1)Why did you decide to run for the Conservative nomination in your riding?
I’ve been involved on the periphery of politics for decades, and I previously served two Cabinet Ministers in Ottawa during the Mulroney years. At that time, we accomplished a lot in modernizing government, and privatizing parts of the Government’s service offerings that served the public better outside of government. Since that time, I’ve spent two decades in the financial industry, including the management of funds, private equity, and venture capital. I’ve always retained my interest in public policy, and have provided advice to officials when it has been sought.
With that background, I have watched as the current Liberal Government has led this country on a path that is unsustainable. Deficits and their mounting costs will be the ruin of our children’s generation. The current approach to Canada’s energy industry will drive business and investment out of this country for decades. Internationally, we have positioned ourselves as one of the weakest countries in the developed world – largely dependent on the goodwill of our allies, in a changing and precarious world. Obviously, I have a view of Canada’s future which is drastically different from the short term nature of the current government’s policies. We need to build this country and provide a home that is a beacon to the people of the world. Building on our country’s strengths – our people, our intellectual capital, and our resources – along with the companies that have grown here and prospered in the world because of these advantages – will provide us with the prosperity we need to address the demographic and societal changes that will be thrust on us.
I have strong opinions on this country’s future and the direction in which we are heading; I have experience with fixing companies that are adapting to changing environments; and I have a background of accomplishments within government. I looked at what is required of our political leaders at this point, and I put myself forth as a candidate. Standing on the sidelines is not an option.
2) Who are your role models both political and outside of politics that inspired you to run for office?
I joined the Progressive Conservative Party (as it was then called) when I was at the University of Alberta. Like many of my generation, I was inspired by the leadership of Premier Peter Lougheed. His was an example of public service that still stands as a benchmark against which we can assess all our leaders. He was steadfast and methodical in his approach to finding solutions to impasses, and he provided a vision for his province that was an evolution from what existed before him. Even in his greatest conflicts, he rose above the fray, and managed outcomes that worked to his advantage. Hard work, preparation, and an understanding of the breadth of outcomes available was his hallmark. He was always kind – even to those with whom he disagreed. Above all, he showed us that a leader is a servant of the people – one on whom much depends. He expected much from people around him, and he acted as an example for those expectations. He delivered, and he exceeded high expectations.
From the halls of Canadian business, and from direct personal experience, I have great admiration for my friend, Peter Armstrong. Peter took on the task of turning the Rocky Mountaineer railroad into one of the greatest tourist offerings in Canada, if not the world. His success was the result of constant hard work, an understanding of the tourism market, and a ceaseless commitment to serve his clients excellently. I learned much from him.
3)What do you feel is the most important issue in the upcoming election?
There are two answers to this question:
From the perspective of all Canadians, we need to acknowledge the efforts and sacrifices of generations of leaders who have helped build this country. We have inherited an economy and a social system that are the envy of much of the world, and we need to continue the effort of building Canada as a cohesive democracy that serves our citizens well, given our unique position in the world. Recognizing the unsustainability of the path Canada is currently taking, under this Liberal Government, is fundamental to avoid further damage to our brand and our future. Neglecting the change urgently required will take years of correction, and impact our ability to make important choices going forward. We can and should be doing so much better in so many ways.
In Calgary Centre, where I am seeking election, the top issue is our inability to get our resources to market. The world price of oil is not causing this Alberta recession – it is our inability to move our product efficiently to markets, and to broaden our customer base for our products. That is directly the fault of this federal government. Our current Liberal MP voted in favour of Bills C-69 and C-48, both of which make it harder for Albertans – and Canadians – to prosper. The Government’s inaction is costing Canadians $80 million per day. Recognize this is not delayed revenue – but a transfer of our wealth to others, who are capitalizing at our expense. A Conservative government will reverse that bad legislation, create a coast-to-coast infrastructure corridor, and make Canada energy-independent by 2030 – which means no more foreign oil from environmentally reckless countries.
Am I allowed a second issue? With my background in finance, I am astounded by the pace at which we are racking up debt. People understand that debt comes with interest payments – which currently equates to $7,000 per family of four. That’s a good sum for most families, and would pay for many services that will go unfunded as our debt mounts. And it is a direct transfer from working, taxpaying Canadians to financial market participants – many of whom are offshore. Debt means higher taxes for the next generation because of our lack of spending discipline today. Someone has to pay it back. People understand that.
4)What is the best way for a person to get involved in your campaign?
We welcome volunteers and there are lots of jobs to do. Go to my website at www.GregMcLean.ca and click on the Help Greg button to see some of the options. When you are ready to volunteer, there is a sign up form on the website and we’ll call you.