Wildrose Alliance leader Danielle Smith netted two disgruntled Calgary MLAs this week when Rob Anderson and Heather Forsyth left the Conservative Party to join her movement.
Meanwhile, opinion polls show growing support for Wildrose.
Calgarian Danielle Smith is simply the most intriguing person in Canadian politics right now.
She’s the under-40 University of Calgary graduate who worked her way up at conservative policy institutes, media jobs, and as provincial head of the Canadian Federation of Independent Business. Her agenda is: lower taxes, academic testing, more rights to victims than criminals, and a favourable royalty regime for the energy sector.
So I scrolled through the Wildrose platform and found the family section. It pledges to help work with foster parents and improve training and resources for social workers.
If Danielle Smith is to meet her match, it will be child welfare.
Alberta’s director of child welfare was found in contempt of court this year. He refused to return a foster child to its foster mother. Some foster parents are up on charges for hurting or killing kids in care.
Many kids get a crummy start. There are 9,000 kids in state care. Foster parents are crucial, but there’s not enough of them. What would foster parents say Smith’s Wildrose could do for them? Firstly, they clearly need a break, or respite for foster kids.
They’d like compensation that reflects their work. Oh, it irritates foster parents when the kid’s driver to appointments makes more than they do all day.
Wildrose could champion transparency. Consider that Alberta Child Services commissioned a tax-funded market research study on foster parents, then demanded Albertans file a FOIP request to read it. Talk about taxing Albertans for our own information.
Can the Wildrose really provide better resources and training for child care workers? Then Alberta can’t outsource child services where the pay is worse than the government’s own foster care agency.
There’s that tough cultural statistic: 56 per cent of Albertan kids in care are aboriginal.
How will Wildrose conservatives fulfill their platform promises? Danielle and her team need specifics.