The candidates for the provincial United Conservative Party nomination in the Lakeland squared off in a public forum held at the Agriplex in Bonnyville. Sitting MLA for St.Paul – Lac La Biche- Two Hills Dave Hanson, Mayor of Cold Lake Craig Copeland and teacher Glenn Spiess all made their cases and took questions from an audience of about 75. The three men are looking to replace Scott Cyr as the candidate for the 2019 provincial election. Cyr announced earlier in the year he wouldn’t run again.
Questions ranged from subsidizing agriculture to private health care. When the question came up on oil and gas reform in the province, Craig Copeland says bureaucracy and hold-ups on paperwork are killing the incentive to build.
“Nobody is investing one or two or three billion dollar projects like we used to see. If we want them back we have to do a complete overhaul of the system.”
A question was asked about the future of education and school choice. Glenn Spiess says he doesn’t agree with the new curriculum that the NDP government has put on students.
“It’s an idealogical re-write. It doesn’t focus on skills. It doesn’t focus on the ability to critical think. It doesn’t focus on history. It doesn’t give the children what they need to make the decisions that they can make in their life.”
Rural crime was another hot topic up for discussion. Dave Hanson says he’s proud of the initiatives he’s put forward as a UCP MLA.
“One of them was to increase penalties. The other is to increase court time and address the bail system which is significantly flawed.”
The voting for a new UCP candidate begins on September 10th in Cold Lake and continue through the 12th with polling stations in Bonnyville, Elk Point and St.Paul. More information on the Bonnyville- Cold Lake- St. Paul UCP association can be found on their Facebook page.