VOTE 2012: Travis Hughes

Party: Wildrose
Riding: Spruce Grove-St. Albert

1. What is your party’s plan for funding municipalities? What kind of impact would this plan have on St. Albert?
Under the PCs, municipal funding has been chronically inadequate, highly unpredictable and subject to gross political favoritism. A Wildrose government will legislate a long-term municipal funding formula tied to provincial revenues. We will also thoroughly assess Alberta’s infrastructure needs and prioritize projects on the basis of need rather than how residents vote.

2. With an aging population, how do you and your party propose to deal with the pressures this will create?
Our seniors still face a dearth of assisted home care and massive waiting lists at long-term residential facilities. A Wildrose government will expand home care (which frees up acute care  beds in hospitals). We will reduce the regulatory jungle that now hinders groups that want to establish new care facilities. We will also introduce moderate compensation program for employable individuals who provide end-of-life care to a family member.

3. Some are predicting another labour shortage coming in Alberta very soon. What do you think the best strategy to deal with this?
A Wildrose government will explore the option of taking more control over immigration from the federal government as Quebec has done. A provincial immigration system, if administered properly, will greatly benefit Alberta’s economy by making it easier for qualified and financially sponsored working-age immigrants to enter, integrate, have their foreign educational credentials recognized, and contribute to Alberta.

4. What changes would you like to see, both in the Alberta Legislature and beyond, to ensure the democratic process is upheld in Alberta?
A Wildrose government will introduce free votes in the Alberta legislature on most bills, enable voters to recall an unsatisfactory MLA, and set fixed election dates. We will also pursue Senate reform at the federal level.

5. Voter turnout has been low in the last few provincial elections. What do you think can be done to better engage voters and get them out to the polls?
We expect a much higher turnout in this election, entirely because Wildrose represents a realistic, winning alternative to the PCs. Many voters have despaired in the past because no party offered a platform that they actually wanted. A Wildrose government will continue to engage voters after the election to ensure voter interest.

6. How do you think Alberta can best keep a balance between environmental interests and our economic dependence on the oilsands?
Our leader Danielle Smith, an economist by training, believes that the environment can only be protected if the Alberta economy remains healthy. Alberta under a Wildrose administration will help develop the oilsands while protecting air and watersheds. We’ll also introduce an environmental ombudsman to improve transparency. We need someone who reports not to the Premier’s office, but to the Legislature.

7. Some have described the Alberta health care as broken. Do you agree? If so, what is the most important think that has to be done to fix it? If not, why not?
The PCs spend more money than ever on health yet service quality continues to deteriorate. A Wildrose government will increase the number of health care providers, emphasize local community decision-making, and empower front-line health professionals. Our party will also introduce efficiencies by allowing companies to bid on service and supply contracts within a single publicly-funded health care system. We’ll also dismantle the AHS Superboard and gradually move to a system more responsive to local needs.

8. Alberta’s education system has often been characterized as one of the best in the world. What do you think needs to be done to ensure it stays at that high level?
A Wildrose government will make sure that parents have meaningful educational choices, including the right to choose which program is best-suited for their children. We will also end the PC practice of allowing political considerations to influence school construction. Where we build should be based on need, not need for votes.

9. What do you feel you and your party can do for St. Albert that other parties/candidates cannot?
We can actually represent St. Albert based on the constituents’ views rather than the cabinet’s. We’ll implement free votes and MLA recalls. We’ll put power back where it belongs — with the voters.

10. What kind of premier do you think your party’s leader would make?
Danielle Smith has built an exciting political party, starting virtually from scratch. Our leader blends exceptional innovative vision with practical team-building skills. Over time, she will emerge as one of Canada’s most competent premiers ever. We’re also proud that Albertans are conducting Canada’s first provincial election with two women as the primary contenders, and we’ll be the first large province to elect a woman as premier.