Debate Night is Here
Posted on April 4, 2019
Tonight’s leadership debate has the potential to be one of the most significant moments in the 2019 Alberta Election. Debate night can make or break your chances as a candidate and a slip of the tongue can write you into the history books for all of the wrong reasons. For a strong debater, this is an opportunity to paint other candidates into a corner on their policy, force them to say things they should not, and show Albertans who is the most capable leader.
Rachel Notley showed during the 2015 election that she is an extremely capable debater. Other candidates underestimated her ability and it came back to haunt them. The Premier will need to decide how she will approach tonight’s debate. Will the NDP focus on attacking Jason Kenney’s character and the issues the UCP have had regarding candidates? Will the Premier focus on selling the NDP’s platform to Albertans? Or will it be a mix of the two?
While Notley may have more leadership debate experience, Jason Kenney has the advantage going into the debate of being the leader of the race. Polling already shows that many Albertans think he should be the next Premier of the province which means tonight is not about selling a product, it is about defending what he already has. The UCP will be under attack from all sides tonight, on policy, on candidates, and on leadership, and Kenney needs to be prepared for the tough questions, because everyone knows they are coming.
For David Khan and Stephen Mandel, tonight is about getting some media attention for their parties. This election has been covered as a two-horse race, and the Alberta Party and the Alberta Liberals have been on the outside looking in. If these two leaders come prepared to ask tough questions of the other candidates and provide thought provoking responses to questions posed of them, then maybe they can steal some of the spotlight and demonstrate their party to be a good alternative to the NDP or the UCP.
Yesterday, Jason Kenney and the UCP unveiled a plan to help Indigenous groups invest and profit in the resources they own. Indigenous participation and support have quickly become a requirement for any major project looking to be completed and policies which help foster positive and reciprocal relationships with Indigenous stakeholders are absolutely part of the future.
Despite continuing outrage, the UCP has continued to back embattled candidate Mark Smith. Smith came under fire on Tuesday when audio of a sermon recorded in 2013 came to light. Jason Kenney called the comments hurtful and offensive, however, following an official apology from Smith, the decision was made to allow Smith to remain in the UCP caucus. Other parties have criticized Kenney and the UCP for normalizing homophobia by allowing Smith to stay. Comments made against the LGBTQ community by Wildrose candidate Allan Hunsperger in 2012 contributed to their loss in the election despite going in with a significant lead in the polls. The question is, are Albertans so concerned with issues of the economy that they can look past these kinds of candidate outbursts?
Navigator’s top 6 news story daily picks
- This article discusses a poll released yesterday by Janet Brown Research, showing that Jason Kenney and the UCP are currently holding a 19-point lead over the next closest NDP and Rachel Notley. The firm believes that if the election were held tomorrow, the UCP would win a “large majority”.
UCP Leader Jason Kenney stands by candidate Mark Smith after homophobic remarks surface, by Clare Clancy with the Edmonton Journal
- UCP Leader Jason Kenney is standing by candidate Mark Smith, who faced intense backlash after homophobic comments surfaced Tuesday. The comments were made in 2013 at a sermon address at the Calvary Baptist Church in Drayton Valley.
No injunction for investigation into Jeff Callaway UCP leadership campaign, by Kevin Martin with the Edmonton Journal
- The investigation into former UCP leadership candidate Jeff Callaway’s campaign financing can continue, a judge ruled on Wednesday. Justice Anne Kirker refused to grant an injunction, so the “kamikaze” scandal continues.
- On Wednesday, Rachel Notley claimed that she had observed Conservative voters turning away from the UCP, suggesting that they were fed up with some of the intolerance displayed by key members of the party.
Party leaders to face off in Thursday debate; here’s what’s at stake, by Sammy Hudes with the Calgary Herald
- Sammy Hudes highlights some of the key topics to listen for in the upcoming leaders’ debate. Hudes claims that the showdown and each leader’s performance could carry major lasting effects that will propel voters leading up to the election day.
UCP promises $1-billion Crown corporation to back First Nations resource development, by Emma Graney with the Edmonton Journal
- Billy Morin, the Chief of Enoch Cree Nation, has offered his support for the Jason Kenney following a UCP promise that, if elected, would see the party create a $1-billion Aboriginal Opportunities Corporation.