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Hoffman lays out top priorities in her NDP leadership bid

Posted on February 26, 2024 by Ryan Dahlman

By Anna Smith
Southern Alberta Newspapers
Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

NDP leadership candidate Sarah Hoffman was at Medicine Hat College on Feb. 12, reaching out to residents for support in her goal to become party leader during this summer’s vote.

During a speech to supporters, Hoffman spoke on her past on school boards, as well as her time as the health minister, setting her sights on three main issues she would focus on as the potential leader of the NDP.

“I think that there are three key priority areas that we really need to acquire new key values (for) to make sure we can write some of the wrongs that are happening right now,” said Hoffman.

She listed her three priorities as health care, climate change and housing, though she added she does also hold education close to her heart and as something she believes goes hand in hand with her focus.

“I was so proud to be the first NDP health minister in this province. And we need to put public health back as a priority. We need a government that actually cares about public health and wants it to be successful,” said Hoffman, expressing concern for the next three years under current leadership.

“I’m deeply concerned about the future of public health. I’m concerned about health care in general. Instead of having a government that’s trying to muzzle doctors and scientists and other experts, we need to get back to putting evidence at the forefront and making decisions based on that evidence.”

She continued to her next pillar, citing the fact there are already predictions of catastrophic drought being made in February, and that no part of the province knows the effect this will have better than the southeastern corner.

Hoffman explained that while she does believe in a polluter-pay principle, the idea of a carbon tax is a tool that has been “broken” by how it’s been used and has lost public support, and she would be looking for new tools.

“We need a government that’s going to take climate change seriously, and that’s going to act to improve the quality of the air and the water,” said Hoffman. “I think that we can’t trust the free market to take care of itself. They’ve proven that hasn’t worked in this situation. We need to be more forceful.”

In her final focus, Hoffman highlighted the fact “we used to talk about Medicine Hat having no people who are homeless, and that’s not the case anymore.”

“We know that young people trying to start out, to move out of their parents’ basement, feel that the options are very limited for them,” said Hoffman. “I was meeting with some students at Lethbridge College last week and they just said they feel there’s no way. There’s no way they can save up for a downpayment or even the first and last month’s rent in this economy.

“I think we need to bring in some rent control. And while that rent control, which is a temporary measure, is in place, we need to actually get back to building housing like we once did.”

Nominations for candidates closes March 15, with NDP party members as of April 22 eligible to vote.

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