Alberta Premier Rachel Notley surrounded by supporters at yesterday’s rally in Edmonton (Photo: Marshall Boyd, used with permission).

It sure sounds as if Alberta Premier Rachel Notley will announce an affordable child-care plan for Alberta today.

At any rate, at a rally in downtown Edmonton’s Polish Hall yesterday afternoon, she boldly told more than 1,000 enthusiastic supporters – who sounded like an Oilers crowd back in the days this place was known as the City of Champions – that if it’s re-elected, her NDP government is flat-out going to fix the problem of unaffordable child care in Alberta.

More of the crowd at Edmonton’s Polish Hall as Ms. Notley spoke yesterday afternoon (Photo: Brad Readman).

“Too many young families face sky-high costs for child care,” she said, adding that “some reports say child care costs in Alberta are higher than anywhere in the country,” rivalling mortgage payments and rent.

“They stand as a major barrier to people buying their first home,” she stated. They “keep too many young women out of the workforce.”

So, stand by, “we’re going to fix this problem and make life a lot more affordable for young families.”

The United Conservative Party Opposition led by Jason Kenney, which we have been told interminably by mainstream media is leading Ms. Notley’s NDP Government comfortably in the polls, will argue we can’t afford such fripperies when we need to give huge tax breaks to profitable foreign corporations and spend big money on constitutionally meaningless referenda.

Well, it’ll be interesting to see if Alberta voters continue to swallow that line now that more of them, presumably, are starting to pay attention to the election campaign the premier called on March 19.

Ms. Notley also promised significant policy announcements this week on improving Alberta’s classrooms, cutting hospital wait times and making life more affordable for seniors.

Whether the UCP juggernaut narrative of the past year turns out to be true or there’s another Miracle on the Prairies on April 16, this campaign is already significantly different from other Alberta election campaigns in recent memory.

One of Premier Notley’s young supporters enjoys the excitement in the room (Photo: Bradley Lafortune, used with permission).

That is to say, while the two leading parties have similar assessments of the problems facing Alberta that may or may not be right – a lack of sufficient pipeline capacity to Canada’s coasts, for example – their policy prescriptions are dramatically different from one another in many regards.

At least since the retirement of Peter Lougheed, the principal argument between the most competitive parties in Alberta political campaigns has been whether we should have austerity and more austerity. That was even true in 1993, when Liberal leader Laurence Decore’s Liberals managed to win 32 of the province’s then 83 seats, the party’s historical high tide, by trying to out-Tory Ralph Klein’s Tories.

I suppose you could argue the 2015 campaign, won by Ms. Notley’s New Democrats, was different in this way – but it wasn’t until a month or so before the election that most of us even realized the NDP were in contention.

Mr. Kenney took yesterday off from campaigning, perhaps to honour the Sabbath, or maybe to use the occasion to pray for an end to the string of bozo eruptions by his candidates that marred the opening of the campaign his party hopes will be a triumphal march to victory.

Ms. Notley – who obviously has some pretty good gag writers in her employ if she isn’t one herself – commented on Mr. Kenney’s troubles this week at the start of her remarks.

Referencing some of Mr. Kenney’s candidates’ fumbles on such topics as the place of women in the home, Europeans in their “homelands,” and whether or not global climate change is a thing, she commented: “In all fairness, Mr. Kenney did say he wasn’t aiming for perfection with his candidates. … Well, Mr. Kenney: Mission accomplished!”

She compared the scene at UCP headquarters to the set of Survivor. “Except no one really knows how low you’ve got to go to get kicked off the island.”

As for the Kamikaze Mission Scandal stemming from the 2017 UCP leadership contest and how Mr. Kenney won it that has bedevilled the UCP in recent weeks, she observed how when her party took office, “the Sky Palace stood as a testament to politicians putting themselves ahead of you.

“There were cabinet ministers under investigation and scandal after scandal.

“Some things never change, do they? Today, they’re not even in office and they’re under investigation!”

“And my-oh-my, do they want back in power,” she continued. “Here is Jason Kenney’s argument in a nutshell:

“His team made a terrible mess.

“We didn’t clean it up fast enough.

“So fire us and put the old boys back in!

“That’s his case.”

And, you know what? That’s certainly not the way Mr. Kenney would put it, but when you get right down to it, it pretty much is his case.

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    “Online techniques face other challenges such as creating a representative list from which to draw respondents.”
    – Marketing Research and Intelligence Association (MRIA) report (May 2018)

    Unscientific online polls start with a badly selected sample — it’s not a sample of anybody. They rely on an established directory of respondents for their online polls. It is made up of people who have volunteered/signed up to take online “internet” polls for incentives like prizes or money (i.e. ThinkHQ, Angus Reid – who by the way, are not members of MRIA).

    Respondents for online polls are not randomly selected because there is no complete list of voters’ IP internet addresses; therefore the poll is not probability-based and has no margin of error (unscientific). The margins of error they provide are based on under “normal circumstances” polling. In other words, polls conducted by random sampling through landline and cell phones. Furthermore, there is no way online polls can take into account the views of non-internet users.

    Essentially, I find these polls are for entertainment value only. The results are “iffy” at best and likely non-representative of the voting universe. And …if the pollsters aren’t telling you who paid for the poll, be especially leery of the results. Next time you see a published online internet poll with this caveat be very suspect of the results: “The survey utilizes a representative, but non-random sample, therefore margin of error is not applicable.”

  2. KKKenney is now touting Alberta as wanting to draw our attention to a majority of Albertans who want to secede from Canada. That’s convenient! Oops! All the pipeline delays are from our competitors in the USA! But why would he care about science, intelligence or facts? He’s a snake oils salesman for (lucky Jason got stroked) sake! Oh and By the way? If you guys don’t get your sh yte together? No one else will!

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