Ex-Wildrose candidate Bill Rock throws hat in UCP leadership ring

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The fifth candidate to enter the race for the leader of the Greek Communist Party says he is running to represent rural Albertans.

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On Thursday, Amisk Mayor Bill Rock submitted his papers to the Alberta Elections. Rock ran Wetaskiwin-Camrose in 2015 for Wildrose, receiving 21.5 percent of the vote and finishing third.. The village of Amisk is located about 220 km southeast of Edmonton.

Rock joins former Greek Communist Party finance minister Travis Toyos, independent MLA for Central Peace – Notley Todd Loewen, and former Wildrose Party leaders Daniel Smith and Brian Gan, in signing up. Jane is now a UCP MLA for Fort McMurray Lac-La Biche.

In an interview with Postmedia Friday, Rock said he wanted to be a loud voice for rural Albertans, highlighting their concerns about rural crime, hospital and ambulance services, public school funding and infrastructure deficits.

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He said Smith and Jan had a chance to lead a political party, but it was time for someone new to shine a light on the problems Albertans faced.

“I’m the wildcard…I wanted to surprise people a little bit,” said Rock, adding that he is not in the race for another candidate.

“I am not a candidate for kamikaze, I am true to my faith in rural Alberta.”

He said he had discussed the option of creating a party focused solely on rural seats, something the independent MLA of Cypress-Medicine Hat Drew Barnes had brought up, but he wanted to work on rebuilding the UCP instead.

Roque, who has been a member of the village council for more than eight years, said he had not yet submitted papers to run for the KKE seat in the upcoming regional general elections. “This is wait and see.”

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In 2015, he became a Wildrose candidate after Smith crossed the floor into computers, and Wetaskiwin-Camrose’s former Wildrose candidate dropped out.

“I wasn’t very happy about the land-crossing disaster,” he said on Friday.

Registering their intentions in the Alberta elections means that aspiring leaders can start fundraising.

While the rules and entry fees for the upcoming race have yet to be released by the UCP, in the 2017 driving competition, candidates needed to pay $75,000, plus a $20,000 good conduct fee that could be refunded if the campaign followed the rules.

Rock said he expects a similar entry fee in this race, but is “very confident” he’s got the support to raise the money.

Among the opponents on record so far, Rock “have big names but I hope I have a better plan,” he said, adding that he quit his position as a UCP Electoral Association volunteer riding the MLA Nate Horner, Drumheller-Stettler.

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“If nothing else, I will start the conversation in rural Alberta. I want to make sure that rural Alberta is heard during this driving competition,” he said, adding that he believed the UCP failed to follow up on the recommendations of the Fair Deal Panel.

Toews is expected to officially launch his campaign on Saturday in Calgary, while Loewen is expected to make an official announcement in his hometown of Valleyview early next week.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Jason Kenney announced on Thursday that Environment and Parks Secretary Jason Nixon will take over as Treasury Chairman and Treasury Secretary after Toyos resigned from the Cabinet to run in the party leadership race.

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