By Lethbridge Herald on January 17, 2019.
Alberta Environment and Parks Minister, and Lethbridge West MLA, Shannon Phillips gave a campaign-style speech at the Southern Alberta Council of Public Affairs forum on Thursday to a mostly supportive hometown crowd.
In a presentation entitled “The Choice before Albertans in 2019,” Phillips didn’t pull any punches in outlining her government’s conflict with the UCP vision for Alberta, and she predicted the election campaign ahead will be “one of the nastiest in our province’s history” when the writ drops, very likely later this spring.
“One of the first choices we decided (when we formed government) because we were in the depths of a recession due to the drop in the price of oil, we focused on jobs and economic diversification,” she declared.
“We rejected this notion we needed to slash public services that Albertans depended on in tough times.
“We rejected this notion we should continue the unpopular legacy of not building a damn thing.
“We chose the opposite. We chose to invest in big projects and put Albertans to work.”
Phillips said the values of Albertans do not mesh with the mean-spirited slash-and-burn policies of the UCP which, she said, would cut public services if elected while giving $700 million in tax breaks to Alberta’s wealthy elite.
“What the UCP is proposing is tax cuts for millionaires and health-care cuts for the rest of us,” she stated. “(They think) minimum-wage increases for working moms are a bad thing. Debates on women’s choice are not even worthwhile to show up to work for. Rural crime is bad, but spending money on RCMP to fight rural crime — they voted against that. White supremacists make great campaigners and racists make good candidates. LGBT people don’t matter, and certainly not the kids who want to support each other and end bullying.
“Drug addiction is the police’s fault because they don’t work hard enough; that’s what Jason Kenney said about our chief of police. And it is A-OK to make backroom deals with used car salesmen in exchange for bags of cash,” (referring to the Shaping Alberta’s Future campaign which bought billboard and other media advertising to endorse Kenney late last year). “That is their Alberta.”
Phillips also didn’t shy away from responding to criticisms levelled against her by the UCP last week about cancelling Bighorn public consultation meetings over what she claimed were security concerns. Phillips admitted to reporters in a scrum prior to her SACPA speech she mis-spoke when she talked about the RCMP opening files over the issue, but stood by her decision to cancel nonetheless. She labelled calls for her resignation over the issue more UCP hyperbole.
“It’s twisting words,” said Phillips. “I certainly give Jason Kenney the benefit of the doubt when he said last Friday that he, too, mis-spoke. He indicated at first he had kicked a Nazi out of his party, a Nazi he actually employed, and then it turned out he couldn’t do that. I give him the benefit of the doubt. We corrected the record (on Bighorn) in a matter of a couple of hours when I did not choose my words as carefully. I give my opponents the benefit of the doubt, and I certainly expect the same from them.”
The next SACPA session on Jan. 24 will be on the topic of whether or not Canada should establish a single-payer national pharmacare program. Visit the SACPA website for more details.
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