JIM SINCLAIR/Independent editor
Local MLA and Agriculture Minister Jack Hayden and Conservative party leadership hopeful Doug Horner were among a group that addressed a June 27 farmer’s tribute at the Stettler Recreation Centre.
The event was the Stettler Rotary Club’s annual Farmer Appreciation Night which enjoyed a healthy turnout.
“We fed 206,” said Rotarian Peter Boys, “so I guess that’s the number that showed up.”
Boys elaborated on the upbeat occasion paying tribute to area farmers.
“Alberta’s sitting in a pretty good place between agriculture and energy, going forward for the next 15 to 20 years,” he said.”
The politicians both reinforced that and the economist from Farm Credit Canada (Brenda Frank) certainly highlighted that.
Minister Hayden spoke briefly with the Independent earlier that day about the recognition owed to the farming community, making various points about how good things are, currently, in the province. National lows in taxation and national highs in average income were two of those points.
During the conversation Minister Hayden was also asked about Progressive Conservative leadership hopeful Doug Horner – Conservative MLA for Spruce Grove-Spurgeon-St. Albert – who would be sharing the podium that evening.
He declared strong support for Horner in the process of selecting a successor for departing Premier Ed Stelmach.
“The first ballot takes place on September 17,” explained Hayden.
“My vision is for a strong, proud and principled Progressive Conservative party,” described Hayden of a Horner-led party and government, “one whose strong, focused, forward-looking leadership empowers Albertans and unlocks the potential of our great province.”
Mr. Horner is one of six candidates whose designs on the premier’s position had officially been expressed as of early afternoon on June 28, the others being: Gary Mar, Alison Redford, Rick Orman, Ted Morton and Doug Griffiths. Another potential competitor, Thomas Lukaszuk had scheduled a news conference, for later that day in which he had been expected to declare his candidacy.
Rounding out the list of speakers at the farmer’s appreciation event was Merle Good – farm tax specialist with Alberta Agriculture.