28 days.

That’s how long the election campaign is in Alberta and we will go to the polls on April 16, 2019.

Rachel Notley gave a speech in Calgary on Tuesday morning and Jason Kenney headed to Leduc to give his speech in the early afternoon.

After scandalous reveals on Friday, Saturday, Monday, and Tuesday, it was a bit of a surprise to discover Kenney had a “positive plan” for “real change” but he mostly delivered a drawn out itemization of Alberta’s suffering.

“Albertans are poorer” he said, “businesses are barely hanging on. Family income has gone down over $6,000 a year… bankruptcies and insolvencies are up.” It was a sad rain cloud cast over our sad, hopeless lot. The NDP, he said, “has the worst economic record since the Great Depression”. And I too, was depressed.

BUT! There is hope! Change may come; jobs will suddenly appear like leafy buds and the economy will bloom like wildflowers. Spring, and hope, has sprung.

Hope that carbon tax revenue isn’t necessary to a province with a consistent $8 billion dollar deficit, that corporate and top level personal tax cuts will lead to less debt (see aforementioned), that services will become cheaper yet remain accessible for all, and investment will flow, bringing a plethora of jobs. Rainbows! Unicorns! Magic…

Rachel Notley’s speech was equally critical of her opponent.

As with the Throne Speech on Monday, there was a common theme of democracy, trust and integrity; three things the UCP under Jason Kenney has had difficulty demonstrating. But there’s a lot of research required to be up to speed on how difficult that has been so she may have missed the mark.

Her view of Alberta was bright with a side of silver lining, saying “the sun never set on the Alberta dream. Together, we fought back against a recession… this century can be Alberta’s century.” It wasn’t rainbows and unicorns but it also wasn’t reliant on something specific.

They both want to fight for pipelines; Notley with an olive branch and Kenney with a wrecking ball. Both would probably say the other isn’t using the right tools and both would probably be correct.

Alberta Party leader Stephen Mandel also kicked off the campaign with some fighting words: “our loyalty is to Albertans … the Alberta Party doesn’t have any federal masters in Ottawa and an Alberta Party government will put you, Albertans, first.”

He said people are tired of the extreme polarization (fatiguing, really) and that Albertans shouldn’t have to choose between feeding their families and keeping their rights. He said the NDP failed on the jobs file.

I would argue that’s not her fault but I’ve heard the complaints and the logic behind them. People are scared. And if it’s the NDP’s fault then everything will be all better when they’re gone. Easy – like everything in life… but I digress.

“Albertans shouldn’t have to choose between incompetence and intolerance” he said, they “deserve a government that reflects their pride – a government who is fiercely Albertan”.

Campaigns are funny things. In 2015, Jim Prentice couldn’t do anything right and Rachel Notley was there. Rachel Notley may not have had a flawless four years, but she’s still Rachel Notley. Jason Kenney couldn’t get through three questions before someone asked whether a promising UCP candidate, who resigned late Monday night, was still a member in good standing.

In the end, Albertans will have their say; and since we’re not using PINs and email, hopefully we can all have faith in the outcome.

27 sleeps…

Deirdre Mitchell-MacLean

Tips? dmaclean@countersign.ca

Twitter: @Mitchell_AB @thisweekinAB


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