Alberta Party leader Stephen Mandel was in downtown Red Deer Saturday morning. Photo by SEAN MCINTOSH/Advocate staff

Alberta Party leader Stephen Mandel discusses Red Deer hospital expansion

Stephen Mandel has his eyes set on improving Red Deer’s hospital.

The Alberta Party leader was in Red Deer Saturday morning to attend a march in celebration of International Women’s Day. After the march, Mandel discussed the city’s hospital.

“The Alberta Party’s been a strong supporter of rebuilding the Red Deer hospital – it’s long overdue. I think … people are frustrated and in the last number of years they’ve been in great need of a facility,” he said.

The NDP has also made a promise to expand the hospital, if re-elected.

“They were there for four years and now they pop up at the end of four years and say, ‘We’re going to build something,’” said Mandel.

Mandel said he wants the Alberta Party and its candidates to focus on the issues.

Albertans are “concerned about quality of education for children, creating jobs, we have a lot of people who are unemployed and we’ve had a lack of vision of where we’re going to go in the province for a number of years.”

Mandel said the province also needs “to look at alternative ways to move our oil.”

“The Kinder Morgan pipeline is in the works … but let’s not forget there are other avenues. We could go north, there are First Nations groups looking to go through Grande Prairie and into the northern part of British Columbia.

“Let’s not restrict ourselves to do what we’ve always done. Let’s look at other alternatives and I think we can be much more effective,” he said.

The Red Deer area has been impacted by the struggling oil industry, he added.

“We can’t sit, twiddling our thumbs and pray for one pipeline, we need lots of pipelines. We need to find ways to get our oil workers back to work.

“Trans Mountain is always a priority, but … it’s in the hands of the federal government. We wish they would get their butt in gear and get it done,” he said.

Mandel said it’s frustrating that the federal government was concerned about SNC Lavalin workers losing jobs, when “we’ve lost tens of thousands of jobs in Alberta.

“There doesn’t seem to be this same passion in Ottawa for our jobs as there is for jobs in Quebec. Maybe it’s the number of seats, I don’t know. But it just seems unfair,” he said.

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