THE BLOG
08/25/2014 03:48 EDT | Updated 10/25/2014 05:59 EDT

If Elected Alberta NDP Leader, These Will Be My Priorities

For 43 years, we have been stuck with the same, outdated, right wing status quo. Right wing policies have failed us in nearly every way imaginable: on education, on health care, and on the environment. Most of all, right wing policies have failed to ensure all Albertans get the most from our oil and gas resources. I am ready to work hard to change our province's politics and I know that many of you are, too.

Walter Bibikow via Getty Images

Alberta is a modern, forward thinking province that deserves a modern, forward thinking government.

For 43 years, we have been stuck with the same, outdated, right wing status quo. Right wing policies have failed us in nearly every way imaginable: on education, on health care, and on the environment. Most of all, right wing policies have failed to ensure all Albertans get the most from our oil and gas resources.

Albertans are fed up with tired conservative rhetoric and outrageous scandals. And while the Wildrose want us to believe they offer the alternative we need, the reality is that they are more of the same -- in fact, for most of the last 43 years, they were part of the same government as the current crowd.

If elected leader of the NDP, I am ready to work hard to change our province's politics and I know that many of you are, too. Here are my priorities for change that will benefit all Albertans.

Ready to build a modern, progressive Alberta

My top top priority as leader will be to use my leadership skills, experience, and record of success to build a progressive movement that can compete with the Conservatives and Wildrose -- and win.

I have won battles in and out of the Legislature. As leader, I will work hard to earn the trust of Albertans who are tired of Conservative arrogance and Wildrose extremism.

On the municipal level and in the last provincial election, Albertans voted for a progressive province. But Alberta's right-wing parties let us down. Clearly it is possible to elect a government committed to the values Albertans continually express.

Ready for quality health care

Since Alberta Health Services was launched, Albertans have received less access and lower quality health care in a system run by out-of-touch health care executives and Conservative insiders.

Alberta families need solutions to emergency room line-ups and wait lists for seniors seeking long-term care. We need improved care for the one in five Albertans who face mental health issues in their lifetime.

Improving access is essential to ending emergency room waits. I am committed to reinvesting in public long-term care beds, ending bed closures in rural hospitals, and bringing Alberta's investment in mental health care up to the national average and beyond.

The approach of the Conservatives and Wildrose - more privatization - has proven to be a failure.

Alberta's health care infrastructure is in bad need of repair, replacement, and investment. We need to replace aging hospitals, like Edmonton's Misericordia, and build new facilities to meet the needs of a growing population.

Ready for better education

I have been a strong voice against the closing and overcrowding of schools, and the cuts to post-secondary institutions that threaten our future prosperity.

Albertans want a modern, effective, and equitable educational system, where class sizes are small and parents aren't forced to choose between overcrowded schools and schools about to close due to under funding.

I will work to create better support for children with disabilities and other special learning needs, who are often streamlined into classrooms without the resources to succeed.

Albertans are ready for a modern province that creates post-secondary spaces and opportunities, instead of cutting them like conservatives have done. Making post-secondary education more affordable is an investment in Alberta's future.

Instead of starving our system of resources, Alberta needs to invest more to develop quality post-secondary programs that everyone can access.

Ready for a prosperous and sustainable economy

While Conservatives and the Wildrose go "all in" on fossil fuels, Albertans are ready to tap into our province's energy expertise to prepare for the transition to cleaner forms of energy. Instead of being left behind, Alberta can and should lead the way.

Conservatives and Wildrose champion giving our resources away at discount rates. They are selling our future out, and that has to stop. Better diversification of our economy, a fair tax system, and a real commitment to upgrading resources within the province will create the long-term prosperity we all want.

Albertans cannot afford to ignore the threats posed by climate change. I am committed to developing a comprehensive renewable energy policy that will lead Canada. An independent, transparent, and science led system of environmental oversight can restore our reputation, make our industry more sustainable, and protect our air, land, and water.

Ready for our cities and vibrant communities

Alberta is the fastest growing and the youngest province in Canada. As leader of Alberta's NDP, I will address the needs of families, students, businesses, and the innovative citizens who make our cities vibrant.

From Lethbridge to Fort McMurray, our fast-growing centres need support and respect, including better public transit and support for arts, culture, and recreation. Funding is not keeping pace with the services our municipalities provide. I will make sure our cities and towns have a stable revenue stream to provide roads, sanitation, recreation, and other services.

I know that Alberta can play a role in promoting smart growth and limiting sprawl with initiatives for more community infrastructure, including parks and playgrounds, revitalized mature neighborhoods, and limited school closures, and I want to see us jump into that role with both feet.

Progressive Albertans are ready to build an exciting and compelling movement to challenge the Conservatives and Wildrose and win. Increasingly, those progressive voters are turning to Alberta's NDP as the home for their movement. Together, we can change politics in our province for the better.

To find out more about my campaign to build a modern and progressive movement that can win in Alberta, visit readyforrachel.ca.