Premier Jim Prentice made it official this week – Albertans will head to the polls May 5th.
Prentice told supporters and media in Edmonton that Albertans deserve the opportunity to judge his party’s plan, which has been laid out over the past several weeks. “Our party is not the party of the status quo – we will not take Alberta backwards,” he said. “I’m proud to be a forward-looking progressive conservative.”
He also talked about his future plans for the province, adding Alberta doesn’t have to stay so dependent on non-renewable resources and the economic volatility they inevitably bring. He also outlined a 10-year plan for the province, which he said would create secure, long-term jobs.
“We will be taking our detailed plan to every single household in this province,” he said.
“All Albertans will have the opportunity to read it, to understand it and to see for themselves what we are proposing for the future of this province and what we are going to leave behind for our children and our grandchildren.
“These are challenging times that require decisive leadership,” he said, noting that some of the province’s recent decisions haven’t been popular, including hikes in so-called sin taxes and the health care levy. “But we have made the realistic choices.”
Prentice said his party must – everyday and in every action – earn the trust of Albertans.
“I want this party to be a party that Albertans can be proud of. A party that listens to what Albertans have to say,” he said. “This election is about one fundamental question – who has a realistic plan for the challenges that face Alberta, who is being honest with Albertans and who has the realistic plan to put things right in this province?”
Prentice also talked about changing the culture of government to be one that focuses on being, “Frugal, practical and focused on frontline services.
“We will cut the size of government – there are too many managers, there are too many consultants, are too many committees and there is too much waste, too much red tape and too much duplication.”
The opposition parties were quick to respond to the announcement.
Wildrose Leader Brian Jean said, “The only way to stop taxes from going up is to vote Wildrose. After 44 years in government, the same old entitled PCs under Jim Prentice no longer deserve a blank cheque.
“Across this province, we are building a strong team dedicated to standing up for Albertans. Only the Wildrose has the track record to compete province-wide against the PCs and give Albertans a credible alternative.
“Politics needs to be about people, earning their trust and standing up for them on the issues that matter to them most,” Jean said. “Government shouldn’t be about dollars spent, but people served. I can’t wait to meet with Albertans across the province and stand up for them to ensure we keep money in their pockets, and bring our province back to prosperity.”
Greg Clark, Alberta Party leader, said that, “This election is nothing more than the usual PC political opportunism.
“I’ve been on the doors for the last six weeks in Calgary-Elbow, and I am confident that this will be Prentice’s spring of discontent.
“Jim Prentice is hoping for the lowest voter turnout in Alberta history because he thinks it will give him an advantage. I believe Albertans will step up and show Prentice who’s really in charge.”
In a statement, Alberta Liberal Leader David Swann said, “This campaign is about building and maintaining trust with Martha and Henry’s family, the new generation of Albertans who are now driving this province.
“Over the last three years, Albertans have learned they can count on Alberta Liberals to lead on progressive, forward thinking issues that represent the values of Albertans, including equal pay for work of equal value, gay-straight alliances, and protecting our children through mandatory choice on vaccinations.”