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Mandel visits the region, talks pipelines and by-election

Last Updated Apr 23, 2018 at 9:35 am MDT

New leader of the Alberta Party Stephen Mandel, speaks to the crowd after being voted in, in Edmonton Alta, on Tuesday February 27, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson

Alberta Party leader, Stephen Mandel, hosted a meet and greet in our region on Monday.

Mandel was elected as leader of the Alberta Party in 2018 but is not new to public life, he served as the mayor of Edmonton from 2004 to 2013 and as a Progressive Conservative provincial cabinet minister from 2014 to 2015.

The Alberta Party is preparing to take on the New Democrat Party and United Conservative Party in the 2019 provincial election.

“The Alberta Party is a party that stands for a practical way to solve complicated problems,” said Mandel.

They are considered to be central on the political spectrum, with the NDP sitting to the left and the UCP to the right.

“We are seeing our support come from people who are frustrated with both extremes, people who are looking for other options,” said Mandel.

He added that the party is very entrepreneurial, believes in fiscal responsibility and that government plays an important role in the process and needs to make sure that people are taken care of.

Mandel chuckled when he said, “if you’re not pro-pipeline, you’re not Albertan”, but he doesn’t think all of the province’s eggs should be kept in one basket.

“It’s vitally important that we get the Trans Mountain built, but what is the next step? All of a sudden people are saying that that’s the last pipeline, well that is not acceptable,” said Mandel.

“If we are going to grow the industry and have Fort McMurray continue to thrive and have the Alberta oil industry continue to thrive we need to create more opportunities to ship our oil to ports in Canada and the United States.”

In terms of getting our product to tidewaters, Mandel suggests getting creative.

“We need to look at other alternatives, why should we look at a pipeline out of here? The cost of not being able to reach tidewaters is astronomical. It could be as high as $20-$25 a barrel today, who knows what it will be tomorrow.”

He added to get the best results from our resource, it needs to be a partnership with a variety of people and industry.

No date has been set for the upcoming by-election but the Alberta Party plans to have a candidate on the slate.