Southern Alberta Newspapers reached out to each candidate in Taber-Warner and asked
a series of questions about issues of interest in the provincial election. Editor’s Note: We
did not receive responses from Paul Hinman (Wildrose Loyalty Coalition), Jazminn Hintz (NDP), Joel Hunt (Green Party) and Frank Kast (Independence Party of Alberta).
Grant Hunter, UCP
1) What are the top issues in the local riding, and what would you and your party do to try to address those issues?
The top issue for most families is the high cost of living. The best way to help Albertans pay for their groceries and make their mortgage payments is by ensuring they keep more money in their pockets. The United Conservative Party is committed to making life more affordable by cutting taxes for all Albertans starting with personal income taxes.
A re-elected UCP government will create a new 8% bracket on income under $60,000. This means every Alberta earning $60,000 or more will save $760 – that’s over $1,500 per family! Albertans earning less than $60,000 will see a full 20% reduction to their provincial tax bill under this tax cut.
These tax cuts will provide meaningful, timely tax relief to Albertans at a time when they need it most.
We will also continue to work to get rid of the Carbon Tax which is a cost increase on everything. The federal government has indicated that tax will increase to $170/tonne by 2030. The NDP introduced the Carbon Tax in Alberta even though they never campaigned on it in 2015.
2) Should Alberta implement a provincial police force, or retain the RCMP? What about the CPP versus a provincial pension plan?
To date, no decision has been made on an Alberta Police Service; we continue to consult and consider all options. It’s important to remember that this discussion isn’t a reflection of the fantastic men and women of the RCMP who are currently keeping our communities safe,
With the federal government signaling that they are looking to get out of contract policing, we must do our due diligence to explore all options to keep Albertans safe. We will continue to work with municipalities and indigenous communities to find local solutions for their unique needs.
As for a Provincial Pension Plan we have indicated that the only way that would be implemented in Alberta is if Albertans voted for it in a referendum. The final study on a provincial pension plan will be finished in June and released to the public. If Albertans want a provincial pension plan they have the mechanism to vote on it through a citizen’s initiated referendum.
3) With a global and national push for more green energy, how does Alberta integrate and promote the virtues of its oil and gas industry?
Alberta’s new Emissions Reduction and Energy Development (ERED) Plan charts Alberta’s course for cutting emissions, attracting investment and growing the economy.
The ERED Plan is Alberta’s path forward to net-zero aspirations by 2050 while maintaining affordable, reliable and secure energy for Albertans. The plan affirms that responsibly produced oil and gas will continue to be a fundamental part of the global energy mix in the coming decades while sending a clear signal to the world that Alberta is the place to invest.
We are committed to continuing to set our own made-in-Alberta policies to effectively and responsibly manage our environment and natural resources while focusing on the unique needs of Albertans and our industries.
4) The state of the province’s healthcare system remains a top issue for voters. What has to be done to make our system more responsive to the needs of Albertans?
In 2019 the UCP government inherited a broken, bloated, and bureaucratic health system that was failing Albertans. We immediately began streamlining resources to the front lines and while progress was stalled by the pandemic, the results are now being seen.
We have increased Health spending by over $2 billion since 2019. We’ve added 700 physicians and nearly 6,000 staff in AHS including 1,800 RNs and 300 paramedics. In 2022 alone, we added 254 physicians and 800 nursing staff.
Surgical wait times are coming down and EMS code reds have all but been eliminated.
This election is about families, hardworking women and men who deserve world-class health care, where and when they need it.
5) Do you have a vision of what this province could be in 10 years, and what does that look like?
Alberta’s advantage has been renewed. Our economy is firing on all cylinders. People from all across Canada and the world are moving to Alberta for good paying jobs again. If we continue doing what we have been doing over the past 4 years (lowering taxes, eliminating red tape, paying down debt, and living within our means) the next 10 years will see explosive GDP growth where Albertans can get good paying jobs, start or grow their businesses, and enjoy a high quality of life. Alberta’s UCP government understands that good quality health care, education, and roads can only be achieved with a successful private sector that pays taxes.
Southern Alberta will also see explosive growth in the Agri-food processing sector over the next 10 years. Due to the work our UCP government has done, expanding irrigation by 230,000 acres, twinning Hwy 3 from the Saskatchewan border to the BC border, and creating the Agri-processing Investment Tax Credit (APITC), Southern Alberta is poised to become the most coveted real estate in Alberta.