Prairie Post (East Edition)
Local campaigns officially underway
The 2023 provincial election kicked off as a showdown of two parties vying to form government, and a likely two-party race in Cypress-Medicine Hat as Drew Barnes announced he won’t run in the election.
The four-week campaign that has been months, even years in the making, concludes Monday, May 29.
UCP leader and Brooks-Medicine Hat candidate Danielle Smith kicked off the party’s provincial campaign in Calgary with an announcement to lower taxes in the lowest tax brackets and scathed the record of the NDP government in the term prior to 2019.
“We need to continue building the Alberta advantage,” she said. “That means having a responsible plan for spending, growth and stability that keeps taxes low and the cost of living affordable.”
“At its heart, this election is a choice between moving forward or going back.”
At the New Democrat kickoff in Calgary leader Rachel Notley told supporters and reporters that her party is ready to take back government.
“After four very hard years with a health-care crisis and a UCP government in crisis, this campaign is about giving families hope,” said Notley. “It’s time for stability and common sense, and yes, trusted leadership.”
Alberta Party Leader Barry Morishita opened his party’s campaign and his own on Monday in Brooks, where the former Brooks mayor said he will work here and in 20 other ridings where the party has candidates to get the message out.
“Both the UCP and NDP are supplying a four-year window (to fix health care and education) and that’s not going to make a big difference,” said Morishita. “These crises are not going to be over in four years. We need a long, long vision and the Alberta Party is going to present a practical way forward that I think Albertans want. But the fear they will be subjected to over 28 days will test that.”
Smith will seek re-election in Brooks-Medicine Hat in a re-run of the 2022 fall byelection, facing Morishita and NDP candidate Gwendoline Dirk.
That riding includes northern portions of Medicine Hat and Cypress County, along with Brooks and Newell County.
In Cypress-Medicine Hat (comprising city addresses south of Third Street downtown and southern Cypress County), named candidates are Justin Wright of the UCP and Cathy Hogg of the NDP after three-term MLA Barnes announced he would not seek re-election Monday.
Wright was door-knocking on Monday when he heard the news.
“He’s a longtime MLA and an individual who has left his mark on the community,” said Wright.
“A big thank-you for all his work and approach of the last few terms.”
Wright also said UCP party’s message is “getting a lot of good reaction on the doorsteps.”
“People are really encouraged,” he said.
Hogg acknowledged Barnes’ lengthy service time as MLA for the riding.
“Drew has served for 12 years and I respect that,” said Hogg.
She told the News that after winning the party’s nomination in February she and her supporters are eager for May 29.
“I’ve been out knocking on doors for a while now, but to get to election, now it’s official and it’s all hands on deck,” she said, adding that based on requests for lawn signs, “it’s going to be a very interesting race.”