Local candidates hit the campaign trail
Within hours of the election being called candidates in Cypress-Medicine Hat riding were on the campaign trail.
UCP incumbent Drew Barnes said he had a team putting up election signs, NDP candidate Peter Mueller said he could already see the “finish line” and the Alberta Party’s Colette Smithers said it was “game on.”
Mueller said Albertans need to compare the two leaders, Rachel Notley’s NDP and Jason Kenney’s UCP.
“If you look at the promises of each one of them they’re dramatically different,” said Mueller, who believes it will make it easier to choose the NDP.
“It’s time for respect for taxpayers dollars. It’s time for the next government to make sure that they get the most value for tax payers that they can. Albertans have said time and time again that they want a strong economy with quality public services and that will be my goal,” said Barnes.
Smithers said the Alberta Party is offering voters a reasonable middle ground, a place where they can have their voices heard and have open conversations about what is important to people in Cypress-Medicine Hat.
“The Alberta Party offers an inclusive conversation. We’re looking at opportunities for every Albertan to share in the prosperity of this province.”
Barnes thinks the No. 1 issue is jobs and the economy, with a need to focus on growing provincial debt to avoid further burden on future generations
Mueller believes the UCP’s approach favours the wealthy and will mean changes to health care that amounts to privatization plus cuts to education funding.
“There are desperate needs in education and I don’t believe that they are going to be met with the UCP government,” said Mueller. Barnes disagrees.
“The UCP will fund the same levels as are being funded now. The NDP has shown time and time again that there’s room for efficiency and effectiveness changes,” said Barnes. “The UCP will keep high quality funding especially for front line workers and services. We’ll look for value where necessary.”
Mueller said the NDP government had to handle the “disastrous” situation left by the former Progressive Conservative government, with Rachel Notley rising to the occasion.
Barnes agrees some of the debt under the NDP has been incurred through infrastructure projects such as schools and hospitals but says some projects were started under the former Conservative government.
“The NDP has a much better plan, creating jobs, inviting investments and their view is that by 2023 they will have eliminated the deficit. The debt will still remain but the deficit will have been met,” said Mueller.
Barnes says people are pleased that the UCP’s priority will be to eliminate the carbon tax.
“My goal will be to make Alberta the free-enterprise leader of North America and the best place to raise a family, and family services need to be affordable,” said Barnes.
Smithers says the Alberta Party appreciates and celebrates the diversity in people and opportunities in Alberta.
“The Alberta Party offers a socially progressive approach with an important focus on fiscal responsibility,” said Smithers. “We have endured so much polarization and animosity and exclusivity, in the current political climate ... this is about Albertans’ future.”
Recent media coverage of allegations that UCP leader Jason Kenney colluded to win the leadership contest by colluding with another candidate who later withdrew from the race, is not going to affect the campaign in this riding, said Barnes.
“Kenny has made himself very available to all media requests to handle it. It’s clear now that it was just two campaigns looking for second votes in a preferential ballot system,” said Barnes.
The Liberal Party candidate Anwar Kamaran did not respond to a request for comment.