Alberta election Day 4: Dueling campaigns focus on oil and water
UCP Leader Jason Kenney
On Friday, Day 4 of the election campaign, the leader of Alberta’s United Conservatives spoke in Edmonton at the terminus of the Trans Mountain pipeline, which carries Alberta petroleum products to the B.C. Lower Mainland. The federal government bought the pipeline last year amid political delays in B.C. to an expansion of the line. A plan to triple its capacity to enable more oilsands exports remains in limbo.
Jason Kenney reiterated the UCP’s intention to fight back against foreign-funded anti-oilsands campaigns that have stymied pipeline development.
The plan would include a war room staffed by mostly public servants to respond to critics in real time and a legal fund to support pro-development First Nations. It would also strip provincial funding from anti-oilsands groups and challenge the charitable status of foundations that funnel foreign money to oilsands critics.
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Watch below: UCP Leader Jason Kenney was in Edmonton on Friday to talk about how he would kickstart Alberta’s embattled oil and gas sector.
Kenney also said there would be a public inquiry into foreign-funded anti-oilsands activity. It would have an initial budget of $2.5 million and the legal authority to compel witnesses.
“It is time that we have an Alberta government that moves from a passive, reactive and defence posture to a proactive and assertive strategic posture to fight back against the anti-Alberta special interests.”
WATCH BELOW (March 22, 2019): Alberta NDP leader Rachel Notley says that her government will continue to support the Springbank dam if re-elected.
NDP Leader Rachel Notley
With the Bow River in Calgary as a backdrop, Alberta NDP Leader Rachel Notley said a re-elected NDP government would commit $1 billion over 10 years to build new upstream flood mitigation projects. The funding would come from the government’s Climate Leadership Plan, she said.
“Calgarians deserve a government that cares as much about protecting communities as they do,” Notley said.
According to Notley, there are multiple options on the table for flood mitigation, including a new Glenmore Reservoir, a new Morley reservoir and expansions at the Ghost Reservoir. Notley said those options are being explored with a series of technical investigations to inform the impact on other waterways and communities.
Notley also committed to consultations with impacted communities and Indigenous communities to choose the best projects.
“We all know that if the rain continued to fall for just a few more hours in 2013, the flood water would’ve been two metres higher, putting the entire downtown core underwater,” she said.
Notley also reaffirmed her commitment to build the Springbank Dam project, which is currently under federal review and is estimated to cost $432 million.
“We know it is the best, fastest, safest and most cost-effective option for Albertans.”
Calgary was devastated by the flood of June 2013, which resulted in over $400 million in damages and over $300 million in recovery costs.
According to Notley, 200 bridges were also damaged, 16 C-Train stations were closed, over 30 roadways were impacted and three schools suffered extensive damage.
She also called out the UCP and some of their candidates for going back and forth on the Springbank Dam issue.
The UCP leader addressed Notley’s comments at a campaign stop in Edmonton.
“The NDP’s announcement is a transparent effort to divert attention from their failure to get Springbank built,” Kenney said.
“They are not one inch closer to flood mitigation infrastructure than when they came to office four years ago.”
Kenney said his party would support the current application for the Springbank dam being reviewed by the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency. He also vowed to consult with Indigenous communities and landowners in the area.
“If the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency approves the project, we would move forward with it quickly,” Kenney said.
There has been some confusion on the UCP stance on the Springbank dam, because some candidates have come forward against the project, while others have been vocal in their support.
On yycmatters.ca, the City of Calgary’s website devoted to election issues, flood mitigation and the Springbank dam are listed as high priorities in the “honoring commitments” section.
WATCH BELOW: Notley announces the NDP would build major reservoir upstream of Calgary
Alberta Party Leader Stephen Mandel
Alberta Party Leader Stephen Mandel said a government led by him would provide annual dental checkups for children 12 and under.
He said he would also work with municipalities to add fluoride to their water.
WATCH BELOW: Leader Stephen Mandel explained the Alberta Party’s plan to fund annual dental visits for children 12 and under and X-rays at the age of 10.
Alberta Liberal Party David Khan
In Calgary, Alberta Liberal Leader David Khan said the defunct Energy East pipeline to New Brunswick should be restarted, a federal bill overhauling environmental reviews should be amended and the NDP’s plan to ship more oil by rail should be nixed.
— With files from Lauren Krugel, The Canadian Press
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