Jon Horsman the former Vice President of ATB Financial is making the plunge into the political arena with a bid for the United Conservative Party leadership and ultimately a bid to be the next Premier of Alberta.
Horsman launched his campaign at Hotel Arts in downtown Calgary with about 100 people in attendance, including former city councillor Jeff Davison, and former CBC' Dragon Den Star Brett Wilson.
The new leadership candidate talked about his vision for the party and his background. He also spoke about the need to get the right person in office as he saw what happened in 2015 when both the Alberta NDP and Federal Liberals took office, " The one thing I have learnt (in my career) is that Alberta Businesses are built for economic cycles.
"What they aren't built for is bad government though. They aren't built for when Trudeau got elected and Notley got elected, I've never seen so much wreckage than I did in those years," Horsman added. "If we can do anything to avoid that pain, if we can do anything to continue on with the gifts that we have been given then we should."
He continued to say, "That I why I'm stepping up to ensure that we never see that situation ever again because I think it was awful."
Turning his speech to the current state of the UCP. Horsman spoke about outgoing Premier Jason Kenney during his speech.
"We are facing a transition of Leadership," Horsman stated. " Why? Because Jason believes in democracy. He submitted himself to the will of the people.
"(Kenney said) listen 'I understand that I govern when the people behind me stand behind me,' and the people have spoken. And for whatever reason I can't say what, we need a new leader," Horsman added.
Horsman thanks Kenney for unifying the party, "I thank him for where we have gotten today, but I also know that we need something more, something different going forward."
During his speech, Horsman said that he has heard the chatter about his lack of political experience, "But there are people who have said to me, there is nothing you're going to see in politics that you haven't seen as an investment banker.
"I can tell you my first day at Capital Markets I showed up at the studio, and I showed up as the leader, and I built a team and turned that business around," He added. "I took them from not performing to high performing. And I think I can do the same thing, I think I can turn (the UCP) around and turn it into one of the highest performing parties that Canada has ever seen."
Horsman said that some of the work that his fellow leadership candidates and the UCP have done has put the province on the right track, "Some of the social and economic trends show us that."
The former ATB executive said that over the coming weeks and days he will be releasing policies he believes will help Albertans in all corners of the province. He said that his first policy around what to do with the recently announced provincial surplus isn't from him, but it came from the grassroots and the recent UCP policy convention.
"The policy came off the floor from the UCP AGM. I truly believe that the grassroots know what is best for the people of Alberta."
The proposed Horsman plan for the surplus would cut it equally into four priorities. With a quarter going into the Heritage Savings Trust Fund, another quarter going towards debt repayment, a third-quarter earmarked for investment in economic diversification, and the final quarter towards “prosperity payments” for Albertans.
The plan got applause from the crowd.
Horsman joins a now-crowded field of contenders including Former Minister of Finance Travis Toews, Former Transportation Minister Rajan Sawhney, Former Minister of Children Services Rebecca Schulz, Former Minister of Culture Leela Aheer, UCP MLA Brian Jean, Independent MLA Todd Loewen, Former Wildrose Leader Danielle Smith, former Alberta Liberal Leader Raj Sherman, and Mayor of Amisk Alberta Bill Rock.
The UCP will elect a new leader in this fall.