If there is one thing that really goes for Alberta PC leadership hopeful Ric McIver, it is the way he thinks and talks, closer to the man in the street rather than a high-flying politician.
A member of Calgary City Council for three terms and a former provincial minister of transport, McIver says one of his major priorities will be, if he is the premier, to announce a budget that “Albertans without an accounting degree will be able understand.”
He was referring to the much criticized budget figures announced during former premier Alison Redford’s tenure, which made citizens confused rather than enlightened.
During a single day whirlwind tour through Ponoka as part of his campaign travel, McIver stopped by the Ponoka News office and offered to give details of his policy platform, although it appeared from the conversation that the platform was still in much need of building.
McIver believes his political experience at the city council and his time as a minister are great assets that will help him fulfill the leadership responsibility more than adequately.
“Excellent,” he replied when asked how he saw his chances of being elected as the leader by the rank and file PC membership.
“I think Albertans want common sense new thinking, they want someone committed to Alberta for a long time.”
“I am probably the best equipped one in the race to this job,” he added.
He stressed “personal accountability” as the most important characteristic of his campaign.
“Controlling of the costs will start right at the premier’s office,” McIver said.
He referred to his track record of completing major infrastructure projects in the Calgary region after securing the consent of the First Nations involved in disputes with the provincial government over those projects.
“I will use those skills and that attitude, my willingness to listen and look for the common ground where everybody gets to win,” said McIver with reference to the major economic projects surrounded by controversy such as building of pipelines and faster development of oil sands.
Asked about his priorities when it comes to the problems of agriculture in Alberta, McIver seemed to be straying a little bit from the focus of agriculture and talked about the land ownership rights of the farmers, which he said needed a solution and that he would fix it. But he hasn’t given any details with regard to the solution he would bring in.
Also asked about how he would address the issue of infrastructure, he said his government would continue to build schools and hospitals while he also promised to pursue a balanced budget, but did not give any details of how.
Perhaps the best part of the interview was when McIver said he didn’t know everything and he didn’t have any problem admitting that he didn’t know.
“Albertans don’t need a premier that thinks he knows everything.”
He said he would listen to expert advice and learn what he would have to learn to lead Alberta.
“I will treat the people of Alberta as the bosses they are with a customer service attitude,” he concluded.