The leader of Alberta’s NDP is urging voters who chose right-leaning candidates in the past to pick her party in the April 16 provincial election.
Rachel Notley say she respects why people had put their trust in the long-governing former Progressive Conservative party, since it had a strong tradition of defending Alberta.
But she says the PCs were in power too long and left working people vulnerable by not doing enough to diversify the economy.
Notley’s New Democrats toppled the PCs after 44 years in power by winning a majority in the 2015 election.
She says Jason Kenney’s United Conservative Party brings together the worst aspects of the former PC and Wildrose parties, which merged in 2017.
She says the UCP represents entitlement and intolerance rolled into one neat package.
“What is more clear every day is that Mr. Kenney didn’t bring the best of the PCs and the Wildrose together,” Notley said Wednesday at the Calgary Currie office of NDP incumbent Brian Malkinson.
“He brought the sky palace to the shores of the lake of fire.”
A lavish penthouse suite atop Edmonton’s Federal Building, dubbed the “sky palace,” came to symbolize what was perceived as a sense of entitlement by the former PC government led by Alison Redford.
In the 2012 election, the Wildrose Party blew a late lead in the polls, in part, because then-party leader Danielle Smith refused to sanction a candidate who penned an anti-gay blog urging homosexuals to repent or face eternal damnation in hell’s “lake of fire.”
The UCP has seen two of its Calgary candidates — Caylan Ford and Eva Kiryakos — resign over intolerant remarks on social media. Another candidate, Mark Smith, has also been criticized for past remarks about homosexuality.
On Tuesday, a snippet of audio surfaced on social media from a sermon Smith delivered in 2013 that was posted on the website of the Calvary Baptist Church in Drayton Valley, Alta.
On the recording, Smith discusses how TV programs try to convince people that love among homosexuals is “good love.”
“Heck, there are even people out there, I could take you, I could take to you places on the website, I’m sure, where you could find out that there’s, where pedophilia is love,” he said in the recording.
Notley criticized Kenney on Wednesday for keeping Smith as the candidate for Drayton Valley-Devon.
“Mr. Kenney thinks he can just walk past the level of bigotry and divisiveness that was articulated by his hand-picked education critic and potential minister, and that Albertans won’t hold him to account,” she said.
The Canadian Press