Hello my friends; I hope you will take the time to read through this entire letter given the importance of the message it contains. Every word is heartfelt and I am willing to meet personally or by phone with every singe person who wishes to talk about it in more detail. 

 

I have made the decision with the majority of my former Wildrose colleagues to unite with Premier Jim Prentice and the PC Caucus. Here's why.

 

I have spent virtually my entire elected life fighting with all that I am to elect a truly conservative Premier committed to fiscal discipline, balanced budgets, respect for property rights, parental choice in education, decentralized health care and open and transparent government.

 

Jim Prentice is exactly that kind of Premier. He has committed to a set of shared conservative principles and policies (listed below) that my former Wildrose colleagues and I have been fighting towards for 5 years, and he has asked for our help to ensure those policies are implemented.

 

I am not going to spend my efforts opposing the very kind of Premier I and many others have worked so diligently to see elected.    

 

I left the PCs in 2010 because in my view the party leadership of the time had abandoned most of the core conservative principles it campaigned on and used to represent. I joined the fledgling Wildrose Party movement with tens of thousands of others to help elect a government and leader committed to true conservative principles and policies. Everyone in the Wildrose worked tirelessly for 5 years to make that happen. In fact we did such an effective job we helped open up a job vacancy in the Premier's chair which was eventually won by Premier Jim Prentice.

 

Although after the Redford years I, like so many, was very cynical when Premier Prentice took the helm promising fiscally conservative policies and to clean up government, he has shown by his actions since then that he is a man of his word, and frankly, he has won my admiration, trust and support.

 

Obviously many in Alberta and in my own constituency feel confused and even betrayed by my decision to rejoin the PC Party. Many supporters of the Wildrose Party feel the same. I understand that anger and confusion, and don't resent it one bit.  

 

But I want to ask all Wildrose supporters and former conservative PC supporters across this province a few simple questions. Does it make sense for conservatives to fight with one another when we are both working to implement essentially the same policies? Does it make sense to split the vote as they did federally for so long and permit left wing parties and their policies to grow and succeed because conservatives are busy beating each other senseless because of past disagreements? Does it make sense for me, Danielle Smith and other former Wildrose MLAs to oppose and fight a Premier who has personally invited us to implement the very policies we are advocating for, especially during a time of great economic uncertainty where fiscally conservative principles are needed more than ever?

 

I am proud of my time spent as a Wildrose MLA. I feel the hundreds of thousands of Wildrose supporters, volunteers and voters played an essential and pivotal role in putting Alberta's government back on track. You have all done a wonderful job and should be exceptionally proud of your accomplishments!

 

But I must ask, why do we elect MLAs? To put on a partisan jersey and fight partisan battles for some kind of entertainment? I sure don't think so. We elect MLAs to fight to see a set of principles and policies be implemented in government for the benefit of our province and communities. For many years I felt the best way to fight for these policies and principles was under the Wildrose banner.

 

But Jim Prentice has changed that. He is the right leader in the right place for the right time and I am going to spend the remainder of my career in politics (however short or long) to help him implement the very principles and ideas I feel Alberta is so desperately in need of. I hope all conservatives (both Wildrose and other former PCs) will unite with us to make this happen. 

 

As always, feel free to email, Facebook or call me and I will endeavor to return every message personally. I want everyone with concerns or that is otherwise interested in a more thorough conversation about my decision to have an opportunity to discuss it directly. It's well worth my time and you certainly deserve it.

 

It's an exciting time to be a conservative in Alberta. I hope you'll join with the Premier, my MLA colleagues and me in making Alberta all we know it can become.

 

Below is the agreed to principles and policies document outlined above that we will be assisting Premier Prentice to implement: 

 

  • MLA-driven review of existing property rights legislation including recommendations for improvement
  • Development of a public prioritized infrastructure list for major capital projects and maintenance
  • Commitment to running the most ethical and transparent government in Canada
  • Free votes for private members' bills, private members' motions and government bills dealing with issues of personal conscience
  • Commitment to a caucus briefing, debate and vote on all proposed government legislation and major spending initiatives prior to their public announcement.

 

Health Care

  • Strengthen health care decision making at the local level
  • A commitment to increasing patient choice in health care within the auspices of the Canada Health Act
  • Development of a plan to make our health care system fiscally sustainable given the changing demographics of our population

 

Education

  • A commitment to addressing Alberta's school shortage and maintenance backlog
  • Ensure each school board is using a grading system that is easy for parents to understand and objectively grades a student's skills and knowledge of the provincial curriculum
  • A commitment to the basics of reading, writing and mathematics in the provincial curriculum
  • An ongoing commitment to protecting the rights of parents in making informed choices pertaining to their child's education

 

Budget and Finances

  • Development of a new multi-year fiscal plan based on fiscal conservative principles to maintain Alberta's triple A credit rating, that will balance the budget, bring an end to debt financing, including for capital, and pay off the provincial debt
  • Protect and strengthen the Heritage Fund as a means to reduce reliance on non-renewable resource revenues
  • Limit operational cost increases to the rate of inflation plus population
  • A commitment to not implementing provincial sales tax and keeping Alberta's income and business taxes the lowest in Canada

 

Environment & Energy

  • Developing an aggressive strategy to promote more consumer use and adoption of cleaner burning fuels and alternative energy sources such as domestically produced natural gas, solar, wind and geothermal power
  • Strengthening the effective monitoring of our province's air, water and land quality and a commitment to keeping our province's environment clean
  • Maximize the value of our natural resources by expanding access and pipeline capacity to multiple international and domestic markets
  • Ensure that our tax and royalty regimes continue to be attractive to investment when compared with other competing jurisdictions, and work to decrease unnecessary red tape

 

Municipal Financing

  • Develop a stable and predictable municipal funding model
  • Streamline and consolidate the various municipal granting programs to achieve less provincial and municipal red tape

 

Sincerely,

 

Rob Anderson

MLA Airdrie