Calgary – September 22, 2017 – Earlier this year, Alberta’s former Wildrose and Progressive Conservative parties voted to join forces and form the United Conservative Party (UCP) in order to liberate Alberta from the NDP government they claim Alberta voters accidently elected. But the UCP’s plans to retake the province from Rachel Notley’s NDP are off to a rocky start.
The UCP started off on the wrong foot when one of its MLAs, Derek ‘Fildepockets’ Fildebrant, made headlines for renting out his taxpayer-subsidized apartment in Edmonton to make some extra money when he was not in town. The former Wildrose Penny-Pincher-In-Chief followed that up by being caught “double dipping” – claiming meal expenses while also claiming his per diem. And to top everything off, it was also revealed that Fildebrant is facing a court case for leaving the scene of an accident. He therefore decided to resign from the party’s caucus and sit as an independent MLA.
Then came the news that the new UCP caucus was facing a $337,000 deficit in their caucus budget. The party that claims the NDP government is incapable of managing the province’s economy took a major hit when it was revealed that the former Wildrose and Progressive Conservative parties racked up a third of a million dollars in debt in their combined caucus budgets for the first half of 2017.
Economic forecasts now predict that the Alberta economy will lead the country in growth over the next few years, which shows that the NDP government’s investments in infrastructure, a new sustainable economy, and vital public services are paying off.
However, Alberta’s economic comeback hasn’t stopped the two frontrunners for the UCP leadership, Brian Jean and Jason Kenney, from promising drastic service cuts and thousands of layoffs for teachers and health care workers should they win the UCP leadership and form government.
Jean and Kenney have also said that, if elected, they would eliminate the province’s new carbon levy, which is being used to diversify Alberta’s economy by investing in new renewable energy resources and green infrastructure. The province has already begun to accrue benefits from the levy in the form of increased revenue that is being used to expand LRT lines in Calgary and Edmonton. If the levy was eliminated, like Jean and Kenney are proposing, the Calgary and Edmonton LRTs and other green infrastructure projects would never see the light of day.
All of this adds up to a rocky start for the UCP, while providing hope that in the next provincial election, voters will reject the backward ways of the right and opt for the growth, economic diversification, and solid environmental stewardship that they are seeing under the NDP.