The MLA for Drumheller-Stettler has filed paperwork with Elections Alberta to run in the 2019 provincial election. Rick Strankman made the announcement on a tour stop in Provost on April 26.
“The constituency is named Drumheller-Stettler, but Provost is a vibrant part of the new addition,” said Strankman, referring to the redrawn riding boundary maps that will come into effect for the 2019 election. “So I thought I would show those people that they are being recognized as part of the new constituency.”
When the Alberta Electoral Boundaries Commission first released their redrawn riding maps, Stettler was included with Wainwright, while Drumheller was paired into a riding with Strathmore. Eventually, the final boundary report stuck with the riding of Drumheller-Stettler, but added Provost in the northeast to the constituency.
Strankman has been vocal over the years about the size of the Drumheller-Stettler riding that was further expanded to the northeast for the upcoming election.
“As we went forward with the unification process, and then learning how the riding boundaries shook out. Initially, having us included with Strathmore would have been totally untenable from where I live. But including the M.D. of Provost now it’s more tenable.”
While four of the MLA’s UCP colleagues announced in April they will not run for re-election, Strankman said he’s been thinking over his decision for some time.
“It’s always been an explicit honour to represent the people of Drumheller-Stettler, and I’m hoping they can place their trust in me again in doing that. My goal was a more economical Alberta, so I’ve decided to continue on and throw my hat in the ring, and am hopefully looking forward to founding government under Jason Kenney.”
“Looking ahead, we need to have a stellar performance because we are going to be approaching $100 billion dollars worth of debt when this government is facing election again in 2023, so it’s going to take a steady hand on the tiller.”
Strankman has served the region since 2012, when he beat incumbent PC MLA Jack Hayden for the seat. Over six years in the legislature, Strankman has served as the Agriculture Critic for the Wildrose Party and the new United Conservative Party.
In his time in the legislature, Strankman has also served as Shadow Minister for Property and Surface Rights, and as a critic for Service Alberta, as well as Culture and Tourism and Jobs, Skills, Training and Labour.
In December 2014, Strankman was one of five Wildrose MLA’s to not cross the floor to the PC Party, and was re-elected in May 2015. In July 2017, he became a UCP MLA after the Wildrose and PC parties merged last summer.
“It’s been quite a roller-coaster ride, coming from the Wildrose to the unification movement. I’m enthusiastic working with Jason recently. I was wanting to see how that played out amongst my caucus mates, and amongst Albertans as well.”
Prior to his life in public office, Strankman was charged in 2002 for violating the Customs Act for transporting wheat across the U.S. border. He received a pardon from Prime Minister Stephen Harper ten years later, after the Canadian Wheat Board’s monopoly came to an end.
The UCP Drumheller-Stettler constituency will also be holding their Annual General Meeting on May 17. This will be held at the Hanna Community Centre (503 5 Ave West) at 7 p.m.
Here, local constituency roles will be established for President, Vice-President and Treasurer, and other titles. From there the nomination cycle will be decided, along with UCP policy that will be established at the provincial AGM in Red Deer happening May 4-6.
According to Election Alberta’s website, Nathan Horner of Pollockville, has also filed paperwork to run for the UCP nomination in the Drumheller-Stettler riding.