By Stephen Dafoe
Morinville – Recently nominated Barrhead-Morinville-Westlock PC candidate Maureen Kubinec has been making preparations for the provincial election; her campaign office in downtown Morinville opened just prior to the writ being dropped Mar. 26, and she’s spent the past couple of weeks making the rounds in Morinville.
Kubinec, who received the BMW PC Association nod earlier this year, has been a Westlock County Councillor since 2010, and is involved in grain farming with her family in the Westlock area.
The county councillor said she believes change is the big picture in this election, something she believes her party can provide. “I think Albertans do want change, and I think a lot of the changes have happened or are in the process of happening with this provincial government with our new premier,” she said, noting there are many PC MLAs not running again. “That’s a real big change, and there seems to be a different atmosphere of trying to be more inclusive and more listening to the grass roots.”
Kubinec said she is excited by the changes she’s seen and feels having a woman premier is a big move for Alberta. Another positive the candidate is witnessing in her party is diversity within the party itself. Kubinec said many of the party’s candidates are young professionals who she believes are bringing new ideas to the table on key issues affecting Albertans.
The candidate denies her party is shifting to the left. “I think Albertans want a party that is fiscally conservative but socially moderate,” Kubinec said. “I think that is what this party is doing. That’s what I am. That’s my personal philosophy.”
Multiple issues for multiple areas
Kubinec said she sees the Morinville school issue regarding Bill 4 and school infrastructure as being a big issue in Morinville during the election. “I think the solution they have proposed is a good one,” she said. “The physical housing of students is an issue that needs to be resolved, but I think the big picture of the solution is a good one because it was the anomaly in the province.”
Provincially, Kubinec sees property rights as an issue but believes the province is now on the right track with the matter. “The original property rights bills had issues with them,” she said, adding she believes those issues have been addressed by the PCs. “They listened to what the people had to say and they made the changes. ”Kubinec said concerns on fair compensation and access to the courts as well as the need for a public advocate for property rights have now been included. “This is a government that has listened. Do we get it perfectly right the first time? Not necessarily, but if you come back and say, ‘Whoa, just a minute here,’ we’re going to listen and we’re going to make the changes.”
On the matter of the Heartland Transmission Line, Kubinec said the question is if there is a need for power. “In the last 10 years we’ve brought a million more people to the province who’ve brought nothing but the clothes on their back and their furniture with them, and we have to plan and build for all the rest of it – schools, hospitals, everything,” she said. “If you even thing about your own life and the power you use versus the1960s; it’s pretty amazing.” The candidate said there is currently six to seven times more power going through the province’s power lines than when the lines were built in the 1960s and 1970s. “Was that an overbuild or was that just good planning?” she asked. “I kind of think it was good planning. This is just not for today what they are planning. It’s for the next 40 years, and if we keep growing the way that we have been at about 100,000 people a year, we’ve got to be prepared for it. It might not be the most pleasant thing for you to have a power line go through, but we do have to service the people of the province. If you don’t do good planning you are going to have a mess.”
Kubinec enters provincial politics with a varied background of experiences. She spent three years with the school board in Two Hills, followed by 12 years with the Pembina Hills school board. When her children were no longer attending school she stepped down from the board. “I felt very strongly that a certain number of a board need to have children in the system,” she said, adding she had been that person until her youngest graduated high school. “I decided it was time for someone else to come in, recruited some younger parents, which happened. I had also just finished being the president of the Alberta School Boards Association and also saw it as a good time to segue out.”
Following her time on various school boards, Kubinec became involved with Persons with Developmental Disabilities (PDD), something she was involved in for four years and found personally rewarding. “Almost anyone you talk to involved in that field will tell you that we’re richer people because these people were in our lives,” Kubinec said.
She was elected Westlock County Councillor for Division 3 in the 2010 municipal election and just recently stepped down as Deputy Reeve after receiving the nomination as PC candidate for Barrhead-Morinville-Westlock.
Heading into the four-week campaign, Kubinec said she is making no promises. “My one promise is I’m not making any promises because I don’t know that I can keep them,” she said, adding she does commit to listening. “I’ll listen to your issues and I’ll take them forward, but I can’t make any promises.”
Editor’s Note: MorinvilleNews.com will be bringing you interviews with all candidates over the next few days.