently oversees the entire province would continue to exist in some form, he told reporters.

The education portion of the plan promises elimination of mandatory school fees, a back to basics curriculum and a simpler grading system for students in Grades 5 to 12.

The rural platform promises greater protection for property rights and amendments to a series of controversial bills on land use.  An infrastructure priority list would be established, and funding for water projects could be doubled in the next five years.

“Outside our urban centres lies a rich abundance of natural resources. All of our cities and communities depend on rural Alberta for being healthy,” he said.

The final step promises to cut elected officials’ pay increases, phase out corporate and union donations and disallow floor crossing of elected members.

“We want to make sure we no longer have the most expensive cabinet ministers in Canada,” he said.

barbara.duckworth@producer.com

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