By Carlie Connolly
On Nov. 12, the Connaught Golf Club in Medicine Hat was packed as Alberta’s NDP leader, Rachel Notley touched on some important issues and why the Hat could use NDP leadership.
She talked about the importance of raising minimum wage.
“We want kids to go to school and get fed before they start learning, so that they’re not hungry. We want post secondary education access and quality across the province,” she said.
A big topic in regard to providing care to the next generation was to put away enough money so that the next generation has a lot of different reasons to plan for the future. In planning for our future, she said that there should be importance placed on providing the best care to the next generation and making sure that where we live now can be passed on proudly to others.
“We want to make sure that our air, our land and our water is something we can leave to the next generations with pride instead of with apologies.”
The NDP came a distant fourth in the last election. In Edmonton, Whitemud, they had the best result that the party has ever gotten in there history
In the Lethbridge East nomination there were four declared candidates. Notley said that things are definitely heating up there for them.
“There’s a lot of buzz out there and there’s a lot of excitement, and there’s a reason for that. And the reason is that Albertans are looking for something different. They’re looking for something new and something that’s better,” she said
She hears of peoples frustration of the lack of economic diversification and short falls in healthcare. She said they are worried about how they are going to be able to provide safe and secure retirements for their parents, aunts and uncles, and they’re not happy with the quality of services that their kids are getting in education either. She says they know there is a lot of things that matter a great deal to Medicine Hat, and is talking to their needs.
For healthcare, she says that they need to stabilize their revenue in the province, getting rid of the flat tax they currently have in Alberta. Regular Albertans pay more than many other provinces and they need to put in a progressive tax.
“We need to abandon this ideologically driven desire to privatize everything. Every time you do that you lose money,” she said.
She uses the lab privatization plan as an example. She said that with this three billion dollar plan to privatize labs in Edmonton, the company hoping to receive the contract has stated to their shareholders that they will earn 200 million dollars in profit off that deal. That however is 200 million out of the healthcare system so that they can privatize to a multi-national corporation based out of Australia.
“That’s bad management, that’s bad planning and that’s about ideology, not about what’s best for Alberta patients and Alberta citizens.”
For electricity deregulation, Notley says that Albertans pay more for electricity, and their electricity costs are a great deal more unpredictable because of the deregulated market.
“In addition, what the deregulated market does is that it makes it more challenging to move towards an electricity market based on renewable energy as opposed to coal, which is a very bad investment in the long term.”
They need to then re-regulate the system because consumers need that certainty and those less expensive choices.
For the tour, the session starts on Nov. 17, but they are doing a quick southern Alberta swing. They were here for Jason Socklofske’s nomination as the new candidate for Medicine Hat Alberta’s New Democrats. She also went to Lethbridge for an AGM for one of the candidates, and to meet with some candidates who are contesting the nomination in Lethbridge East, as they have four contesting that are riding. She is then off to Calgary to have there first caucus meeting to make sure they do more stuff in southern Alberta.
Every part of Alberta is right for growth for the NDP, she said. After that one focused campaign in Lethbridge, she said that she saw huge growth, and sees Medicine Hat with the same potential.
“It’s a wonderful community. I think that there are a lot of people here that are ready for a more progressive, more equitable vision for the future of our province and certainly for the future of this community.”