Thursday, 29 September 2011 10:14

Former Stirling mayor to run for Alberta Wildrose party

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By Jamie Woodford
Southern Alberta
A former mayor is aiming to climb the ranks in government to beat the “bloated bureaucracy” and “over-regulation” he says was created by Alberta’s current Progressive Conservative government.

Wildrose party members have elected former Stirling village mayor Gary Bikman as their candidate to run in the next provincial election in the Cardston-Taber-Warner riding.

According to Bikman, Alberta PCs are holding back business, among other things.

“Projects that take 90 days to get approved in Saskatchewan, have taken up to two years to get approved in Alberta. Identical projects. What is that a sign of?” he asked. “... Multiple layers of bureaucracy.”

Bikman knows all too well the hoops business owners have to jump though to get off the ground. The restaurant owner is working toward expanding his chain into Airdrie where he

ran into some “bizarre” provincial regulations.

“We have all the plans and everything that’s getting submitted to the permit office in Airdrie and here comes this bizarre community regulation that says ‘Your men’s room door is more than 50 feet from the front door,’” he said, noting it’s actually 53 feet.

When Bikman inquired further, he found out the 50-foot maximum rule was not exclusive to Airdrie, but a provincial safety regulation.

A self-touted “true conservative,” Bikman said he believes government should be the last resort, not the “first” resort.

“In many cases, government isn’t the solution to the problem, government is the problem,” he said.

If elected, Bikman said he plans to look into finding a better method

of getting funding to communities

that tend to dedicate a lot of time researching the grant system, which he said is currently politically motivated.

“The PC party basically sent the message to village and town councils, county and MD councils, that if you’re expecting funding, you better elect a PC MLA,” he said.

Bikman added health care and education also have “great room for improvement.”

“We’re committed to streamlining health care so that more money ends up at the delivery end in a way that’s consistent with human nature and principles,” he said. “Funding will follow the patient, and patient decisions will be brought back to the lowest level closest to the patient themselves. It won’t be made by bureaucrats.”

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