NDP leader Rachel Notley, surrounded by her party's Calgary candidates in the 2015 election.

Notley’s NDP inspired by Lougheed, PCs wage war on Wildrose

Alberta NDP leader Rachel Notley released her party’s election platform and fiscal plan over the weekend, with a focus job-creation, a serious review of royalty rates and a reversal of cuts to health care and education included in the Progressive Conservative government’s recent budget.

Alberta Premier Peter Lougheed

Peter Lougheed

“Instead of listening to Mr. Prentice,” Ms. Notley was quoted as saying by AlbertaPolitics.ca, “I’ll listen to premier Peter Lougheed, who said that it’s time for Alberta to consider a corporate tax increase. Like Mr. Lougheed, I believe what we’ve set out today is a common sense better approach, an approach that builds instead of tearing down.”

Ms. Notley has used the “Lougheed defence” numerous times since Jim Prentice began casting his opponents as “extremists” when he first called the election two weeks ago. The NDP platform feels neither extreme or even typically NDP, at least for the Alberta NDP.

By calling for a moderate 2% increase to corporate taxes and a careful review of the royalties Albertans collect for their resources positions Ms. Notley is positioning herself as a sensible alternative to Mr. Prentice, who has refused to discuss raising royalties or corporate taxes.

Brian Jean Wildrose LeaderWhile Mr. Prentice criticized the NDP platform, his party has yet to turn its serious attacks on Ms. Notley, instead focusing on rural conservative Wildrose opposition led by former Member of Parliament Brian Jean.

Last week, Mr. Prentice unleashed a gang of cabinet ministers on Mr. Jean and the PCs have constantly tried to knock the new leader off-balance. Only selected as leader weeks before the election was called, Mr. Jean’s campaign is not nearly as polished or controlled as that of former leader Danielle Smith in the 2012 election.

For example, responding to criticism from the PC Party that his party’s platform was not properly costed, Mr. Jean said: “[o]ur plan is awesome — it’s the most detailed fiscal plan proposed by any Canadian opposition party during an election.” Although I do not doubt that Mr. Jean and his team are doing the best they can under the circumstances (the party was eviscerated in December when Ms. Smith led most Wildrose MLAs into the PC Caucus), I have serious doubts that it is the “most detailed fiscal plan proposed by any Canadian opposition party during an election.”

Danielle Smith

Danielle Smith

As the PC campaign focuses on Mr. Jean, Mr. Prentice’s star does not appear to shine as brightly as it did only mere months ago. As Lethbridge political scientist Faron Ellis wrote in his Calgary Herald blog, the “Jim Prentice as saviour” narrative has come to a crashing end.

While polls suggest the PCs could form a minority government for the first time ever (and what an interesting scenario that would present), it is hard to imagine the 44-year long PC regime not winning a majority. But it is clear that Mr. Prentice’s gambit to run an election focused on the unpopular provincial budget is being met with cool reviews on the doorsteps.

Michael Janz Edmonton

Michael Janz

Nineteen school boards raised concerns this week that growth of the student population, expected to be 12,000 students in September 2015, is not accounted for in the PC budget. A number of boards, including the Edmonton Catholic School District, have circulated memos outlining numerous program cuts that will be implemented if additional stable funding is not received from the provincial government.

“We have thousands of new youngsters arriving at our schools. They need funding, they need teachers, they need classroom support, they need maintenance funding,” Michael Janz, chair of the Edmonton Public School Board told the Edmonton Sun.

The PCs have also faced criticism from former PC Finance Minister Ted Morton, who has returned to right-wing academia and says PC MLAs did not understand the government would be on the hook for $26 billion when they voted to support a refinery project northeast of Edmonton in 2008.

Distractions from the PC Party’s key messages, including numerous nomination scandals, bribery allegations and police investigations, and the latest resignation of a PC campaign manager and constituency president after alleged “islamophobic comments,” have tarnished the rebranded “Prentice Team” that the PCs hoped would sweep them into another massive majority government.

I bet the current election campaign makes some long-time PC Party supporters yearn for the days of the honest government of Peter Lougheed, which is what Ms. Notley is betting on.

13 thoughts on “Notley’s NDP inspired by Lougheed, PCs wage war on Wildrose

  1. SMokey

    I think last election the polls were off, and what happened was an oddity.

    Pundits are predicting the same this time, but I don’t buy it cause their opinion is based on last election. PC’s were pushed from one side, this time they are pushed from two.

    If any party may loose voters in the next two weeks, its the Wildrose. There slashing and cutting of the bloat appeals to their rural base, but practicality is another matter. Austerity doesn’t appeal to many progressives who know that corporate taxes and royalty rates have been too low. The NDP position resonates with more of traditional PC voters.

    The question are people really that upset? Personally I think they are. The only thing that can save Prentice is the debate, and I don’t think he presents as very likable and facing two equally talented opponents hitting his unpopular budget from either side, means if he is not likely to change anyone’s perception of him as merely an opportunist.

    I wanna learn one thing from Prentice in the debate,when and if he looses the election or gets a slim minority, is he going to pack his bags like he did in Ottawa. Or is he going to get to work. I want to know his comittment or lack thereof. I don’t see him as a team player.

    Reply
  2. Danny

    I voted PC last time. not this time. Notley sounds reasonable and Sarah Hoffman is a good candidate in my area so I’m voting NDP.

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  3. Peter Moss

    I think Notley Crew will surprise a lot of people and finish strong. People are disgusted with the PCs and they know the Wildhosers are just a bunch of PC cast-offs.

    Reply
  4. Scott

    To BCBLUE:

    Are you kidding? I suggest that you do some meaningful investigation of social democracy before making further comments regarding the Alberta NDP or left of center parties. Your “dirty, rotten commie” mentality is laughable.

    Additionally, I would argue that as Albertans, we should strive for the better-ment of all individuals in our province. As Spock said: “The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few”. Food for thought my friend.

    Reply
  5. concerned

    I think people are delusional the NDP smoke screen for a 15$ min wage leaves out the part of the 1,000’s of job losses due to small businesses not being able to afford to operate due to that increase

    Lets talk about the pc party they called an election for a budget that wasn’t pleasing to Albertans now they are changing there position during the campaign to pick up extra votes lets see their position after the election

    Lets talk pc ndp and wildrose contrary to their platforms you can be sure of a pst if any of them are given the reigns after this election

    Lets talk Liberals 56 candidates People seem to forget you only need 44 seats having quality candidates although not a full slate is better than having a party with 30 paratroopers to make it look like they have a full slate. Has anyone watched the media in the last three months Liberals have been the only supported centralist party who hasn’t put out policy or platform that has been criticized or discredited in the media look at the past 90 years the liberals haven’t caused any of the problems currently in the province they have a progressive plan that puts Albertans families and healthcare first maybe Its time to stop counting them out and give them the opportunity to bring change to alberta It was Liberal Laurie Blackman who brought change for the GODS in alberta when the pc’s faught so hard to keep them out

    Lets think about the NDP long and hard do your research look at what happened in BC, MB, and NS ask those provinces how far the NDP set them back The need for change is very real but folks lets not go backwards THE NDP long term plan for the OIL sands is to shut them down that could means more then 70,000 high paying Union jobs could be flushed down the toilet!@

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  6. Shane

    I’m not sold on the PC platform of no corporate tax increases to help balance our budget. I get that big corporations fund political parties and drive politics but It is grossly unjust that the burden falls solely on us common working folk to remedy this province’s financial predicament. This is especially true when corporate profits have been staggering high over the past several years. Ed Stelmach tried upping Oil companies royalties and it was political suicide for him. There in lays the catch 22 for the political parties. However I’m sure the big oil companies can stand a bit of a hike in royalties or corporate taxes to help out. Most if not all of these same companies have already wage froze or cut positions so they can maintain their profits. We are talking profits here, not just getting by like most Albertan working people. One other industry of big concern that always seems to be untouched during tough times are the the big banks. The Banks continue to make billions upon billions of $$$ off of us working folk with very little of that $$$ being put back to provincial sustainability. Even if the big banks put forth 1% of their multibillion dollar profits back to our provincial infrastructure it would be huge. Silly just silly that all the big corporations get all the breaks and the working class get beat up from all sides. Corporately we get beat up from job losses to wage cuts/freezes, then again from our political parties. We truly are just pawns.
    I know there is a lot more to the equation but that’s is my $ .02 as that is what I’ll left in my pocket when this is all said and done.

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  7. Roy

    Rachel Notley is the only one that is unblemished from all the dirty politics going on between the lying PC’s and the PC cast-offs in the Wildrose.
    Notley has fresh ideas, but above everything else, she is honest and won’t take her marbles and go home like Prentice and Jean did in Ottawa. Or Smith either.
    Let’s shake up the scene for a change!

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  8. Peter Moss

    Concerned, let’s talk about how every time the minimum wage is raised small business cries wolf and says there will be massive job losses and that the economy will be ruined and the sky will fall. Yet each and every time, nothing of the sort ever happens.

    Lets talk about the long history of the NDP and their better fiscal management record than either Liberal or Tory governments:

    http://www.progressive-economics.ca/2011/04/29/fiscal-record-of-canadian-political-parties/

    Not to mention Tommy Douglas’s 17 successive budget surpluses.

    Let’s talk about how no one believes this tired old canard about the NDP’s supposed reckless spending or financial mismanagement anymore. But hey, keep trying to convince us.

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  9. Rural gal

    Prentice made the one slip last nite – talked about 2 years – about the time he intends to stay before running for the leadership of the Conservative party of Canada! Listen carefully.

    Not NDP – only have to look at their their track records in other provinces! Thank goodness Brad Wall snatched Sask before it was too late, and now look at that province go.

    Wildrose has had its budget reviewed and it is solid. Efficiencies first- AB has the most expensive govt anywhere, and how do you like the results? Poor access to health care, and bulging class rooms. So more money is not going to solve the problem! It is like giving a beer to an alcoholic

    Reply

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