As the NDP candidate in the recent provincial election, I read with interest the article titled “Successful beginning for Wildrose at the Legislature”. It is my understanding that at the time the writ was dropped by the former premier, candidates had four weeks to campaign.
The Wildrose Party campaigned on “We won’t raise your taxes” and the NDP had a comprehensive platform that included banning corporate and union donations to political parties, adequately and predictably funding schools and hospitals, a progressive personal and corporate tax structure, implementing a Resource Owners’ Rights Commission, review of surface property rights legislation, an increase to the minimum wage, refining our oil in Alberta, and sustainable and safe distribution of oil through pipelines.
Campaigning ended May 4. The election saw the Wildrose candidate win in Ponoka, and the NDP won a decisive majority victory across the province. The Wildrose candidate became the MLA and was sworn in to represent all people in the Lacombe-Ponoka constituency including 65 per cent of the constituency who did not vote Wildrose.
I do take umbrage with Mr. Orr continuing to campaign for his party as my MLA and I take exception to your paper publishing what looks like his first campaign speech in the 2019 election. He needs to be reminded he is the Lacombe Ponoka MLA, not the communications director for the Wildrose Party.
The New Democrats are fulfilling campaign promises that Albertans overwhelmingly voted for. I sat beside Mr. Orr through six forums and never once heard him advocate for eliminating corporate and union donations to political parties. Though he may have voted for it, to suggest that they “guided” the NDP into enhancing our democracy is, at best, a stretch.
While he campaigned on “we will not increase your taxes”, voters elected “predictable, sustainable, and adequate funding for public services”, sustainable resource extraction and a host of other progressive ideas. Mr. Orr may oppose these ideas in the Legislature, but when he is reporting to the newspaper, I expect him to report facts, not just express one party’s ideology. (He failed to mention that in his first speech to the Legislature, Bruce Hinkley, MLA for Wetaskiwin Camrose has introduced a Bill that will see a review of the draconian surface rights legislation passed by the Conservative government).
Corporations donated millions of dollars to the PCs over the past decades and then negotiated huge concessions and reduced royalty payments from their beneficiaries and the New Democrats put a stop to that. Our MLA seems bent on advocating for industry instead of helping us regain our ownership of public resources.
I would ask that the MLA remember that the campaign period ended seven weeks ago, and that he serve all his constituents, not just promote his Party, and I would further hold the Ponoka News to a higher standard of journalistic integrity.
Editor’s note: As clearly expressed in the letter, Ron Orr has been legally elected as MLA for Lacombe-Ponoka constituency, and as such, as part of his legislative privileges, he has, just as other MLAs before him, used the columns of Ponoka News to communicate with his constituents. Columns by MLAs are considered opinion pieces, they are not news reports and as such, they cannot be judged by the same standards as news stories. As a politician, an MLA, like any other politician, is naturally eager to use any platform to promote their ideology and political party. And whether politicians or not, all of the constituents of the Lacombe-Ponoka riding are welcome to challenge the views of their MLA by writing to Ponoka News to get published like the letter above.