Incumbent MLA of the provincial riding of Lacombe-Ponoka — United Conservative Party (UCP) candidate Ron Orr — is looking to continue to represent his constituency following the 2019 Alberta Election, which will be coming up quickly int he next few months.
”I think I have worked as hard as anybody to represent my riding and bring forward all of the issues,” Orr said.
Orr looks to continue hold the Government of Alberta accountable in what would be his second term — regardless of what party forms Government.
“I want to bring a sense of holding the Government accountable to a grassroots value,” he said.
After the party, “Lost it’s way”, prior to the NDP forming government in the last election — Orr said the conservative movement is in better health and feels they will be the next Government of Alberta. He hopes that his hard work could mean a seat in leader Jason Kenney’s Cabinet.
”We will have to see what he has to work with, but we will have a Cabinet with depth and skill because there is a large number of people to choose from,” he said.
Even if he does not win a Cabinet seat, Orr said it is important for him to represent the riding of Lacombe-Ponoka first and foremost.
“My commitment is to hold the Conservative party accountable to the things we have said we want to do. I think that is where we went astray in previous Governments — we lost that voice of opposition,” he said
While many Albertans are bracing themselves for an election campaign of mudslinging between the the NDP and the UCP, Orr said he is trying to stay out of that fray except for what his party views as egregious untruths.
“I want to stay out of the negative criticism stuff and I made a commitment decades ago in my own personal life to focus on positive vision rather than negative vision. I don’t really think there is much to be gained by making your stake in life by tearing someone else down,” he said.
For Orr, the biggest issue he has heard from his constituents is the economy.
“There are people seriously out of work — I had a guy in my office who hasn’t had a pay cheque in three years,” he said. Those very real concerns are the most important things — that we reignite the ability of Alberta to be an economic leader and to invite entrepreneurial minded people back into our Province.
“We want to be creating jobs and prosperity for people.”
Orr also identified being a voice for the farm community in his riding is important to him, including supporting a repeal of Bill 6.
“At the same time there is some value in some of the work that has been done in regards to the Farm Safety Coalition that arose as a secondary response to Bill 6. Most farm people I talk to are totally in support of farm safety and so the Coalition will probably stay,” he added.
Orr will also push for equal funding to central Alberta in the healthcare system.
“I think we will have to continue to fight as a group of central Alberta MLAs for fair and equitable spending for central Alberta,” he said.
The Big Horn land use policies is also something Orr feels needs to be addressed by a potential UCP government.
“The proper land use framework of the North Saskatchewan Regional Plan has been just chucked out and all the municipalities and stakeholders engaged in that process has been overruled,” he said. “We need to go back and start that process over and engage the stakeholders on the land to create a better process than the NDP.”
Orr also hopes to see Gay-Straight Alliance legislation receive more, “Balance”.
“We are not going to go ahead with persecution legislation that tries to out gay kids,” he said. “That is not going to be our objective. We want to make sure everyone is safe and in a caring environment.
“I think that will take some careful negotiation. I think we need to try to diffuse some of the fear and anxiety on both sides to have respectful conversations with each other to try to build a society not driven by polarizing fear on either side.”
Orr said that if he is elected he will continue to represent everyone in his riding, regardless of how they voted.
”Anybody that has a need or concern with how they address government services or how they find the right people to talk to — they are more than welcome to come to my office,” he said. “I don’t even ask what they party they are — it is about helping people access government.
“Unfortunately during the election everything gets hyper-partisan and then after that we get back to the business of trying to be a good government.”
Orr added his party looks to renew the, “Alberta Advantage”.
”If we can get Alberta firing on all eight cylinders again, then I think we will have the money we need to deal with our deficit and debt problem and we will have the money to provide the social services we want,” he said. “We are not going to be a Government that is slash and burn.
“What we want to do is create a stable transition to a well-managed government that is fiscally responsible and provides the services that Alberta needs.”