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Tag: Rachel Notley

Livingstone-Macleod election forum panelists seated at table – five men and one woman, with white-haired female moderator off to right side

Livingstone-Macleod candidates make last appeals at Crowsnest Pass forum

Riding candidates in Livingstone-Macleod gave mostly stock performances at an election forum in Crowsnest Pass on Wednesday, May 24.

The United Conservatives’ Chelsae Petrovic and the Alberta NDP’s Kevin Van Tighem, certainly no strangers to political controversy in what has been a bitterly contested election, were distinctly on-brand, repeating, defending and doubling down on their parties’ campaign planks. 

A re-elected UCP under Danielle Smith would “embrace the renewed Alberta Advantage,” Petrovic said, warning that to vote for anyone else would jeopardize her party’s recent accomplishments — especially this year’s whopping budget surplus.

Smith’s erstwhile promise to replace the Alberta RCMP with an independent provincial police force “is no longer a topic of conversation,” the candidate said. Nor does Petrovic have “any affiliation with” Take Back Alberta, the right-wing populist movement whose Marco Van Huigenbos watched the forum from the back of the room. 

Ad requesting memorabilia from CNP music festival

Petrovic, who told TBA founder David Parker in a February podcast interview that she wouldn’t necessarily cleave to the party line if she were elected, strongly endorsed Smith’s leadership.  

Holding precisely the opposite view was Van Tighem, who wasted little time laying claim to Peter Lougheed’s Progressive Conservative legacy for the NDP. Party leader Rachel Notley would deliver “good government you can trust,” he said, holding up Smith’s “unstable and chaotic leadership” as the mirror opposite. 

An NDP government would eliminate Alberta’s small-business tax, and wouldn’t add to personal income taxes, he promised. He was less keen to engage Notley’s plan to raise the corporate tax rate from eight to 11 per cent, although he said the increased rate would stay the lowest in Canada. 

The Alberta Party’s Kevin Todd, who briefly entertained a run at the UCP nomination, repeatedly positioned himself as an independent voice for Livingstone-Macleod, reminding the audience that his party doesn’t whip votes — unlike the UCP and NDP.

Ace of spades card on ad for Chase the Ace at the Pincher Creek Legion

Van Tighem took knocks for his untrammelled opposition to coal exploration on the Eastern Rockies. 

“It’s a terrible position to take,” Pincher Creek MD councillor John MacGarva said from the floor, drawing thunderous applause from roughly half the audience. 

Lougheed’s PC’s blocked regional coal exploration for perfectly sound ecological reasons, Van Tighem shot back, scoring loud approval from the other half. 

Another resident introduced himself to Van Tighem as “one of those entitled rednecks you despise,” alluding to the candidate’s 2021 Alberta Views article wherein the author paints a disconcerting stereotype of oil and gas workers. 

The candidate said the article’s subtext underlined widely held conceptions about a rapacious oil and gas industry — conceptions Van Tighem has consistently said hurt Alberta’s interests on the world stage — but the barb stuck. 

Petrovic and Independence Party candidate Corrie Toone were pointedly asked if they would support a woman’s right to choose an abortion. Neither candidate gave a yes or no answer, despite prodding from moderator Val Danielson. 

Toone and Petrovic each said “life begins at conception,” with Petrovic saying that, while she supported bodily autonomy when it came to vaccines, she and the UCP are “pro-life.” 

The most compelling performance came from the Alberta Liberals’ Dylin Hauser, if audience reactions are to be any guide. 

Ad for Shadowbar Shepherds Training in Pincher Creek

When the candidates were asked to defend their leadership credentials, Hauser was the only one who gave a full “with flaws and all” recounting of a life well lived, but also tempered by ordinary struggles. 

“What do I bring?” he asked rhetorically. “I bring failure. I bring hardship. I bring the ups and downs we all face down in life.”

His answer palpably won over the audience, drawing applause so loud and intense, it rumbled the floor. Many cheered as strenuously Hauser’s call to “vote for who you want,” rather than voting in the least offensive party with the most realistic chances of forming Alberta’s next government. 

Toone and independent candidate Erik Abildgaard spent much time trying to convince the audience that climate change was bogus, that pandemic health restrictions were draconian and that the UCP and NDP were fundamentally untrustworthy. 

Albertans head to the polls Monday, May 29.

Advanced voting is open May 23 to 27.

For voter information, including polling stations, see pages 9 to 11.

View Crowsnest Pass election forum videos here: Part 1, Part 2

Individual candidate statements:

Dylin Hauser – Alberta Liberal Party

Kevin Van Tighem – Alberta New Democratic Party

Kevin Todd – Alberta Party

Erik Abildgaard – Independent

Corrie Toone – Independence Party of Alberta

Chelsae Petrovic – United Conservative Party

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NDP candidate Kevin Van Tighem – smiling white man with short grey hair wearing a grey dress shirt

Alberta NDP candidate Kevin Van Tighem

Six candidates are vying for your vote on May 29, hoping to be Livingstone-Macleod’s next MLA. All were invited to submit a piece outlining their election platform for publication in Shootin’ the Breeze.

Until last year, I was always non-partisan and was never involved with politics.

But that ended when I saw what the UCP was doing to the province I love and call home. 

I started my campaign about a month before being appointed as the NDP candidate for Livingstone-Macleod at a nomination meeting last November.

Since then, I’ve had conversations with people on over 2,000 doorsteps in Coleman, Fort Macleod, Beaver Mines, Pincher Creek, Blackie and High River. When counting the conversations volunteers on our team have had, we’re well past 5,000 doors.

 

 

Each conversation has been fascinating, meaningful, and even heartbreaking. After more than three decades of working with neighbours on what matters here, I thought I knew Livingstone-Macleod.

I now realize I had barely scratched the surface.

I’ve talked to people who’ve lost their family doctor and can’t get primary care. The severe challenges facing rural health care under the UCP have forced people to turn to emergency rooms instead of walk-in clinics or doctors’ offices.

I’ve heard about expectant mothers driving to Calgary on winter roads for maternity care because Fort Macleod and Pincher Creek can no longer have it.

On the other side, doctors have told me they are burnt out and frustrated. They’re too busy to take on more patients. A nurse told me she and her whole team are in counselling after three years of constant work, overtime and pressure — all while the UCP government disrespects them.

 

 

I spoke with an elderly woman who has to stretch her pension further to keep up with her rising mortgage and utility bills. Now, she has to rely on the food bank. She used to donate before the UCP took the caps off utility rates. Now she’s a client. 

Doorway after doorway, I’ve learned of our communities’ challenges. It’s been sobering. It’s also been inspiring.

I’m more determined than ever to represent the people in my community and make sure a trustworthy government hears these concerns and acts.

Politics has to be about more than partisanship and political games; it has to be a sincere offer and commitment to deliver a better future.

That’s why my team and I have been to every community in our riding. It’s why we started hosting meet-and-greet sessions in the winter and have gone to school meetings, health workshops, trade fairs and countless other gatherings. 

 

 

We are in this for our neighbours and their families.

And what we’re seeing is more Alberta NDP supporters. Almost a third have told me they are conservatives but cannot vote, in good conscience, for what the UCP has become under Danielle Smith’s chaotic leadership. 

Last November, I chose to fight for a better future for Alberta by stepping out of retirement to run for the party that puts people first: the Alberta NDP. I am running with a real leader who cares and who’s focused on what matters to Albertans: Rachel Notley.

I want people to know I’ve done my homework, and you can rely on me. I am in this for Livingstone-Macleod and the families, communities and land we all cherish.

 

Albertans head to the polls Monday, May 29.

Advanced voting is open May 23 to 27.

For voter information, including polling stations, see pages 9 to 11.

View Crowsnest Pass election forum videos here: Part 1, Part 2

Individual candidate statements:

Dylin Hauser – Alberta Liberal Party

Kevin Van Tighem – Alberta New Democratic Party

Kevin Todd – Alberta Party

Erik Abildgaard – Independent

Corrie Toone – Independence Party of Alberta

Chelsae Petrovic – United Conservative Party

 

 

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Pincher Creek Health-Care Forum Draws Large Audience

UCP Candidate Calls Out Heart Attack Survivors

Claresholm Politician Enters UCP Nomination Race For Livingstone-Macleod

Read more Livingstone-Macleod articles

 

Not Notley election sign with the word "not" in white letters on red stop-sign shape

‘Not Notley’ sign to come down, says MD of Pincher Creek

The MD of Pincher Creek has asked a resident to take down a political sign from their property, citing the MD’s land use bylaw, which requires permitting for a broad spectrum of free-standing signs. 

Development officer Laura McKinnon said the MD received a complaint about the sign on Thursday, May 18. The sign, which went up on a Burmis property owner’s fence line along Highway 3 at some point in the provincial election campaign, shows a graphic of a stop sign and bears the slogan Not Notley. 

The land use bylaw (1289-18) specifically exempts “election signs” from any permitting requirements, according to Section 55.10, subsection (i), but the bylaw doesn’t explicitly define what an election sign is.

 

Ad for Dragons Heart Quilt Shop in Pincher Creek

 

“There is definitely a precedent for this,” McKinnon told Shootin’ the Breeze

In years past, homemade signs for and against the expansion of coal exploration on the Eastern Rockies and signs for and against logging also violated the bylaw and the MD requested that some of these be taken down, McKinnon said. 

Billboards, canopy signs, free-standing signs, portable signs and other types of signs are considered discretionary uses and require permitting from the municipal planning commission, which sits on the first Tuesday of every month.

 

 

The agenda for the commission’s next meeting (Tuesday, June 6) has been finalized, meaning the next available opportunity to apply for the necessary permitting would be Tuesday, July 4 — 36 days after the provincial election. 

Alleged bylaw infractions trigger notifications and requests for compliance by the MD. Formal, written requests are sent to property owners in the case of ongoing infractions. The MD can issue stop-work orders for alleged violations that continue past that point. 

The MD informally contacted the owner of the property at issue on Thursday, asking that the sign be removed. 

No letter or stop-work order has been issued, according to McKinnon.

 

 

Anyone in the MD is free to put up official election signs anywhere on their property, according to the bylaw. 

Election signs can be put up on public land, provided the signs are put within safe distances from roadways, according to Alberta’s Election Act. However, election signs are not allowed to imitate traffic control signs, including stop signs, according to the Government of Alberta’s website. 

MD council passed the land use bylaw in 2018. Enforcement is driven primarily by residents’ complaints, McKinnon said.

 

Albertans head to the polls Monday, May 29.

Advanced voting is open May 23 to 27.

For voter information, including polling stations, see pages 9 to 11.

View Crowsnest Pass election forum videos here: Part 1, Part 2

Individual candidate statements:

Dylin Hauser – Alberta Liberal Party

Kevin Van Tighem – Alberta New Democratic Party

Kevin Todd – Alberta Party

Erik Abildgaard – Independent

Corrie Toone – Independence Party of Alberta

Chelsae Petrovic – United Conservative Party

 

 

Related articles:

Livingstone-Macleod Candidates Make Last Appeals At Crowsnest Pass Forum

‘Not Notley’ Sign To Come Down, Says MD Of Pincher Creek

Scheduling Conflicts Derail Livingstone-Macleod Election Forum In Pincher Creek

Pincher Creek Health-Care Forum Draws Large Audience

UCP Candidate Calls Out Heart Attack Survivors

Claresholm Politician Enters UCP Nomination Race For Livingstone-Macleod

Read more Livingstone-Macleod articles

Travis Toews, man with short grey hair and glasses, and dressed in a blue suit jacket, white shirt and blue tie, speaks to reporters

UCP unveils Budget ’23 ahead of spring election

Finance Minister Travis Toews tabled Alberta’s 2023 budget Feb. 28, predicting a $2.4-billion surplus through a fiscal plan that relies heavily on oil and gas royalties to swell Edmonton’s coffers.

The budget, released roughly 90 days ahead of this spring’s provincial election, contains a massive bump in health-care spending and a plan to boost policing. 

Speaking to rural journalists the next day, Toews touted the United Conservative Party’s “fiscal responsibility” since taking over from Rachel Notley’s NDP in 2019. The UCP has done much “heavy lifting” to curb the government’s per-capita spending, which had been roughly $10 billion higher in Alberta than in British Columbia, Ontario and Quebec, the minister said. 

Fiscal responsibility remains “a key theme” in this year’s budget, with Toews outlining legislative steps to rein in deficit spending in the years ahead.

 

 

“Those fiscal rules will require a balanced budget, with appropriate exceptions [for heavy revenue shortfalls, sudden emergencies, etc.], and the fiscal rules will provide a strategy and a framework for surplus management.” 

Budget 2023 projects roughly $71 billion in revenue by the end of next March, $18 billion of which is expected to come from oil and gas. 

“The fact is, Alberta has a volatile revenue structure. We do still depend to a significant degree on royalty income [from non-renewable resources] to cover operational spending,” Toews acknowledged, qualifying in the next breath that Alberta’s economy was rapidly diversifying. 

Vowing that “support levels for our most vulnerable cannot be dictated by globally set commodity prices,” Toews highlighted several commitments to boost health care, many of which had been announced before budget day. 

 

Aerial view of the Cowley Lions Campground on the Castle River in southwestern Alberta

 

To that point, the budget provides nearly $1 billion to shave ambulance wait times, plus $4.2 billion over the next three years to boost health care in rural and Indigenous communities. 

The budget meanwhile provides 13 per cent more for the ministries of Justice and Public Safety. Toews said he would hold Public Safety Minister Mike Ellis accountable for putting 200 extra law enforcement officers on Alberta streets, mostly in the form of provincial sheriffs. 

Toews did not say how much money the province has spent on exploring the possibility of replacing the RCMP with an independent Alberta Police Service, echoing Ellis’s comments last month that the government hasn’t made up its mind. 

“We’ve obviously made no decision as would be reflected in this budget. But we have made a decision to increase enforcement in the meantime,” Toews said.

 

 

Notley’s NDP panned the budget, pouring scorn on Danielle Smith, who succeeded former premier Jason Kenney last fall.   

“Frankly, the best news in Danielle Smith’s first budget is that it could be her last one because, very soon, Albertans will have a choice to turn the page,” Notley said. 

The Opposition leader swung at Smith’s contentious revamp of the province’s RStar program that rewards petro companies for meeting their legal obligations to reclaim spent oil wells, calling Budget 2023 “a fraudulent budget designed to buy votes ahead of the election and then spring the costs on Albertans after the polls have closed.”

 

UCP passes inflation-relief measures as fall sitting winds down

“This is by far the most significant relief package in Canada,” Matt Jones, minister of affordability and utilities, told reporters.

Jones said the relief measures are tied to the price of oil as represented by West Texas Intermediate crude.

“We want Albertans to benefit from their resources. That’s why you see us flowing through benefits in oil and gas prices to protect Albertans from where they pay more for oil and gas prices,” he explained. 

But the opposition New Democrats were quick to point out that the act reindexes income benefits to inflation, which the NDP had done in 2018.

Jones had promised a host of tax breaks, direct payments to low-income Albertans, and heating rebates a week earlier, when on Dec. 7 he introduced Bill 2, now the Inflation Relief Amendments Act.

The act provides six monthly $100 relief payments to seniors and families with children whose annual household incomes are less than $180,000, with payments ending in June. The act suspends the 13-cent per litre provincial fuel tax on gas and diesel over the same period, while also deferring electricity costs above 13.5 cents per kilowatt hour in January, February and March for customers on the regulated rate option. 

 

 

Costs above that threshold will be gradually tacked onto customers’ electricity bills through April 2023 and December 2024. The act provides temporary price guards on natural gas through the end of March.

It also bumps Albertans’ provincial income tax credits by about 2.5 per cent for fiscal year 2022, with another six per cent raise for 2023. The extra credits mean that Albertans won’t pay provincial income tax on the first $21,000 they make in 2023, striking 95,000 citizens off that year’s tax rolls, according to Jones.

Income supports, including Assured Income for the Severely Handicapped and benefits to Persons with Developmental Disabilities, will also go up by six per cent in 2023, and will stay indexed to inflation moving forward.

The UCP deindexed AISH, PDD and seniors’ benefits in 2019, shortly after the party took over the legislature from Rachel Notley’s NDP. 

“The UCP justified the cruel decision by saying that they couldn’t afford the increased costs and running deficits, yet they paid for their ridiculous war room and gave away handouts to wealthy corporations,” New Democrat Marie Renaud (St. Albert) told the house Wednesday.

Thanking Renaud “for the history lesson,” Seniors Minister Jeremy Nixon answered that the UCP is now in a position to help.

 

 

“We inherited a fiscal train wreck from the members opposite, and we brought our fiscal house in order for the sustainability of programs going forward,” Nixon said. 

Renaud shot back that by “ignoring the fact that they’ll be responsible for people impacted in society with three years’ worth of cuts,” Bill 2 amounted to too little, too late. 

“Just apologize and do better,” Renaud demanded.

Meeting with community journalists after the floor exchange, Minister Jones said the act would support all Albertans, regardless of age, ability or income bracket. 

When asked why payments and affordability measures are timed to lapse after May’s  provincial election, Jones said the government needs to gauge the act’s success. 

“We’ve always envisioned this as an inflation relief package for the problem that exists now, which will give us time to evaluate the situation over the next six months, so that we can respond appropriately, based on our financial position and the realities at that time,” he said.