Candidates stake out positions for Central Alberta party members

Gary Mar would shift power and money to municipalities. Ted Morton would ensure that seniors can stay longer in their own homes. Alison Redford has laid out funding plans to build a high-speed rail link, including a stop in Red Deer.

Gary Mar would shift power and money to municipalities.

Ted Morton would ensure that seniors can stay longer in their own homes.

Alison Redford has laid out funding plans to build a high-speed rail link, including a stop in Red Deer.

Three of the six people vying to become Alberta’s next premier have replied to an Advocate questionnaire seeking their positions in five areas of interest to Central Albertans. Doug Griffiths, Doug Horner and Rick Orman did not respond.

The race to find a new leader for the Alberta Progressive Conservative Party draws to a close this weekend, with the first round of ballots to be cast on Saturday.

The three candidates who responded to the questions offer their insights into challenges affecting infrastructure; municipal funding; seniors housing and care; potential for a high-speed rail link or enhanced air service to Central Alberta; and degree-granting status for Red Deer College.

Redford describes the high-speed rail proposal as a priority which she would fund with oil and mining revenues.

“My government will split the first $10 billion in royalty revenue between public services, the Sustainability Fund and the Heritage Fund. Revenues beyond this will go to infrastructure projects like high-speed rail,” she replies.

Morton is more skeptical of the rail plan, stating that he would nonetheless ensure that the rights of way are secured for a time in the future when the project can justify the expense.

Mar states that while high-speed rail is open for discussion, he would focus on municipal transportation plans while developing a green transportation plan for the province.

He and Redford are much closer in their vision for municipal funding.

Mar promises to shift educational property tax funding back to the communities from which they were raised while giving municipalities more power to decide how to spend the money they receive.

“I have made the creation of a new funding agreement between the province and municipalities a policy priority. It’s time that the province listened to what they have to say and responded accordingly,” writes Mar.

Morton says his plan would reduce municipal dependence on provincial grants while population and need would dictate where schools, hospitals and housing units are built.

“We need to be smart with the money we invest and make sure that it fits with a long-term plan for the future,” says his reply.

Morton offers tax deferrals and expanded home care to help seniors remain as long as possible in their own homes.

“I will match the federal family caregiver tax credit. This will allow friends and family to stay and support their loved ones without financial hardship.”

Mar lays out a five-point plan to expand on existing housing and care programs while Redford says she would ease regulations and remove a cap on housing costs.

bkossowan@bprda.wpengine.com

Follow the links below for the full responses:

• Responses from Ted Morton

• Responses from Alison Redford

• Responses from Gary Mar

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