David Staples: Is what Travis Toews is promoting really boring?

If it’s social media fireworks you’re after, Toews, 57, isn’t your leader. It’s not in his nature to brag, let alone color outside the lines. He’s a family man, a father of three, a grandfather of eight, a country guy from the Beaverlodge area of ​​northwest Alberta, a businessman, a farmer and a key minister in the Kenney government.

article content

Steady as she goes, up and up – that’s what United Conservative Party leadership candidate Travis Toews is selling.

announcement 2

article content

“We finally have this province on an incredible economic trajectory,” Toews told me in an interview. “We can’t spoil this.

But doesn’t this message have the glamor to appeal to Alberta’s conservative base?

Where, for example, is the rallying cry against Ottawa’s elites? Where are the rhetorical harpoons thrown in this or that branch of public service?

If it’s social media fireworks you’re after, Toews, 57, isn’t your leader. It’s not in his nature to brag, let alone color outside the lines. He’s a family man, a father of three, a grandfather of eight, a country guy from the Beaverlodge area of ​​northwest Alberta, a businessman, a farmer and a key minister in the Kenney government.

He studied business at the University of Alberta, then worked 12 years as an accountant before focusing on the family farm, which his father started in 1961. He turned it into a thriving calf operation with 5,000-6,000 head and also dabbled in politics. food, serving as president of the Canadian Cattlemen’s Association (CCA) from 2010-12.

announcement 3

article content

His wife Kim was a teacher, then the office manager for his environmental services company.

How were they drawn to politics?

“I never aspired to political life or public office. I was like a lot of Albertans. The best day with the government was the day I didn’t notice the government. We could just pursue our business interests, raise a family.”

Supported Kenney’s Unity Movement

But in 2015, with the NDP taking power and the Conservatives divided into warring camps, Toews became concerned and joined Jason Kenney’s unity movement. That led to a decision to run in 2019. “We had no illusions that it was going to be easy or popular,” he said of political life, noting that he and Kim were used to the controversies of public life from their time at the helm of the Canadian Association. of Cattle ranchers. “But it seemed significant at the time. That’s why we chose it.”

announcement 4

article content

Toews said he was surprised to be asked to be finance minister, but he was privileged to serve and lead efforts to balance Alberta’s budget.

From his years in agriculture, he has learned that for Alberta companies to compete on the global stage, they must focus on competitiveness, he said. “If we weren’t competitive as a national cattle and beef industry, we simply wouldn’t have a future. I brought that mindset to the finance ministry.”

Corporate taxes have been reduced, regulations have been modernized, bureaucracy reduced and specific economic sectors adjusted to increase their strength, Toews said, adding that these measures are now paying off with investments in agriculture, film and television, technology and manufacturing. “We’re seeing this flood of investment back into the province and it’s not just energy… We’re taking our rightful place again in the Confederacy as the nation’s wealth creation engine.”

announcement 5

article content

The massive push to divest from oil and gas is pushing up energy prices, Toews said, a process accelerated by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. This has led to a new global focus on energy security and an opportunity for Alberta.

Pushing back against the feds

Of course, the Trudeau-Singh partnership in Ottawa still wants to phase out oil and gas and is cold about nuclear power. How best to deal with obstructionist federal leadership?

The first thing, Toews said, is to continue to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from our oil production. “We need to continue to be the most responsible industry in the world.”

Another key is picking fights wisely, like Alberta challenging in court Bill C-69, the new liberal bill approval process that imposes burdensome regulations and kills investment in new industrial development. “I deeply believe that we as a province need to do everything we can to direct our own affairs whenever possible.”

announcement 6

article content

Toews also talks about exploring whether Churchill, Man. could become a major port for oil exports and continue to sell Alberta’s oil security to US leaders.

United States Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia.
United States Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia. Darren Makowichuk’s photo /postmedia file

A recent victory was that key Democratic power broke Joe Manchin’s visit to Calgary, Toews said. “He couldn’t believe what his next-door neighbor could offer from an energy security point of view. This is how we need to lead in energy now in the next three years. Where the federal government is not providing leadership, Alberta needs to be.”

I suspect little of what Toews has said here will rouse keyboard warriors on social media. He does not propose anything exciting, just a methodical process for economic success.

But perhaps in a moment of shock inflation the likes of which we haven’t seen since the previous time a Trudeau was in power, Toews’ steadfast approach will hit the spot.

[email protected]

twitter.com/davidstaplesyeg

announcement 1

Comments

Postmedia is committed to maintaining a lively but civil discussion forum and encourages all readers to share their opinions on our articles. Comments can take up to an hour for moderation before appearing on the site. We ask that you keep your comments relevant and respectful. We’ve turned on email notifications—you’ll now receive an email if you receive a reply to your comment, if there’s an update to a comment thread you follow, or if a user you follow comments. Visit our Community Guidelines for more information and details on how to adjust your email settings.

Leave a Comment