Wednesday, August 10, 2011

PC Leadership Q & A

While attending the Alberta Teachers Association's Banff Summer Conference, I had the chance to attend the Progressive Conservative leadership question and answer session.

Below is a list of some of the things each candidate said. I tried my best to only record what they said without my input. I typed this quickly while they talked so go easy on judging my grammar.


  • Public education is a priority
  • Former teacher. Wife was a former teacher.
  • Teachers are often most influential people in children's lives.
  • Best K-12 system in Canada. One of the best K-12 systems in the world.
  • Change: Professional development is important. Success is built on enthusiasm between teacher and student. Choice is important - it creates enthusiasm. Chemistry is created through choice.
  • Charters: Friends of people who attend charter schools and sees great enthusiasm at charters and private schools. Supports money following the child to create diversity and choice. Supports current system of funding 70% of money follows a child to a private school.
  • Funding: Government got caught between teacher contracts and the economy. Still supports long-term contracts but with some flexibility. With Ted Morton government there will be no public service cuts because there will be no debt.
  • Rural Schools: Supports status quo.
  • Only candidate that does not believe the funding formula should be changed but you want sustainable and predictable funding - will achieve this with long-term flexible contracts.
  • Critical of the United States and their public cuts. 
  • ATA: achievement tests show us the system is working. Why change it? Collaboration with ATA about both financial and educational priorities.
  • If we stick with the status quo - we won't have cuts.
  • Peter Lougheed's vision of a sustainable saving's plan - Heritage Savings Plan - 
  • Give students get back up to $20,000 of their post-secondary education over 7 years.


  • web site first policy
  • 56% of Albertans are under 40.
  • Farmer and teacher. Taught elementary and middle school.
  • Two children 5 & 2.
  • Change: success in the classroom is largely dependent on teachers. We don't have the best schools in Canada, we have the best teachers. If you don't give the tools teachers need is like asking a carpenter to build a house without a hammer. Technology comes second to focusing on supporting teachers.
  • Charters: Public funding should fund public education. Specialized charters and private schools should not be funded publicly. Opt out of public system, you pay for it yourself.
  • Funding: cutting education is like selling the top-soil off the farm. Funding is set up to make schools look poor.
  • Rural schools: not a fan of funding following the students - creates inequity for low population schools. A school loses 3 students and loses 15 thousand dollars. School can't make up that money. We need more community minded schools. A community losing a school is not an option.
  • ATA: we can't have an education system without the ATA and the teachers we have. Young teachers are graduating and are mistreated, squeezed out or discarded. There is no need for animosity between government and ATA. 
  • Multi-graded classes and total lack of professional development time is a major problem. When I came out of university, I had more questions than answers. Professional development is how we maintain our excellence.
  • We spend 36 billion a year. We depend on unstable areas such as taxes and oil revenues.
  • The only candidate who supported more taxes if it went into education.
  • It is stupid to cut education. It sabotages our future.


  • Former labor minister
  • Three priorities: accessible healthcare, excellent education and safe communities
  • Resources in the classroom is a primary focus
  • Change: we need to attract top-notch educators - and this starts with our post-secondary institutions. Address pressures - learning disabilities, language barriers - top priority is resources in the classroom. Teachers are not police officers or social workers. Predictable funding, leading edge technologies.
  • Charters: Funding doesn't need to follow the student to private schools. Government might want money in private schools to ensure some control over what goes on there.
  • Funding: Government has been unpredictable and unreliable with funding. 
  • ATA: It's up to the ATA to conduct their affairs. Fully supports the right to organize. It's not up to government to decide how the ATA conducts its business. 
  • Asking about raising taxes is the wrong question. We have the money. We need to ask why our priorities are not education.


  • Focusing on kids who are at-risk whether they are in health or education system.
  • Trust is what will allow us to change
  • Inspiring Education was an important step but failed to garnish trust between stakeholders.
  • Change: Refocus and go back to heart of education. Change the way classrooms are working. Support teachers by looking at things teachers have been asked to do. Rethink curriculum. Schools are much more complicated than they were years ago. This work happens inside and outside of the classroom.
  • Charters: remembers when charter schools arrived in Calgary. If public education doesn't respond to parent and student needs then charters pop up. If public system meets the needs then we don't need private system. Real danger of public education becoming a second tier education.
  • Funding: Long term sustainable and predictable funding. We need to honour contracts. We have to change the relationship we have with teachers. 
  • Funding should be made by educational needs not infrastructure. 
  • ATA: The government needs to talk with you and work with you. We need you. We need to trust each other and stop framing the conversation. Fully supports ATA. Wants a greater relationship.
  • Lack of sustainable and predictable funding is hijacking education dialogue and creates predictable crisises. 
  • In government, social programs and education are the first to get cut. Always. Prepared to put social programs and education as a priority.
  • We can judge ourselves by how we treat those who are most vulnerable.
  • The Education Act introduced this spring was not good enough.
  • We need labour peace so that we can do the jobs we are suppose to be doing.
  • Education is a huge part of our active economy.


  • Wife is a teacher.
  • Former Education Minister
  • Linked education with economy
  • Students need to be prepared to be competitive in a competitive world.
  • Mentioned Knowledge, Skills & Attitudes a number of times.
  • Change: Wrap around services are needed to serve needs of children that go beyond the classroom.
  • We can rethink curriculum but only if we are deeply engaged in dialogue with all stakeholders.
  • Need early testing to identify kids that need help early.
  • Charters: Very focused on outcomes - reading, writing and maths. Not concerned with who delivers the prescribed curriculum - charters, public, private. 
  • Funding: We need stable and predictable funding. You can't plan without knowing where your funding is coming from inside of 3 years. Class size is important but having a less kids but with 5 kids with profound learning disabilities.
  • Rural: we need to inspire those from small communities to become professionals for their small communities.
  • ATA: Very supportive of the ATA. I am on the record to be opposed to splitting ATA. We can't do much without collaboration. We need wrap-around services. 
  • There is a definitive linkage - cause and effect- between health and education.
  • Early identification for children who need support. It's easier to bring health services into education where the kids are than dragging the kids to the health system.
  • Changing taxes or royalties is not a priority.
  • Huge administration cost for providing support for the most fragile.
  • Some say progressive conservative is an oxymoron, but that isn't true. Important for government to maintain high expectations and standards. 
  • Ultimately people will come to Alberta because it is an interesting place to be.
  • Near the top of almost every Albertan is a great education.


  • Former agriculture minister
  • Wants success in the classroom for our kids. Teachers need to be supported. Government needs to change how they do things. 
  • Wants to work in partnership with teachers.
  • Change: measure things together. Remove grade 3 PAT. Move to sampling rather than census. Change things like curriculum but only with teachers cooperation.
  • Charters: I have faith in the public system. We need to properly fund public education. We need choice with private, public and charter schools.
  • Funding: Do we value education? If yes, then how do we do stable and predictable. Separate the labor debate from the education debate.
  • Rural Schools: Make rural communities economically viable. I don't want an Alberta where you come and make your money and you leave. We need to help rural communities to meet their needs to make it viable to live there.
  • We are not poor. We need
  • When things get tough in the financial field, it's time to buy.
  • ATA: our education discussions get hijacked by talking about money. 
  • When funding is unpredictable and unstable, the education debate are stunted. 
  • Access to the health system is a major problem. We need a registered nurse in our schools. Wrap-around services. 
  • There is a difference between fiscal responsibility and fiscal restraint. We need to fund education properly. Period. 
  • We do have a debt problem in that we have an infrastructure debt.
  • We have to redefine what it means to be a progressive conservative. I am not a unite the right candidate. 

1 comment:

  1. Joe, thanks for the summary of the candidates platforms. It is important to know who we may be working with in government when the leadership changes hands.


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