04/22/2015 04:00 EDT | Updated 06/22/2015 01:12 EDT

Alberta party leaders cut back appearances to prepare for televised debate

EDMONTON - The leaders of Alberta's main political parties are cutting back on campaigning to prepare for their televised debate on Thursday.Wildrose Leader Brian Jean is not making any appearances today.Alberta Liberal Leader David Swann is having a photo opportunity at a coffee shop in Edmonton, then knocking on doors for few hours.Progressive Conservative Leader Jim Prentice is doing a tele-town hall in Fort McMurray later today.NDP Leader Rachel Notley is making an announcement in Edmonton that the party says will help Albertans conserve energy and save money.The leaders debate is Thursday from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. and will air on Global Edmonton, Calgary, Lethbridge, Shaw Community Channels and on News Talk 770 and 630 CHED.On Tuesday, Prentice cancelled his government's plan to reduce the charitable donation tax credit.The cut, introduced last month in the provincial budget, was to save $90 million a year, but had been criticized by opponents and charitable groups as punishing the needy in difficult economic times.Then Prentice's campaign bus was rear-ended by his security team's SUV. RCMP say the collision happened Tuesday afternoon near Rocky Mountain House. The driver of the SUV was transported to hospital with minor injuries.The premier and eight others on the bus were not hurt.Swann promised that a Liberal government would put more resources into illness prevention.Preventing Albertans from getting sick would reduce dependence on hospital beds and surgeries down the road, the medical doctor said.Jean promised to make all hospitals give visitors two hours of free parking, saying it's a simple way to make life more affordable and less stressful. He also declined to name those who came up with his proposed budget, which promises to balance the budget by 2017 without raising taxes.The PCs have said that would mean a $29 billion shortfall and have demanded Jean cite his sources. Notley promised to revive a program for student summer jobs if her party wins the provincial election.She says the NDP would restore $10 million a year in funding for the Student Temporary Employment Program, better known as STEP.