Leading up to the Alberta provincial election, Cochrane Now has asked candidates in the Airdrie-Cochrane constituency, a series of questions about topics impacting our ridings.
Starting today, leading up to Apr. 16 election we will be posting their responses to our Candidate Question of the Day.
The order in which the candidates' responses appear will rotate each day.
A link will be provided with each response taking you back to the party’s website for more information on their platforms and policies.
Tuesday, Apr. 9 - Question One
What do you think are the three biggest issues impacting the local riding?
Steve Durrell - Alberta New Democrat
The three biggest issues in Airdrie-Cochrane are jobs, the pipeline, and education.
On jobs, Rachel Notley has been working hard to diversify the economy both within oil and gas and outside of it. We already are seeing progress there! There are more people working in Alberta than ever before, and in the riding, we are seeing new industry like Amazon moving into Balzac, and Garmin into Cochrane. This is really good news!
On the pipeline, no one has worked harder to get it built than Rachel Notley, and we are closer than ever to getting it built. She has changed the national conversation, and will not back down. In the meantime, we will ship by rail to get a good price for our resources.
On Education. Airdrie has had five new schools (and one modernized) and Cochrane has seen two schools built under the NDP. We need to ensure there are teachers in those schools and that students are funded. That's why we've committed to fund enrollment for the 15,000 kids entering school this September, in contrast to the UCP promise to freeze spending, which with enrollment grown equates to a cut of about $260 per child every year.
Matthew Morrisey - Freedom Conservative Party
The three biggest issues in the riding are infrastructure, health care and getting Albertans back to work.
The intersection of highway 22 and 1A has been neglected for greater than 15 years and the 40th Ave. interchange project has been sitting idle for 15 years. Having these projects being glossed over for so many years has had a detrimental effect on the ability for each municipality to generate tax revenue by having greater transportation capacity and business developing because of that added access.
Health care is another issue that is huge in Cochrane. When the government had to have private citizens donate funds to get a diagnostic imaging device for its residents something is seriously wrong with the system. What needs to be examined too, and from what I am hearing from front line workers, is the need for longer lab hours in Cochrane to better serve this community, additional NAT vans (EMS), a privately owned, publicly funded diagnostic imaging clinic and for the province to start the discussion on a 24-hour Urgent Care.
Lastly, getting Albertans back to work and encouraging small business start-ups to come to Airdrie & Cochrane to run their business. Small business is the economic foundation of Alberta and if they're healthy our economy can weather the ebbs and flows of the markets.
Peter Guthrie - United Conservative Party
The number one issue is the stagnant economy. We need to turn this around immediately to ensure our residents have good jobs and continue to be able to live here. If the economy does not recover we will not see the strong growth we need to be sustainable as a community.
The second biggest issue was the Bill 6 legislation passed by the NDP that put unnecessary pressure on the farming community within the riding. Agriculture is a huge economic driver for us and we need to have smart, well thought out safety legislation that remembers farmers are inherently safe in their operations and that is a starting point.
Finally, transportation infrastructure intersection and our transportation network is a huge issue in both Cochrane and Airdrie. In Cochrane, the highway 1A and highway 22 is a huge issue. While in Airdrie, the 40th Ave overpass is a significant pressure point. Both of these are major issues for our residents.
The UCP has a plan to fund transportation infrastructure by being responsible and judicious on infrastructure spending. I will make sure our needs are a priority.
Danielle Cameron - Alberta Independence Party
Infrastructure / Transportation- Funding and shovels in the ground for Hiway 22/1A Cochrane.
Health Care: We need 24-hour emergency care facilities and including mental health and drug addiction counselling.
Courthouses: Both in Airdrie Cochrane understaffed and insufficient for the riding needs.
Alberta Independence Party will budget 15 billion dollars over the next 5 years to the municipalities across Alberta. This means we will Fund 87 ridings in Alberta with $36 million per year per riding, and Municipal Loans to cover of each municipality.
Alberta Independence Party = People’s Party
Vern Raincock - Alberta Party
Infrastructure Improvements are needed to reduce idling time and bottlenecks along the Highway 2 corridor. Since 2004, the City of Airdrie identified the need to build the 40th Avenue South interchange. In Cochrane, the Highway 1A / Highway 22 interchange will improve safety and mobility into Cochrane.
Alberta spends nearly half of the provincial budget on healthcare. Alberta Health has consistently exceeded its annual budget by hundreds of millions of dollars per year since 2013, showing a poor ability to plan. The Alberta Party Caucus has proposed a different way of doing things, charting a path to financial stability, encouraging innovation in the healthcare sector, and making sure the quality of our system rises to meet the needs of Albertans
Local leaders have suggested the need to offer more affordable housing options in Airdrie & Cochrane to address the needs of low-income workers, seniors and residents with special needs. Airdrie has a population of just under 70,000 and it has only 44 affordable housing units; Cochrane has 38 affordable housing units.