United Conservative Party leader Jason Kenney, left to right, Alberta Liberal Party leader David Khan, Alberta New Democrat Party leader and incumbent premier Rachel Notley and Alberta Party leader Stephen Mandel greet each before the start of the 2019 Alberta Leaders Debate in Edmonton, Alta., on Thursday, April 4, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Codie McLachlan

Notley and Kenney swap attacks on trust in Alberta election leaders debate

Albertans go to the polls on April 16

United Conservative Leader Jason Kenney and NDP Leader Rachel Notley came in elbows high in Alberta’s election leadership debate, each castigating the other of failing fundamental tests of public trust.

Kenney accused Notley of bungling the economy and kowtowing to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, while Notley labelled Kenney a snake oil salesman on social issues and a cheat.

Notley zeroed in on the ongoing investigation by elections officials and the RCMP into aspects of the UCP leadership race that delivered Kenney to victory in 2017.

“It is becoming clearer and clearer that people on Mr. Kenney’s leadership team at the very least cheated for him to win the leadership,” Notley said Thursday night.

“So the real question is this: If Mr. Kenney would cheat his own party members to have a chance at running to be premier, what will he do to the people of this province to keep the job?”

Kenney said Notley has failed by taking the wheel of Alberta’s sluggish economy in 2015 and, through higher taxes and regulations, ramming it deeper into the ditch.

He said Notley has brought in massive deficits, growing debt and teamed up with a federal government that has not delivered a pipeline while putting forth legislation that could tie up future energy projects and ban northern B.C. tanker traffic.

“The NDP is digging us into a debt hole of well over $100 billion that risks our future and our public services,” said Kenney.

“Premier Notley has made a disastrous deal, an alliance with Justin Trudeau and all we have to show for it is a jobs crisis, no pipelines and a carbon tax.”

Turning to Notley, he said: “You sold Alberta down the river.”

READ MORE: Conservatives say Rachel Notley must come clean on spending

READ MORE: Alberta NDP’s Notley say she’ll hire more teachers, build more schools

Notley charged Kenney with failing to keep people with intolerant views out of the party. This week, Kenney refused to take action on candidate Mark Smith for 2013 homophobic remarks and comments equating abortion to murder.

Kenney has condemned the remarks but is letting Smith, his education critic in caucus, remain a candidate.

Smith is one of a number of UCP candidates or party members who have faced controversy over remarks about LGBTQ, Muslims or other minority groups.

Notley said the reason is clear: “Mr. Kenney is not being forthright with Albertans when he talks about the idea that his party accepts and supports people in the LGBTQ community. They do not.”

Kenney has faced controversy over how he won the leadership of the UCP.

Alberta’s elections commissioner and the RCMP have been investigating Jeff Callaway’s leadership campaign, and how it was financed amid reports that Callaway was not a real candidate, but was planted there to attack Kenney’s main rival on Kenney’s behalf.

Kenney has denied any agreement with Callaway, but recently disclosed documents showed the two campaigns shared talking points, attack ads and even collaborated on the date Callaway would quit the race in order to back Kenney.

Responding to Notley in the debate, Kenney called her attacks calculated misdirection.

“Whenever she does this it’s because she’s incapable of defending her failed economic record,” he said.

“Whenever you hear that fear and smear, that’s what’s really going on.”

Alberta Party Leader Stephen Mandel said both Notley and Kenney are failing Albertans. He said his centrist party focuses on the economy and on social issues.

“We don’t think you should have to choose between a good economy and a kind society. You should be able to have both,” said Mandel.

Alberta Liberal party Leader David Khan pushed his economic plan, specifically effectively eliminating provincial income tax for almost all Albertans while bringing in a sales tax to stabilize revenues.

“We have the boldest pro-growth strategy of any political party in decades,” said Khan.

Albertans go to the polls on April 16.

Dean Bennett, The Canadian Press


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Online ‘direct threats’ lead to cancellation of school dance in Blackfalds

Threats resulted from Grade 4 social studies class discussing energy sector

WATCH: CP Holiday Train supports Lacombe Food Bank

Madeline Merlo and JUNO Award nominee Scott Helman both performed

WATCH: Lacombe Community Health Centre officially opens its doors

17,000 sq. ft. building combines multiple Lacombe AHS services under one roof

Lacombe Composite Ecovision students closer to opening goat sanctuary

Ecovision students also selling beeswax wraps at Lacombe markets

WATCH: CP Holiday Train supports Lacombe Food Bank

Madeline Merlo and JUNO Award nominee Scott Helman both performed

Teen seriously injured: Police in Lethbridge, Alta., charge 5 people in swarming

Police say a 16-year-old boy made arrangements to meet with a young woman before he was attacked

PODCAST: The Expert welcomes AA Lacombe General Jared Williams

Lacombe resident joined Red Deer Advocate Sports Reporter Byron Hackett and Host Todd Vaughan

No reports yet of Canadians affected by New Zealand volcano eruption, feds say

Missing and injured included tourists from the U.S., China, Australia, Britain and Malaysia

Blackfalds RCMP warn of poor driving conditions on QEII

Vehicles have been involved in collisions and are in the ditch

MP Blaine Calkins: Alberta left behind in Speech from the Throne

Liberal course does nothing for Alberta economy, crime

Would you leave your baby alone to go to the gym? This Canadian dad did

The man identifies just as a divorced dad with a nine-month-old baby

Lawyer competence includes knowledge of Indigenous-Crown history: B.C. law society

All practising lawyers in B.C. will be required to take a six-hour online course covering these areas

Wealth of Canadians divided along racial lines, says report on income inequality

One interesting finding was that racialized men have a higher employment rate than non-racialized men

Most Read