POLITICS

Party leaders spend busy day on campaign trail throughout Alberta

04/10/2015 04:00 EDT | Updated 06/10/2015 06:59 EDT
Policy plans, pressing the flesh and posing for pictures will be the priority today as Alberta's political leaders campaign for the May 5 provincial election.

Liberal Leader David Swann spends a busy day in Calgary, starting off by announcing a plan "to improve the lives of our most vulnerable."

Then he meets with officials from the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers and energy giant Encana before wrapping up the day knocking on doors in the Calgary-Mountain View constituency.

A policy announcement in Edmonton is on the agenda for NDP Leader Rachel Notley, who will later tour the training facility of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers.

Conservative Leader Jim Prentice spends another day in southern Alberta, starting out with remarks at Calgary's Fish Creek Provincial Park, and then making brief pit stops for photo opps at a candy store in High River, a jerky shop in Longview and a ranch near Maycroft.

Wildrose Leader Brian Jean starts off the day in Fort McMurray, where he makes an announcement, and ends it with an appearance at the Great Canadian Trade Fair in Sherwood Park.

On Wednesday, Jean unveiled a blueprint to slash management jobs in government and health care, while deferring some capital projects and avoiding tax hikes.

He accused Prentice of failing to attack waste and excess in government ranks while punishing Alberta families with tax hikes.

"Our government is bloated because after 40 years (of PC government), too many executive offices and agencies are filled with PC cronies," said Jean.

Meanwhile, Notley said her NDP team would create an estimated 27,000 new jobs by launching a tax credit that would refund 10 per cent of each new employee's salary to a maximum salary of $50,000.

"When the economy slows down, the government has a role to play," said Notley. "People are worried about jobs and they're worried about the security of their families and their ability to pay the bills."

The plan is estimated to cost $89 million and would support up to 100 new hires at each business that participates.

Prentice went on the defensive over his refusal to raise Alberta's 10 per cent corporate income tax rate, currently the lowest in Canada.

"In a fragile economy such as ours, increasing taxes on Alberta businesses will kill jobs, drive away investment and it will destroy the Alberta Advantage," he said.