Medicine Hat hosting UCP leadership debate

“Well, one of the things that we think is important is the twinning of Highway 3. I mean ending at Burdett with no actionable items to continue past there just a vague saying ‘well we’ll look at it and it’s in the future, “we want a solid commitment it will be twinned because a transportation corridor is essential,” he says.

“The other thing we’d like to do is have the province put pressure on the federal government for the opening of Wild Horse (border crossing) to commercial traffic so we can access the railyards and that down in Havre and the line right down to Billings, Mont.”

He says it’s been a longstanding joke that southeastern Alberta is the province’s “forgotten corner,” evidenced by the number of government and cabinet minister visits to Medicine Hat compared to elsewhere in the province.

“You hear about Lethbridge, Lethbridge, Red Deer, Calgary, Edmonton, Red Deer, Lethbridge and then maybe once a month Medicine Hat for a couple of hours and then gone.”

When the leadership contest was first announced, the local constituency association started to plan for its own forum. Five candidates were lined up when party officials suggested it take over the planning. Rose says the local riding association agreed to the idea, knowing an official party debate would bring more attention.

Brooks-Medicine Hat MLA Michaela Frey threw her support behind bringing a debate here.

Immediately following the debate, the constituency association is hosting a meet-and-greet for candidates at the Clarion Pointe Hotel on Redcliff Drive.

The date is the first night of the Medicine Hat Exhibition & Stampede and one week after the application deadline for candidates to officially join the race.

Rose says talks are taking place about getting the candidates to other events around the city while they’re here.

“I’m sure all of them very much want to meet the people of Medicine Hat and while they’re down here and they want as much input as possible.”

There are 400 tickets available for the debate. Tickets cost $30 and are available now on the UCP website, where the debate will be livestreamed for free.

A separate ticket at a cost of $50 is required for the meet and greet.

“If people want to come out and express their thoughts to the potential premier of Alberta then come out to the meet and greet. You’ll get some face time with them and you’ll get to hear them answer some questions you’ll have,” says Rose. “I think it’s time that we start asking some hard questions about why Medicine Hat is not getting what other cities are getting.”

The second debate will take place Aug. 30 in Edmonton.

There are currently 10 people running for the leadership.

UCP backbenchers Leela Aheer and Brian Jean, former banker Jon Horsman, Independent MLA Todd Loewen, Mayor of Amisk, Alta. Bill Rock, former transport minister Rajan Sawhney, former PC MLA and Alberta Liberal Leader Raj Sherman, former children’s services minister Rebecca Schulz, former Wildrose leader Danielle Smith and former finance minister Travis Toews are also running to replace Premier Jason Kenney.

Election night is on Oct. 6.

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