POLITICS

NDP Notley tells more than 1,000 supporters in Edmonton "time for change"

05/03/2015 07:25 EDT | Updated 05/03/2016 05:12 EDT
EDMONTON - NDP Leader Rachel Notley told more than 1,000 cheering supporters Sunday that the choice for Alberta's future is their's and doesn't belong to Premier Jim Prentice and his "five (corporate) friends."

"It is spring in Alberta!" Notley shouted to a packed room at an Edmonton hotel.

"It's time for renewal. It is time for change. It's time for new people with new ideas, better ideas, ideas about making things better instead of worse," she said as the crowd roared.

"And I say this to every Albertan in every community of this province: You don't have to repeat history. This Tuesday you can make history."

Supporters came wearing "Notley Crue" T-shirts. They waved orange party placards and chanted Notley's name.

Two came dressed in head-to-toe, face-covering, orange spandex body suits.

Notley later told reporters it was the largest NDP rally she had ever attended in Alberta.

Voters go to the polls Tuesday in what opinion surveys have suggested will be a close three-way race among Prentice's Progressive Conservatives, the NDP and the Wildrose party.

In the last week, Prentice and the PCs have repeatedly warned voters that an NDP government would destroy Alberta's economy.

On Friday, five Edmonton business leaders held a news conference to ridicule the NDP's economic platform. They urged voters to back Prentice and the PCs to stay in government.

All five are donors to the PC party and some have received millions of dollars in government contracts.

"Why is it always the corporations? Why is it always?" John Cameron of Kellor Construction told the news conference, referring to the NDP promise to raise corporate income taxes to 12 per cent from the current rate of 10 per cent.

At 10 per cent, Alberta's rates are the lowest in Canada.

Prentice has ruled out hikes to corporate taxes and oil royalties, while promising to hike personal taxes and user fees virtually across the board.

Notley said asking corporations and wealthy individuals to pay "a little bit more" is not only equitable but would reverse planned reductions in health care and in funding to pay for thousands more school students expected this fall.

"Albertans are going to decide who the government is. Not Jim Prentice and not his five friends," said Notley.

Prentice also campaigned in Edmonton Sunday, meeting groups and shaking hands at various locations.

He told reporters following a morning event at a Sikh temple that Albertans have a clear choice.

"There are two parties here: the Progressive Conservative party and our free-enterprise vision of the province, and the NDP and what they speak to, which I don't believe is in the best interests of the future of the province and our economy," said Prentice.

Prentice also delivered a veiled invitation to Wildrose voters to vote for his Tory team.

"In terms of voters from other parties that are fiscally conservative, we certainly hope that they'll support us and keep the future of the province bright (for) free enterprise," said Prentice.

In Calgary Sunday, Wildrose Leader Brian Jean announced the party had raised $1 million in total campaign contributions.

Jean also released the names of all major contributors and urged other party leaders to do the same.

Liberal Leader David Swann released an open letter to Notley on Sunday. In it, he acknowledged the possibility of a minority government and said his party wanted "to work together to shape our province."

But he also challenged her on other issues.

"While we agree on many social issues, Alberta Liberals have serious questions about the NDP's economic plan and budget," Swann said in the letter.