Leading up to the Alberta provincial election, AIR 106.1 FM and Discover Airdrie have asked candidates in the ridings of Airdrie-East and Airdrie-Cochrane, a series of questions about topics impacting our ridings.
Each weekday leading up to April 16th we will be posting their written responses to our AIR 106.1 Candidate Question of the Day.
The order in which the candidates responses appear has been chosen at random and will rotate each day. The first answers are for Airdrie-East candidates, the second batch are the Airdrie-Cochrane candidates.
A link will be provided with each response taking you back to the party’s website for more information on their platforms and policies.
The AIR 106.1 Candidate Question of the Day for Wednesday, April 10th 2019, is as follows:
How are you going to address the near $60 billion provincial debt, while still maintaining the services Albertans need and expect?
Angela Pitt – United Conservative Party
“First, we lead by example and cut MLA salary by 5% and the Premiers salary by 10%. Reverse the NDP’s plan to spend $3.7 billion on rail cars. Cancel the NDP’s plan to spend $640 million on a government superlab and another $50 million to nationalize a private company.
A United Conservative government will maintain operating spending at current levels as part of a plan to balance budget by 2022/23 without comprising core services. With an aggressive corporate tax cut strategy, we will lure job creators and tax payers to Alberta helping to increase revenues, grow and diversify the economy. Lastly, we will appoint an independent panel of experts to conduct a deep dive into Alberta’s fiscal situation and propose a realistic plan to start paying down the debt.”
Rick Northey – Freedom Conservative Party
“The FCP advocates balancing the budget without cutting wages or reducing front line service employees. Government departments should be incentivized to consider value for dollars rather than simply spending money without regard for results. This change in mindset is essential to deal with the problem of government overspending versus service reductions.”
Jeff Olson – Alberta Independence Party
“As an Independent nation the $40 billion that Alberta sends to Ottawa each and every year will go towards debt repayment and will create surplus all the while maintaining and improving these services that Albertans need and expect. ATB is on board with AIP and will offer a 0% interest rate on debt repayment.”
Roxie Baez Zamora – NDP
“Our party has put forward a path to bring the budget to balance in 2023, without cutting the important public services and infrastructure Albertans rely on. With the speed at which Airdrie is growing, continued investment in schools, hospitals, roads and transit is necessary, and we will do so while responsibly managing our finances. This is the record we’ve achieved over the past four years, with the best balance sheet in the country.”
Richard Herdman – Independent
“MLA must advocate reduce size of government period .This province has highest cost per-capita of government across Canada ...it is expensive, inefficient and not pro business. We bring in more money with fewer rules, fewer fat cats and pro business fills the taxation coffers.”
Alex Luterbach – Alberta Party
“An Alberta Party government would take a balanced approach to the budget, we would look to balance the budget by 2022-2023. You can see what a party values based on what they choose to invest in, and the Alberta Party has two main priorities, which is jobs and education. We would look to cut taxes in a way that brought jobs and business back to Alberta, but we would do so at a reasonable level that left our government with enough funds to make sure our children can receive the education they deserve.”
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 NDPs 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 high quality public services, the economic situation must change.”
Matthew Morrisey – Freedom Conservative Party
“The FCP will address our 60 Billion dollar debt by reducing the personal income tax rate to 10%, and the large business tax rate to 10% 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 4. We will cut wasteful spending and remove redundancy in government”
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 4 year transition plan to independence. We will not disrupt any current services to the People of Alberta.”
Steve Durrell - NDP
“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 early, but would freeze those services while Alberta continues to grow. That's a painful per-capita cut they are promising.”
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.”