The title of this blog post will sound like an oxymoron to many Albertans.
Launching an election campaign early, PC MLA-turned-Liberal leader Raj Sherman released his party’s 2012 election platform yesterday. After reading the platform, I was surprised that the Liberals were actually able to pull together such a well-presented document.
The platform continues to emphasize the Liberal Party’s focus on health care (also a key issue of former leaders Kevin Taft and David Swann) and includes some interesting ideas, such as the creation of a post-secondary endowment fund to eliminate tuition by the year 2025.
The creation of a Municipal Heritage Fund to provide direct funding to neighbourhood projects is an interesting idea that could help alleviate the pressure put on cash-strapped municipalities to fund projects.
Looking to change the way Albertans vote in elections, the Liberal platform calls for the introduction of a preferential ballot system and the consolidations of constituencies that would leave the Assembly with 66 MLAs.
To their credit, the platform calls for an end to Alberta’s unfair flat-tax system and would introduce fair tax brackets for individuals who earn more than $100,000 annually. I do believe that there needs to be a larger focus on decreasing taxes on middle income earners, but this is a good start.
Sitting as low as 12% in public support according to some recent polls, “go bold and go for broke” may be the best strategy that Alberta’s official opposition party has left.
With the Spring sitting of the Assembly beginning this afternoon, Dr. Sherman will have this platform to hold up against the Progressive Conservative budget, expected to be tabled on Thursday. Whether the Liberals will be able to compete with the media onslaught that the PCs and Wildrose Party’s will unleash in the upcoming weeks is a completely different question.