McAllister selected as education watchdog
As a member of the official Opposition, Chestermere-Rocky View MLA Bruce McAllister will be defending a cause he is passionate about. Party Leader Danielle Smith named McAllister, who is in his first term, as education critic, May 1.
“I am thrilled by it,” said McAllister, a father of three. “It couldn’t be anything nearer and dearer to my heart. My daughter is in kindergarten and I’ve got one graduating this year. I am going to do all I can to make sure our kids are taken care of.”
A May 23 to 31 sitting of the Legislature will be the party’s first opportunity to act in its new role as the official Opposition.
McAllister said he will address both local and provincial issues in his new role.
Locally, he will be seeking a solution to a potential concern around Langdon’s Sarah Thompson school, which McAllister said was built without sidewalks, posing a safety risk.
He is also hoping to address the shortage of portables in this division.
“We have to work with administrators and school representatives and effectively make sure their needs are met,” he said.
At the provincial level, McAllister said there are a number of issues of high priority, such as the Education Act, which was recently tabled due to controversy, but will likely be discussed at the Legislature during the fall sitting.
“On the local side, I am going to be working with the minister of education,” he said.
McAllister said he was troubled by some promises made during the provincial election. In particular, he thinks the $3-billion promise to the oil and gas industry would be better spent on education.
Although the Progressive Conservatives promised a number of new schools, the party tied it to a budget surplus, something that the former newsman finds troubling.
“To me that is backwards,” said McAllister. “Why would you put public money into private services? Make sure those schools are built and renovated.”
McAllister said he would also like to see the politics taken out of where new schools are built.
“When the capacity is full that is when schools need to be built,” he said.
“We need to focus on prioritizing. Let’s be proactive about it.”
McAllister said he is hoping his constituency office, which will be located in Chestermere, will be open within the next two weeks.
“More than anything, I can’t wait until we have our constituency office open so people have access to me as their MLA all the time so we can be accountable and accessible.”