Wildrose Alliance leader Danielle Smith recently gave an interview to the Independent focusing on her party’s policies and priorities.
Excerpts from the interview:
SI- What are you planning to do differently from Progressive Conservatives if you come to power?
DS- There is a number of things. If you go back to the things that PC used to stand for, that is our starting point. PCs used to believe that MLAs didn’t work for leader of the party, but they worked for the people who elected them. That was one of the guiding principles of the Lougheed revolution when he came to power in 1971. I think what has happened is that the government has been in power for 40 years and has lost sight of why it had that grass roots history. You need to remain connected to what average Albertans want… The leadership team has become so small and insular that they are disconnected from the cabinet, they are disconnected from their own caucus, disconnected from their membership and extraordinarily disconnected from average Albertans… People are now looking for alternatives, one of the things we offer is that we are listening and we are consulting and we do have a robust grass roots policy development process… This government has become extraordinarily bureaucratic over the past 40 years. We have a huge amount of excessive middle management and we have to start looking for ways to flatten that management structure so that we can deliver more money to frontline services… Under the past 40 years of Progressive Conservative government, we have continued to see decision making become centralized, meaning there is no trust in the people at the local level to make decisions in the best interests of the people they serve. We take a different view. We think that the better decisions are going to be made by the local government, local school boards, local hospitals, because they are the people living and working with the people they serve in the same community. So, rather than centralizing decision making, we would want to decentralize decision making so that decisions can be made closer to home.
What role do you see for the provincial government for diversification of Alberta’s economy?
Let me start by saying what we don’t think government’s role is. We don’t think the government’s role is to pick winners or losers to subsidize individual firms. That seems to be the approach of the Tory government. What I think the role of government is in helping create an environment of economic diversity is to have low rated taxation, a streamlined regulatory environment, having a well educated workforce and kids coming out of technical schools and colleges with skills they need to be able to match the needs of the economy, having an insfrastructure allowing people to get easy access to markets, research institutes that will allow entrepreneurial research being done for businesses to make use of.
Do you think a government under your leadership would take any initiative to lead the diversification of the economy?
I don’t believe it is in a politician’s capability to know what the industries of the future are going to be. Entrepreneurs are the visionaries. Politicians almost always make errors when they try to choose industries to support. Politicians are supposed to make sure markets are open for entrepreneurs to enter and set
up their shop in conditions of robust competition.