Home / Government / Guthrie first to the starting line for local UCP nominations
Guthrie first to the starting line for local UCP nominations
Saturday saw the unofficial launch of the nomination race for the United Conservative Party’s Airdrie-Cochrane candidate in the 2019 provincial election as Peter Guthrie announced to a packed house at The Venue that he would be putting his name forward.
“This is a very long road but we’re ready to ride,” Guthrie told the assembled UCP supporters, with 21 party members across Alberta already registered as nominees for their respective areas and ready to take on the NDP in the next election, one Guthrie expects to be heated as ideological lines are drawn.
“I’ve a feeling this next election will be a barn burner,” said Guthrie, pointing to the optimism of the electorate for a new conservative party and how the NDP and Premier Rachel Notley have responded to this public shift with insults and roadblocks.
Referring to Stone’s Rules for Campaigning, Guthrie has watched as the NDP have focused on attacking others over defending their policies, place value in disinformation and admit to nothing while denying everything and counterattacking.
But as frustrating as it has been for him to see taxes go up, billions amassed in debt and calling conservatives xenophobes and sewer rates, what really highlighted the NDP’s disconnect from Albertans was when Notley said Alberta was an embarrassing cousin no one wanted to talk about.
“Is this a party that understands or even likes the people they’re representing?” Guthrie asked. “We need to take this party back from the people that think we’re an embarrassment.”
To do that, Guthrie emphasized the need to have people with real world skills in the Legislature rather than the ideologues of the NDP or the self-interested fat cats of the old PC party.
“We require people with practical knowledge in science ad business, not political ideology,” said Guthrie, pointing to his eight years operating a small business, decade as a rancher and eights years as a marketing engineer in the forestry sector, all areas he believes are important to Cochrane that have come under attack by the NDP.
Some of the changes he would like to see are the usual roll back on taxes and eliminating the carbon tax, but at the same time he understands the need to go beyond that in order to ensure people and businesses can thrive. For example, a lower small business tax will not mean much if a business cannot make money because of the $15 minimum wage so Guthrie would like a tax credit to be issued until the new wage becomes sustainable.
“We need to respect agreements from one government to the next or they’re not worth the paper they’re written on,” said Guthrie, emphasizing that if this does not happen there will be instability and little trust on government as a whole, something which he finds the NDP do not understand with their recent attack on the forestry industry.
Despite the fact that only 30 per cent of Alberta’s timber lands can be harvested, with a third of that undergoing rejuvenation at any given time, the NDP have decided to ignore existing contracts in order to annex more land for environmental conservation. This ignores the fact that the Province entered into a 20 year Forest Management Agreement in 2014 and puts a $5 billion industry with 60,000 jobs, with about 600 of those right here in Cochrane at Spray Lake Sawmills.
“This socialist government has annexed timber lands without warning,” said Guthrie, with the NDP’s goal being to return half of the 30 per cent available to sawmills back to nature despite the fact that forestry helps manage pine beetles and forest fires and the sum of their annual operations sees 1 per cent of all Alberta’s forests cut in a year.
“When the NDP were first elected to office there were some bad words said, but I also said to my wife I would run for MLA,” said Guthrie, who sold his business in the summer and is has been working hard to prepare himself not only for the UCP’s nomination race for Airdrie-Cochrane but to be an engaged MLA by building relationships with the areas municipal councils and businesses.
As the nomination date draws near, with that election likely being held in June or September, Guthrie will also be reaching out to the public at large to learn more about the concerns of Albertans and what needs to be considered as the UCP works on their policies.