Thursday, 5 April 2012
The PC platform, like many election platforms, promises some generous policies. The PC website presents a huge list of reforms. Major areas of reform include healthcare, education, and community focused initiatives. This platform uses both social welfare spending, as well as liberalization of regulations, to meet their policy goals.
To meet healthcare demands, the conservatives plan on opening 140 family care clinics. This initiative will aim to provide better access to health care for both rural and urban areas. However, the cost of these clinics is not as openly discussed, and could prove to comprise the PC position. Especially, for a government who, like the Wildrose party, promises to have balanced budgets.
However, for many Albertans who cringe at the idea of public expenditures, the PCs offer non-expenditure solutions for healthcare challenges. The most prominent being the relaxing of regulations on a pharmacist’s role. The conservatives plan to allow pharmacists to refill prescriptions by their own accord, taking pressure off doctors in the rest of the medical systems. Allowing doctors to only focus on diagnosis and initial prescriptions could allow Albertans faster access to their medicine and less barriers to refilling those prescriptions. This is an inexpensive way to increase healthcare quality in the province.
Education also has a huge spending area for the PCs. They plan to build 50 new schools, as well as renovate another 70, within four years. The price tag combined for both new buildings and renovations will be approximately $2.4 billion. These improvements will be made to both rural and urban centers. The PC’s see the new schools as a necessary investment because the student population in Alberta is projected to grow by nearly 100,000. They also plan to develop an online resource for parents to extend the education process into the home. This might change the education system to be similar to both German and Japanese systems, where a larger emphasis on education is reinforced at home, lessening the costs of improving education on the government.
Finally, the PC’s are focused on a number of community based initiatives. For example, the PCs want to continue increasing the funding for Alberta libraries. Also $1 million commitment to community based anti-crime initiatives. Furthermore, there will be increased funding for Assured Income for the Severely Handicapped (AISH). There are even more announcements of what PCs are offering Albertans on their website.
There are a lot of expensive items being offered by the conservatives. The PCs want to make a significant tax dollar investment. Can they do all this while balancing the budget? Whether the PCs get the opportunity to do so, will be up to Albertans this election.
Tuesday, 3 April 2012
Alberta is no stranger to political parties trying to buy votes. Former Progressive Conservative Premier Ralph Klein once “shared” the provinces oil revenue with Albertan citizens. This political move increased the sales of I pods and other consumer electronics across the province.
Once again Albertans could be looking at getting a little bonus from the government. Wildrose Party leader Danielle Smith has promised to give Albertans a similar energy dividend of about $300. These “Danielle dollars” are being heavily criticized by other parties, especially the current P.C government.
Retiring Medicine Hat PC MLA Rob Renner argues that there are other expenditures that need to be looked after before giving Albertans cheques. He said, “Until you can actually have the money in the bank, people are satisfied you have met the needs that are required, then you shouldn’t be talking about sending them back [cheques].”
Alison Redford, when refereeing to the dividends, said, “it is another daily announcement that just doesn’t add up.” The Wildrose party similar to the Progressive conservatives want a balanced budget. However, can the Wildrose achieve a balanced budget as well as the promised to increase the heritage fund to $200 billion dollars in twenty years? Furthermore, can Wildrose do this while sharing Alberta’s resource wealth with Albertans by just giving them cheques? Share your opinion on “Danielle dollars” and the Wildrose pledges.
Monday, 2 April 2012
What is going to happen to Alberta’s political landscape this election? The Progressive Conservatives stand only to lose this election, while every other party has an opportunity to make significant gains. Some projections predict the Wildrose party will unseat the conservatives this election. The polls place the Wildrose support as high as 37.3 percent with the conservatives trailing by less 4 points with 33.7 percent.
Will a new conservative dynasty be established in Alberta, or will Alberta become a two party province. Will the era of majorities end? Even if the right holds it control Alberta, at least there is a chance to see some great political debate between the PC’s and the Wildrose.
However, there is another possibility. With votes on the right split, the left has chance to capitalize this election and make some significant gains. The New Democrats are running in all ridings. Will the orange wave hit Alberta? Linda Duncan put an orange stain on Steven Harper’s attempt to paint this province blue. However, if the provincial NDP want to win they will need to mobilize younger demographics, which is a major of the political challenge not just in Canada, but any Western democracy.
Though both the Liberals and Alberta party may not be running candidates in all ridings, they have the opportunity to become major players in Alberta politics by potentially working with the NDP on many issues. However, I think the Alberta party has a lot of potential to shape politics in this province. If a conservative minority is formed they, either Wildrose or PC, will most likely not want work with each other, the NDP, or the Liberals. The Alberta Party might be the only support a minority government could work with to stave off another election.
Every party needs every vote they can get. So your vote matters more now than in any other time in Alberta.
The next posts will discuss policy and platforms of the Parties running.
Labels: Alberta election, Alberta Liberal Party, Alberta NDP, Alberta Party, Alberta Progressive Conservatives, Alberta Provincial election, Canadian Politics, Elections, Politics, Wild Rose Alliance Party
Sunday, 1 April 2012
The Government of Canada has decided, with a change in immigration policy, it is necessary to cancel the current back log of immigration applications. Over 280,000 applications are being overturned to make room for new applicants. The New Immigration policy will focus on the economic needs of Canada. As a result, the government offices of Citizen and Immigration Canada will need to refund $130 million in fees to those affected.
Immigration Minister Jason Kenney said in defense of the backlog wipe out, Having to process applications that are as many as eight years out of date reduces our ability to focus on new applicants with skills and talents that our economy needs today.”
However, opponents to the backlog wipe out are worried of how it may affect Canada’s image abroad and the long term consequences associated. Dan Bohbot, head of the Quebec Immigration Lawyers Association, stated “People really will not trust the process of immigration in Canada and that's going to affect our reputation and it's going to affect maybe the quality of immigrants wanting to come here in the first place,”
What is your opinion? Do you think it was fair for these people who have been waiting for so long to get into this country to be turned away, or do you think it was a necessary move to not just benefit Canada but also give a better opportunity to potential new Canadians?