Two United Conservative Party leadership candidates Jason Kenney and Doug Schweitzer made a stop in Red Deer on Monday to entice Central Alberta voters just days ahead of the party’s leadership election.
Kenney, a former Harper government cabinet minister, was in Red Deer on Monday evening at the Harvest Centre where he talked to close to 250 people.
A brief question and answer period followed his speech where one local resident asked him what he would do about the crime issue in Central Alberta, should he become the party leader and eventually Alberta premier.
Kenney said growing the economy would be a fundamental way to address both drug addiction and crime concerns.
“If we have to hire more prosecutors, police and judges, so be it. That should be the top priority for additional spending and particularly to cut the crime rate we see here,” said Kenney.
While Kenney advocated to lower the crime rate in Central Alberta Monday night, Schweitzer, a Calgary lawyer, advocated for better health care for Central Albertans Monday morning.
Schweitzer said a majority of health care decisions are made in Edmonton. If he is elected, he would bring better health care services to Red Deer.
“Earlier in the campaign we announced we fully support to bring those heart attack services [a cardiac catheterization laboratory] to Central Alberta and Red Deer,” he said.
Leadership candidate and former Wildrose Party leader Brian Jean was in Red Deer along with the other candidates on Oct. 3. Since then, candidate and former Wildrose Party president Jeff Callaway has withdrawn his name from the race.
Schweitzer who made a stop in Red Deer Monday morning also talked about growing the economy.
“With our campaign here, we want to make sure the first term of government is focused on making sure we get Alberta working again,” said Schweitzer.
He said, if he’s elected, there will be a tax relief immediately to signal to the market and businesses to hire again and focus on provincial growth.
Both candidates said they would better advocate for the province at the federal level — should they be become the UCP party leader and Alberta premier.
Kenney said he did not agree with Rachel Notley and Justin Trudeau’s direction for Alberta.
“Notley is acting more like a lapdog for Ottawa than a watchdog for Alberta,” said Kenney.
Schweitzer said the new leader in the province needs to better advocate for pipelines and scraping carbon tax.
UCP party members can begin voting for their choice of leader on Thursday at 9 a.m. Voting will close at 5 p.m. on Saturday.