Rural Municipalities of Alberta (RMA) President Paul McLauchlin expressed skepticism about the representation of rural communities within the United Conservative Party (UCP) following the re-election of Danielle Smith. With Smith's UCP securing a majority government in Monday's election, the seat count currently stands at 49 seats for the UCP and 38 seats for the Alberta NDP, although recounts are anticipated.
McLauchlin, addressing the issue, stated, "It'd be disingenuous to say that there will be a rural voice in the UCP Government." His comments reflect concerns about whether the interests and perspectives of rural municipalities will receive adequate attention and representation within the ruling party.
McLauchlin believes that now is the time to bridge the gap between rural and urban areas, focusing on the common goal of improving the lives of all Albertans.
In a one-on-one interview with the Cross Border Interviews McLauchlin emphasized the importance of moderate discussions that speak on behalf of all Albertans, rather than fueling the rural-urban divide or promoting partisan agendas. He acknowledged the pressing issues related to mental health, addictions, crime, and domestic violence that have been affecting rural communities, emphasizing the need for healing and finding practical solutions.
"I think the solution is collaboration," McLauchlin stated.
He highlighted the value of municipal politics in fostering collaboration based on ideas and solutions, rather than ideological differences. By bringing together individuals with diverse perspectives and worldviews, McLauchlin believes that a path towards healing and progress can be forged.
McLauchlin expressed his determination to move beyond ideological boundaries and search for solutions that bridge divides. He believes that the recent election presents an opportunity to take a leadership role and build a narrative of unity and progress. Drawing inspiration from his recent attendance at the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM), McLauchlin commended the absence of ideological debates at the conference and the focus on shared goals and public service.
"The municipal lens and community lens allow us to see beyond politics and focus on the needs of our ratepayers," McLauchlin stated. He emphasized the passion, energy, and expertise present within the FCM and expressed his desire to harness those qualities to benefit rural Alberta.
McLauchlin's vision for rural Alberta involves capitalizing on the momentum generated by the election and leveraging the power of collaboration to address key issues. By embracing a spirit of cooperation and seeking practical solutions, he believes that rural Alberta can thrive while also maintaining its distinct identity and values.
As the President of RMA, McLauchlin is determined to champion a new era of inclusivity and progress. By transcending ideology and focusing on collaboration, he aims to create positive change that will benefit all rural Albertans.