COFFEE CHAT – Premier Jim Prentice was recently in Red Deer to pour coffee for patrons at the Gasoline Alley Tim Hortons during a campaign stop.

Election campaigns heat up across the province

  • Apr. 15, 2015 2:53 p.m.

With the second week of election campaigns across the province underway, party leaders continue to make stops across Alberta.

Greg Clark, leader of the Alberta Party, announced earlier this week the party’s plans to build new schools, protect teachers and reduce class sizes in Alberta’s schools.

“Gordon Dirks and the PCs are taking the lug nuts off the school bus and are hoping that the wheels don’t fall off,” said Clark. “Instead of standing up to protect students, the education minister is asking students to pay for the PC government’s fiscal mismanagement.”

He said the Alberta Party will build schools, protect teachers and reduce class sizes by reversing the PCs’ cuts to education and guarantee per-student funding to match population growth and inflation. He added the Alberta Party will also invest in new schools to keep pace with Alberta’s population growth, phase out school fees and reduce taxpayer subsidies to private schools that do not serve the public interest.

“The Alberta Party has a better way. Our province has the resources needed to give our kids the education they need to succeed.”

Earlier this week Alberta Liberal Leader David Swann announced a package to invest in the safety and success of Alberta’s children as well.

“Albertans want to ensure their kids have the best opportunities to succeed and the most nurturing and safest environments in which to thrive,” said Swann. “The government has a responsibility to help provide support for children to excel early in life. While some of our initiatives are admittedly bold, they nonetheless speak to critical areas where the PCs have clearly failed Alberta families.”

Swann announced a number of policy initiatives including a $25 million investment to boost the number of licensed and affordable childcare spaces, the creation of a ‘mandatory-choice’ vaccination system that informs parents of the risks of not vaccinating their children, a move toward the adoption of full-day Kindergarten and a universal childcare program and the teaching of consent in the Sexual Health Education curriculum in Alberta.

“The Alberta Liberals will continue to lead on these progressive issues, even though the PCs refuse to act,” said Swann. “If the government fails to invest in future generations, our society will pay a tremendous cost. This fully-costed proposal is the right investment.”

Meanwhile, Premier Jim Prentice pledged to uphold the rights of Alberta landowners in the face of Alberta Surface Rights Board decisions that compromised their ability to receive payments for use of their land when companies leasing the property go bankrupt. In decisions in 2013 and 2014, the Board denied the Lemke family their yearly lease payments from Petroglobe Inc. for use of their land, after the company filed for bankruptcy, according to a press release.

“Since I was a young lawyer, and well into my political career, I’ve fought for the property rights of families like the Lemkes,” said Prentice. “They don’t deserve to have their property rights shoved aside in bureaucratic battles. Landowners deserve to have their rights protected, and that’s what a government I lead will continue to do. It’s the reason the first piece of legislation I put forward as premier was one to further protect property rights in this province.”

Prentice said he would be asking the Alberta Surface Rights Board to review its decisions with respect to the Lemke family.

“It’s simply not fair for landowners to be moved to the back of the line when companies go bankrupt,” said Prentice. “I believe the purpose of the Alberta Surface Rights Board is to stand up for landowners, and in these particular cases, that didn’t happen. I will take steps to deal with that as premier after this election. A re-elected Progressive Conservative government under my leadership will be formally requesting that the Alberta Surface Rights Board reconsider its decisions in these cases.”

The legislation governing the Alberta Surface Rights Board gives it broad, unrestricted discretion to review and reconsider its decisions at any time, if either requested by the government, or on its own initiative.

– Fawcett

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