oberg speaks…

Former Tory MLA, PC leadership candidate, and Infrastructure & Transportation Minister Lyle Oberg released the following statement today, following his sacking from the Alberta PC Caucus last night. It’s pretty tame speech for someone who just got sacked from a caucus he really wanted to lead…

Oberg: Alberta’s clearly dejected newly Independent MLA.

MARCH 24, 2006

Let me begin my comments by saying that I am and I have always been committed to the future of Alberta and to the Progressive conservative Party. I strongly believe that the province of Alberta is at a critical juncture – so is the Progressive Conservative Party of Alberta.

In the past week, I have talked about some issues I am passionate about. But I also recognize that this enthusiasm and frustration was communicated inappropriately.

I consider the PC party to be like a large extended family. From time to time disagreements arise within any family, and it is at those times that certain things can be said – spoken from the heart – that cannot be taken back. For that I apologize to my Caucus colleagues and the Premier.

I left my career as a doctor and entered Politics to join the Progressive Conservative Party under Ralph Klein’s leadership. I was proud to serve in senior portfolios in the Klein government over the past decade. In all my portfolios – Family and Social Services, Learning, and Infrastructure and Transportation, I have always had the best interests of Albertans as my top priority.

My decision to run in the leadership race is fueled by this same passion.

When our Premier announced during the 2004 provincial election that he would not run
again, it opened the door for potential candidates to begin their work. Albertan’s deserve to have the greatest number of ideas presented to them so they can make the best choices. We need to improve our healthcare system, we need to make wise investments in Infrastructure and address the critical issues such as education and training as well as establishing a sustainable Municipal funding framework.

You all know the events of the past couple of days. It has been a difficult time within caucus. Some Government initiatives in the past few months have been hampered due to distractions caused by questions about the leadership race the Party faces. That is likely to worsen. Although I was disappointed with the decision of my colleagues yesterday, I also respect their right to make it. I know they were placed into a difficult position and that their decision was not taken lightly.

Given the urgency of the challenges that face the Province and also the amazing opportunities that lie before us, the impact of a two year leadership race must seriously be considered. The vote on April 1st is not a referendum on the Premier’s leadership; the Premier has already said he is not running again. The Vote at our AGM is a vote on WHEN the Leadership race should occur. What is best for Alberta must be at the heart of everything our Party and Government decides.

I will be taking the weekend to talk things over with my family, friends, and supporters and I will be holding a press conference next week. I would like to thank everyone who has called me today – I sincerely appreciate your support and words of encouragement.

I’ll be really looking to see what he does next week. More commentary on this soon….

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