West Central Alberta's MLAs face big challenges
The triumph of the Alison Redford Tories in the recent provincial election – with the PCs garnering yet another in a long line of comfortable majorities – may not necessarily end up being great news for the new crop of West Central Alberta Wildrose MLAs and their constituents.
While the Tories managed to garner 61 seats provincewide, ensuring a majority government for the next four years, the Wildrose did manage to win seats in the Olds-Didsbury-Three Hills, Rocky Mountain House-Rimbey-Sundre, and Innisfail-Sylvan Lake ridings (along with 14 other seats).
As such, many West Central Alberta residents now find themselves being represented by opposition MLAs, instead of by government-side MLAs.
Where in the past West Central Alberta MLAs have ‘had the ear of the government’ when it came to seeking out financial support for projects in their respective communities, they now find themselves across the legislature floor, fighting the government instead of being in the government camp.
Judging from past experience, those same West Central Alberta MLAs could very quickly find themselves facing day-to-day uphill battles when it comes to being considered for a fair share of the government spending pie.
Like it or not, that’s the way the system works in Alberta and Canada, with those in power being able, if they so chose, to put their own constituents’ interests front and centre while relegating their political ‘enemies’ and their constituents to the unenviable position of being on the outside looking in.
There are many pressing needs and requirements in West Central Alberta, all of which require provincial government money. Those include a growing need for upgrades to highway infrastructure, hospitals and schools, and a myriad of other facilities.
Make no mistake, without provincial government money, and plenty of it, the public infrastructure in West Central Alberta could very quickly fall into a very sorry state. And that, in turn, could lead to all kinds of problems, including reduced business and tourism traffic as visitors chose to look elsewhere for investment opportunities and for places to spend their recreation dollars.
West Central Albertans have chosen to elect a batch of new Wildrose MLAs to replace the incumbent Tory MLAs who lead the region for decades. Perhaps those same voters were also counting on Wildrose to win big provincewide?
Nevertheless, while it’s interesting to think what could have been had Danielle Smith won it all, the new West Central Alberta MLAs now face an uphill battle that will be full of challenges that residents will need them to meet.