Notley calls provincial election for April 16; opens with speech on whos fit to be premier – Calgary Herald

Notley calls provincial election for April 16; opens with speech on \who\s fit to be premier\ - Calgary Herald
Rachel Notley and Jason Kenney go head to head as Alberta election called for April 16
The two main rivals campaigning to become Alberta’s next premier wasted no time in criticizing the other’s record, as a provincial election date was announced Monday morning.

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.

Separately, on Monday night, one of Kenney's star candidates dropped out of the running in the Calgary–Mountain View riding following the release of private messages from two years earlier when she talked about a double standard for white supremacist terrorists and said she was saddened by the "demographic replacement of white peoples in their homelands."

“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 UCP has been busy making policy announcements in anticipation of the election call, including corporate tax breaks, different minimum wage levels based on experience and age, and a promise to undo some of the NDP's signature bills, including the controversial carbon tax.

The NDP’s record on economy, pipelines and the government’s  “disastrous alliance” with Justin Trudeau have proved a millstone for Albertans, added Kenney.

Following Mondays throne speech in Edmonton, Kenney answered questions from reporters for nearly an hour, denying any involvement in creating a “kamikaze” campaign during the UCP leadership race against Brian Jean. He said communication between his campaign and that of rival Jeff Callaway, who undermined Jean in the race, was normal.

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.

Notley’s main rival in the four-week campaign, UCP Leader Jason Kenney, held his own event at Total Energy Services in Leduc Tuesday afternoon, where he said Alberta’s economy has been destroyed and is in a “job crisis” with thousands of positions shed over the last few months.

Kenney’s denied the link as well as suspicions his campaign illegally financed Callaway’s effort, the latter issue being probed by the RCMP.

Kenney said a UCP government would “make it clear” to other provinces — including B.C. — that if they block Alberta’s resources getting to market, “there will be serious economic consequences including the use of the turn off the taps legislation.”

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.

Lori Williams, a political expert at Mount Royal University, believes the scandals surrounding the UCP have made the race more competitive. For her, the election could come down to which issue is larger: the UCPs ethics or the NDPs economics.

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.”

Albertans are poorer because of NDP policies, Kenney said. Why is it that in seven of the last nine months unemployment has gone up in Alberta? If this is a recovery, Id hate to see a recession.

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.

Certainly from our perspective, we have an obligation to deliver extensive, engaging and meaningful coverage of the election and the issues being discussed. That means, among other things, hearing from the politicians, the pollsters, the policy experts and the pundits.

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.

The differences in philosophy and vision couldnt be starker and, with the precarious state of Albertas economy, this election represents an important decision as to which direction we choose to take the province.

“We will continue to invest in infrastructure so Calgary is a place where people will come,” she said.

Once a week throughout the campaign, well bring the panel in for an hour to have a conversation about the issues being discussed – and the issues being ignored – on the campaign trail.

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.

Our talk shows obviously are designed to incorporate listener feedback through phone calls, texts, social media and email. We want to go a little deeper, though.

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.

Happy Mann, disqualified by the United Conservatives as a possible candidate because he failed to disclose he is a defendant in a serious fraud case and because his close supporters and family members beat up a journalist to the point of unconsciousness.

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.

Cam Davies, who the UCP fired from a contract because he failed to disclose he was under investigation from the Elections Officer and “who, in the claims, says he knowingly facilitated illegal financial transactions.”

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.”

It was long obvious to Kenney (and the rest of us) that NDP personal attacks would aim straight at him, just as plain as it was to Notley that her rival would premise nearly all his campaign on grumpiness about Albertas carbon tax and oil-sector slump. His side is confident that the sham candidate controversy is too complex for people to understand and at days end nothing illegal occurred. (Sound awkwardly like how the Liberals feel about laffaire SNC-Lavalin?). The UCP is also betting that Albertans will ultimately be more repelled by the NDPs fear and smear campaign than they will be by anything that barrage reveals.

“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.

The Ipsos poll was conducted between March 15 and 17 using both online and telephone surveys of 900 eligible Alberta voters. It is accurate to within ±3.7 percentage points, or 19 times out of 20, had all eligible voters been polled. Some questions are based on a sample of 800 respondents and are accurate to within ±4.0 percentage points, or 19 times out of 20.

“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.

The issues that were top of mind for those polled were primarily economy related, with 30 per cent saying jobs and employment were major issues ahead of the election. Twenty-five per cent said pipeline construction was a concern as they consider their vote and 22 per cent said they were thinking of the general economy overall.

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.

When it comes to voter certainty, the UCP is also ahead of the NDP, the poll shows. More than 60 per cent of the UCP supporters surveyed said they were “very certain” they’d vote for the UCP, whereas 47 per cent of the NDP voters said they were certain about their choice.

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.”

Over the weekend, Charles Rusnell and Jennie Russell, investigative journalists at CBC Edmonton, reported on a cache of documents that show collaboration between Jason Kenney's campaign team and the campaign team for another candidate, Jeff Callaway. 

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.

Neither normally include the emoji at the end.                

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.”