A strong and clear
voice for Alberta!
Herewith a heartfelt note of thanks to all who supported my successful candidacy for Senator-elect. Of the four winners in yesterday's provincial Senate nomination race, I was the only one who was not Conservative.
So thank you to all who gathered the 1,500 signatures I needed to enter the race, who contributed financially to our mailing campaigns and saturation radio advertising across Alberta, and who drew the attention of their friends and neighbors to an otherwise invisible Senate campaign. Had all of these efforts not been made, I could not have won.
With such generous support I was able to finish well ahead of two other Conservatives, three Alberta Alliance candidates and one other independent.
The unofficial totals are as follows:
- Betty Unger (PC) 307,569
- Bert Brown (PC) 306,956
- Cliff Breitkreuz (PC) 238,005
- Link Byfield (Ind) 235,970
- Jim Silye (PC) 214,933
- David Usherwood (PC) 190,094
- Michael Roth (AA) 173,660
- Vance Gough (AA) 165,384
- Tom Sindlinger (Ind) 159,190
- Gary Horan (AA) 154,370
Congratulations to the other winners, and sincere respects to those who didn't make it. Everyone placed credibly, and nobody lost his $4,000 deposit.
What comes next? Paul Martin has said he awaits a coherent proposal from the premiers before he moves on Senate reform. This is reasonable. Unless the premiers want Senate reform, and agree how it is to be done, neither Martin nor Harper nor any other prime minister can bring it about. The ball is in the premiers' court. It falls to Alberta, therefore, to use this election as a starting point for national discussion, and to use the senators-elect as ambassadors for the cause of reform in other provinces.
I look forward to working with Betty Unger, Bert Brown and Cliff Breitkreuz -- all of whom I know, like and respect -- to help bring this about.
I also look forward to a good working relationship with the Alberta government, and congratulate them for holding the election. Despite enormous criticism, it was the right thing to do.
Veteran Edmonton journalist and former magazine publisher Link Byfield will be running in the race for Alberta "senator-elect" in the next provincial election, expected in late November.
"Alberta is heading into another decade of crisis like the 1970s," said Byfield. "Resource revenues are high, and Albertans need a strong, clear voice defending their constitutional rights."
Byfield, 52, is well-known as a strong advocate of federal reform, and defender of provincial rights. He and his family published a magazine that was a central factor in the rise of the Triple E Senate movement. His name and achievements are widely recognized and respected.
"As senator-elect I will press for two things -- provincial rights and a new federal vision. If we Albertans don't respect our own rights, neither will Ottawa. And if we don't point out to the whole country that the billions of dollars Ottawa transfers out of Alberta each year are ruining the regions they're supposed to help, no one will.
Over the past four decades, federal intrusions have almost obliterated the original constitutional understanding that Ottawa would deal with issues of sovereignty while provinces look after their own economic and social development. Ottawa now routinely issues ultimatums to the provinces in areas where they have no constitutional jurisdiction, such as health care policy and the environment.
Albertans need a strong and clear voice to defend the interests of their province!