Three Progressive Conservative candidates jockeying to represent the new Airdrie riding as MLA presented themselves to a modest crowd at Woodside Seniors Centre, Thursday night. They were asked to answer questions concerning everything fom 24-hour urgent care to transparency in government, accessibility, pensions, land and power lines to party loyalty. One had to expect current MLA Rob Anderson's defection from the PC party in 2010 to enter the discussion. The candidates all swore their allegiance to the Conservatives.

Current alderman and Deputy Mayor of Airdrie, Kelly Hegg emphasized the need for open lines of communication between leaders and their constituents and the importance of face-to-face relationships over phonecalls and emails. Hegg recalled, as a young boy, the day Peter Lougheed was out door-knocking and came to his family home. Lougheed used the pivotal slogan "NOW!" to mark his campaign, thus planting a seed that would stay with Hegg and set the course for his own political aspirations. Hegg said he is ready to bump it up a notch to the provincial level in his continuing desire to be a strong voice for Airdrie.

Linda Bruce, having spent nine years representing Airdrie as alderman followed by six as mayor, drew on her wealth of experience and the passion she gave those years as the reason why she is the best candidate for the PC nomination. In her closing comments, Bruce compared herself to a sword, poised for ceremony or battle, in a fight to bring the new stand-alone Airdrie riding under the PC banner. "I'm prepared to fend off the Wild Rose as they launch their campaign of fear and hopelessness", she said. Bruce ended by saying "I'm a citizen of Airdrie and I stand shoulder to shoulder with you as we grow, develop and strive for a positive, effective future".

Michael Crawford, from the country but now living in Airdrie, brings a background in oil and gas to the table, a love for our city and a commitment to represent it well. He is the obvious underdog in this race, and a crowd of sceptics can be hard to win over. When it comes to politics though, people welcome someone fresh and Crawford impressed by showing a certain genuineness and warmth. He portrayed himself as a sort of everyman, saying a bright future means a collective effort. "It's not going to be an 'I' thing. I'm going to ask everyone to grab a shovel, but I'm happy to be doing the dig. I'm committed".


After the debate, I asked the candidates how they felt, given that this was an introduction of themselves as the potential MLA of the new Airdrie riding.

Kelly Hegg

Linda Bruce

Michael Crawford

The PC Nomination vote takes place between 9 a.m. and 12 noon, Saturday, January 28 at Woodside Seniors Centre, 411 Woodside Drive.

Residents of the riding 16 years of age or older are eligible to vote with a 2012 PC Membership. These can be purchased at the voting station for $5. Please bring two pieces of identification - one with a photo.