The Debate Comes and Goes
Posted on April 5, 2019
Yesterday’s debate was entertaining but lacked the thrills and spills of some of Alberta’s more memorable elections debates. There was no slam dunk moment, and unlike in 2015, none of the candidates said anything that they would immediately regret. So, in truth, last night’s debate was pretty forgettable. This only helps one candidate, Jason Kenney. As expected, the UCP leader faced a number of tough questions, however, he stayed clear of obvious traps, kept his cool, and ultimately did not lose. That is not saying he won either because it is not clear that any leader actually walked away with the win.
It is a different story for Premier Notley. Albertans were expecting a standout performance from the Premier, such as the one delivered in 2015. However, while the Premier showed that she is still a force to be reckoned with behind the podium, her 2019 performance will not be a memorable one. The NDP needed either an error from Kenney or an outstanding performance from the Premier and unfortunately got neither.
The UCP released its education platform last week and immediately faced a significant backlash over changes made to legislation around gay-straight alliances. The UCP also pledged to reintroduce 50 per cent exams to students in grade 12. While everyone was focused on the GSA issue, a small but vocal group opposed the changes to the exam system, saying that it adds an undue and unnecessary amount of stress to students. Now, a week after the education platform was rolled out, the UCP is rolling back that specific tenet of the platform. A UCP spokesperson said that the party had received a significant amount of concern regarding that specific change and that it would be put on hold pending a review.
Small businesses have borne the brunt of Alberta’s economic hardships over the past five years. When times get tough, big companies have resources to fall back on as they try to weather the economic storm. This is not the case for many small businesses. Business owners make up a very important constituency in Alberta, and while they do not elect a single representative per say, their votes make a difference. On election day, the party that has done the most work to support the small business community will inherit a significant vote, and a powerful voice in the community.
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Braid: A fierce debate but not a great one, and no clear winner, by Don Braid with the Calgary Herald
- Braid discusses how last night’s debate devolved into a chippy back-and-forth, seeing Rachel Notley and Jason Kenny attacking each other, even featuring a few spats between David Khan and Stephen Mandel. Braid suggests that even though this debate will be “soon forgotten”, it appeared as if Notley got the upper hand, this time.
Support for UCP remains solid, unwavering for UCP despite controversies, by Bryan Labby with CBC News
- The UCP and its supporters remain strongly aligned despite numerous controversial comments and investigations into the party’s candidates. Bryan Labby examines this resilience and questions how much more controversy the party can take before it risks fracturing.
Amid Alberta’s election campaign, small businesses say they’re the canaries in the coal mine — and things aren’t going well, by Mary Teresa Bitti with the Financial Post
- Mary Terresa Bitti discusses how the combined effect of lowered oil prices, a recession, and a dramatic drop in demand, governments have made the cost of business much more expensive, and harder to sustain for small companies.
‘We’ve heard concerns’: UCP pauses plan to make high school diploma exams worth 50 per cent, by Janet French with the Edmonton Journal
- The United Conservative Party is reconsidering two of its education platform planks calling for an increased emphasis on standardized testing after voters voiced concerns.
Alberta Election 2019: Party leaders break out their greatest hits in 90-minute debate , by Clare Clancy with the Edmonton Journal
- The Alberta leaders debate started Thursday with NDP Leader Rachel Notley and UCP Leader Jason Kenney fighting over pipelines and the economy, with both leaders trying to talk over each other just to get a word in. This article shows a full replay of the debate.