Alberta UCP leadership candidates target labour issues in 2nd debate

The candidates running for leadership of Alberta's new United Conservative Party. Global News / Cody Coates

Three leadership candidates for the United Conservative Party say wholesale sacking of civil servants is not the answer to Alberta’s red ink woes, but they say something has to be done.

Labour relations is on the agenda Thursday night when the candidates arrive in the Alberta capital to hold their second debate.

READ MORE: United Conservatives would win majority if Alberta election were held today: poll 

Former Wildrose leader Brian Jean says Alberta’s public service is over-managed and needs to use attrition and move people around to deliver the best value for the tax dollar.

Former Progressive Conservative leader Jason Kenney says some public sector attrition is necessary to get Alberta back to a competitive footing to grow the economy.

Candidate Doug Schweitzer said Alberta’s civil servants need to accept pay cuts that will reduce Alberta’s crushing debt load but still make them among the highest paid in Canada.

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READ MORE: Rachel Notley attacks Jason Kenney’s position on GSAs, says UCP will hurt working families 

Premier Rachel Notley has refused to balance the books using deep cuts in public services, saying that would make a bad situation worse.

The province is running a $10.5-billion deficit this year and will be $43.3 billion in debt by next spring.

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