Wildrose leader comes to town

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Danielle Smith drums up support for 2016

The head of Alberta’s official opposition is getting a head start on the next election by paying a visit to St. Albert.

Wildrose Party leader Danielle Smith is holding a town hall meeting in St. Albert this Monday. The trip is part of a series of visits to Edmonton-area communities that Smith, the MLA for Highwood and leader of Alberta’s official opposition, has done over the last month.

“We want to start listening to Albertans about the issues that matter to them,” Smith said. The party was also looking to build support and find candidates for the upcoming 2016 provincial election. “We’ve been very effective advocates for communities on particular issues, and I want to make sure we‘re not missing any in St. Albert.”

Smith has held similar town halls this fall in Stony Plain, Sherwood Park, Leduc and Morinville – all sites close to Edmonton that were easy to reach while the legislature is in session, she explained.

“Every community seems to have some serious infrastructure issues,” she said, such as schools or interchanges, with some residents concerned about proposed laws such as Bill 45, which, if passed, would let the province fine unions $1 million a day in the event of an illegal strike or strike threat.

The town hall, which is open to everyone, will involve a short address followed by a question and answer period, Smith said. “I’m really there mostly to listen.” Most past town halls have drawn about 20 to 50 people.

The Wildrose party came second in the last election in St. Albert, said Jaye Walter, president of the St. Albert Wildrose constituency association, and has made great strides since. “Things are starting to change in this province, and that’s a really good thing. We’ve had the same government for over 40 years.”

The Wildrose got 34 per cent of the popular vote last election, reports Elections Alberta, coming in second to the Progressive Conservatives with 44. In St. Albert, PC candidate Stephen Khan beat James Burrows of the Wildrose with 54 per cent of the vote to Burrows’s 21.

Smith’s talk is at 7 p.m. Dec. 2 at the Kinsmen Club of St. Albert. Call 780-292-5538 for details.

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Kevin Ma

Kevin Ma joined the St. Albert Gazette in 2006. He writes about Sturgeon County, education, the environment, agriculture, science and aboriginal affairs. He also contributes features, photographs and video.