The timing of the next provincial election is in Premier Rachel Notley’s hands, but that doesn’t stop local candidates from getting out on the campaign trail to meet the constituents.
The next election could be called anytime between March 1 and May 31of next year.
Nate Horner, the candidate for the United Conservative Party for Drumheller-Stettler, was through Drumheller on Friday, January 4.
“We are just trying to reconnect with everyone in the new year,” said Horner who was busy door knocking with Olds-Didsbury-Three Hills MLA Nathan Cooper. He also held a meet and greet at O'Shea's Tap House. “The party wanted us to get out and keep moving.”
Horner is in a unique position upsetting incumbent Rick Strankman. While the constituency association elected him, he is a new face to the general electorate.
“It was a good day today, people are interested and engaged, and know there is an election coming,” he said.
He says it is overall direction of the province that voters are concerned about.
“Most people… when they think about it, is it carbon tax? Is it overall debt? Is it job losses? And they just say all of it, it’s just too much,” said Horner.
Mark Nikota, the candidate for the Alberta Party in Drumheller-Stettler has not been resting. Last week he was through Drumheller and Morrin knocking doors. He has also spent time in Castor and Hanna. He says with the size of the riding, it is important to start early.
“You hear a wide variety of things, mostly about the economy and jobs and fiscal restraint,” he said. Everybody has different takes and it makes for good conversations.”
He says people are concerned about the uncertainty of services and what fiscal restraint might look like, especially with so many out of work.
“It is easy to say jobs and economy but how it affects people’s lives is what really matters,” he said.
“That is the difference between the UCP and The Alberta Party. Of course we have to get back to balanced budgets but you can’t just run around tomorrow and slash and burn and do major austerity because you end up hurting programs that people rely on, especially when people are unemployed, that’s when they need the support system there to keep them on their feet until they can find a job.”
“To go from one extreme of spend, spend, spend, to cut, cut, cut, does that mean putting more people out of work? That means there is more unemployed, which means you are paying employment insurance, more government spending, so you might as well have a support system and find them a job. Going from one extreme to another just doesn’t work.”
The Mail has reached out to the Alberta NDP and the Alberta Liberal party to find out if they have candidates in the riding, however, as of press time there has been no response.