Not­ley and Kenney hone cam­paign pitches as elec­tion draws near

PressReader - BRUCE_CAROL_ROWE Channel - Not­ley and Kenney hone cam­paign pitches as elec­tion draws near
As Al­berta’s elec­tion win­dow opens, Premier Rachel Not­ley and ri­val Ja­son Kenney honed their at­tack lines in du­elling speeches Thurs­day, warn­ing of dire con­se­quences should the other side win.“The choice ahead is the stark­est Al­ber­tans have faced in decades. A choice for how we build the fu­ture and a choice for whom that fu­ture is built,” Not­ley told sup­port­ers in Cal­gary.“Are we build­ing a province for the many or the few?”Not­ley must by law hold the elec­tion some­time in March, April, or May, mean­ing she could drop the writ as early as Fri­day to launch a 28-day cam­paign end­ing March 1.That does not ap­pear likely, given that all par­ties still have can­di­dates to nom­i­nate. Not­ley has sched­uled a throne speech to open the leg­is­la­ture on March 18.Not­ley, wav­ing at the cheer­ing crowds, said “I think we have a very big sur­prise in store for the pun­dits.”While none of the par­ties has an­nounced its elec­tion plat­form, Not­ley has sig­nalled she will run on her gov­ern­ment’s track record along with vi­sions of the UCP lay­ing waste to the econ­omy.That gov­ern­ment record, she noted Thurs­day, in­cludes get­ting schools built, start­ing the Cal­gary Can­cer Cen­tre, ad­vanc­ing Cal­gary’s rapid tran­sit Green Line, and de­liv­er­ing ini­tia­tives to di­ver­sify the econ­omy and en­cour­age more high-tech while get­ting more oil re­fin­ing done and push­ing for a pipe­line to tide­wa­ter.A UCP gov­ern­ment, she warned, would see work­ing peo­ple take a back seat to wealthy con­ser­va­tive in­sid­ers ben­e­fit­ing from sweet­heart tax deals, while pro­posed UCP spend­ing freezes in­flict deep and last­ing harm to hos­pi­tal pa­tients and chil­dren in class­rooms.Kenney, in re­cent speeches, has said Al­berta can­not eco­nom­i­cally with­stand four more years of NDP man­age­ment.He said Not­ley’s gov­ern­ment has not only failed to help Al­berta’s econ­omy take flight, it has pinned its wings with red tape and added taxes such as the car­bon levy.De­spite low oil prices, Not­ley has re­sisted bud­get cuts and has in­stead ramped up spend­ing on cap­i­tal projects while fund­ing to keep up with growth in health and ed­u­ca­tion. The draw­back has been multi­bil­lion-dol­lar deficits and debt lev­els now at just un­der $53 bil­lion.In­ter­est pay­ments on that debt are now close to $2 bil­lion a year.Kenney, speak­ing to mu­nic­i­pal lead­ers in Cochrane, said that kind of deficit spend­ing pun­ishes not only this gen­er­a­tion but the next.“These things are un­sus­tain­able,” said Kenney.He said thou­sands of pri­vate sec­tor jobs are gone, per capita GDP is down, the debt is over $50 bil­lion, pay­rolls are down by about 10 per cent and the Cana­dian Fed­er­a­tion of In­de­pen­dent Busi­ness re­cently gave Al­berta an F grade on its red tape scale.A con­ven­tional oil well that takes a week to approve in Texas needs a year or more in Al­berta, he said.Kenney’s party will re­lease its plat­form dur­ing the cam­paign but Kenny has al­ready sketched out the broad strokes of the fi­nan­cial plank.The plan in­cludes a min­istry to work with busi­ness to re­duce reg­u­la­tions by one-third within four years.

© PressReader. All rights reserved.