David Staples: Trend Alert! Another candidate for UCP leadership criticizes his own government for being ‘arrogant and out of touch’

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Yet another candidate for the leadership of the UCP is shooting at the former leadership of her own party.

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We have already heard candidate Leela Aheer say that the time for top-down rule must end, and candidate Rajan Sawhney criticize Prime Minister Jason Kenney’s tendency to demonize opponents. Even Kenney’s former finance minister, Travis Toews, said his government “mischaracterized” other UCP members when it launched its campaign.

Now, Rebecca Schulz, Kenney’s former minister for children’s services, is stepping up, saying in her initial campaign video for Albertans that, “many see us as arrogant, authoritarian, out of touch, not listening to Alberta residents or even our party members. …”

Schulz then delivered a hard, smart blow, blasting the old guard while setting himself up as a different kind of Alberta leader. “Enough with the old man’s club and the infighting. Also, I don’t have time for that. Like many of you, I am a working mother who chose to raise my family here in Alberta.”

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Schulz’s policy may not be her policy – ​​she is an unshakable fiscal conservative who believes the best government is less government and that we should strive to develop our oil and gas resources – but she has credibility on the issue of tone. When it comes to UCP ministers who tended to remain calm and calmly respond to heated questions from the NDP opposition, Schulz and Health Minister Jason Copping (who supports Schulz’s leadership offer) scored the highest.

In reviewing her performance in question time, Schulz realized she might seem too sharp, she told me in the second of a series of interviews I’m doing with candidates for leadership at the UCP. “I have to remember that when I’m at home, I’m not just responding to my critic. Albertans will see this. I don’t want them to think it’s who I am, or how I act, or how I respond.”

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Who is Schulz? She is a first-term MLA from suburban Calgary who grew up in small-town Saskatchewan, her father a truck driver and cow-calf operator. She wouldn’t say she was exactly a farm kid, Schulz said, but “I joke that when I turned 16 I got a cow, not a car.”

She majored in English, then earned her master’s degree in political communication as a correspondence student at Johns Hopkins University. She entered media relations first for an energy company, then for Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall for three years.

She and her husband Cole Schulz moved to Calgary in 2015. Rebecca Schulz worked as a communications and marketing manager at the University of Calgary, Cole Schulz in communications for the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers. The couple have two children, aged four and seven.

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She said she always wanted to live in Alberta, in part because of Alberta’s long period of Conservative rule. “If we thought that four years of NDP was devastating for our province, 16 years (of NDP rule in Saskatchewan) explains why I and many people living in Alberta were originally from Saskatchewan.”

Rebecca Schulz’s main claim to success in government is her negotiation of Alberta’s $3.8 billion child care deal with Ottawa. The NDP said Schulz didn’t get anything that other provinces didn’t and was very slow to get it, but Schulz said the deal proves she is a difficult negotiator.

Alberta has 70% private day care, so it was crucial that any government program cover them, not just public day care, Schulz said, adding that Alberta’s program also includes income testing so that residents of higher needs receive a subsidy. additional.

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“I didn’t take the first deal that was put on the table, I was among one of the last provinces to sign and we got a great deal for Albertans.”

I told Schulz that at 37 she’s too young to run for leadership, so why not wait until she has more managerial experience?

“We need a leader not just for the next two years or to get us through the next election,” she said. “We need a leader who can lead us to the next generation of our party and the future of our province, engaging people in a way that really puts them and their views forward, and has also done so by showing humility and honesty. .”

Again, there is now no shortage of candidates pushing this message hard, that a shift to a more humble tone is crucial for the UCP. In fact, this message is so prevalent that I hope a leader from this conservative and compassionate wing of the UCP will win the race.

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