The NDP candidate in the Livingstone-Macleod riding in next May's provincial election is Kevin Van Tighem.
He's well known for battling against coal mining on the eastern slopes of the Rockies and looks at the previous UCP leader's plan as, what he called Kenney's gift to Alberta because it brought so many diverse groups together.
"I have to say that I was enjoying my retirement, the fishing and the hunting and the book writing and things like that but I've also had a long involvement with a number of issues in Livingstone Macleod with the Nature Conservancy, the Livingstone Landowners Group and others and most recently in this big debate over coal and our water quality," he explained. "So, I was watching all of these issues that mattered to the people I know and respect there, but I noticed that no one was stepping up, and it is hard for people to step up to be a candidate for government because it takes away from your business, takes away from your family, it takes away from your life and it occurred to me that I've got all this background in public service, I've got a working brain, I've got lots of connections and I share a lot of concerns that my friends and neighbours have and I've got free time and I just can't sit this one out."
He says the province rescinding the 1970's coal mining policy seemed like bad news at the time, but it brought a great number of really diverse groups together and he called it in some ways as Jason Kenney's gift to Alberta.
"Everybody suddenly woke up to the fact that the things we've taken for granted for years and that we count on being there for our children can't really be taken for granted anymore, that there's people with other plans for them and especially water, if there's one place in the world where people know the importance of a reliable source of water it's in Livingstone Macleod where there's very little of it but a lot of us rely on it for cattle raising, crop irrigation, domestic water and all these things and suddenly, just like that, we're going to take out watershed that produces all the water and turn it into coal mines," Van Tighem says.
He says the NDP has drawn up an Eastern Slopes Protection Plan that will be put into effect "when" they win the election.
Van Tighem says this isn't the first thing that's come out of left field, citing parks closures and billions of dollars spent on a pipeline that never got built.
He says while Albertans are having a tough time with rising costs, the UCP government added a fee to visit K-Country which he'd like to see repealed.
The next provincial election is set for May 29, 2023.