Fort McMurray Lac La Biche MLA Brian Jean was in Calgary Thursday launching the second leg of his campaign.
To a room of about 100 party supporters, Jean spoke about his vision for Alberta, his vision for the party, and the vision of a more autonomous Alberta.
After his speech, Jean spoke with the Cross Border Interviews about his vision and what he meant by Autonomy for Albertans, "Autonomy is all about values of the people that are involved and their needs and their wants.
"Satisfying the needs, wants, and desires of the people that it reflects. And in this particular case, I think most people would agree that we need autonomy in some form within Canada, for Albertans," Jean stated. "We need autonomy on a personal basis and we need autonomy on a professional basis."
With a short window before the next election, Jean will need to unify the party if he wins the leadership race that is set for October 6th. The MLA said that unifying the party begins on day one, "As long as we start from the beginning, that means that you can't be a sore winner.
"Some people have seen reflections of politicians in the past that are sore, sore winners. And I think that's why we're in this pickle," Jean stated. He added, "If we're going to win, we are going to need to bring everybody together and make them feel like they're part of the team."
As for unifying the province before the next general election, Jean said that the province needs to come together as there are great challenges that lay ahead, "Those challenges include the autonomy for Albertans within Canada. Those challenges also include inflationary issues and the fact that our oil and gas cannot get to market because we've had people in positions of authority, federally and provincially that have not pushed that agenda far enough," Jean stated.
Ask how he would deal with an NDP Premier in British Columbia (John Horgan) and a CAQ Premier in Quebec (Francois Legault), Jean said it's about finding common ground at the end of the day, "You find the things that make us common."
What is the one thing that brings people together, Jean says it comes down to one word -autonomy, "I think Quebec really wants to have the ability to have more autonomy. They'll tell you that. I think the people in the lower mainland (BC) want more autonomy from the rest of Canada. And I think frankly, the people in the rest of BC want more autonomy from the lower mainland." He added, "Let's open up the constitution, let's get to the table and talk about how we can resolve these issues that have faced us for so long."
As one of the few candidates who were not in government during the COVID-19 pandemic, Jean says that his fellow colleagues who were around the cabinet table over the last two years, and are in the running for the UCP leadership, will have to explain something to the people of Alberta, "I've heard that maybe (my fellow colleagues) talked about what they wanted, and they spoke up (during those cabinet meetings), but the truth is they either spoke up and were not listened to, or didn't speak up."
Rajan Sawhney, the former minister of Transportation, also running for the UCP leadership recently said that if elected she would hold a public inquiry into the provinces handling of COVID. Jean said during his speech - without naming Sawhney name - the proposed inquiry doesn't go far enough, "(We need to make) sure that what happened and the ramifications of the attack on our freedoms doesn't happen again unless it's valid.
"And how do you make sure it's valid? Well, by holding (our) feet to the fire. And that means full accountability, full transparency, and the ability to ask questions during the crisis, not just afterwards," Jean stated. He said during his speech that if elected he would hold a vote in the legislative assembly to have all MLAs on record on where they stand on the issues of emergency orders.