The Red Deer and District Chamber of Commerce hosted a forum for provincial election candidates at Westerner Park’s Harvest Centre Thursday night. Photo by SEAN MCINTOSH/Advocate staff

Red Deer provincial election candidates discuss economic diversification

Just days before Tuesday’s provincial election, Red Deer candidates discussed diversifying Alberta’s economy.

The Red Deer & District Chamber of Commerce hosted an election forum at Westerner Park’s Harvest Centre on Thursday night.

NDP incumbent Barb Miller said party leader Rachel Notley is doing a lot to diversify the economy.

“Instead of ripping and shipping our natural resources, (Notley) is working to upgrade and refine our product here and getting more value for our resources, while creating more jobs here in Alberta,” said Miller.

Jason Stephan, Red Deer South United Conservative Party candidate, said “government cannot force diversification.”

“When we had the Alberta Advantage, when we were the most attractive, competitive tax regime (and) the best, most-friendly place to start and grow a business, that’s how you create diversification,” Stephan said.

“We’re going to reduce our corporate tax rate so it is the most competitive tax rate in Canada, like it used to be.”

Ryan McDougall, Alberta Party candidate for Red Deer South, said her party wants to focus on industries outside of oil and gas, including offering tax incentives for the film and television industry.

“That’s going to bring an incredible number of jobs … whether it’s carpentry steel work, set design, the creative arts, the admin, the catering – it’s jobs across every spectrum of trades,” she said.

Lori Curran, Red Deer South Green Party candidate, said the province should transition from a fossil fuel base and focus on renewables.

Red Deer South Freedom Conservative Party candidate Teah-Jay Cartwright said Alberta is a “boom and bust” economy.

“Let’s get the private sector involved more with post-secondary (education). Let’s … allow post-secondary institutions to use the creativity of our youth to try to diversify our economy through innovation,” he said.

Matt Chapin, Freedom Conservative Party candidate in Red Deer North, said if Alberta’s economy is strengthened, all of Canada will benefit.

Another major discussion during the forum was centred on the minimum wage.

Kim Schreiner, Red Deer North NDP incumbent, said the majority of the women living on minimum wage salaries have children.

“Working full time, these moms, before the minimum wage hike, were having to stop by the food bank on pay day on their way home just to feed their families,” she said.

Paul Hardy, Alberta Party candidate for Red Deer North, said his party isn’t going to roll back the minimum wage.

“Every year, there’s one to two per cent inflation and it would serve no purpose and give unpredictability to roll it back,” he said.

“The timing of the minimum wage increase was unfortunate, in that when the NDP took power, the economy was in free fall. Perhaps they shouldn’t have implemented it so suddenly and revisited it.”

Adriana LaGrange, UCP candidate for Red Deer North, said her party won’t roll back the minimum wage either, but it would introduce a minimum wage for entry-level youth.

“B.C. has a minimum wage of $12.80. We’re significantly higher than B.C. and it has caused significant pain to individuals and businesses across this province to have that 50 per cent increase in such a short time period,” she said.

Michael Neufeld, Alberta Independence Party candidate for Red Deer North, did not attend the forum.

Candidates also discussed expanding the Red Deer Regional Hospital, providing equitable funding for the City of Red Deer and the carbon tax.



sean.mcintosh@reddeeradvocate.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

 

Dozens attended the Red Deer & District Chamber of Commerce’s forum for provincial election candidates at Westerner Park’s Harvest Centre on Thursday night. Photo by SEAN MCINTOSH/Advocate staff

Just Posted

Optimism remains for Red Deer hospital expansion

Red Deer’s incoming UCP MLAs both have been strong supporters of expansion

Sport of axe throwing growing in Red Deer

True North Axe Throwing wants sport to be ‘Canadian version of darts’

RDC cancels championship-winning golf program due to tight finances

Short season, small number of student golfers were also considerations

Fire investigators comb through industrial fire wreckage looking for answers

Industrial building in north Red Deer was completely gutted in Wednesday morning fire

WATCH: An ‘Eggstemely Fun Easter’ at Bower Place in Red Deer

Bower Place mall made sure Red Deer families were able to have… Continue reading

Dozens hurt in collapse of deck during wedding celebration in Langley, B.C.

LANGLEY, B.C. — Police say dozens of people were injured, some critically,… Continue reading

No winning ticket for Friday night’s $25 million Lotto Max jackpot

TORONTO — No winning ticket was sold for the $25.5 million jackpot… Continue reading

Uber driver charged in two sexual assault investigations: Toronto police

Toronto police say an Uber driver is facing sexual assault charges in… Continue reading

PEI Green party candidate Josh Underhay and son killed in canoeing accident

CHARLOTTETOWN — With only a few days before voters were to go… Continue reading

Egyptians vote on changes that would extend el-Sissi’s rule

CAIRO — Egyptians cast their ballots Saturday on the first of three… Continue reading

Ex-Marine arrested in North Korea embassy attack in Madrid

WASHINGTON — A man suspected of involvement in a mysterious dissident group’s… Continue reading

New bout of heavy fighting in Yemen kills dozens

SANAA, Yemen — Yemeni officials say heavy fighting in Yemen’s southern Dhale… Continue reading

Most Read