Alberta NDP Leader Rachel Notley came out swinging against her rival, United Conservative Party Leader Jason Kenney, pledging to fight for all Albertans, not just the privileged few.
During a campaign stop in Red Deer on Wednesday, Notley restated her pledge to fund Red Deer hospital’s modernization and expansion — including the installation of a new life-saving catheterization laboratory so heart attack patients don’t have to travel to Edmonton or Calgary.
And she promised to revitalize and diversify the provincial economy — including doubling incentives for petrochemical and upgrading projects to $7 billion over the next decade.
Heading towards a provincial election on April 16, Notley said “a growing number of Conservative supporters are expressing serious doubts about Jason Kenney.”
She mentioned the controversial methods Kenney used to win the Conservative leadership over Wildrose leader Brian Jean, and his later denials.
She accused him of “lying,” “cheating” and “betraying” his own party and asked, “is he really the kind of person you want to be premier?”
Kenney defended himself earlier this week after emails surfaced suggesting his team worked with an adversary in the UCP race to defeat his primary rival. He stated that this kind of communication “is not the least bit unusual.”
But Notley urged Tory supporters who can’t bring themselves to vote for Kenny to “team up” with her party for this one election “to help create jobs in Alberta,” keep corporate taxes low, and “get those pipelines built.”
She stressed, “I will not stop fighting for the Trans Mountain pipeline until it’s done,” to a wave of applause from supporters who squeezed into Red Deer North MLA Kim Schreiner’s office on Ross Street.
Notley later reached out to young voters by promising to fight climate change and to maintain the increased minimum wage for all, including restaurant workers.
Notley said unlike Kenney, she does not support lowering corporate tax rates, already among the lowest in the country, but believes in treating all Albertans equitably.
Notley credited Schreiner and Red Deer South MLA Barb Miller for lobbying for local interests, most notably for the hospital project. She added her government helped Red Deer attain funding for six new schools in the city, a new courthouse, the “toll-free” Gaetz-Highway 2 interchange, and the transformation to a university for Red Deer College.
When the two local MLAs were asked what they would do better or differently if elected to another term, Miller later said, ‘The hospital expansion, for one thing…. and we’re fighting for more schools.”
Red Deer public and Catholic school divisions are crunched for space and need more infrastructure and more teachers, said Miller, who also believes in creating a more diversified economy.
Schreiner said she’s ready to start campaigning because she never stopped. She said she goes door-to-door all the time to find out what her constituents think about various issues.