The election has now been called so the Liberals managed to announce their platform just before Stelmach called to election for March 3. Stelmach has already addressed some of the issues in the Liberal platform. However, the Liberal plans sound quite ambitious. The total cost is not set out in the article.
The Liberals will probably do well in some of the urban ridings. They managed to win Klein's old seat in Calgary. Stelmach is a rural candidate and his rural grass roots support no doubt helped him in his surprise win of the leadership. I expect that rural support for the Conservatives will be solid.
Alberta Liberals unveil election platform
Promise to cut health-care premiums, lower power rates, cap greenhouse gases in 5 years
Last Updated: Friday, February 1, 2008 12:44 PM MT
The Alberta Liberals are off and running for a provincial election that hasn't been called yet, with promises to eliminate health-care premiums, lower electricity rates and cap greenhouse gas emissions within five years.
Liberal Leader Kevin Taft announced the party's platform for the campaign — expected to start early next week — before 200 people at a University of Alberta lecture hall Thursday night.
Alberta Liberal Leader Kevin Taft on Thursday unveiled the party's platform for the coming election.(CBC)
Taft described the coming battle as "David versus Goliath" because Liberals hold only 16 seats in the legislature, compared to 60 for the governing Conservatives. But he said people are ready for change after 36 years of Tory rule in Alberta.
"Time for change is just so pronounced among the people I think once the dam begins to break, anything can happen in this campaign," he said.
Taft acknowledged it won't be easy. "The Tories will wage an air war. They've got millions of dollars and they will bombard people with advertising and television," he said. "We'll wage a ground war. We've been preparing for that. We know where we'll go, why we'll be there and what we'll do."
There is reason for the party's optimism, said Debbie Cavaliere, Liberal candidate for Edmonton-Meadowlark, who was at the event.
"I just don't see that anything will ever change with the Tory government. They've been in power for years. Yes, they have a new leader. I don't really believe they can change from within," she said.
Other priorities in the Liberal platform include:
Train more nurses, doctors and health-care professionals.
Reduce hospital waiting times.
Bring in a pharmacare program.
Provide homeowners and businesses with $250 million for energy-efficient retrofits.
Eliminate school fees.
Reinvest 30 per cent of energy royalties in the Alberta Heritage Trust Fund and infrastructure programs.
Put a temporary cap on rent increases at 10 per cent per year.
Put a moratorium on condominium conversions.
The Liberals have nominated 79 candidates and expect to have a full slate of 83 before the election is called, Alberta Liberal Party executive director Kieran Leblanc said Friday.