Olds-Didsbury-Three Hills contenders square off at all-candidates debate
An estimated 400 people attended the Olds-Didsbury-Three Hills all-candidates’ debate held last Wednesday evening at the Olds College Alumni Centre.
The public took the occasion to ask roughly 20 questions to PC candidate Darcy Davis, Liberal party candidate Garth Davis, NDP candidate Kristie Krezanoski, and Wildrose party candidate Bruce Rowe.
Health care was an important topic, with no less than three questions devoted to it.
Darcy Davis defended the PC government’s recent decision to establish 140 family care clinics, which many see as a duplication of the Primary Care Network.
“Thirty per cent of Albertans do not have a family physician,” he said.
“The clinics provide doctors, nurses, and other therapists all in one place.”
Garth Davis said the province has a hard time finding doctors for rural and remote communities. Moreover, the baby boomer doctors will soon retire, with the potential to cause another shortage problem. He said he believes the government should hire more doctors and make it more attractive to work in Alberta for them.
Krezanoski said the NDP believes in keeping a fully-funded public health-care system in Alberta. The NDP would rectify the health-care system problems by attracting more doctors to the province, she said.
Rowe said that the family care clinics were another example of the government instigating a project without consulting with stakeholders, since the Alberta Medical Association came out against the clinics.
Moreover, both Garth Davis and Krezanoski are opposed to further privatization of the health- care system, while Rowe said he is not opposed to anything that will improve the system. Davis said that the government needed to increase the capacity of the system.
Another hot topic was property rights and why Bills 19, 24, 36, and 50 are still going ahead.
Darcy Davis admitted being dissatisfied with Bill 36, but he added that Bill 10, had it passed, would have fixed the problem.
“We need these bills for planning,” he said.
“We need to have more consultations.”
Garth Davis said property rights were his sacred cow, and he wants the four bills cancelled. Krezanoski admitted not knowing much about the bills, but if elected, she would take constituents’ opinions into consideration. Rowe is opposed to the four bills and said that farmers are the best keepers of the land, not 20 guys in Edmonton.
A debate attendee asked why fresh water was free to oil and gas industry companies, which use it for fracking.
Garth Davis said he was opposed to the practice.
“We can live without oil, but we cannot live without water,” he said.
He said he believes the government needs to protect the quality of water in Alberta.
Krezanoski said she didn’t know why fresh water was free to oil and gas industry companies. She said she believes the oilsands needs to support the province in a better way.
Rowe admitted not knowing much about fracking, but said he believes fracking companies have no accountability.
Darcy Davis said he had three fracked wells on his property and he had yet to have problems with them. He said he believes that if an oil company does something wrong, it is accountable.
A discussion on infrastructure spending turned into a discussion about the future of the Olds overpass.
While Krezanoski and Garth Davis would vote to increase infrastructure spending, Rowe said he believes that infrastructure needs to be done on a priority basis and that politics should not enter into it.
“No matter what the town of Olds votes, they need that interchange on QEII done,” he said.
“It was high on the priority list, and all of a sudden it’s just removed, with no explanation.”
Darcy Davis reminded everyone that Premier Redford had said during her Olds visit that the overpass had been delayed for one year and would be replaced in the future.
He also said that, according to the budget released by Wildrose, the party wants to cut infrastructure spending by $1.4 billion.