Alberta politics hasn’t been boring in a long time and 2017 was no different. When the year began Grande Prairie-Wapiti MLA Wayne Drysdale was still a Progressive Conservative but as 2017 wraps up he’s under a new banner, the United Conservative Party. Something that he says was hard to accept.
“People voted and we’ve got a new leader and now we’ve got to move on. I’ll probably be just as loyal to the UCP party as I was to the PC Party, but you don’t just switch overnight.”
Drysdale says he is committed to serving out the term that he was elected for and says he plans to stay on until an election is called. That is expected to be in 2019 but there has been a lot of chatter from political insiders that there could be an early election called by Rachel Notley. Drysdale doubts that saying he thinks Notley is more likely to go for a five year term. Not only is Drysdale committed to seeing out his term, he is also committed to the UCP’s, at least for now.
“I’m ok with the UCP Party, but we haven’t even had our founding convention yet. We don’t know what our policies and principals are. People talk about the Alberta Party, but I don’t know who they are either. They don’t have a leader at this point.”
He says he knows what his values and principles are and “they’re not going to change”. Those values include embracing the LGBTQ community.
“Everybody should have the freedom to make their own choices so I stand up for making sure people have that freedom. Whether its religious freedom or sexual preferences. I don’t always have to agree with everything but I represent everybody.”
Drysdale says he’s looking for a party that aligns with his fiscally conservative yet socially liberal views, like he feels the old PC Party did.
Looking ahead to 2018 and beyond Drysdale says it will be a bonus having Jason Kenney in the house. He says people will then be able to see who he really is. Drysdale supported Doug Schweitzer during the leadership race but says him and Kenney have developed a good working relationship.
“I’ve accepted Mr. Kenney as our leader. He’s a pretty capable guy and he’s treating me fine. I’m hopeful that Mr. Kenney and the UCP Party represent my values.”
“Say what you want about him,” Drysdale continued, “he’s a good politician. He’s a good speaker and a strong speaker and I think the government will have a lot harder time standing up to him face to face then criticizing somebody who’s not there.”
Drysdale says having Kenney as a leader will help to make their direction clearer in 2018. He is ready to move forward now that the “conservatives got back together.” He is also hoping for a more respectful and fact-based approach to debate in the new year. He believes that will help them look more like a “government in waiting.”