NDP missed chance to fulfill promises

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Earlier this month, Alberta marked the second anniversary of the most recent provincial election.

I am eternally grateful to the people of Olds-Didsbury-Three Hills for entrusting me to represent our region. I vowed that day, and continue to this day, that I will put the interests of our families and our communities first.

As our official Opposition’s house leader, I have also been blessed with the opportunity to put our voice at the centre of the debate in our legislature.

It is a demanding role, made unnecessarily difficult by this government’s partisan agenda. In these days of turbulence, restoring a sense of composure to our political process is vital, and providing it is a duty I am proud to accept.

Sometimes I find it useful to take a step back from the day-to-day thrust and parry of politics to take a wider view. In recent weeks I have read several retrospectives of the NDP’s first two years in power.

The temptation in these articles is to judge the government entirely on its most divisive policies: things like the carbon tax, Bill 6, and significant changes in K-12 education. These are all important issues likely to factor in the next election, but they are not the entire story.

It is important to recognize that during the 2015 campaign, our parties agreed on several key issues. For instance, we agreed on cleaning up cronyism in government. We agreed on restoring Albertans’ property rights. We both sought shorter health-care and ambulance wait times.

We did enjoy some initial success. Bill 1, banning corporate and union political donations, was long overdue.

However, since that time, little progress has been made on issues of mutual agreement. Health-care wait times continue to grow, and rural ambulance response times remain a major concern. The government has offered nothing on property rights.

And the government’s about-face on cleaning up government has been astonishing. Not only has the NDP voted against recall legislation, but also routinely interferes with freedom of information requests and has made numerous political appointments to non-partisan positions within the public service.

I suppose we could offer the Notley administration some benefit of the doubt, considering that Alberta’s next election is supposed to be two years away. However, this government has yet to indicate if it even intends to comply with Alberta’s fixed election date.

As we move towards the next provincial election, I hope the Notley administration takes some time for a little retrospection and self-evaluation.

It’s one thing for a government to disagree with the Opposition. It is another thing for a government to turn its back on its own platform positions.

– Cooper is the MLA (Wildrose Party) for the Olds-Didsbury-Three Hills constituency.

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