By Jamie Rieger
Two political candidates for the Cypress/Medicine Hat constituency are in full-campaign mode with signs being placed and lots of handshaking with potential voters. A third candidate has thus far remained inactive from the race to the May 5 election, including refusing to make any comments to local media.
The Commentator has attempted to contact NDP candidate, Bev Waege for comments, but was denied. A representative (who did not identify herself) for Waege told the Commentator over the phone, “If this call is about the upcoming election, she has no comment.”
Bob Olson, who is running for the Progressive Conservative Party and Drew Barnes, candidate for the Wildrose Party, have both been out in the public, meeting voters and ensuring their message is getting out there.
When asked about the platform they are running on, Olson replied:
“I just want to work with the Party, work with Prentice and with the budget. And, I am going to work on re-building confidence in the constituency. It is extremely important to get people back on side,” said Olson. “There has been lots of talking about the budget and most people understand that something had to be done, especially with the oil prices the way they are.”
Barnes’ response: “My platform in a nutshell is about financial responsibility, enhancing property rights, health care that works, and a smaller, more efficient government. It is clear now that the Wildrose is not going to raise Alberta taxes. It is also clear that the PCs are not going to fix property rights.”
On health care:
Barnes: “I firmly believe in grassroots management when it comes to health care,” said Barnes about regional health care decision-making.
Olson focused his health care response on the return of health care premiums: “Somebody making $130,000, the premium is only $1,000, less than one percent of their income and those people at the low income scale don’t pay anything. “To me, this is a completely workable budget,” said Olson.
The 2015 provincial budget used $55/barrel oil prices as a factor and Olson said that once prices recover, those revenues will be going into the Heritage Fund for savings. Barnes, on the other hand, believes the PC government has had opportunity to save money for downturns in the economy and have chosen not to. “ This PC government is the most entitled, most wasteful this province has seen in decades,” said Barnes.