Travis Toews, one of the front-runners in the race to replace Jason Kenney, is the United Conservative Party’s establishment favourite.
The former Minister of Finance, who has the support of 23 sitting UCP MLAs (including seven ministers) is expected to push forward some of Kenney’s priorities, including examining support for an Alberta Pension Plan, establishing a provincial police force, reforming equalization and fiscal stabilization, and continuing a legal challenge against the federal government’s Bill C-69. The latter makes it more difficult to build new energy infrastructure.
Toews have avoided the controversies that hounded Kenney and distanced himself from his former boss for calling his critics “lunatics.” In turn, he has tried to position himself as a leader who would bring governmental stability and continuity to the premiership.
“Alberta is back on track — we’ve balanced budgets, grown our economy, and we’re leading the nation in economic growth. But that’s all at risk if we choose a chaotic, unproven leader, with risky ideas that could hand the next election to Rachel Notley. Alberta needs a serious, reliable leader,” Toews writes on his website.
Thanks to soaring oil-and-gas prices, Toews delivered a $3.9 billion surplus for the 2021/2022 fiscal year after seven years of deficits. He also approved Alberta’s $1.3 billion-investment in the Keystone XL pipeline, which U.S. president Joe Biden cancelled in his first day of office. Alberta is suing the U.S. to recover the money.
He is opposed to the Alberta Sovereignty Act, a provincial sales tax, and any proposed federal regulation requiring booster doses for full vaccination status.
Toews is expected to appeal to traditional UCP voters as well as UCP supporters in rural Alberta. A social conservative, he has promised not to bring his personal beliefs into government.
Toews got into politics in 2019 because he was concerned about the impact of the NDP on Alberta and was elected to the Legislative Assembly in the same year as the MLA for Grande Prairie – Wapiti. He holds both CPA and CMA accounting designations, and prior to pursuing business interests, spent twelve years in a public accounting practice. In the past fifteen years, he invested and managed a corporate family cattle operation as well as an oilfield environmental company with his wife.
Taxes, spending & infrastructure
Plan to address the rising costs of living in Alberta
Travis Toews promises to make Albertan's lives more affordable, including by making the 13 cents per litre provincial fuel tax and natural gas price cap permanent, maintaining the electricity rebate plan, instructing regulators to make generation more efficient, fighting Trudeau's 'aggressive and unaffordable green agenda', and introducing a $2,000 tax credit for each child in a household.
Making it easier to be a farmer and access global markets
Travis Toews promises to assist Alberta's farmers, including by introducing a non-refundable 12% tax for capital investments for agriculture and food processing, making it easier to get a Class 1 driver's license, encouraging nitrogen production, and challenging regulations that affect Alberta's global market access for agricultural products.
Plan to reform our healthcare system, which was 'on the brink of collapse'
Travis Toews promises to strengthen Alberta's healthcare, including by decentralizing the decision-making power in the AHS, protecting Albertan's healthcare rights to mirror Manitoba's Bill 34, expanding capacity across the system, particularly in ICUs and ambulance services, and revitalizing rural healthcare with a $50M fund.
social issues & public policy
Ensure a strong, fact-based curriculum that focuses on reading, writing, and core competencies
Travis Toews promises change to education, including by prioritizing numeracy, literacy, and facts, not 'fads', focusing on science, technology, engineering, and trades, and enhancing financial, historical, and energy literacy for kids.
climate, energy & Sustainability
Protect Alberta energy, forestry, and agriculture
Travis Toews promises to pass legislation so that when Ottawa attacks Alberta's economy, Alberta has a suite of targeted levies on goods and contracts to apply and escalate as needed, and to defend the ongoing legal challenge against Bill C-69, the "no more pipelines act".
philosophy & guiding principles
Equalization, Alberta Pension Plan, provincial police force, and federal government overreach
Travis Toews promises to renegotiate equalization and fiscal stabilization in 2024, lay the groundwork to an Alberta Pension Plan, shift the tax power away from the federal government, defend Alberta's energy, forestry and agriculture sectors, and work towards an Alberta Provincial Police Service.