As the final days of the provincial election quickly unfold, party leaders and other candidates were busy attempting to earn votes.
Post-secondary education, reversing government cuts and alleged plays for power were all topics up for debate throughout the week.
Alberta NDP Leader Rachel Notley announced that the NDP would reverse the PC decision to make cuts to apprenticeship training.
“It’s time for a government that supports apprentices and creates good jobs,” said Notley. “But Jim Prentice is making a reckless cut to apprenticeships that puts jobs in jeopardy. The PCs’ decision to cut training opportunities is the wrong decision at the wrong time. By restoring funding for apprenticeship training, the NDP will support the skilled workers we need to fuel our province’s economic prosperity.”
She noted this year’s provincial budget cuts apprenticeship delivery funding by $6.2 million this year, to $41.5 million in overall funding.
“Our province can’t afford to lose apprenticeship opportunities that will only make our skills shortages even worse and put our economic prosperity at risk.”
Notley added the NDP plan to create jobs is by rewarding businesses that hire new employees with a Job Creation Tax Credit and by promoting upgrading and refining jobs at home.
Wildrose Leader Brian Jean also reiterated on Tuesday that voting in a Wildrose government is the way to stop the NDP and the PC plans for higher taxes.
“After asking for the trust of Albertans, the PC party has collapsed under the weight of crushing debt, dozens of tax hikes and what will be a decade of deficits,” said Jean. “Their slow decline appears almost complete. I’ve been to every corner of this province, and there’s one thing I’ve learned from this campaign: Albertans are looking for change.”
Jean stated Wildrose’s plan is to not raise taxes, to promote jobs and investment in Alberta and to shrink the size of government. This will include a commitment to bring in operational savings of $1.1 billion, $1.6 billion, and $2.2 billion over the next three years.
Alberta Party Leader Greg Clark announced that post-secondary education access needs to be improved and provided with stable funding.
“Alberta’s universities, colleges and technical institutes are the launch pad for future economic prosperity in this province,” he said. “The Alberta Party recognizes the significant social returns from investment in education. It is the key to personal opportunity, growth and enrichment and is essential to maintaining our future prosperity.”
Clark added rising tuition fees, student debt and a lack of spaces post-secondary institutions have pushed post-secondary education out of reach for many Albertans.
“Alberta has the lowest participation rate in post-secondary education in the country,” he said. “Cost is the primary barrier to all forms of post-secondary education, both academic and trades training. The Alberta Party seeks to eliminate financial barriers that prevent access to otherwise qualified candidates.”
The PCs made announcement that the NDP platform would increase the province’s dependency on oil and gas revenue, which would cost taxpayers $22 billion over the next five years.
“The cost of expensive NDP promises just keeps adding up for Albertans and is
unrealistic in this economic environment,” said Minister of Healthcare Stephen Mandel. “They have failed to include the real cost of growth pressures to health care, which alone amounts to $6.6 billion in miscalculated costs. Under these circumstances, the only way to balance the provincial budget would be to break promises to Albertans.
“It’s clear that the NDP has no plan to get Alberta off the boom and bust cycle,and in fact, would make us more dependent on oil and gas revenue to pay forgovernment spending,” said Mandel.
A candidates’ forum will be held on May 1st from 7 to 9 p.m. in the banquet room, on the second floor of the multiplex in Blackfalds. Hosted by the Blackfalds Chamber of Commerce, residents are invited to get to know the four local candidates and have questions answered. Admission is free and all are welcome.
The provincial election is set for May 5th. Polling stations across the Lacombe-Ponoka constituency will be open from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. the day of the election.
Visit www.electionsalberta.ca for more information.