The local Legion played host to the four candidates Thursday evening buying to become the next leader of the Alberta PC party.
Jason Kenney, Byron Nelson, Stephen Khan and Richard Starke debated key issues such as long-term health care, LGBT community and the economy with the two biggest talking points being youth and the energy industry.
All four candidates believed the energy sector, especially the oil industry, is vital for the province but also giant key in the success around Fort McMurray.
“What people need to understand is what drives wealth creation, especially up in the Fort McMurray region, if companies willing to put at risk billions of dollars for major investments,” said Kenney. “Many have been canceled and much of that capital has been re-deployed overseas, we need to bring it back.”
These views were also shared by the other candidates. Byron Nelson went as far as to say Fort McMurray is the “Engine of Canada.”
“As Fort McMurray goes, so does the province and so does the Country” said Nelson. “First of all, impacting political stability, it’s not something that we talked about any time before the 2015 election, I guess it never crossed our minds, and stop energy companies and energy jobs from leaving.”
Another big topic was youth. How to engage youth and make sure they have a future here in the province. Stephen Khan took the Fort McMurray angle saying the party should invest more into Keyano and Fort McMurray.
“If you’re going to go duck hunting you need to go where the ducks are, we need to find out where the 30-year-old Fort McMurray people are,” said Khan. “We need to recognize that a 30-year-old isn’t going to necessarily go out on a Thursday night, 30 below, out to the legion to listen to a bunch of politicians, we need to be going out to the rinks, going out to the rec centres, we need to engage the average Albertans, where they are.”
Once again, this topic was viewed the same, just with didn’t ideologies.
“It’s important that we do well in all demographics and all groups of voters, so the questions with regard to youth outreach and being able to connect to youth we’re very important,” said Starke. “To youth of Alberta, they can have a difference, make a difference and they can have a voice.”
Most of the topics discussed were agreed upon, from the energy sector playing a big part across Canada and the Economy, youth need to be engaged more as well as other issues such as long-term health care (such as Willow Square) and views on the LGBT community.
The only difference one candidate had over the others was Jason Kenny’s view on a coalition with the Wildrose party. The other three candidates all kept the same view of building off the PC party and keeping it as is.