Brian Jean, a 52-year-old lawyer from Fort McMurray, has been named the new leader of the Wildrose party.
Jean, a former mem- ber of Stephen Harper’s Conservative caucus, won the race against Wildrose member Drew Barnes and Linda Osinchuk, the former Strathcona County mayor.
The outspoken new leader took time off the campaign trail to be with his family, due to the serious illness of his 24-year-old son Michael that finally resulted in his untimely death.
During his victory speech, in a voice filled with emotion and sadness, he spoke of his son Michael. He told the crowd in attendance about a note he had found in his son’s room that read ‘what you do for your- self dies with you, but what you do for others is immortal.”
“That was Michael. He was a great guy.” Jean hasn’t wasted anytime in taking on the lead
ership role with gusto and determination to do whatev- er it takes to get the party’s house in order before an election is called.
He has criticized the provincial budget soundly, urging politicians not to trust Premier Jim Prentice, saying the budget is not fiscally responsible.
“If any Albertans were expecting that Jim Prentice would keep his word and introduce a fiscally responsible budget, they have to be sorely disappointed,” he said in a press release.
He noted the budget has 59 cuts and fee increases and government spending is going up by half a billion dollars next year.
“So instead of real cuts, instead of holding the line, we get an even bigger overall government!
And if the PCs mismanagement of the economy causes you to sell a home or refinance, you will pay in excess of $1,000 more in land registration taxes. Billions in new taxes and fees will go into general revenues to feed the gov- ernment’s priorities of luxury MLA offices, corporate welfare, sole sourced contracts and cronyism,” the new Wildrose leader said.
“More taxes and no real cuts mean that our deficit will be the highest ever and our debt will be well over $31 billion before these PCs start to turn things around. In just a few short years the interest payments on our debt will be over $2 billion and will be the fourth big- gest operational expense in government.”
“If Jim Prentice and the PCs are serious about this budget, they should debate it and pass it in the Legis- lature before they call an election.”