Alberta election Day 14: Alberta Party slams NDP, UCP on equalization payments
On Day 14 of the Alberta election campaign, NDP Leader Rachel Notley and Liberal Leader David Khan are both making announcements in Calgary, and United Conservative Party Leader Jason Kenney will be responding to the implementation of the national carbon tax.
Meanwhile, Alberta Party Leader Stephen Mandel is taking both NDP and UCP leaders to task over the current equalization payment structure.
On Sunday, Notley promised to balance the province’s budget by 2023-24, as she unveiled her party’s election platform. She also pledged to expand $25-per-day child care, build long-term care beds for seniors and construct new schools.
Notley’s date for balancing the books is a year later than what’s promised by her principal rival, Jason Kenney. But Notley says Kenney’s math doesn’t add up.
Voting day is set for April 16.
READ MORE: How, when, where to vote
Where the leaders were Monday on the campaign trail:
NDP Leader Rachel Notley
Alberta NDP Leader Rachel Notley says the United Conservative Party’s budget plan will leave oil in the ground, limit job creation and cost the province $2.2 billion in royalties.
Notley says UCP Leader Jason Kenney needs to account for lost revenue in his budget platform, since he would cancel the government’s plan to get more oil to market by leasing rail cars. Kenney has said the $3.7-billion lease deal doesn’t make financial sense.
Notley will get a chance to put her concerns to Kenney directly in the leaders’ debate Thursday. Her campaign team has confirmed she will join three other party leaders in the televised forum.
Notley commented on Kenney’s budget plan Monday while in Calgary on Monday as the election campaign nears its midpoint. Notley told reporters the rail lease deal will move an additional 120,000 barrels a day.
“Not only will this investment make a $2.2-billion profit for Albertans, it will help get people back to work,” she said.
“It will help us get our production up so we can bring curtailment to an end sooner, and it will do so of course without affecting (rail) shipments of our agricultural goods.”
WATCH BELOW: Decision Alberta: Balancing Budgets
Since the start of the year, Notley’s government has also mandated production cuts in oil for large producers to reduce a widening gap in prices that threatened layoffs or similar drastic industry countermeasures.
United Conservative Party Leader Jason Kenney
United Conservative Leader Jason Kenney says if he wins the Alberta election, a formal court challenge of the federal carbon tax will be launched by the end of the month.
Kenney, who has already pledged to axe Alberta’s carbon tax, says he would instruct his attorney general to file the challenge in Alberta’s Appeal court no later than April 30.
Kenney says there are constitutional questions surrounding whether Ottawa can even impose the tax, which formally began today in the four provinces that refused to bring in their own tax.
Consumers in Manitoba, Ontario, Saskatchewan and New Brunswick are now paying more for gasoline and heating fuel.
WATCH: Political commentator Janet Brown joins Blake Lough to discuss Jeff Callaway’s attempt to have his probe into the UCP leadership race suspected until after the provincial election.
Kenney says there are legal questions over whether Ottawa has the authority to impose such a levy.
He says the constitutional challenge could take years so he’ll also do whatever he can to see Prime Minister Justin Trudeau defeated in the fall election.
“It is in Alberta’s vital economic interests, for the future of jobs and prosperity in this province, that we not only defeat this tax-hiking NDP government, but that we also defeat their close ally in Ottawa — Justin Trudeau,” Kenney said Monday.
“I, as leader of the United Conservative party, will do everything within our power to ensure that he is not returned as prime minister.”
WATCH BELOW: On Day 14 of the Alberta election campaign, the United Conservative Party took aim at the federal carbon tax.
Alberta Party Leader Stephen Mandel
Mandel talked about how an Alberta Party government would keep more of Albertans’ money within the province, to help fund schools, hospitals and other provincial services and reduce what he says is a power imbalance between Alberta and the federal government.
“Every year, Albertans send billions of dollars to Ottawa that aren’t spent on Albertans, but instead given away to other provinces,” Mandel said in a statement.
“And in return, we receive rejection, scorn and attacks on our industries and our way of life. We see that with a hijacked coastline, and an unfair equalization program, and refusals to consider pipelines like Energy East.”
Mandel would demand Alberta have the same powers and privileges as Quebec.
“Albertans are tired of being taken for granted by Ottawa and others. The NDP have been in cahoots with the Trudeau government and failed us. Jason Kenney failed us when he was in Ottawa for nearly 20 years,” Mandel said.
Alberta Liberal Leader David Khan
In Calgary, Alberta Liberal Leader David Khan announced the party’s affordable dental care platform.
“Albertans are paying the highest dental prices in Canada,” Khan said. “We will bring prices down for all Albertans.”
The Liberal party would make the industry more competitive by directing the Alberta Dental Association and College allow dentists greater freedom to advertise their services.
The party would also lift restrictions on dentists being able to offer promotions or special pricing for groups such as seniors or children. Dentists would be required to discuss prices up front and publicly list their standard prices in comparison to the Dental Fee Guide.
“These consumer-friendly changes will drive prices down. We will also make the Dental Fee Guide mandatory for essential dental services,” Khan said.
The Liberals would improve access to dental services for children and low-income people with a $50-million funding increase to affordable, community-based dental care.
“We will pressure the federal government to fund a universal essential dental care program. This will be achieved by working to build consensus among the provinces for this program.”
— With files from Karen Bartko, Global News
Corus Alberta radio coverage
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