With Alberta’s 2023 provincial general election underway, the Alberta NDP outlined their main focus areas for the campaign they say will get their party back into the leadership position for the province.
Health care, education, and jobs were the focus for NDP leader Rachel Notley on Monday, as she outlined what the priorities would be for her government—if elected.
Notley also took aim at the UCP, getting raucous cheers from a packed house of supporters and Calgary NDP candidates during the launch at the Platform Calgary Innovation Centre.
“After four very hard years dealing with the healthcare crisis, and the affordability crisis, and the UCP government constantly in crisis, this campaign is actually about giving families hope,” said Notley.
“You know I’ve worked every day to protect your healthcare, protect your education, your job and your future. And you also know Danielle Smith, and you know that she will tell you what she thinks you want to hear.”
One of the biggest promises made during the campaign launch was to attract more family doctors to the province and to ensure that one million more Albertans had access to those family doctors.
Notley also promised that her government would address what they said were unreasonable waits to access ambulances, urgent and emergency medical care, and routine medical tests like blood work.
“We will bring doctors back to Alberta,” she said.
Primary education and jobs also focuses for campaign launch
Notley also addressed one of the party’s other major campaign pillars: Education.
She promised that, if elected, her party would reduce class sizes and ensure that students get more attention from educators.
The Alberta NDP leader also promised to revisit the controversial Alberta curriculum that was formed under the UCP government.
“Our students will have a modern curriculum that helps them understand the world around them and actual prepares them to deal,” she said.”
“Albertans are asking for reinforcements in the classroom, not the war room.”
Promises were also made about further diversifying the provincial economy, while taking aim at the record of the UCP on oil and gas.
“In Alberta with an NDP government, Albertans will see real action to grow and diversify our economy because it is not as the UCP likes to claim, a long term luxury, but rather diversification is an absolute necessity,” Notley said.
“Instead we will diversify with oil and gas, with more petrochemical projects and more ways to use bitumen, allowing us to make more energy products right here at home in Alberta and get more value for our resources.”
The NDP plan, Notley claimed, would produce $20 billion in private-sector investment and create 47,000 industrial jobs.
“We need to stop this issue of pitting energy and the economy against doing the right thing for the environment,” she said.
“We know that by partnering with our peers, we can grow that sector, we can grow jobs, protect jobs and create whole new jobs, while at the same time reducing emissions and developing new tech and and new sectors.”
Reduced costs for Albertans, but no to tax cuts
Responding to questions around UCP leader Danielle Smith’s plan to reduce taxes for middle and low-income Albertans, Notley said that her government would be focused on making life more affordable in other ways.
“We look forward to rolling out our coordinated affordability measures very soon into the campaign… and of course, they will be focused primarily on lower-income folks,” Notley said.
“The one focus today was on an across-the-board tax cut for Albertans, and you know, that’s what it is, but it doesn’t come without a cost.”
Notley said that the estimated $1 billion in reduced revenue as a result of UCP tax promises was causing Alberta’s surplus to evaporate. Her party, in contrast she said, was promising to put a freeze on any tax increases.
She said that the UCP’s promise had caused her party concern over what her rivals’ real agenda was for health care and education.
“We’re very much about what their actual agenda is for health care or education, for the payment of doctors, for hiring new frontline health care workers, and for keeping our emergency rooms open,” Notley said.
“We’re making sure that families have the health care they need when they need it without ever having to worry about how much money they have.”