Jeff Callaway in St Paul

Posted by Randy Kerr on September 26, 2017

Callaway talks 'substance behind the lipstick'; Former Wildrose party president makes St. Paul stop during UCP leadership campaign
St. Paul Journal
Tue Sep 26 2017
Page: A10
Section: News
Byline: Janani Whitfield
Source: The Journal
Jeff Callaway may not be as well-known a name as Jason Kenney or Brian Jean, but in a stop in St. Paul last Friday, the former Wildrose president explained why he’s running to lead the United Conservative Party, focusing on policy and what he described as “the substance behind the lipstick.”
“I understand what it takes to build the party, because that’s what I’ve done for years, actually -the last nine years; I know the unique skill set I bring back to the table and I understand what actually makes a party gel, and get unified around a message to be successful, and what are the biggest pratfalls,” said Callaway, who, along with Jean, Kenney and Doug Schweitzer, is running to lead the newly created party.
As he sat down and talked with a handful of people at Tim Hortons on Friday afternoon, he laid out his vision and what he called his “three big ideas” to get Alberta’s economy back on track and firing.
“I don’t have 101 ideas like Brian Jean is pushing out, that gets lost in the noise and I’m not prescribing policy for the party. That should be left up to the grassroots, but I also think it’s important to have a sense of the direction we need to go as a party.”
His first major issue is to see more natural gas resources developed to energize Alberta’economy, and to incentivize demand for this resource. His second idea is to create a tax-free investment structure for investors in any sector, whether that was energy, agriculture, forestry or research and development.
His third idea surrounds pushing for access and bringing oil products to tidewater; Callaway has proposed the province should buy the Hudson Bay rail line and the port of Churchill, Man. to create an export terminal to break its reliance on a single customer.
On issues like health care and education, Callaway says that he is not pushing for major cuts, or cuts to wages for people in the public sector. He would keep a minimum wage at $15, and his proposal not to make such cuts differentiates him from a couple of his competitors, he notes.
It’s important to get the economy firing again, and allow attrition to take place to become more efficient in the delivery of public services, he said, adding, “We are just going to have to learn to do more with less.”
Education has become one of the heated issues in the leadership race, but rather than criticizing the process on a curriculum redesign, as Kenney has done, Callaway says he would rather focus on the future of education in providing students with opportunities in STEM, science, technology, engineering and math, “going to where the puck is going to be.”
He explained he’s not interested in coming out with verbal attacks on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau or Premier Rachel Notley and the NDP, but for conservatives to explain what they are for, not just what they are against.
Right now, Callaway said he’s focused on talking to the UCP membership in advance of the Oct. 28 leadership vote. Should he win, he’ll take his message to Albertans - most of whom, he believes, would like to vote for a United Conservative Party.
“It’s keeping a simple, unifying message that conservatives can rally around and take into the next election.”


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