Premier weighs in on election


Premier Ed Stelmach wants to see his province cared for in the wake of an upcoming general federal election.

During a public question and answer session at the legislature Thursday, Stelmach said that as Premier of Alberta he has questions to all leaders of all parties heading into the election.

He wants to know where Alberta stands, and wants to see Western Canada stand up for itself and its own interests.

“We’ve begun that,” said Stelmach. “We don’t have any trade agreements with any of the major markets, and that’s worrisome, so we will be doing that individually, as with the U.S. partnership, and building more relationships with China, with India … and continue to keep our relationships with the Pacific Northwest economic region.”

There are things Alberta has to do for itself.

And there are also things the country should do for this province, Stelmach feels, when given its contribution. Or not do.

“It’s great to share our wealth — there’s no problem with it — but at the same time you cannot criticize Alberta for creating the wealth … and at the same time point fingers at Alberta and say ‘you’ve got to do better,’” he said.

He is wary of other parties’ lack of support for the oilsands — particularly the NDP.

“When you’re getting investments of $10 billion a year for the next 10 years, minimum … that is going to create jobs across the country, not just in Alberta,” said Stelmach. “If somebody thinks the next growth in the economy is going to be selling cars to the United States, where another million people will be probably losing their homes — do you think that they are going to be buying another car?”

Asked if he was concerned over apparent NDP strength in opinion polls leading up to May 2, Stelmach said no.

He noted there have been surges in polls reported before, with no game-changing result come the big day.

“We’ll see where the voters go May 2,” he said. “Most pollsters don’t ask, ‘Are you going to vote?’ That’s very important. Many learned a lesson in the last election, here in Alberta, both in leadership and in the 2008 general election by following polls.”


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