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Smith focuses on royalty credits for energy companies instead of Red Deer hospital, says NDP

‘Smith is preoccupied with her pet projects to funnel more money to her friends’
NDP energy critic Kathleen Ganley says the NDP is committed to accelerating the expansion of the Red Deer Regional Hospital project, unlike the UCP which has delayed the project. (Photo by SUSAN ZIELINSKI/Advocate staff)

Alberta’s NDP says Premier Danielle Smith prefers to push ahead with a royalty credit giveaway for energy companies instead of getting shovels in the ground for the $1.8 billion Red Deer hospital expansion project.

“The Red Deer Regional Hospital project has already been delayed for years by the UCP and instead of accelerating construction, Danielle Smith is preoccupied with her pet projects to funnel more money to her friends,” said Alberta NDP energy critic Kathleen Ganley who spoke at the Baymont by Wyndham Red Deer, on Monday.

“While Danielle Smith’s cronies can sleep easy knowing that she will hand over billions of dollars in royalty credits, Red Deer residents are left wondering what this premier has in store for their future.”

A $100-million pilot program has been proposed through Alberta Energy and meetings held with stakeholders. The department now says any decision won’t come until the fall, months after Albertans vote.

RStar would give companies royalty credits to apply against new oil production for cleaning up old well sites, something they are already legally obliged to do. Those credits could also be traded or sold, giving old and idle wells a potential value they wouldn’t have without the break from taxpayers.

Ganley said before Smith was elected she lobbied for the royalty credit program that will reward companies for remediating the wells they were legally obligated to clean up. The UCP’s 2023 budget intentionally doesn’t include any details on how the program would work.

“Danielle Smith is pushing for this terrible idea despite criticism from Scotiabank, from the Rural Municipalities of Alberta, from economists, from experts and people across the province. She is pushing for it despite the fact that it violates the polluter pay principle and will damage the reputation of Alberta’s energy industry.”


NDP promise to speed up the Red Deer hospital expansion project

She said the people of Red Deer are tired of excuses and deserve a government that will get their hospital project done.

“If they elect an NDP government in May, they will have a government with a real plan to end the chaos in primary care, a government that is committed to accelerating the expansion of the Red Deer Regional Hospital and getting this project done just as we did with the Calgary Cancer Centre. And they will have a government that believes when you make a mess, you clean it up,” Ganley said.

She said public investments that ensure people have health care helps draw talent to a province and when you have talent coming in you have employers coming in because they can use that talent.

The NDP’s economic strategy includes building on Alberta’s strengths by expanding the Alberta Petrochemical Incentive Program which was brought in by the NDP, as well as a 20 per cent tax credit on capital investment in new emerging sectors.

“These are programs with a proven track record, not just of economic expansion and economic diversification, but also of creating those good paying jobs and keeping that talent right here.”

-With files from The Canadian Press


Red Deer NDP candidates promote Family Health Clinics to improve primary care

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