By Erika Mathieu
Southern Alberta Newspapers
MLA for the Taber-Warner riding, Grant Hunter, officially announced his candidacy for re-election as an MLA for the United Conservative Party (UCP) last week.
“After eight years as your MLA, I’m putting my name forward once more,” Hunter told supporters at his campaign office in Coaldale on Thursday.
As part of his campaign launch Hunter addressed supporters in Coaldale, highlighting several points concerning the Province’s fiscal standing under the UCP’s leadership, including the $13.4 billion in debt reduction commenting that the Province’s “sound financial trajectory (…) didn’t happen by chance.”
“This year we were able to present another surplus budget and eliminate a $10 billion structural deficit. Rather than spending the most to provide government services, we were able to bring our spending down to the level we see in other provinces.”
Highlighting the unprecedented growth within Canada’s Premier Food Corridor on Highway 3 between Medicine Hat and Lethbridge, Hunter said the Province has, “very lofty goals of being able to bring in over $5 billion worth of investment in agri-food processing alone in this area,” a task which Hunter said has been assigned to him under the direction of Premier Danielle Smith.
Hunter cited the Government of Alberta’s $244 million investment into irrigation modernization projects, including the $130 million which will add capacity to the Chin Reservoir and surrounding irrigation districts in the region, as well as the the Province’s approval to twin the outstanding undivided sections of Highway 3 from the B.C. to the Saskatchewan border. Projects, he said, which will prime the region with the necessary infrastructure to meet greater agri-food processing and production demands, and facilitate investment.
In the coming months, Highway 3 between Taber and Burdett will see shovels in the ground and work will commence on the long-awaited twinning of the 46 km stretch of highway, following the Government of Alberta’s approved $150 million in funding in 2020.
Hunter said he will continue to advocate for southern Alberta and support policies which make the region an enticing place to invest. Noting several substantial investments in the agri-food processing sector, including the recent $600 million dollar investment announcement from McCain’s, Hunter said, “in order for us to attract companies (in agri-food processing) to come here, we need to be able to finish the equation.” He said investments made by the UCP in the Agri-food and Trade Hub in Lethbridge, irrigation modernization projects and road networks including and beyond Highway 3 are essential to support growth in the future.
Hunter told supporters in Coaldale, “we have a lot of work to do,” in building up the region to its full economic potential, but said, “the Alberta Advantage is back and firing on all cylinders.”
“I believe our best years are yet to come.”
The writ for the upcoming provincial election is expected to drop on May 1.