Alberta election Day 21: Pipelines, oil to B.C., agriculture and a party platform
Three weeks after the writ was dropped, Alberta’s party leaders were spread out around the province on Monday.
Here’s a look at where the leaders were on Monday, April 8:
NDP Leader Rachel Notley
Alberta NDP Leader Rachel Notley started her day in the Edmonton area before heading to Calgary.
She said she expects Ottawa to approve the Trans Mountain pipeline to the west coast by the end of May.
Notley said the province is closer than ever to getting the pipeline. She said Alberta needs to stick with a strategy to get shovels in the ground.
Notley said a growing majority of Canadians, including British Columbia residents, now support the project because they understand it would support jobs and a strong economy.
She said that if her party were to be re-elected on April 16, she would continue to stand up for Alberta’s energy industry.
During a leaders debate last Thursday, United Conservative Leader Jason Kenney suggested that Notley has foolishly tied Alberta’s fortunes to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s Liberal government by introducing a carbon tax.
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In return, Kenny said, Trudeau has hindered Alberta’s bedrock industry with a ban on tankers off the northern B.C. coast and proposed legislation that Kenney said could hinder approvals for future energy projects.
Kenney said Trudeau has also bungled the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion to get more Alberta oil to the B.C. coast. The project has been delayed by court challenges and rulings.
The federal government stepped in last year to buy the project to help ensure it gets built.
Notley said she is to appear Tuesday via video link before the Senate transportation committee to discuss the oil tanker moratorium bill.
“Bill C-48 attacks the Alberta economy and needs to go,” she said Monday. “I will be making that case forcefully.”
United Conservative Party Leader Jason Kenney
United Conservative Party Leader Jason Kenney said if he were Alberta’s next premier he would bring in a law to turn off the oil taps to British Columbia and wouldn’t be afraid to use it.
In a speech to supporters in Medicine Hat, Kenney said the NDP brought in legislation after pressure from the UCP but never proclaimed it or used it.
Kenney said he would proclaim the law in his first day on the job if his party were to be elected on April 16.
He said he would make it clear that Alberta would be prepared to scale back exports of its crude to B.C. refineries if the government there continued to obstruct the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion.
Kenney said gasoline prices have hit an all-time high of $1.67 a litre in B.C. and predicted they would remain high if Alberta were to turn off the taps.
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Alberta Party Leader Stephen Mandel
Alberta Party Leader Stephen Mandel was in Leduc, Alta. Monday morning where he released details of his party’s agriculture plan.
If elected, Mandel said his party would grow the province’s agriculture industry by $1 billion, and create 6,000 new jobs.
As part of Alberta Innovates, the party would establish a new fund beginning in 2019/20 with $100 million in annual funding. The Alberta Agriculture Innovation Fund would support research and provide seed funding to industry-led projects, the party said Monday.
The party would also provide $2 million in support of an agri-tourism development fund, the party said. $2 million will also be spent to create an office of certification support that will assist Alberta farmers and ranchers in obtaining “value-add certifications.”
An Alberta Party government would also appoint a “Bee Protection Task Force” to provide recommendations to government on how to support health and productive bee populations in Alberta.
The party would also review the Agriculture Financial Services Corporation to “provide better service to farmers, including developing succession planning programs to transition enterprises to a new generation of farmers entering the industry.”
The Alberta Party would also make “a measured update” to Bill 6, making changes such as providing special rules and exemptions for small farms.
The Alberta Party also announced Monday that, if elected, it would immediately declare a public health emergency in response to the opioid crisis.
“This is a public health emergency, plain and simple,” Mandel said. “Two Albertans die every day and it’s wrong. The deaths are preventable. We must do more to save lives.”
Following the declaration, the Alberta Party would boost funding for opioid response by 50 per cent, increasing it from $45 million to $68 million.
The party also vows to create a public health approach instead of enforcement and also to maintain and fund existing supervised consumption sites. The party also said it would provide community-based mental health supports to families and patients facing addiction, and expand access to take-home naloxone kits.
Alberta Liberal Leader David Khan
Alberta Liberal Leader David Kahn released his party’s full policy platform Monday morning at its headquarters in Calgary.
Khan said the platform “has strong and sensible solutions,” which includes job creation, stronger public services, sustainable finances, equality of opportunity, respectful inclusion and protection of vulnerable Albertans.
“Our 2019 policy platform includes key policies we have already announced,” Khan said.
“These include capping class sizes, more resources for mental health, a basic income pilot project, regulating political action committees, the $80 million Back to Work Grant Fund, proportional representation electoral reform and our pledge to eliminate income tax for two-thirds of Albertans by bringing in a revenue-neutral HST.”
Corus Alberta radio coverage
With files from Caley Ramsay, Global News and The Canadian Press.
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