Progressive Conservative leadership candidate Ted Morton stopped in Stettler on Aug. 30 for a meeting with local citizens.
Since announcing his candidacy last January, Morton has been busy travelling all over the province to meet and listen to Albertans.
“It has been crazy and hectic, but positive,” he said. “Albertans are great people.”
According to Morton, what Albertans desire most is a leader that will get stability back in government finances.
“They want somebody that will get our financial books back in order,” he said. “We have had four deficits in a row. The savings accounts are empty.”
The Stettler meeting allowed Morton to explain his fiscal plan, which he released on his website in late August.
“I will not allow government debt to undermine funding for health care and education,” he said.
“I am committed to getting back to a balanced budget by 2013, with no tax hikes and no big cuts in spending, but back to a balanced budget so that we will not have any government debt that would undermine heath care and education.”
Meanwhile, most of the questions asked by constituents at the meeting were about the oilsands and the Keystone pipeline project.
Morton and constituents at the meeting agreed that Alberta needs to keep control of the oilsands and that the government needs to make sure that they are regulated by Edmonton and not Ottawa.
Moreover, Morton believes that in order to control its economic future, the province needs to control its environmental future.
“That means doing a better job on environment and the oilsands, on air, land, water and wildlife,” he said.
Morton summarized his position at the end of the meeting by saying that while fellow candidate Gary Mar would bring in privately-funded health care, he would not.
“If people want to keep publically funded health care, they should vote for Ted Morton and not Gary Mar,” he said.
“I am committed to our health care in Alberta being publicly-funded.”
The Progressive Conservative leadership candidates will campaign until Sept. 17, which is the date of the first ballot for the party election.
During the summer, candidates went to many open forums throughout the province that were well-attended.
“I think that shows that there is enthusiasm for the party and there is a desire for a new leader,” Morton said.