LETHBRIDGE: Wildrose Alliance Leader Danielle Smith is on a trunk tour of the south-west to drum up party support.
Smith's tour has included several meet-and-greet opportunities for the constituents her party hopes to represent. On Thursday, she was in the Livingstone-Mcleod riding for meetings. On Friday, her morning was spent at several locations in Standoff, before heading to Cardston and Raymond for meetings and public events.
Friday night, Smith was at the Stirling Community Hall for another meet-and-greet at 6:00-pm before a Cardston-Taber-Warner Constituency Annual General Meeting at 7:00.
Saturday, May 28th finds Smith at the Taber Heritage Inn for a free Breakfast with the leader. She will then be in Milk river between noon and 2:00. At 6:00, the Lethbridge East, Lethbridge West and Cardston Taber Warner Constituencies host a Leaders Dinner.
In an interview with Country 95 News, Smith noted her party opened up it's nomination process for the Lethbridge-East riding last week. The actual election of a representative for the riding won't happen for a couple of months. Smith confirmed her party has already chosen 33 candidates and hopes to have 50 in place in time for the party's Annual General Meeting, slated for Calgary in June. The party expects to run a full slate of candidates in the next provincial election.
The Wildrose Leader shared the fact that she's hearing a lot of frustration from people no matter where she goes in the province, in respect to what Albertans call arrogance from the province's governing Tories. Smith says, "They're beginning to see the current government has simply run out of steam -- after 40-years they(the government) are out of fresh ideas -- they've got a sense of entitlement and there's an arrogance that has slipped in." She contends, "That's not going to be changed with a change in the party leader -- that's a deep underlying problem in the culture of the P-C party".
Smith is well-versed on the topic of education funding and has tuned in to the angst of parents and school boards alike. She says she's heard from school board officials about a "bait-and-switch" technique. Boards are seeing an increase in one part of operational funding and yet grants are cut in other areas which more than offset operation increases.
Smith notes, "Parents expected that when the government took responsibility for negotiating the teachers' contract that there was going to be stability but, school boards are in disarray". Her solution is to get back to local bargaining and decision making. You can hear Smith's education comments in the audio segment below.