And the premier wasted no time in zeroing in on controversies surrounding UCP leader Jason Kenney’s 2017 leadership campaign and the fact she believes others in that party exhibit racial intolerance.
“Two days ago, we learned Mr. Kenney cheated to win his party’s leadership and when he was caught he didn’t tell the truth,” Notley told an audience at Calgary’s Studio Bell/National Music Centre after announcing the election date.
“This issue goes directly to the choice before Albertans; this goes to the choice of who’s going to be premier and who’s fit to be premier of Alberta,” she said.
The Alberta Party, led by former PC cabinet minister Stephen Mandel, is largely perceived as the third party in the race, followed by the Alberta Liberals. On the right, ousted conservative MLA Derek Fildebrandt will go into the election as the head of the Freedom Conservative Party.
Meanwhile at a campaign event in Leduc just south of Edmonton Tuesday, Kenney pumped his theme of economic renewal and NDP fiscal incompetence.
The NDP’s record on economy, pipelines and the government’s “disastrous alliance” with Justin Trudeau have proved a millstone for Albertans, added Kenney.
Last weekend, leaked documents suggested Kenney’s leadership campaign co-ordinated with another campaign run by party operative Jeff Callaway to undermine another leadership contender, Brian Jean.
Kenney’s denied the link as well as suspicions his campaign illegally financed Callaway’s effort, the latter issue being probed by the RCMP.
Inside Albertas House of Cards scandal
The election call came hours after Caylan Ford, a candidate for the UCP in Calgary-Mountain View, resigned following allegations she made comments about white nationalists online.
The premier latched on to that allegation and similar ones in the preceding months, to hammer the UCP as she kicked off the 28-day battle.
While she said Kenney isn’t a racist, “I do believe as a party the UCP has a problem with racism. . . Mr. Kenney wants an Alberta divided over people’s rights.”
After Rachel Notley dropped the writ in Calgary Tuesday morning, the New Democratic Party (NDP) Leader made the case to continue as premier for another four years and attacked her main opponent, United Conservative Party (UCP) Leader Jason Kenney.
Albertans head to polls April 16 as NDP Premier Rachel Notley calls election
She raised those issues to also make an appeal to conservative voters, whom she said have a home with the NDP.
Mr. Kenney looked Albertans in the eye and very casually and very comfortably lied to us, Notley said, in reference to the leaked documents that link Kenney to Jeff Callaways kamikaze campaign.
“A growing number of conservatives here in Calgary and across Alberta are coming to have very serious doubts about Jason Kenney as premier. A nasty record of intolerance should have no place in the premier’s office in this province.”
Notley launched her party’s campaign in Calgary — a city widely seen as the decisive battleground in the election and one where her party lags in popularity.
Alberta Premier Rachel Notley calls election for April
The premier said she’s worked hard to deliver the Trans Mountain pipeline while investing heavily in Calgary in projects like the BMO Centre expansion, as a way to combat joblessness and vacant office space.
“We will continue to invest in infrastructure so Calgary is a place where people will come,” she said.
But the NDP, which came to power by ending nearly 43 years of Tory rule in 2015, has struggled to fire up an Alberta economy beset by low oil and natural gas prices.
A new session of the legislature began Monday with a throne speech that focused on the NDP government’s accomplishments in the last four years — from building schools, roads and hospitals to providing more supports for seniors, students and those in need.
Experts dont expect an Alberta election to be called immediately
The spring provincial election will be the first for Kenney, a federal cabinet minister under former prime minister Stephen Harper.
In an emailed message to UCP supporters following the election call, Kenney said his party will defeat the NDP, create jobs and scrap the carbon tax.
Keith Gerein: Albertas election will be a tug of war between ethics and the economy
“We can get Alberta back to work and build an Alberta that is strong and free,” he wrote. “If we are not successful here the NDP will govern our province through 2023. Imagine the tax increases, the job losses, and the years of debt and deficits.”
Alberta election expected to focus on the economy — but NDP hopes to make it all about Jason Kenney
A UCP government, he said, would more aggressively seek a coastal pipeline and push for a constitutional referendum on equalization “to assert our fight for fairness to the top of the national agenda.”
“We would stop the NDP’s approach of apologizing and surrendering and we would start a new approach of fighting for Alberta.”
For weeks, the UCP leader has chided Notley to drop the election writ; polls have long shown his party with a solid lead.
Said Notley in response Tuesday: “Elections aren’t decided by polls, they’re decided by the voters.”
Alberta Liberal leader David Khan said he’s confident in holding his party’s only seat in Calgary-Mountain View, having been door-knocking with the retiring Dr. David Swann who oversaw the riding for four terms.
“Albertans are tired of this really divisive partisanship between the NDP and UCP — there’s not been enough emphasis on the politics of making lives better for Albertans,” said Khan, whose party has so far nominated nearly 50 candidates.
Alberta Party leader Stephen Mandel kicked off his campaign at a rally in Edmonton Tuesday afternoon.
Alberta NDP Premier Rachel Notley calls election for April
The legislature’s current political composition is 53 NDP seats, 27 UCP, 3 Alberta Party, 2 Independents, 1 Liberal and 1 Freedom Conservative Party.
An election like no other: Will the conservative dynasty win the 2019 fight for Alberta?
Politics: Elected member of the legislature for the Wildrose Party in 2015; joined the United Conservative Party after the Wildrose merged with the Progressive Conservatives; expelled from the UCP caucus in 2018; formed and now leading the Freedom Conservative Party.
Quote: “I want elections to be about issues. The Tories wanted it to be about simply a brand vote for the blue team — essentially buy Toronto Maple Leaf tickets (and) go for the guys in the blue jersey no matter how badly they treat their fans.”
Alberta Election 2019: Rachel Notley Calls Provincial Vote For April 16
Pre-politics: Studied philosophy at University of San Francisco, CEO of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation.
Albertas 2019 election underway as Premier Notley drops the writ
Politics: Elected as Reform MP in Calgary in 1997; re-elected with the Canadian Alliance in 2000; re-elected four more times with the Conservatives; held several cabinet posts from 2008 to 2015, including immigration, employment, and defence; elected leader of the Alberta Progressive Conservatives, which became the United Conservatives, in 2017.
Quote: “The NDP promised change, but instead what they gave us is a record of economic failure — the worst economic record of any government in the history of Alberta since the Great Depression.”
Politics: Won party leadership in 2017; lost Calgary Lougheed byelection in 2017; ran and lost in Calgary Buffalo in the 2015 provincial election; ran and lost in 2014 byelection in Calgary West.
She is scheduled to speak in Calgary at 9:45 a.m. CTV News Edmonton will be livestreaming the event.
Quote: “The Alberta Liberals’ priority issues will be improving public health care, the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion, boosting education, and an immediate ban on conversion therapy. We’ll hold the NDP government to account for failing to deliver on its progressive promises.”
Politics: Elected Edmonton city councillor in 2001; elected mayor in 2004, 2007 and 2010; named provincial Progressive Conservative health minister and won Edmonton Whitemud byelection in 2014; lost Edmonton Whitemud in 2015 election; won leadership of Alberta Party in 2018.
Quote: “Albertans are frustrated with the level of spending we have right now. Many people feel we have a spending problem rather than necessarily just an expense problem.”
Politics: Elected member of the legislature for Edmonton Strathcona in 2008; re-elected in 2012; became NDP leader in 2014; re-elected 2015 and became premier when party won a majority.
Quote: “Who is going to be premier and who is fit to be premier? That is the choice. Because Alberta is really for all of us. One Alberta, not just for the few, but for all of us.”