Alberta Party leader talks hospital, oil, election during stop in Red Deer

By Josh Hall (Twitter: @Vancan19)
March 9, 2019 - 4:07pm

Alberta Party leader Stephen Mandel made an appearance in Red Deer Saturday alongside local candidates Paul Hardy and Ryan McDougall.

The trio was in attendance for the first ever Red Deer Women’s March.

Following the march, Mandel took some time to talk about recent events, including his party’s commitment to seeing through the expansion of hospital services in our city.

“It’s long overdue. They showed us some statistics that were almost scary, that we’re investing almost nothing in the central region compared to the rest of the province,” he said, referencing a meeting he had Saturday morning with the Society for Hospital Expansion in Central Alberta.

“I know the Alberta Party is very very excited about -- if we become government -- to construct and build in cooperation with the Red Deer community a facility that’s befitting such an incredible place.”

Mandel said that what’s different about his promise from the similar one made by the NDP last week is that they are committing to it before even taking over, whereas the current government has had four years.

Last week, Mandel was reinstated to run in the upcoming provincial election. He had recently been banned for five years by Elections Alberta for failing to submit the appropriate paperwork by the correct date, though that ban was overturned.

Asked how much of a dent his trust with Albertans took over the situation, he claims that most people he spoke with thought the entire thing was ridiculous.

“My CFO was sick and we missed a date. This particular government is weaponizing itself for political purposes, which is not good,” Mandel remarked. “This kind of legislation was vindictive and really archaic, and that was proven in the courts. Our candidates were all vindicated.”

He also touched on the need to stray away from being combative with political foes on Twitter.

“Try to have a vision of what the province could be, not get into the mud with other parties. We want to put through a positive campaign about what we think Alberta should look like, and can look like,” he said.  

“This is an amazing province and it has led this country for decades and decades. We’re on a bit of a rough road right now. When you’re thinking about tomorrow and what it’ll look like, the world’s going to change dramatically in the next 10, 20, 30 years, and we have to be at the front end of that.”

Finally, Mandel was questioned about what the correct direction to go is in terms of righting the situation with Alberta’s oil.

He said while Trans Mountain is and will remain a priority, Alberta needs to start thinking outside the box.

“As a province, the premier can talk all she wants about TMX, but it’s in the hands of the federal government, and we wish they would get their butts in gear and get it done,” said Mandel. “It’s frustrating that SNC Lavalin gets all this attention, and not that losing any jobs in Quebec is good, but we’ve lost tens of thousands of jobs in Alberta. It just seems unfair. It shouldn’t be such a political football.

“Let’s not forget there are other avenues. We can go north -- there are First Nations groups looking to go through Grande Prairie and up across into the northern part of BC. If Bill C-48 passes, they won’t allow that. We should take a look maybe at how we can get up into Alaska,” Mandel concluded.

“We can’t sit twiddling our thumbs and praying for one pipeline. We need lots of pipelines.”

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