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B12 - PRAIRIE POST - Friday, October 28, 2011

Brooks Weisbeck thinks the Wildrose could be in full bloom soon

BY RYAN DAHLMAN — An interested and well-versed political observer from

Brooks sees the winds of change coming within the southern Alberta political landscape. Don Weisbeck, former Brooks mayor and past and

founding president of the Wildrose Party, believes in his heart Danielle Smith’s time has come.The Conservatives’ support is waning and PC stronghold Strathmore-Brooks will prove to have shifting support. “Strathmore-Brooks is a bell weather riding for both

parties. I sense, particularly in the rural community that we must get rid of the old and tired regime that has lost touch with its base and its purpose,” explained Weisbeck. “The issue that I hear more and more is that we need a representative that represents us, the constituency, rather than someone who represents the government.I am sure this is true throughout the province where MLAs are told what to say and write rather than been able to present the views of those that elected them.” The Strathmore-Brooks riding constituency Wildrose nomination was won by Jason Hale. Hale,a resident of Bassano, beat out John Bland on May 7.He is up against Arno Doerksen who has been involved with many organizations including Alberta Beef Producers, Canada Beef Export Federation and Eastern Irrigation District Grazing Advisory Committee amongst others.The resident of Gem knows a lot of people. Weisbeck noted Hale has roots in the constituency that go back more than 100 years. His involvement in the oil and gas and the cattle industry make him an ideal representative for the area.Weisbeck said there is one main election issue in the riding.

“The biggest issue in our area is whether we want a

‘yes’man in Edmonton or someone that will bring our concerns to the table,” explained Weisbeck bluntly. Weisbeck added the fact the Wildrose Party has stayed

true to its initial ideals also helps. “I see little change in the Wildrose. Indeed, (new

Premier-elect Alison) Redford has made it clear that the Wildrose is the only conservative option left in Alberta. She has clearly indicated that she prefers a high- spending, central control-orientated government, the precise opposite of a conservative regime.There may have been some hope, with Stelmach leaving, that this government would return to its conservative routes — the election of Redford has ended such speculation. “Redford is making an attempt to signal she represents

change but in actual fact she is continuing the tactics of the former Stelmach regime.Her Deputy Premier,Doug Horner has dismissed the deficit spending habits of his government and has, very disturbingly, defended land use legislation that gives his Cabinet the power to extinguish land use rights, without appeal and without compensation.Ted Morton, her appointed Energy Minister, is the one that championed this draconian legislation.Redford’s spending commitments make it clear that she would be comfortable in the Liberal or NDP ranks, something that will not fit well with most Albertans. She is certainly a ‘viable option’, but clearly separates herself from a conservative option.” Weisbeck ran for the Strathmore-Brooks Conservative riding in 2007.He says he is disappointed in the road the Conservatives have gone down recently. Weisbeck believes more will leave from the

Strathmore-Brooks riding and Alberta in general. “It has been often said that former PC supporters such

as myself have not left the PCs — they have left us,” explained Weisbeck.“Yes, thousands of former PCs have come over to the Wildrose and it will continue. “Redford has already,in Ed Stelmach tradition, indicated that she will not be able to balance the budget for the next two years, thus adding to the debt and continuing to drain what little is left is our Sustainability Fund ... One of Redford’s flip flops, upon becoming Premier, was to hesitate on the election date. During the leadership race she indicated her support for fixed election dates every four years, the first being March, 2012. She has reneged on this commitment and now speaks about a June date ...Who knows? I suspect that she will base her decision of the polls again continuing the practice of her predecessor.” Regardless of the political arena,Weisbeck still enjoys the debates and the strategies.However, he’s starting to take a step back and out of the limelight. He is no longer the president of the Wildrose Constituency Association after a general meeting three weeks ago and left civic politics years ago.Upon reflection, he enjoys the freedom to do other community-based work. “There is always an adjustment after one spends nine

Don Weisbeck was extremely busy as Brooks mayor. Here he was at a major donation announcement with then-Lakeside Packers president Garnet Altwasser in 2003.

File photo

years as Mayor.However, I have always been involved at other levels, particularly at the federal level with the Reform,(Wildrose) Alliance and Conservative parties,” explained Weisbeck. “I thoroughly enjoyed my job as Mayor of Brooks. As to being in the background, I spent much of my adult life, prior to being Mayor, in background roles and feel quite comfortable in this arena.I do miss many of the public events that I used to attend on the City's behalf and the interaction with the community. I still am very active in many organizations in our community. “I am not sure whether I miss being Mayor but after being in this position so long,many in the community still relate to me as such. I know that (his wife) Linda prefers my new roles. High profile positions are often harder on the spouse than on anyone else.They have so little control over the situation.I am still selling real estate for Century 21 and I am still the Chair of Ashton's Place.The latter role has changed my outlook on many issues, particularly the challenges children face in growing up.”


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