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Sunday , 3 July 2022
Image Submitted: Brian Jean

Jean announces policy measures in bid for Premier’s office

Brian Jean is officially running for the Premier’s office and has announced multiple policy measures he would enact if elected.

The Fort McMurray-Lac La Biche MLA’s bid to become the leader of Alberta was official on June 16 and since the announcement, he has pitched two policy measures.

The first would be a requirement to have automatic after-event judicial inquiries whenever a declared emergency “substantially interferes with the rights and freedoms of Albertans.”

“I think we need to do a complete rewrite of the various emergency laws we have in Alberta to make sure that we never again take Albertans’ rights away lightly,” Jean said in a press release.

“A post COVID inquiry is something many Albertans want and it will help rebuild trust, but my proposal takes the lessons learned from the last two years and reassures Albertans that we will have steps in place to protect freedoms in the future. An approach like this will lead to more clarity, more transparency, and more accountability.”

The other would look at a process to reduce the distribution and transmission charges on Albertans’ power bills, taking the investment income from saved future surpluses and using it to pay down these costs. Jean called for long term relief by changing Alberta’s regulatory approval policies to account for distribution and transmission costs in the decision to approve the location of new power generation projects.

“Private sector economists have projected that Alberta might have surpluses in the $10 billion dollar a year range for each of the next few years. If those surplus funds are segregated, the investment returns from that money would be used to reduce the high transmission and distribution costs that every Alberta residential rate payer faces on their power bills for years to come,” Jean said in a release.

He was joined at the press conference by MLA David Hanson (Bonnyville-Cold Lake-St. Paul) who has spoken about this issue in the Alberta Legislature for months. “No Albertan has called my office about the actual cost of electricity; they know that real power costs are beyond our control. What they cannot accept is the extra costs due to transmission, distribution and taxes that make up most of their bill,” said Hanson.

Jean is one of eight candidates who have declared their intention to run for the leadership.

To officially enter the UCP, an applicant must submit a comprehensive questionnaire that will be reviewed by the Leadership Election Committee, together with a $150,000 entrance fee to cover the cost of organizing the election, and a $25,000 refundable compliance deposit. Applicants must also provide a nomination petition with at least 1,000 signatures of Party members, with 200 from each of the party’s five provincial regions.

The deadline to enter the race is Friday, July 20.

A new leader will be chosen on Thursday, October 6 using a mail-in ballot with an option to vote in-person at one of five polling locations across the province.

Other candidates who have declared include former Wildrose leader Danielle Smith, former UCP finance minster Travis Toews, former culture, multiculturalism and status of women minister Leela Aheer, Central Peace-Notley Independent MLA Todd Loewen, transportation minister Rajan Sawhney, former children’s services minister Rebecca Schulz, and Amisk mayor Bill Rock.

Federal MP Michelle Rempel-Garner has also hinted at entering the race in recent days.

About Michael Menzies

Menzies is the editor-at-large for Connected Media Inc. Born and raised in Vermilion, he started in May 2018 during his NAIT Radio and Television practicum and reports on local politics, sports, and community issues. He became the Bonnyville Pontiacs play-by-play voice during the 2019-20 season. He also comments on provincial and national issues. Menzies hosts Connected! Evening Monday-Thursday at 5 o’clock. He also likes to buy books and read some of them.