Two of three Alberta Tory leadership candidates want public debate

Thomas Lukaszuk and Ric McIver as PC caucus for public debate ahead of September vote


EDMONTON — Two of three candidates for the Alberta Progressive Conservative leadership are calling for a public debate.

Former provincial cabinet ministers Thomas Lukaszuk and Ric McIver have written a joint letter to the PC caucus that says Albertans should have every possible chance to hear from the candidates.

“This is not simply a race to be leader,” reads the letter. “Whoever wins the race in September will be the premier of Alberta — the economic powerhouse of Canada — and Albertans deserve to know … the values, policies and vision of their next leader.”

The letter asks the PC party to work with media outlets to put together a debate.

Lukaszuk and McIver appeared together Monday morning at the legislature to release the letter.

They would like the third candidate, former federal cabinet minister Jim Prentice, to join them.

“It’s on joint stationery addressed to the party, asking for such a debate. Mr. McIver’s and my signatures are on it. There’s one blank space for a signature,” Lukaszuk said.

“I guess potentially the other candidate can still sign it, but I haven’t heard yet, but that’s the plan,” McIver said not mentioning Prentice by name.

Lukaszuk and McIver said there is interest from media, including two television networks. Lukaszuk pointed out that the last three leadership races have had at least one TV debate.

All three candidates took part in a debate sponsored by the youth wing of the party, but that’s only available on YouTube.

“A televised debate is a good idea,” said McIver. “Not every one is computer savvy. Not everybody can be at different events. One of the things Albertans need to know is what their potential leader is going to say to all Albertans. Not a tailored message to a tailored audience.”

Card-carrying members of the PC party vote for a new leader next month.

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