Chestermere - Strathmore MLA Leela Aheer was in Calgary ramping up her run to be the next leader of the United Conservative Party and Premier of Alberta.
Speaking to about 100 supporters in North East Calgary, Aheer laid it out on the line in her speech to the attendees. She stated that the party has made mistakes in the past, but the party has grown stronger and learnt from the past.
The UCP candidate said that the next leader has to be someone that is humble and be willing to be a team player "(We need) a leader that doesn't stand in front of you, but someone who stands beside's you, someone whose shoulders you stand on."
Aheer said that being the leader of the UCP will ultimately mean finding where the talent lies in the caucus, "I think the biggest issue that we've had in the past is that there just wasn't that ability to bond and find out where everybody's talents and strengths were."
She added that so much can be accomplished when everyone works together for one common goal, " [T]hink about what we can actually accomplish if we work together. And if we have solid policies that are Alberta-based policies that are centred and grounded in conversation and consultation, you just have a very different buy-in." She continues to say that the next premier will have to act like a choir director, "You have to have a conductor that understands the various talents and gifts of all of those people."
Two areas in which the party will need to address after a new leader is elected are listening and consultation Aheer openly stated.
When asked about the news release from 72 municipalities mayors, and reeves across Alberta, and the National Police Federation, regarding the implementation of a provincial police force, Aheer said that it shows to her that the province hasn't consulted enough on the issue, "We haven't consulted enough (regarding the issue of a provincial police force).
"(Alberta has) a lot of rural areas that are really frustrated, so we have a lot of work to do. The question I would ask you back is that if we were to have provincial police or have a rural police force, are you actually changing and fixing the issues that (rural Albertans) are facing?"
Some on social media have accused Aheer have been silent while in the cabinet, and now being more vocal about where the party has failed after Premier Kenney stepped down. Aheer said that she has been critical when needed, "for the people who know me they know that this is who I am."
When asked by The Cross Border Interviews why she's speaking out now, Aheer said that its time to own up to the mistakes and not give each other hero cookies when something goes right, "You don't jump on the next building and go, 'Yay, We did this!'. No, it's the work we're supposed to do. " She added, "But, you do thank each other for the work that was done.
"The mistakes that have been made I've taken responsibility for the ones that I can help change," the Chestermere-Strathmore MLA stated. "I'm so happy to be able to apologize, and even more so have the opportunity to fix the (some of the mistakes)." She added that not many people have the opportunity to fix their mistakes.
Aheer along with 9 other candidates have announced their intentions to seek the leadership of the UCP. Others include, UCP MLA Travis Toews, Rebecca Schulz, Rajan Sawhney, and Brian Jean, Independent MLA Todd Loewen, Former MLA and Wildrose Leader Danielle Smith, and Mayor of Amisk Bill Rock. Former PC MLA turned Alberta Liberal leader Raj Sherman has publicly expressed interest in running for the UCP Leadership, he has filed his paperwork with Elections Alberta but has not received a waiver for failing to be a UCP member for more than 6 months prior to the elections period began.