Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Interview with Livingstone-Macleod MLA Pat Stier

MLA Pat Stier (Voice file photo)
Chris Davis - Livingstone-Macleod MLA Pat Stier was in the area on November 22 to present a cheque to the Twin Butte Community Society. After that event, which will be the subject of a different story, I sat down with Stier to discuss recent events within the new United Conservative Party (UCP) and other issues.

UCP Leadership

The UCP held a leadership vote October 26 - 28, at which Jason Kenney was elected leader by a convincing 61.1% of the vote. Former Wildrose leader Brian Jean received 31.5%, and Doug Schweitzer received 7.3%. According to the UCP, 63,000 members registered for eligibility to vote in the leadership election. Stier expressed his support for Brian Jean to me in previous interviews, including one that was unpublished that was conducted during the Kenow fire crisis in September, when he said "He (Jean) has demonstrated he has a lot of heart, even throughout those terrible tragedies that he experienced, he was still on the job, and he was there for Albertans and that kind of demonstration of dedication is something that I honour and respect so much. So he has got my support, fully."

Stier also repeatedly said he would fully support whichever candidate was successful in the leadership election. In our September interview he said "October 28 will be quite the day. That will become the decision of who becomes the new leader, and I will certainly serve with whoever becomes the new leader, and carry on in the best capacity I can to continue representing the Livingstone Macleod region, and carrying on with the issues of the day."

"We will be able to provide an even better opposition to the government."

"We had a wonderful slate of candidates," said Stier on November 22. "I was quite happy to see the result, where Mr. Kenney did win, because he too has as much experience or more than Mr. Jean did." He said he's watched Kenney's career for many years. "I was always an admirer of Mr. Kenney, in some respects." Stier indicated he was glad the UCP is now able to proceed with the leadership issue now settled. "Now we are moving forward with a new caucus organization, lead by Mr. Kenney, and we are seeing some changes already."

"We have now joined forces with our two legacy constituency associations as of last weekend."

With a new party there has been some reorganizing, according to Stier. "We had a lot of staff changing going on, and critical portfolio shuffles to a minor extent, and Brian (Jean) has been taking some time personally. He went through quite a bit with the loss of his son, a year and a half previous, and while he was out there trying to promote unity, his house burned down, too."

"Brian is taking some time. He has been in the house for question period. What Brian is going to be doing in the future, I don't know, exactly, but I'm looking forward to having him there."

"That's going to sort itself out, in time."

Will Stier run again?

I asked Stier if he intended to run as a UCP candidate in the next provincial election. He said it was something he would have to think about, as the election is probably two years away, and at that point he will have served in the Legislature for two terms, and another four-year term would be a serious committment. He said he also wants to let the process play out properly. "There would have to be, for these new constituency associations, a nomination process, probably in a year and a half from now or so. We will see what the people think by that time."

Alberta Party a challenge?

I asked Stier if he thought there was a risk that the Alberta Party may end up splitting the conservative vote in the next election. "I don't consider it to be a risk, but it certainly seems to be something that is going on at the moment," he said. "Whenever there's changes like that (unification of Alberta's two conservative parties) you may see people moving from one situation to another, as they have a different perspective of what they thought was going to happen, as opposed to what is happening. It wasn't a surprise to see that taking place."

"A meltdown here and there from different factions wasn't a surprise in some respects." He expressed doubt that the currently leaderless Alberta Party can beat the clock. "They may not have the time to be a factor in the next election."

Keystone XL pipeline

On November 20 Nebraska's Public Service Commission approved allowing TransCanada's Keystone XL pipeline to cross the state, a significant milestone for the project, which will bring Alberta oil to U.S. refineries. Stier, who has an oil and gas industry background, was pleased at the announcement. "Wonderful. Anytime that we can get product to market is fabulous. We'll see how that actually takes place, and how fast that really will happen. But at the end of the day, that's fabulous news. And we need some good news here in Alberta, after having two or three years of bad news."

Kenow wildfire

As reported here previously, on November 15 Pat Stier brought the request of an MD of Pincher Creek citizens coalition for an official inquiry into the response to the recent Kenow wildfire to the Alberta legislature. "I think I caught the Ministers off guard in those questions in the house when I asked them. They gave the scripted answers in the first two questions of the three set questions I did. The last one it looked like I was getting a direct answer from the minister."

He said he has spoken with area citizens and councillors regarding the Kenow fire. "I think people in the area, and people in the (local) government, they believe it's the government's responsibility to look after these things when they do occur. And there seems to be a lot of questions about what took place. So we want to get that result, if we can."

Quality of life for seniors

Also reported here previously, Stier spoke in the Alberta legislature twice against the serving of reheated frozen meals at supportive living facilities, including specifically one such facility in Claresholm. "The people who are watching their parents in these facilities have a lot of concerns that were raised about four and a half, five years ago."

"Despite the fact that we fought to get these changes, numerous complaints have come into me in the past little while that things have kind of slipped back to where they were."

"Seniors, in their twilight years, deserve the comforts of what they deserve after their time they spent here, building the province."

"People deserve to have fresh food when they sit down at a table."

"I don't know if it is a budget issue. I don't know what it is, but I am going to find out."

"Someone has to stand up for these people."

"I will be standing up for these folks that are the patients in these facilities, or the residents, and making sure their points are being brought forward to the people who are making the bigger decisions in the legislature, and hopefully this kind of thing will cause a bit of a reaction and an improvement to the situation. That's my job."

"It seems like the government has a two tier system in the types of funding they provide to the seniors care industry. Where some industries that are not fully funded by AHS, or partially funded by AHS, they are serving fresh food, but the AHS people don't seem to do that?"

"I am going to be monitoring and keeping an eye on this, because you need someone to keep things in check. If the seniors need a voice, I am going to be happy to be that voice."

GSA legislation

Stier voted against ultimately passed legislation (Bill 24) regarding gay-straight alliances (GSAs) in Alberta's schools because teachers will not be allowed to tell their students' parents that their children are members of GSAs, which the UCP contends may work against a child's best interests in some cases.

"People deserve the right to have a say in their children's education," said Stier. "I have no issues with respect to having these GSA organizations set up, but at some point, I don't know if the government should be the ones to make the decision to say that teachers will be breaking the law if they see things getting so bad that they have to reach out to the parents at some point."

"Had it not been for the one or two clauses in this bill, that would have said the teachers would be breaking the law, we probably would have supported this one too."

"It's a sensitive issue."

1 comment:

  1. Mr Stier Needs to read this if he is that out of touch with the issue of seniors homes. it goes back to Ralph Klein's privatization efforts. And as far as GSA'a go, it is NOT an education issue which is why teachers are left out of it. GSA's are not part of the curriculum, they are AFTER SCHOOL "Clubs' for Straight students as well, If its a touchy subject, then all the more reason for privacy lest bullying take place on both gay and straight kids. In a nutshell, its NOBODY's business...


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