EDMONTON — Alberta NDP Leader Rachel Notley officially launched the party’s provincial election campaign Tuesday morning.
Notley’s announcement came an hour after Premier Jim Prentice dropped the writ, which will send Albertans to the polls May 5.
“My fellow Albertans after 44 years we all know the people of Alberta are getting the wrong kind of leadership from the PCs, and that is why it’s time to kick this government out and it’s time to elect a better one,” said Notley.
If elected premier, Notley promised to prioritize health care, education and jobs.
“And that would be quite a change from what we’re getting now and what we’ve been getting from the PCs in their latest budget,” Notley said.
“They’re promising to cut deeply in the health care and the education services that you rely on.”
WATCH: Alberta NDP Leader Rachel Notley says she is in this election to win.
The NDP leader noted she will be travelling across the province during the campaign, starting in Calgary Tuesday.
“We can choose to say that tomorrow is going to be better than yesterday. Albertans deserve better, and that’s why I’m running to be premier.”
A day earlier, Notley announced her candidate team is in place and ready to contest an election. Eighty-five candidates are confirmed, with the final two contested constituencies to be settled this week, she added.
The NDP has four seats in the legislature, all in Edmonton, but Notley said the party now has more resources and quality candidates to run a provincewide campaign to win government.
“We’re going to work across the province,” Notley stated.
“It’s going to be unlike any campaign this party has run in a couple of decades, so I’ll be travelling all over the place.”
WATCH: In the last election, Edmonton turned to the Tories, but as Vinesh Pratap explains, the NDP is looking to capitalize on disgruntled voters here.
Prentice and the Progressive Conservatives also have 85 candidates, with the remaining two expected to be in place this week.
The Wildrose party has officially announced 47 candidates, while the Alberta Party has 29 and the Liberals 26.
One of those Wildrose candidates is former party president Jeff Callaway.
Callaway announced Monday he was stepping down from the post in order to run in Calgary-North West, pitting him against PC backbencher Sandra Jansen.
Callaway said it’s important that voters have alternatives in order to not give Prentice a “blank cheque to raise taxes, increase deficit spending, and burdening Albertan’s future with significant debt.”
Also Monday, the Alberta Federation of Labour said it will take down its “Better Way Alberta” campaign website when the writ is dropped to comply with election laws governing third-party advertising.
The AFL cannot register as a third-party advertiser, but said Elections Alberta has advised the Better Way Alberta campaign is third-party advertising.
The campaign features videos of Prentice as the cartoon captain of a ship that is struggling to stay afloat in stormy seas after tax giveaways to corporations and the wealthy.
AFL president Gil McGowan said the rules are too restrictive and shutting down a website is akin to telling Albertans what they can and can’t read during an election.
According to provincial law, the next election should not take place until the spring of 2016. However, the law allows for earlier campaigns if extraordinary measures demand it.
Prentice has said the budget his government introduced March 26 is a new blueprint governing how the province saves and spends and it needs a mandate from voters to implement.
The budget increases taxes and fees virtually across the board, while reducing spending, running up a $5-billion deficit this year and $30-billion in debt by 2020.
Prentice said the low price of oil demands Alberta fundamentally revisit its financial priorities so that day-to-day program spending does not rise and fall with the price of oil.
WATCH: If the Alberta election took place today, which party would you support? Emily Mertz has the results of our poll.