EDITORIAL: Voters poised to oust NDP in 2019 spring provincial election

Latest poll shows 50 per cent voting for the UCP, 35 per cent for NDP

In a few months, Albertans could be headed to the polls and a recent poll shows the majority of voters are ready to punt the NPD and bring back the Conservatives.

ThinkHQ Public Affairs surveyed about 1,102 Albertans online from Nov. 21 – 26. The margin of error for this poll is +/- three percentage points.

One in five voters, or 21 per cent, are undecided. With the decided voters, however, 50 per cent said they are voting for the UCP. Only 35 per cent said they are supporting the NDP. Nine per cent said they are voting for the Alberta party and only five per cent said they are voting for the Liberals.

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The NDP has the largest support within Edmonton city limits, showing an 18-point lead over the UCP. Their lead drops to 11-points in the greater Edmonton region.

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In Calgary the NDP has about the same support they did in the 2015 election but the UCP are leading. The UCP also have a strong lead in the rural areas.

Maybe Notley sees the writing on the wall and in a last-ditch attempt it makes one wonder if she will scrap the carbon tax because the delays in building the Trans Mountain Pipeline threatens the rationale for the carbon tax.

UCP Opposition leader Jason Kenney has maintained that the carbon tax doesn’t have any environmental gain and has destroyed thousands of jobs, forced businesses to close and increased costs for Albertans. According to Statistics Canada, Alberta lost 17,000 jobs in December. This sent a chill to small business owners who, according to the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB), for the first time in a long time small business owners said they plan to lay off workers instead of hire. Richard Truscott, vice-president of CFIB, said low oil prices, the tariff war and trade deal with the U.S., as well as the slow housing market, are contributing factors.

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The rest of Canada isn’t feeling the sting like Alberta. Canada’s unemployment rate nationally is at a 43-year low of 5.6 per cent. According to Statistics Canada, the country’s jobless rate was at its lowest rate since they started measuring data in 1976.

Sure Premier Notley stepped up last summer and said she was pulling Alberta out of the federal climate plan after the Federal Court of Appeal overturned the federal government’s approval of the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion. The expansion would have doubled the line from Edmonton to B.C.’s coast, thus tripling the amount of oil shipped to overseas markets. This would have helped Alberta get a better price for its oil.

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And last fall, Shannon Phillips, the province’s environment minister, marched to Ottawa and asked the senators to reject or amend federal Bill C-69 that will change how new large energy projects are approved. Bill C-69 gives First Nations groups the ability to veto pipelines, oilsands and refineries. The bill also adds a gender assessment that allows regulators to reject projects if the pipeline route is considered to be harmful to women.

The Alberta NDP, however, didn’t speak out when Bill C-69 was debated in the House of Commons and now it’s likely too late to stop Bill C-69.

True, the premier asked Ottawa to share the cost of buying rail cars to move an additional 120,000 barrels of crude oil per day but Ottawa is reluctant. She wanted to have the cars up and running in 2019 and go until 2022.

But all of this is too little too late.

As Lord Scrumptious said in the 1968 British classic Chitty Chitty Bang Bang “Too late. Had your chance. Muffed it.”



lisa.joy@stettlerindependent.com

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