Bruce Hinkley has been acting MLA for the Maskwacis-Wetaskiwin riding and seeks to continue his work in the coming election. Hinkley was a long-time small-business owner and has worked as a teacher and administrator. 

What policies are you looking to really stress during this election?

Well the personal ones for me are universal healthcare and then because my background is in education, all the education policies. There’s other priorities, it depends on what people want to talk about whether it’s job and jobs are important. Economic diversification, climate leadership, the pathway to balance budgets so there is lots. Rachel has been making announcements daily over the last week so we can talk about any of those as well. Everything that she’s proposing,adn  of course, I am supporting.

What is something you are most proud of about your party?

Number one is Rachel’s leadership just before the last election, she was nominated to become our leader after many years with Brian Mason. She’s turned out to be extremely trustworthy and that’s what were going to take into the election is that Rachel has done an excellent job during a recession and coming out of a recession now and she is very, very, very trustworthy. We look at scandals, almost scandal free. We look at accomplishments, that we’ve made. We made a list of over 250 things that we have done over the years.

What do you think is most important to Central Albertans about your platform?

I think they’re very similar to mine, healthcare, education, jobs, diversification of the economy, I think in Lacombe and surrounding Central Alberta agriculture is one of the areas that we can strengthen and add to that diversification tool. It’s great to have that oil and gas it’s been our main economic driver for many years and we’re not saying that it should go away or anything we’re proudly fighting for the pipeline but agriculture is one example of diversification. Also, we can do a lot more in tourism, technology, and lots of stuff.

What is your area of expertise in your party?

My background is in education but the committee that I served the most on and was most active with was the economic development policy committee. For all of the ministries, we reviewed and previewed anything that had to with economic development and likewise diversification. So, that’s where I spent most of my time. I was also on the executive council which is dealing with caucus issues and how we will run the caucus. For the all-party committee, I was part of families and communities and again that big tie in with healthcare and education.

What is your attachment to Central Alberta?

I was born in Ponoka and I completed all my grade schooling there and then I went and got a degree from the University of Calgary, and then a degree from University of Alberta. For Lacombe people, if they remember the days of the hockey team of the Lacombe Merchants. I played three years in Lacombe and I enjoyed that time as well. Now, I live in Wetaskiwin so I haven’t gone very far from Central Alberta.

Anything else you’d like to add?

I guess this particular campaign is going to be about the stark contrast between Rachel’s leadership and the leadership of Jason Kenney. Rachel is leading the flight in building that pipeline, creating jobs, and I mentioned several times diversifying the economy. We seem to see from the opposition, spending more time talking about giving tax breaks to corporations, freezing education, possibly privatizing and making healthcare two tier, attacking personal and human rights of the LGBTQ community. Unfortunately, and it’s not necessarily impersonally, a platform as been given to less tolerant for race and different ethnicities that we have in Alberta. We want to be an inclusive society and the opposition just seems to be narrowing that down and feeding on that.

For rural Alberta, and an interesting point is rural crime and when we were dealing with that in the legislature, we put in ten million dollars. We were increasing the numbers of RCMP officers, building courthouses in Red Deer so we can make things happen more quickly in the justice system, more support staff, and the opposition voted against that. Yet, they say rural crime is a big issue but they refused to spend one single penny on fighting rural crime. Six months after we did that, the crime rates in all areas, violent crime, home invasion, theft, all those numbers have gone down. So, there’s still crime, but it was really disappointing that they said ‘we’ll, fight rural crime’ and then when we did they voted against it.

In this election, it’s going to be a definite contrast of the two leaders. One, Rachel being very trustworthy, and the other one just plagued by scandals. Six UCP MLA’s have quit the party due to questionable practice by their leader and even once the campaign started two of their candidates resigned from the party for inappropriate conduct. We have two distinct leaders, and two distinct parties.

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