Highwood’s incumbent UCP MLA RJ Sigurdson is seeking re-election in the upcoming provincial election.
A community member for about two decades, Sigurdson was elected as MLA along with the UCP government itself in 2019.
Four years later, he’s eager to have the province re-evaluate the UCP and to have Highwood re-evaluate its MLA.
“When it comes to an election, I’ve always looked at it as a job interview, really. You’re looking at the resumes of the parties coming to the table. What you can expect from a United Conservative Government is a continued effort of what you’ve seen. Look at our record over the last four years, the United Conservatives have created the strongest economy in Canada, we’ve maintained the lowest rate of inflation. During that time, we’ve seen the largest diversification of our economy. A focus on building and strengthening our ag industry with our agrifood tax credit. We’ve moved forward with our film and tax credit which has resulted in record levels of filming, much of which we’ve seen in our local communities in Southern Alberta.”
A point of pride for Sigurdson is the work the UCP has done on EMS reform, which he’s been directly involved with.
“To be appointed as the parliamentary secretary for EMS Reform and to work hand in hand with front line workers and to be able to work with their input and move it to 53 recommendations tor APAC… Right now, we’re seeing the greatest increase in service delivery for EMS in over a decade. We’re seeing a massive drop to response times and a huge increase in available resources. One of my commitments, when I got elected, was to address the issue of urban ambulances being drawn into Calgary. With that, we’re seeing a massive increase where our ambulances, 95 per cent of the time, are staying in Okotoks.”
For Sigurdson, one of the notable differences in this election compared to the last is the reversal of the UCP now looking for re-election compared to when they were looking for a return to a conservative government in 2019.
“Of course, this time it’s the other way round, the NDP is trying to say to Albertans that they have all of the answers to be able to better Alberta but they're coming back with all the same old tired ideas. They’re talking about increases in personal, small business, and corporate taxes. They’re talking about bringing back Bill 6, which was really problematic for so many small farms. She’s also talking about putting a cap on the oil sands.”
He's already had some time to get out and speak to constituents.
Healthcare delivery is something he's been hearing about a lot, and he says there's some misinformation he's having to address.
“A lot of them have expressed concerns about an ad campaign from the NDP that somehow implies that the premier is going to make people pay to see a physician. I’m dispelling a lot of misinformation and that’s unfortunate that that is the path of the other party because it is completely untrue. The premier has a healthcare guarantee, and to put even more behind that, the recent multi-billion-dollar deal signed with the feds wouldn’t allow that. It’s not allowed… I think if people really take the time to reach out to their local United Conservative candidates, I think it’ll present a clear indication that the United Conservative Party is the party that can move Alberta forward, whereas the NDP’s plan is to move Alberta backwards. Back into old, tired ideas that didn’t work when they were in government last time.”