NDP Leader Rachel Notley stopped in Red Deer Wednesday as part of her official election campaign. Robin Grant/Red Deer Express

NDP Leader Rachel Notley stops in Red Deer on campaign trail

Notley promises hospital expansion, cath lab, pipelines and energy industry expansion

Chants of “Rachel! Rachel! Rachel!” could be heard coming from NDP candidate for Red Deer – North Kim Schreiner’s office Wednesday when Rachel Notley stopped in Red Deer as part of her official election campaign.

Speaking to a packed room, the NDP leader talked about how she would differ from her rival, Conservative Leader Jason Kenney. She said she will do what she says and promises, such as create “good jobs, good hospitals, good schools and honest government.”

Regarding Red Deer specifically, Notley promised she would make the necessary expansion and modernization to the Red Deer Regional Hospital and add a much-needed cardiac catheterization lab.

Notley called Red Deer a vital part of the province’s energy industry.

“I know our fight for a pipeline is more than just pipes and valves. It’s about good jobs for the working people here in Red Deer and it’s about our natural resources helping us to build strong communities that we all value and that we all care about. And that’s why I will not stop fighting for the Trans-Mountain pipeline until it is done.”

Notley also said if re-elected premier her government would ‘supercharge’ the party’s energy diversification plan with, “Even more petrochemicals and more upgrading and more refining,” injecting $7 billion over the next decade.

A focus of Notley’s speech to the Red Deer audience was how she will differ from the UCP leader.

“He wants two Albertas. I want to build one Alberta. Mr. Kenney wants to give large profitable businesses giant tax cuts … we are one of the most competitively taxed provinces in the country and he wants to give them huge tax cuts and make everyday families pay for it.

“His reckless plan will hurt people and will also hurt the economy. It will hurt the economy and then he will also go on to privatize health care. My job and my goal is to protect our public health care,” she said.

Notley also raised some of the recent controversies swirling around Kenney.

“We learned that Mr. Kenney cheated to win his party leadership and when he was caught he didn’t tell the truth. He looked Albertans in the eye and he casually and comfortably lied to us about his role in that, which in many ways goes to the heart of the issue — how comfortable he is with lying.”

Kenney has defended himself saying there is nothing wrong or unusual about his actions during the 2017 campaign, the Canadian Press reported. He has criticized Notley, saying she has failed to stand up to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on pipelines and the economy.

Schreiner said the NDP government is committed to expanding Red Deer’s hospital and getting a cardiac catheterization lab.

“Rachel has committed to the hospital expansion no matter what the needs assessment deems that we need. We know we need an expansion and whatever it looks like, it will happen.”

Regarding the Updated Needs Assessment on the hospital, Barb Miller, NDP candidate for Red Deer – South, said the Updated Needs Assessment for Red Deer Regional Hospital is controlled by Alberta Health Services.

“We have no access to that so when Alberta Health Services releases that that’s when it will be released.”

Wednesday marks the second day of political campaigning.

Kenney was in Lethbridge Tuesday morning where he criticized the carbon tax, saying he would repeal the tax. Notley started out in Edmonton where she announced the doubling of incentives for petrochemical and upgrading projects from $3.6 billion to $7 billion.

Alberta Party Leader Stephen Mandel announced a ‘Children First plan’ that would create a voucher system to help families get better access to daycare, while Liberal Leader David Khan in Calgary said the party would focus on education, such as reducing class sizes.

Albertans head to the polls April 16th.

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