Morinville resident Joe Gosselin has announced he is seeking nomination as the Wildrose candidate for Barrhead-Morinville-Westlock in the next election.
Gosselin, 58, has lived in Morinville since 1997. Along with his wife Kim, he has operated Heirloom Woodworking for the past 15 years. He previously served with the Canadian Armed Forces for 22 years. He was also elected to two terms on Morinville Town Council.
A Wildrose member of several years’ standing, Gosselin decided to run for the nomination after being approached by members of the Barrhead-Morinville-Westlock constituency association.
“After consideration, I agreed,” he said. “It seemed like a good time to become involved in provincial politics.”
It is widely expected that Premier Jim Prentice will call a provincial election for this spring although one isn’t mandated until 2016.
Fiscal responsibility is currently the big issue in Alberta, Gosselin feels.
“I’m disappointed with the direction the Progressive Conservatives have taken in this province,” Gosselin said. “I’m disappointed with their spending habits. We’ve had record revenues for a number of years, yet we’re borrowing for basic infrastructure.
“If the PCs couldn’t manage when we were awash with cash, I don’t know how they are going to manage when we are broke.”
A good opposition is needed to hold the government to account, he believes.
“The PCs did a number of things when pressured by the official opposition,” he said. “That needs to continue.”
Gosselin acknowledges that the defection of party leader Danielle Smith and eight other Wildrose MLAs to the Progressive Conservatives last December was a blow to the party.
“It was quite a shock,” he said. “Of all the people I’ve spoken to, nobody knew that was coming. Those traitors were keeping it tightly to themselves.”
Now Gosselin sees the party getting back on track.
“We saw a record number of people at the constituency association general meeting,” he said. “I think a lot people who supported Wildrose didn’t go anywhere.
“I see a lot of people feel there is a genuine need to have effective opposition. They want to see Wildrose continue in that capacity.”
The nomination meeting will take place March 14 from 3 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Westlock Memorial Hall. Party members will choose Gosselin or the other contender, Glen VanDjken, as their candidate. Also on hand will be the three Wild Rose leadership hopefuls – Drew Barnes, Brian Jean and Linda Osinchuk.
In the 2012 provincial election, Wildrose candidate Link Byfield, who recently passed away, came in second to PC candidate Maureen Kubinec in Barrhead-Morinville-Westlock, with 7,106 votes to her 7,447. Byfield received 43 per cent of the vote compared to Kubinec’s 45 per cent.