Key Election Issues
Voters alarmed by rising crime offered few solutions, lots of blame
With violent crime escalating across Alberta, public safety is shooting up as a voter concern demanding the attention of candidates vying for a seat in the Alberta legislature.
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More, or less, oil and gas?As one of the world’s oil and gas powerhouses, Alberta regularly struggles with one question: Should the province diversify its economy away from fossil fuels?
No Shortage of Proposals to Use $2.4 Billion SurplusAlberta is poised to benefit from a surge in resource revenue this decade, which could lead to provincial budget surpluses to fund spending for today’s growing population – or savings to support future generations. In its pre-election budget Feb. 28, the UCP government predicted Alberta will end the 2023-24 fiscal year with a surplus of $2.4 billion, even after spending $68.3 billion to fund health care, day care, education, and many other programs, like helping Albertans cope with high inflation.
Leaders Offer Measures to Ease Affordability CrisisAs a result of generous monetary policy during the brunt of the COVID-19 pandemic, most of the world is experiencing the effects of inflation today. Canada is no exception, with inflation reaching 8.1% in June 2022, a 30-year high. Historically, the Bank of Canada seeks to ensure inflation is between 1.0 – 2.0%, and so, to try and get inflation under control, interest rates have been hiked to 2.5. In theory, with rising interest rates (and therefore, harder access to financial capital), prices and demand for capital should cool down.
Provincial Vote Could Impact Future of CPP in AlbertaAlberta’s Conservatives have been seriously studying the idea of launching an Alberta Pension Plan (APP) – and backing out of the Canada Pension Plan (CPP) – as another way of reducing the federal government’s dominance over the province.
UCP and NDP push different visions of children’s educationTwo years after Alberta’s UCP government introduced plans to overhaul the kindergarten-to-Grade-6 curriculum, progressives and conservatives continue to clash over how to educate the province’s children.
Battle for Alberta’s FutureTwo opposing visions of Alberta will be on the ballot when voters pick their next provincial government in the May 29, 2023, general election. For the first time, two women – former NDP Premier Rachel Notley, and current UCP Premier Danielle Smith – are dominating the race to take over as the 20th head of government since Alberta was created in 1905.
More education cash is coming, but criticism aboundsAfter years of underfunding, the UCP-led government plans to hire thousands more teachers and support staff, build new schools, expand student transportation, and push more money into charter schools.
Political Leaders Propose Fixes for Ailing Health SystemThe UCP has announced a $158-million plan to attract and retain rural physicians, recruit internationally trained nurses, and fund a program to support nurses immigrating to Alberta. With the health care crisis weighing heavily on the minds of Albertans, politicians vying for their votes in the May election are proposing new spending to address the shortage of health professionals, particularly in rural areas.
Voters Will Decide if Alberta Needs a “Constitutional Shield” Against OttawaAlbertans will make a historic choice in the May 2023 provincial election: Whether to support the United Conservative Party (UCP)’s signature law, the Alberta Sovereignty within a United Canada Act, or look for other ways to protect the province’s interests. The Alberta Act is controversial inside and outside the province. It was opposed by Smith’s top leadership rivals, who favoured other ways to advance Alberta’s interests. Rachel Notley, leader of the NDP opposition, said she would immediately revoke the “job-killing” law if elected.
Ottawa’s ‘Just Transition’ a Wild Card in Alberta ElectionA plan by the federal government to transition the country to a low-carbon economy has exploded into a major election issue in Alberta, stoking fears Justin Trudeau’s Liberals are plotting to shut down the province’s oil and gas sector. Both Alberta UCP Premier Danielle Smith and NDP leader Rachel Notley have condemned the plan, laid out in a briefing document for federal ministers. Federal legislation is anticipated in early 2023.