It was a packed house Thursday inside the Lakeland Inn in Cold Lake as residents from around the area came to hear from the Bonnyville- Cold Lake – St.Paul candidates for the 2019 provincial election. Around 175 people were on hand to listen to platforms, ask questions and put some faces to names as election day approaches. The candidates touched on everything including taxation, health care, separation from confederation and schools.
UCP candidate Dave Hanson says his party is working towards jobs to keep government programs funded.
“The programs that everyone relies on, and I refer to AISH and PDD and healthcare and education. They need a robust private sector.”
On the topic of bureaucratic “red-tape” and costs incurred to small business, Alberta Independence candidate David Garnett-Bennett says leaving confederation would allow the province to handle its own affairs outside of influence from Ottawa.
“We need to take responsibility. We need to own our situation. We can’t blame anyone. But with that responsibility, we can do it. The numbers add up. It’s a balanced budget.”
When asked about making cuts to help balance provincial budgets, NDP candidate Kari Whan says Premier Rachel Notley has a plan for a balanced budget by 2023.
“And we will get to balance while making life more affordable, investing in schools and hospitals and strengthening and diversifying our economy.”
On the topic of improving the local economy, Alberta Party candidate Glenn Andersen says clearing up the regulatory issues that oil and gas companies have will bring back confidence in the area.
“We can attract development and exploration in our industry in the resources sector. People coming in from international spaces will have confidence in Canada and in Alberta.”
As for schooling in the province, Alberta Advantage Party candidate David Inscho says his party believes in a curriculum featuring life skills.
“Students need to know how to balance a chequebook. They need to know how to count cash back when they go to the store. These are simple things, but these are things that are needed to be known.”
When it comes to spending in the health sector, Independent candidate Kacey Daniels, who is running on a separation platform, says improved tax revenue from separation will be the best course of action.
“The only alternative I see to improve our health care is upon separation, spend more and we will have more to spend. We can nod at hospitals to check the wasteful spending but that is about as far as I see for reducing costs.”
Forums continue starting Monday in Bonnyville at the Dr. Bernard Brosseau School and Tuesday at the St. Paul Rec Centre. Both events start at 7 PM
The 2019 election goes April 16th.