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    Wednesday, January 18, 2006

    A Grit in the Heart of Alberta

    Stardate 5183.1

    Being a Liberal supporter in central, rural Alberta can be challenging. Perhaps not as daunting a task as being a Democrat in Crawford Texas, but it is still something that can be frustrating at times and can take a lot of courage. For the most part, Alberta is Conservative country. King Ralph is a Conservative, and many of the people I know are Conservative supporters. In the 2004 Federal election, the Conservatives won 26 of 28 seats, leaving the Liberals only 2.

    Imagine trying to run as a Liberal Candidate in these parts? Not the Big City mind you, but a large area, where the biggest center of population is likely only 10 or 15 thousand. Let me introduce my Wetaskiwin riding's Liberal party candidate, Peter Crossley. He was born in Edmonton and has lived in Alberta ever since. He practices at his own law firm in Rocky Mountain House and is a very active member of the community.

    "The only promise I make to the people of Wetaskiwin is that I will listen."

    I had the opportunity to ask Peter some questions regarding Alberta and running for a seat in the election recently, some of which are pretty straightforward, and some a bit tougher...

    How long have you been a member of the Liberal Party?

    I have been a member of the party for many years. My first memory of politics was seeing my family name on a Liberal sign nearly 40 years ago.

    How is running in a riding full of smaller towns and cities different than a large city riding?

    I can only guess about the difference b/w Town and Country, but generally the small circulation media have space and will let the candidate explain at length.

    How closely do your personal policies work with those set out by Prime Minister Martin?

    My personal views fit closely with Mr. Martin - social justice, fiscal responsibility with a heart, and particularly in regard to the Kelowna Agreement - make a commitment, follow through, and honour a deal made previously.

    Do you think Prime Minister Martin’s proposed hand gun ban will be effective? What about the rest of the proposal?

    The gun ban does not seem likely here in King Ralph country, but I think it is a good start to a long term problem. More cops, more community support, and fewer weapons are all good ideas.

    What do you think Canada’s biggest issue is today, and what would your number one priority be if you were elected?

    The biggest issue for the nation is the economy. The biggest issue here is the decline in the family farm - see the Easter Report for a sensible solution. The other issue we face is what to do with the money and power that we are about to have on account of being the strategic petroleum reserve for the world. My number one priority is to listen - once I understand my constituent's issues as the MP and how Ottawa works I may then be able to make some headway for my constituents.

    Do you think that election campaigns should focus more on the issues and platforms and stay away from the ever growing trend towards smearing and negativity or are the negative television ads actually helping the campaigns?

    Issue based campaigns are the better way forward, but where an unstated agenda is at issue anyone should be permitted to raise it.

    Running for the Liberals in Alberta can’t be easy. Why are you running for them in a riding that hasn’t elected a Liberal since 1925? (I believe that is correct but please correct the date if it is wrong)

    Running for the Liberal Party here is a piece of cake. I think the last year we had a MP was 1905.

    It must be difficult running for a party that has been involved with the media in such a negative way. How can voters know that you are representing them and the Liberals, and not a corrupt group in Ottawa?

    I accept the verdict of Gomery, J. - the PM and the Liberals in government today have been absolutely cleared. Anyone who wishes to consider my honesty and integrity ought to meet me and decide for themselves.

    There is a lot of talk, especially amongst Conservatives, about the Western separatist Movement. Is this just a case of a few folks or do you think it poses a real threat to Canadian unity?

    Western Separatism is a tiny minority. The bigger issue is the hostility to the governing party that seizes this area. Harper said recently (I wrote this 1-17-06) that there is a permanent opposition in the Courts and the bureaucracy, so when he does not get his way he plans to duck responsibility - this is not likely to make things better.

    There are many concerns about trading with the US. In Alberta, the Cattle industry has been hit particularly hard. What can the Liberals offer to help the industry?

    For better long term support for farmers, see the Easter Report for a sensible solution. (Site Links)

    If global problems in areas like Iran escalate, would you support Canadian Military intervention?

    Military intervention should follow requests by the UN, activation of NATO, or in the unlikely event of direct attack.

    So as we can see, there hasn't been a whole lot of Liberals getting the vote in Alberta in some time now. I hope to meet Peter some day soon, as I think he would be a great candidate to get to know and a great candidate to head to Ottawa to represent central Albertans. Many of his views, especially with regards to international relations, unity and the credibility of the Federal government post-Gomery work pretty well with my line of thinking.

    All opinions shared on this site are strictly my own. Some people may disagree and that is fine, but rude comments or overzealous debate will be curtailed. I enjoy civil discourse, and encourage independent thought. I oppose George W. Bush and his Wars based on lies.

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