Mason to close: Talks about his four priorities. Appeals for voters not to stay home, but choose his party... a bit Layton "lend me your vote" esque.
Stelmach to close: Talks about a clear choice about who Albertans trust to guide this province. Does an excellent job of outlining what being a Progressive Conservative means. Asks for support for our positive plan.
Hinman to close: Talks about Albertans knowing how to spend their money better than government does. Relying heavily on notes. Talks about the WRA being the common-sense alternative.
Taft to close: Talks about a government like its people. Shoots at the 37 year reign. Wants to make history and do the job right. Ends with cheezy line about wanting to me you if you see him in the streets. Sounds like he wants to sell you a KevCo 2-in-1 potato peeler and lint brush.
I'll be back with full reflection later this evening... dinner calls.
Thanks for reading!
Open forum on Auto Insurance.
Taft gets in and accuses the NDP and the PCs (and Alliance) of being ideological. This is the most duplicitous answer of the entire night. Kevin Taft is standing here and lying to Albertans when he says his party wants a review and is only interested in what the consumers want. They've been pimping it in the Legislature for years. I've blogged about this before.
I've also blogged about how free-market governments can't get rid of public auto insurance... a post that Brian Mason obviously missed.
I'll admit that I completely missed Stelmach and Hinman's answers on this. I was too busy yelling at the television.
Closing remarks (and dinner) up next!
Graham asks Ed a question on Day Care.
Ed rehashes the previously-announced plans to deal with the issue.
Taft also calls this a crisis. Suggests that day care workers are underpaid (agreed), wants to supplement wages (Janis Tarchuk has already started down this path).
Mason is back on the notes again, its odd. He's talking about a Quebec-esque model of cheap daycare. Not sure that'll work here.
Hinman sounds like he's using talking points from the federal Choice-in-Childcare program.
Open floor now, and Taft jumps in first.
Wants to bring more people into the profession through a combination of tax credits, loan forgiveness.
Mason says that's great, but we also need to address the affordability issue when it comes to daycare.
Stelmach makes a good point about the child care tax benefit, gives props to the Feds. Talks about the action taken to address the labour shortage and the aforementioned action to close the salary gap.
Hinman is big on the social conservative line about not talking children out of the home for daycare. Doesn't want to break up families, somehow brings seniors into this.
Commercial again. Its almost over. Good thing too, dinner's cooking upstairs and i'm starting to come across as a social recluse ;)
Barb's question for Brian Mason about those Albertans who are living "on the edge".
A taylor-made question for Mason that's allowing him to attack us on housing, utility deregulation... shoots at Taft on the Natural Gas rebate.
Hinman talks about some good ideas on tax policy (income splitting, raise the basic exemption).
Taft wants to eliminate health premiums immediately, cut property tax for Seniors, re-regulate utilities, loses his place towards the end.
Ed's back on the speaking points. Nothing sexy here, but it covers facts and the plan.
Mason goes after the 10 year plan to end homelessness. Apparently we should be able to do it in one year. Maybe he should talk to the group in Calgary who wrote the same kind of plan.
Ed shoots back against rent controls and affirms that rent control does nothing to build new affordable housing.
Hinman takes the ideological bend and calls the rent relief program a gift, prefers to reduce taxes on Albertans.
Taft talks about economic disparity in Calgary, a good point. Wants to improve wages... but how? Moves into the idea of education as an enabler... props for stealing a good Obama line.
Ed talking about inflation-proofing the basic tax exemption.
Again back on rent control between Ed and Brian to finish.
Nirmala asks a question about the infrastructure woes and how much they'll spend on it.
Hinman suggests a 10 year plan. Apparently he hasn't read the 20 year Capital Plan.
Ed trots out said plan a la Stockwell again. You can tell this is an area that he understands.
Mason was reading a bit more from his notes than usual at first, he's back off now. Talks about the need to address the infrastructure defecit.
Taft says this gov't isn't short of cash. Wants a long term plan and multi-year funding. Come on over, Kev ;)
Open floor. Hinman goes back to the royalty report, trying to capitalize on voters who think the hike was too much. Suggests that we need to keep the economy booming so we can fund infrastructure.
Ed says infrastructure is an economy enabler. Another line I like. Talks about the ring roads in Edmonton and Calgary (although Calgary needs to go faster). He keeps pulling facts out of his head in a way that Ralph would NEVER have been able to.
Taft continues to blame the oilsands for our woes. At least he gets the terminology right.
Mason takes the shot at P3s that i've been waiting for.
Ed shoots back about Mason's ability to predict the past.
Hinman attacks the province's debt-elimination, oddly.
Taft says we have the money and isn't afraid to open the chequebook.
Commercial break. Thank God.
Kim has a question for Ed about the job losses he claims will occur under other parties' environmental plans.
Starts off talking about the details of our plan and why hard caps are a bad idea. Doesn't directly answer the question, unfortunately.
Mason talks about wind power (good), California emissions standards (hard to do in Alberta), speaks longingly of the only NDP province left in Canada.
Taft talks about getting serious on the environment about hard caps and other legislation. Wants to work with industry to try and save jobs. I won't be holding my breath.
Hinman is against hard caps, but uses the term "tarsands". Shame.
Open floor, Hinman keeps going on about working with the feds with some of the money we send them in royalties in the first place.
Taft channels Al Gore and says climate change is bearing down on us like a locomotive, suggesting we may get mowed down.
Mason is gunning for Taft on his hard cap plan. Notes that the Liberals spoke against the NDP on hard caps in the Legislature.
Taft and Mason are now going at it full bore. So much for ignoring the NDP. I also enjoy Taft's defence of the Journal.
Ed talks about what we've been doing while the opposition argues. Ed's coming back to the initial question and attacks the Liberal plan. Taft thinks he's right, Ed disagrees and disputes his figures suggesting it won't be a big deal.
Thomson asks about slowing down the oilsands.
Taft is saying yes, he'd slow it down. Talks about managing the speed of growth before we derail the economy. Looking forward to Ed's reaction.
Mason calls it the tarsands. You know where he REALLY stands on it given that terminology.
Hinman talks about encouraging new technologies, reads from notes about some of them. Continue development in a responsible manner.
Ed is going after Chretien's line (which I blogged about a few weeks ago :) ) about sharing the wealth, says he'll make sure our resource rights aren't being intruded on.
Open floor now, Mason asks a pointed question to Ed on what his leadership will be. Ed continues to list the accomplishments.
Taft addresses issues that we're facing as a result of resource exploration, keeps relying on the "no plan" line.
Hinman calls this an early election and suggests the PCs have damaged the economy and our reputation... suggests he'd listen more to industry.
Ed talks about all the good news we've seen since the royalty regime, so much for panic.
Brian's back on about a lack of consideration for Albertans.
Ed says Alberta is a beacon of hope and a beacon of prosperity. Its a good line, I wish he'd have trotted it out earlier.
Barb Higgins wants to know why the Leaders aren't connecting with Albertans.
Hinman enjoys the chance to meet Albertans.
Taft is up, not sounding bad at all this time. The claws come out again, a la Joe Clark. Still, this has been his best answer thus far... although the same can be delivered by the Premier (Charisma doesn't solve problems).
Stelmach lists accomplishments, its in line with Taft's answer.
Mason says his wife finds him charismatic, i'd agree. Mason's got the best answer on this one thus far.
Open floor now.
Taft starts talking about his team of candidates (that would be 1 short of a full slate). His speaking style seems to be channeling some cut-rate televangelist.
Mason has a good soundbyte on leadership in energy.
Stelmach is talking about thoughtful, pragmatic leadership to build a plan. Brings up royalties again, talks about being decisive.
Hinman is on a bit of a rhetorical ramble here, not much substance on this one.
I notice a plug from Daveberta, suggest you head on over and check his out too. Somewhere between us you'll find balance ;)
And we're back.
Question from Kim for Taft on healthcare.
Is there a crisis?
Yes, apparently. Brings in personal story. Shots at horse racing (psst... Ralph's gone, Kev). Points his finger a bit.
Hinman talks about innovation and efficiency and the money following the patient, looking at healthcare consumers like customers.
Committed to public health system. Talks about building the system up, pulling all kinds of facts and committments out. He knows the plan.
Mason talks about training of Doctors and Nurses too, this is obviously something on everybody's minds. Good soundbytes from Mason.
Taft lists off all the places where he won't win seats. He's attacking Ed on Ralph's record again. Brian's on about bulk-buying of pharmaceuticals. Isn't big on this gov't being re-elected.
Hinman agrees with the "drug dealing", wants to encourage innovation as well. Talking about Lethbridge specifically... wonder if he's using this to campaign close to home.
Ed's on talking about the bulk-buying that's going on not just with Alberta, but BC and Saskatchewan.
Kevin hits the panic button and says that people are dying.
Apparently we stole the bulk-buying idea from the NDP. You're welcome, I guess.
Stelmach explains to Thomson that he can be an agent of change. Waves the 2o year plan around a la Stockwell Day, but makes his point.
Mason continues attacking both parties.
Taft needs to stop using his hands, he looks like a doofus. Tells us nothing about WHAT he'll change, just that we need it.
Hinman can teach Taft a lesson or two about hand usage, but is better than his opening statement.
70's socialist policies... EXACTLY. Ed nails it on the head and is ready to go. Brian keeps nagging on Liberals too.
Ed is now letting the opposition fight with each other. Socialists on both sides is the line, he's right.
Ed is looking great here, isn't letting the other guys faze him at all.
Brian back on the floor, going on royalties and supposed government secrecy. Ed's happy to answer.
Free debate one ends. Ed and Brian do well, Taft is weak.
Brian goes first, tries to paint the Liberals and Tories with the same brush.
Premier Stelmach on now. He's confident and not stumbling at all. Lists the basic priorities of the party. Good start.
Hinman starts off going after Stelmach. Is breathing kinda heavy. Sticking very heavily to the notes.
Taft is trying to be folksy. Apparently we deliver less than other provinces... that's a load of malarky. He's talking about grabbing something... maybe his shorts are wedged uncomfortably on his person.
The debate begins. Kevin Taft is on the far left, giving us a goofy grin. The Premier looks relaxed and confident, as does Brian Mason.
Thomson is also on the far left. How entertaining.
Format looks good.
Here we go.