More election coverage.
PC leader urges voters, media not to focus on controversies
CALGARY — Tory Leader Jim Prentice kept up his attack on the NDP Wednesday while urging reporters to cover the real issues of the campaign and not party controversies.
Since the weekend, Prentice has been forced to deal with fallout from the Tory nomination process in Chestermere-Rocky View and the sudden resignation of Jonathan Denis as justice minister over legal proceedings with his estranged wife.
Asked about the relevance of the two cases to voters, Prentice said the May 5 election should revolve around the provincial economy and who best can deal with the impact of falling oil prices.
“I encourage everybody who follows these matters, who writes about these matters, to get back to what’s important to the province,” said Prentice. “We are facing the most significant downturn with fiscal implications that we’ve seen in a generation.”
Earlier Wednesday, Prentice was forced to defend allowing a PC election candidate who had been convicted of soliciting a prostitute.
Speaking on a provincewide radio talk show, Prentice said Mike Allen took responsibility and pleaded guilty after he was caught in a sting operation while on government business in Minnesota in 2013. Allen is the incumbent MLA for Fort McMurray-Wood Buffalo in next Tuesday’s election.
But Prentice said the party was correct in disqualifying Jamie Lall as a candidate in Chestermere-Rocky View, because Lall once had a restraining order against him in relation to a former girlfriend. Prentice said the restraining order alone was enough to disallow Lall, but Lall also refused to tell the party about it. Lall, now running as an Independent, insists that he did.
Prentice, meanwhile, attacked the NDP plan to raise corporate taxes by two points to a 12 per cent rate, undertake a royalty review and drop the Alberta government’s push for the Northern Gateway and Keystone XL pipelines while supporting other pipeline projects. “The policies that we have heard of from the NDP are going to be destructive to our ability to create jobs,” said Prentice.
Prentice also said the Wildrose Party would hurt Alberta’s economy by having no plan except deep cuts to government services.
NDP Leader Rachel Notley took aim at the Tory government’s health-care cuts Wednesday, vowing her party would reverse a plan to slash funding and reintroduce health premiums.
“On this issue, there’s a stark contrast between the vision I’m putting forward and what Mr. Prentice has to offer,” Notley told a Calgary news conference.
“It’s time for large profitable corporations and the wealthiest among us to contribute just a bit more, to balance the budget and protect health care and education.”
Liberal interim leader David Swann, a former medical officer of health, said the PCs, NDP and Wildrose are oversimplifying a “tremendously complex system” into a question of more or less healthcare spending. “What is needed is a real, rigorous review of where the money is being spent, and where we’re getting the results,” he said.
During an editorial board meeting Wednesday with the Calgary Herald, Wildrose Leader Brian Jean said the Wildrose would introduce transparency and accountability legislation within the first 30 days of forming government and halt union and corporate donations to political parties to limit “the opportunity to buy elections.” With files from Calgary Herald staff, CP