Rajan Sawhney, who held two Cabinet positions under Jason Kenney, would review some of his most controversial decisions if she is successful in her bid to replace him.
The first-term MLA, former Minister for Community and Social Services, and former Minister of Transportation said she would hold an inquiry into the Government’s COVID-19 response if she is selected to lead the United Conservative Party.
She would also reverse her decision to de-index the Assured Income for the Severely Handicapped (AISH) benefits, and re-index the tax system.
“In a world with high and rising inflation, it makes no sense for the Alberta government to reap a windfall while Albertans are drowning under a waterfall of rising food, energy, and other costs. Reindexing the tax system means not only increasing all the tax brackets, it also means increasing the basic personal and spousal amounts, age amounts, medical allowances, and all the other credits in the tax system.”
She would also re-assess UCP promises like the establishment of a provincial police force and Alberta pension plan, and examine the effectiveness of the Canadian Energy Centre. The latter was established by Kenney to advocate for the Canadian oil-and-gas sector.
Sawhney was elected as UCP MLA in Calgary – Northeast in 2019. When she served as Social Services Minister, she de-indexed AISH from the Consumer Price Index and privatized 24-hour Government Direct Operation Programs. She also criticized Kenney for breaking COVID restrictions, but unlikely her fellow Cabinet Minister, Leela Aheer, was not removed from cabinet as a result.
A mother of four, Sawhney has a Bachelor of Arts in Economics and Political Science, and an MBA, from the University of Calgary. Before entering politics, she worked in the oil-and-gas sector for more than 23 years, including as an economist at the Alberta Energy Regulator.
With her proposed policies, Sawhney is expected to gain support from urban areas and the more leftist/centrist wing of the UCP.
Taxes, spending & infrastructure
Rajan Sawhney proposes sending Albertans monthly Affordability Cheques of $75 plus an additional $25 per child, which Sawhney predicts would raise incomes for lower-income families by as much as 6% at a cost of $225M per month.
Albertans need relief. Here's how I would fight inflation
Rajan Sawhney promises to reindex tax items to address affordability for low-income Albertans, Albertans on disability, and Alberta seniors, which Sawhney predicts would cost up to $232M. Sawhney pledges further support to all taxpayers by reindexing basic personal amounts, spousal amounts, medical allowances and other credits in the tax system, which Sawhney predicts could cost up to $496M.
Unleash economic potential and create another agri-food corridor
Rajan Sawhney promises infrastructure to help farmers access their markets, including by twinning Highway 3 from east to west and creating a connector with Highway 686.
social issues & public policy
When it comes to gender equity we have a long way to go on many measures
Rajan Sawhney promises to address women's equity challenges, including tracking progress on gender equity measures, promoting financing women-led startups, ensuring training opportunities for women, and creating a cross-ministry plan to reduce gender-based violence.
climate, energy & Sustainability
Upholding the Lougheed Legacy by implementing all recommendations of the Coal Policy Committee
Rajan Sawhney promises to implement all recommendations of the Coal Policy Comittee, including only allowing coal exploration on approved lands, considering the cumulative effects of future developments, continuing the halt on coal activity in Category 2 lands, and pausing exploration in Category 3 and 4 lands until a subregional plan has been completed.
Alberta needs to address the future of energy in Canada
Rajan Sawhney promises to expand and diversify Alberta energy, including by designing programs to create investments in carbon capture and utilizing waste carbon, increasing storage capacity and strategic reserves, establishing an Alberta Energy Framework Cabinet Committee to work with industry to deploy new clean technologies, and attracting investment into hydrogen.
philosophy & guiding principles
The proposed sovereignty act is an unconstitutional delusion
Rajan Sawhney rejects the Alberta Sovereignty Act proposed by Danielle Smith and urges Albertans to consider supporting a leadership candidate who can and will call out and stop the 'Sovereignty Act 'delusion'.
Rajan Sawhney promises to create a Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs who will also be Deputy Premier, who will be tasked with coordinating investor confidence in Alberta with the Minister of Finance and enhancing Alberta's autonomy within Canada.