Candidates spar at forum | DrumhellerMail
Last updateTue, 28 May 2024 4pm

Candidates spar at forum

Three of the four federal candidates in Crowfoot constituency came out cordially, but swinging at the all candidates forum at the Drumheller Inn on Wednesday, October 1.
    Incumbent Kevin Sorenson, with candidates Kaitlin Kettenbach of the Green Party and Ellen Parker of the NDP traded barbs in a discussion of party politics and policy commitments. Liberal candidate Sharon Howe was unable to attend the event.

    In the order drawn, Parker began with her opening statement introducing the NDP platform that centered picking the ‘middle class over tax cuts’ and investing in the family.  She also brought up health care in her opening address.
    “Only the NDP can be trusted to keep the promises of health care that Tommy Douglas started,” she said.
    Kettenbach came out clearing up conceptions the greens are a one-issue party.
    “The Green Party of Canada has a full platform that incorporates social justice and financial planning,” she said.
    “The party’s policies are fiscally conservative, while more liberal on the environment and rights of people.”
    One element of the platform she stressed in her opening statement was the party’s plan to introduce income tax splitting. This is based on the concept of taxing the family rather than the individual. This would allow a couple to split their income, thereby reducing tax rates.
    “There is a lot of room to change, and this is the time to change,” said Kettenbach
    Sorenson’s opening statement focused on his party’s record. Some of the party’s accomplishments included the Accountability Act reducing the GST, the Universal Child Care Benefit and the Violent Crime Bill and long-term commitment to health care. He also stressed leadership.
    ‘We’re talking about who we will have at the helm in a very difficult time,” said Sorenson. “We need Steven Harper, we need the type of leadership he gives to this country.”
    The forum covered a number of issues including crime, domestic violence and agriculture and access to post secondary education. The largest contradiction in policy came in comments about strategies concerning the environment. The candidates were asked about incentives to help consumers wean themselves from dependence on oil.
    Kettenbach defended a carbon tax that would tax larger polluters, and transfer the funds back to citizens through tax rebates.
    Sorenson agreed there is a need for Canadians to get away from fossil fuels, however he says action has to start small.
    “Whether it is fuel efficient vehicles, or more efficient light bulbs, there are ways to start weaning ourselves,” said Sorenson. “What we won’t do is impose a tax… a punishment against those who want to bring change slowly and eventually get used to issuing less fossil fuels.”
    He also pointed out the Conservatives work towards introducing more bio-fuel.
    Parker balked at bio-fuel, explaining that using resources to raise a crop to make fuel makes no sense. She also pointed out the value of a cap and trade system.
    “It is proven a cap and trade system works, it then puts that money back into small corporations and small businesses that are working very hard to get a level playing field.”
    “I can see it only benefiting Alberta because it will shift the expertise we have right now for a dying industry we have now and move it towards solar power and wind power.”
    One ghost of the last candidate’s forum reappeared for Sorenson. Leading up to the last election, Belinda Stronach jumped ship to the Liberal Party from the Conservatives. At that time Sorenson was vocal about candidates crossing the floor. One questioner brought up the issue of David Emerson crossing the floor to the Conservative party weeks after the last election.
    “When someone is elected as a Conservative, I expect them to stay a Conservative, when some is elected as a New Democrat, I expect them to stay a New Democrat. Sometime people say ‘I cannot live with this leader or that leader.’”
    He adds Emerson is not running this year.
    Parker ended the debate on a positive note for change.
    “Think green, vote orange and don’t give up,” she said.
    Kettenbach jokingly said in her closing statement, “I think, ‘think green, vote Green is a little simpler.”
    Sorenson concluded the evening underlining Harper’s platform.   
    “Our prime minister during this election has come with a prudent modest platform.”

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