Monday marks Day 7 of the Alberta election campaign and all four of the leaders of the province’s main political parties were in Calgary.
Leader Rachel Notley says the New Democrats would expand $25-a-day daycare if they were to be re-elected in the April 16 Alberta vote.
WATCH: If re-elected Rachel Notley said the NDP will expand its $25-a-day daycare program to all available spaces in the province. Jayme Doll has more.
Speaking in Calgary, Notley said the plan would include adding 13,000 daycare spaces to the current 62,000 spots in the province.
“For too many Alberta moms and dads, finding safe and affordable, quality child care is a real challenge,” Notley said Monday.
WATCH: Alberta NDP Leader Rachel Notley says her party would expand $25-a-day daycare if re-elected in the April 16 provincial election.
The promise is an expansion of a pilot program begun two years ago that capped daycare costs at $25 daily at 7,300 spaces in 122 locations.
Notley said a $25 cap would apply no matter what a parent has been currently paying for child care.
More daycare would get more people employed and add nearly $6 billion a year to Alberta’s GDP, said Notley, who added that Alberta has Canada’s largest gap between men and women in labour force participation.
“I cannot count the number of times I have heard from women that good, affordable childcare is a barrier to them re-entering the workforce,” she said.
“Anything that holds Alberta women back, holds Alberta back.”
Notley pointed to a subsidized daycare program in Quebec that she said increased overall employment by nearly two per cent and GDP by almost as much.
WATCH: Alberta NDP Leader Rachel Notley reacts to the education plan unveiled by the UCP on Monday.
The NDP is budgeting $1.5 billion for expanded daycare over the next five years.
United Conservative Leader Jason Kenney was in Calgary, releasing details of his party’s education platform.
He says if his party were to head the government, schools would operate under rules for gay-straight alliance clubs developed before the NDP came to power.
WATCH: Alberta political parties shared their thoughts on school funding and operations if they were to form government after the April 16 election. Lisa MacGregor reports.
He says the UCP would resurrect the former Progressive Conservative government’s unproclaimed Education Act, which included a provision to support the clubs in schools.
The New Democrats amended the School Act to bring in further protections for LGBTQ students – including barring school officials from telling parents if their kids join one of the clubs.
Kenney says he supports gay-straight alliances for young people to get peer support if they’re being bullied and adds he wants a less contentious relationship with religious schools.
“We support those (GSAs) as an opportunity for young people who might be facing harassment or bullying to get that peer support and so we will encourage schools to comply with that legislation,” he said.
When asked how he would respond to religious schools resistant to GSAs, Kenney said his approach “would be one of co-operation rather than one of confrontation.”
WATCH: Alberta UCP Leader Jason Kenney said his government would support GSAs in schools, but also support the religious freedoms of faith-based independent schools.
An associate professor at Edmonton’s MacEwan University, who specializes in sexual minority issues, indicated he believes Kenney is taking a “back-door route” to undoing progress the NDP has made on LGBTQ rights.
“This is an attack on LGBTQ rights in the province,” Kris Wells said. “It’s a move to undermine gay-straight alliances and has the ability to do real harm to LGBTQ students, who remain amongst one of the most vulnerable groups of students in our schools today.”
Kenney also says his party would lift a cap on the number of charter schools in Alberta, focus on improving math and science grades and ensure consent was taught in all sex education classes.
The UCP leader said if he becomes premier, education funding would remain unchanged or increase, but his party would seek more efficiency.
He announced his education platform for the April 16 election at the private Calgary Jewish Academy.
Kenney was later scheduled to hold a round table discussion with Calgary-area mothers.
Alberta Party leader Stephen Mandel made an arts and culture announcement in Calgary on Monday morning. In the afternoon, he spoke at an international women’s forum.
Khan said his party would create a revenue-neutral carbon tax.
“We must all fight climate change. It is one of the most important issues of our time. Alberta Liberals are making this a priority in the 2019 election,” Khan said in a statement Monday.
“We must all change our behaviour. It is not just a responsibility of heavy emitters. Every single ton of carbon we emit into the atmosphere carries a cost to society. We all bear the cost.”
The party said it does not support the NDP’s current version of the carbon tax and that a revenue-neutral carbon tax would strike a balance between protecting the environment and protecting the economy.
“We will adopt enhanced rebates for low-income Albertans. That we will also lower income taxes. The amount will be equal to the carbon tax Albertans pay. Our revenue-neutral carbon tax is efficient, equitable and protects the environment.
“Our plan is different. We will be transparent in our reporting to all Albertans. Unlike the NDP government, we will fully inform the legislature on the progress being made in reducing carbon emissions.”
The Liberals said the party would not cancel the commitments currently paid for by the carbon tax. More information on the police would be release later this week, the party said.
Watch below: Global News coverage of Week 1 of the Alberta election campaign
— With files from Global News and The Canadian Press’ Lauren Krugel
© 2019 The Canadian Press