Rachel Notley, leader of the Alberta NDP party, visited Red Deer on Saturday afternoon where she spoke to a crowd of around 70 people about her party and the upcoming election on May 5th.
Following Thursday’s televised leaders’ debate in which Notley was generally listed as the winner, Premier Jim Prentice stated on Global Edmonton’s morning news that Alberta is, “Not an NDP province.” However Notley had otherwise to say during her visit to Red Deer.
“Albertans need to choose who they want to be their government and who they want to reflect their interests,” said Notley following her arrival at the West Park Community Centre where she spoke. “We should not be told who we are or what we are.”
She stated she feels Albertans have had enough of a, “Tired, arrogant, and entitled government.” Adding that she hopes this ‘historic election’ that Alberta is on the verge of will give way to a break in the 44-year Progressive Conservative dynasty.
“We all know in Alberta and especially Red Deer – if you don’t like the weather right now wait five minutes and it will change,” she said.
“It hasn’t quite been that way with government – if we didn’t like it, apparently we’ve had to wait 44 years – but after 44 years we will finally be able to get the change we’ve been looking for.”
Notley, who is currently the MLA for Edmonton-Strathcona, stated while on the campaign trail she has primarily heard concerns from Albertans regarding health care and education.
“Folks are starting to the come to the conclusion that there are two choices in this election,” she said. “On one hand you have the Wildrose and PCs who want to take a billion dollars out of our healthcare, and who want to send 12,000 of our children into schools next year without hiring any more teachers.
“All so they can maintain corporate tax giveaways.”
She added the other side Albertans are seeing is that of the NDP.
“The other side they are seeing is a different alternative,” said Notley. “One where we say to Albertans that we care about improving and protecting your healthcare because you count on it, and we care about making sure your education system is teaching your kids the best possible way and is there for them when they need it because we know that education is always a sound investment in our future.”
She told the crowd of mostly media and NDP supporters that the way to a balanced and fiscally responsible budget is not through cuts in health care and education, but rather through adjustments in corporate taxation.
“What we should do is we ask the folks and corporations especially who can afford to pay a little more to make a modest contribution to help us face the fiscal challenges we are finding ourselves in right now,” she stated. “We ask them to pay a little more because they can afford to do so, and that is a balanced approach that can help us to ensure we represent the interests of regular Albertans and their families.
“This way we can protect their health care and education and we can focus on creating jobs for Albertans.”
Following last Thursday’s leaders’ debate a poll was posted by Mainstreet Technologies asking 2,332 people who watched or listened to the debate, “Regardless of which party you happen to support, who do you think did the better job in tonight’s debate?”
The poll listed Notley as the winner of the debate with 45% of respondents choosing Notley, 25% choosing PC leader Jim Prentice, 16% chose Wildrose leader Brian Jean and 5% choosing Liberal leader David Swann.
Again the poll asked those surveyed who they thought would make a better premier with 36% choosing Notley and at a close second 32% choosing Prentice.