Policy FAQ's

Parent Choice in Education

Many have asked me my perspective on parent choice in education, particularly because I'm part of the senior leadership team of Red Deer Public Schools where I take incredible pride in the work our dedicated staff play in shaping the future of our community.

To begin with, I believe that parents are the most important teachers their children will ever have. I also believe parents want the very best for their children, and that includes choice in education.

Alberta offers one of the broadest range of programs and choices in education, be that public, Catholic, charter, private, or home schooling. I believe this is important and I support choice.  Each of these have served the unique needs of families and children. I believe these are deeply personal decisions with parents having strong convictions for the choice they feel best meets the needs of their child.

Regardless of choice, it is essential that every student be well prepared by achieving the outcomes in the provincial Programs of Study. This helps to ensure that every student can be successful in learning, work and life and be prepared to meet the challenges and opportunities of an ever changing future.

Parent choice in education has been one of the top issues and priorities among candidates seeking nominations for the UCP. While there has been some advocacy to create a more unified education system, I don’t believe there is strong support from the public to change what is currently in place. The party and our leader strongly support and believe in the value and importance of parent choice in education and so do I.

Bill 24 and 10

As an educator, I understand how important safe and caring schools are for students. For some students school can be one of the safest and most caring places to be.

Students dealing with their sexual orientation and gender identity can face an incredibly difficult journey with many risks. Suicide, mental health issues, homelessness, addictions and poverty are some of the real risks and issues LGBTQ youth, right here in Red Deer, face.

Gay Straight Alliances in schools have provided a safe and supportive environment for LGBTQ students. Beyond this, our community values and attitudes have changed a great deal. With better understanding, greater acceptance and the care and support of family and friends, just being who you are has made life much easier.

The most important thing these young people need are parents, families and friends that love them unconditionally and accept them regardless of whatever ‘letter’ they identify as or other challenges they face in life. It is important that young people hear and are assured of that by their families regardless of the issues and challenges they face in life.

For some youth however, this can be an incredible challenge as they face of non-acceptance and rejection from family and other community sources. In these cases schools can be a safe place and support for those young people. Professional services through counselling, trusted adults and safe places in schools are ways that can happen. The intention cannot be to freeze parents out of their child's lives. I believe each student and each family dynamic is unique and therefore each situation should be treated on a case by case basis with professional discretion guided by meeting the best interests of the student and their family. When they, and those who are most important in their lives, are ready, hopefully that helps them get to a point where they can come out and be who they are. Life does get better when people can truly be who they are and are loved unconditionally.

UN Migration

Both of my parents are immigrants, having arrived from Holland in the late 1950s and making Red Deer home. They came because this was a province and country of opportunities. They realized those opportunities, did very well and contributed greatly to our community.

Immigration is going to be essential for Canada to grow and prosper. We are not able to sustain our own population and meet the needs of a prosperous economy without immigration.

While Canada has been a safe haven for those escaping atrocities in other parts of the world, we also attract people with needed skills and experiences who are also looking for better opportunities.

Canada needs to make our own decisions on immigration. Policies must be strategic and best meets the needs of Canada. We need to ensure sound immigration security screening and have a clear and orderly process that curbs illegal migration. We must also ensure and support newcomers so they can integrate successfully and contribute to our economy and society.

While immigration is a federal matter, many of the services and supports needed by new Canadians are provided and paid for by the provincial governments without federal support. It is essential that provinces also have a strong voice in immigration policies to ensure that immigrants can can create new lives built on success and the opportunities available.

I AM Conservative

Some have asked the question…Is Bruce Buruma, REALLY a Conservative?

  • I have been a committed conservative for over 30 years.
  • I remember putting up lawn signs for Gordon Towers when I was a kid. I served on the Red Deer North PC Board and was constituency president for Stockwell Day, I was on the Premier Dinner Committees for Ralph Klein and have worked hard for conservatives on four elections. I supported and voted for unity and served on the UCP Constituency Association since its inception working on fundraising and community engagement.
  • Like many, my political beliefs were shaped by my parents. They didn’t have jobs, they had businesses. Growing up and working in their various businesses gave me an important perspective on what hard work was and what it meant putting everything on the line. They were successful, but also knew hard times. Even today, people come up to me and comment on what a good employer, business partner or landlord my dad was and I take pride in that legacy. When you grow up with conservative values and perspectives, they stick with you and have been a foundation for what I believe.

I believe that…

  • Strong economies build strong communities
  • Governments don’t create success, it’s the people of Alberta that create success
  • The less burden put on all of us by government the better
  • We can’t leave anyone behind. The strength of a society is how it treats its most vulnerable

My post secondary education has focused on business administration, business education, leadership and public relations management.  These have been significant influencers where I bring my ‘business perspective’ to government administration as a senior leader at Red Deer Public Schools as well as in my involvement in the community.

I am proud to say I am conservative…always have been, always will be!

Responding to the following email message I received...

Bruce:

Help me understand more of why I  would vote for you. I am a member of the PC provincial party and will be voting in Red Deer South.  I will be voting for the person I think is best. Help me understand you a little better.

Please tell me a bit of your personal life.  Are you married? For how long? Children? Sexual orientation?  And everything else you feel would be helpful. Many thanks.

I also hope that UCP members from Red Deer South elect the very best member to represent our community--I believe I am that person.

I have strong support across the community from those who believe that I am qualified with the knowledge, skills, temperament, and commitment required to serve our constituency and provide the leadership we deserve for Red Deer South.

First off, I believe:

  • Strong economies build strong communities

  • Governments don’t create success, they create policies and an environment where the people of Alberta create their own success.  

  • The less burdens put on us by government, the better

  • We can’t leave anyone behind. The strength of a society is in how it treats its most vulnerable

I bring a lot to the table including:

  • A committed conservative for 30 years actively involved in constituency associations, fundraising and election campaigns

  • A member of the senior leadership team at in one of Red Deer's largest organizations--Red Deer Public Schools--bringing expertise and understanding in government administration. We have a $125 million annual budget, employ over 1200 staff and serve 11,000 students and their families. I’m part of the team that’s at the table working with our Board when they make decisions that shape the future of our community. My roles also include community relations, communications, strategist and serving as executive director of our foundation. This is experience that matters.

  • A business background from growing up in a family with a strong entrepreneurial spirit and success in business. My mom and dad didn't have jobs, they had businesses which I've been involved in as well.  My college and university education was in business, education and leadership. Those perspectives have been valuable in my work and involvement in our community.

  • Active and extensive community involvement in many areas with strong connections across our community giving me broad perspectives and understanding of the needs of Red Deer.

To answer your other questions - I am not married nor do I have children and I'm gay. I hope that sexual orientation is not a factor in whom you will support. The job is about creating hope and confidence and getting our province back on track and that is our shared priority.

I trust that my background, experience and skills demonstrate that I am qualified and will be a strong, committed and experienced voice for Red Deer and can earn your trust and support. 

 

Health and education budgets

To begin with, the policy positions for the United Conservative Party have not been finalized and will be released closer to the election. At the same time, the party is already heavily involved in developing plans and priority so they are ready to go, should they form the next government. No doubt these are issues that are being looked at.

The top priority will be renewing hope and confidence in the Alberta’s economy. Business and industry are anxious to see a change in government so they can start making investments and get Albertans back to work.

Another priority of course is getting our financial house in order which is absolutely imperative. With a potential debt forecasted to exceed $100 billion, the status quo is simply not sustainable. I believe most Albertans realize this and are expecting and wanting action on this. Our budget ‘crisis’ provides an opportunity to make some difficult but necessary corrections. That will require a close look at budgets in all departments, working together with staff to find solutions and prioritizing what is most important, meaning some things will need to be cut.

A strong mandate from Albertan’s in the upcoming election will play an important role in moving forward.

No doubt health and education will be closely examined due to the size of their budgets but these also are essential services. A priority needs to be on providing front-line services and looking at other areas to reduce expenses. Having served on the AHS Health Advisory Council for five years and working as a senior administrator in the K-12 education system, I think I bring a valuable perspective on ways we can start to address this.

With regards to public sector pensions, these will be challenging because they are negotiated items, but there are ways to address this, particularly defined benefit plans. As we establish priorities, it will be essential to work with employees and look at all the alternatives and find the best solutions. We only have so many dollars so everything needs to be on the table to ensure the budget is sustainable while providing services that are both effective and efficient.

 

On pipelines...

Getting pipelines built has become a defining issue for our province. It's much more than just just getting it built, it speaks to the foundation of Canada's economy, the vital role that Alberta plays and the benefits a sound energy sector brings to all Canadians

Clearly the softball tactics of Rachel Notley have not worked. We need to start playing hardball and that is what Jason Kenney will do for Alberta.

Notley has focused on a social and environmental license to get the pipeline built. Clearly this has not worked. We need to focus on the economic license that comes from building pipelines. And that means pipelines going west AND east. Increasingly Canadians are recognizing the economic impact of our energy sector and pipelines. Why is Canada importing oil by tankers from far away countries when we can be self-sufficient using Canadian oil?  We need to fully capitalize on these points to build support for getting the pipeline built.

One of the biggest barriers is Justin Trudeau. Hopefully that can be dealt with in October when we face a federal election. Recent changes in other provincial governments, diminishing support for the carbon tax, and concerns about a weakening economy may be the start for changes on the federal scene.