In a lead up to the Alberta provincial election, Cochrane Now has asked candidates in the Airdrie-Cochrane constituency, a series of five questions about topics impacting our ridings. They'll appear weekdays with the last one being posted on Monday, Apr. 15, the day prior to the election.
It's Question Two in the series and today's topic centres upon debt and government services.
The order in which the candidates' answer rotate each day.
A link is provided with each response taking you back to the party’s website for more information on their platforms and policies.
Wednesday, Apr. 10 - Question Two
How are you going to address the near $60 billion provincial debt while still maintaining the services Albertans need and expect?
Matthew Morrisey - Freedom Conservative Party
The FCP will address our $60 billion debt by reducing the personal income tax rate to 10 per cent and the large business tax rate to 10 per cent as well. Lastly, we will completely abolish the small business tax.
Our plan is to balance the operations budget within a year and the consolidated budget in four years. We will cut wasteful spending and remove redundancy in government.
Peter Guthrie - United Conservative Party
As with the entire UCP platform, ensuring the economy recovers is the most important way to get our balance sheet back on track so we can continue to fund the services Albertans need and expect. You cannot continue to spend money you do not have because that means in the future, and at the NDP's current pace the near future, we will have no ability to pay for any services and all our public services will be at risk.
Now is the time we have to recover our economy. We cannot risk another four years of stagnation because our public services will suffer. By creating jobs through the Job Creation Tax Cut Act and by having a red tape reduction plan which allows business to start up and grow quicker, we will have the tax revenue to sustain our spending and begin paying down our debt.
The plan is to maintain spending at current levels and make the changes necessary to grow the economy, especially in the energy sector. This will bring in more tax revenue, more royalties and more investment.
But we cannot wait. This must be done immediately. Any delay will make our debt and deficit problem too overwhelming to fix and Alberta will not tolerate this. The mismanagement of our economy by the NDP, coupled by allowing Justin Trudeau to seriously harm our energy industry, has put us in this mess. If Albertans want our public services, the economic situation must change.
Danielle Cameron - Alberta Independence Party
A key component of our platform is keeping Alberta’s $40 billion tax dollars (equalization payments) currently sent to Ottawa in Alberta annually. These amounts are projected at $40 billion dollars per year when the barrel of oil is at $50 per barrel. Our current barrel of oil is $61.
The Alberta Independence Party recognizes that alignment of all debt in Alberta both provincially and municipally will need to be accomplished and ensure that maturity dates are consistent as we move through our four-year transition plan to independence.
We will not disrupt any current services to the people of Alberta.
Vern Raincock - Alberta Party
The Alberta party will ensure that a sustainable funding formula will be set for municipalities by 2020 so local needs can be prioritized and met in a timely manner.
We need to get our stranded assets - our residents - back to work.
An Alberta Party government will enact the Jobs First plan to attract investment and create jobs for Alberta families. The plan is expected to expand the provincial economy by $16 billion and foster the creation of 65,000 jobs. We need to restore Alberta as a place of opportunity.
One of the major reasons Alberta is finding it difficult to attract private investment and realize job creation is because previous governments damaged Alberta’s reputation as a stable place to invest.
The Alberta Party understands that one of the most important things for attracting private investment and encouraging job creation is providing certainty for businesses and investors. Businesses and investors are adaptable and will structure their operations in the ways that make sense for them, based on clear and certain rules and predictable costs.
Steve Durrell - Alberta New Democrat
Our party has a path to balance that sees us return to balance in 2023. Our plan gets there without hurting services like health and education and invests in childcare, schools, hospitals, and infrastructure.
The UCP would balance a year earlier but would freeze those services while Alberta continues to grow. That's a painful per capita cut they are promising.
Advance Polls Now Open
Advance Polls opened for the election on Tuesday. You can vote at any advance polling station but on election day you must vote at your assigned location.
Here in Cochrane, you can vote in advance at the office of the returning officer, 215 100 Grande Boulevard. It is open from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. until Sat. Apr. 13.
Elsewhere in the area, you can vote at the Bearspaw Lions Club Hall, 25240 Nagway, adjacent to Hwy. 1A in Bearspaw.
Those 18 and older who reside in Alberta and are a Canadian citizen can vote. If you are not already on the voters' list you can register at the polling station. You must bring acceptable identification. Details can be found at www.elections.ab.ca.
Candidate Question of the Day - Day One