Looking at rails, roads and regulators

By Chris Pedersen

Head-on collisions along the single lane highways, the eradication of crime from the streets and the future of infrastructure are important topics in the Province of Alberta. The four major parties in the Mar. 3 election are the Alberta Liberal Party, Progressive Conservative Party, The Green Party of Alberta and the Alberta New Democratic Party. All have ideas to improve the infrastructure of Alberta.

The state of transportation systems is a major topic in Alberta. The parties intend to improve transportation systems to benefit the people of Alberta.

Green Party leader George Read believes that a transportation plan and rail system is the future of Alberta.

“[Alberta] must integrate a province-wide rail system,” explained Read. “The cost of rail is only 20 per cent the cost of road transport. Investment in city-wide rail needs to happen. Money needs to move away from roads.”

The NDP Party candidate Chantelle Dubois also believes that a properly managed rail transport system is appropriate for the future of Alberta.

“[Alberta] needs a viable transit system,” stated Dubois. “The high speed train is a very good idea; however we need to look at it to move people around and not for profit.”

Progressive Conservative candidate Alana Delong noted that the PC government has been working on an overall transportation plan for Albertans.

“It is important for the economic advancement to improve Highway 63,” stated Delong. “The section of highway between Fort MacMurray and the junction with highway 55 will cost $1 billion to twin. The government is going ahead with this. Fort MacMurray is a future major city of Alberta and infrastructure must reflect this.”

The Liberal candidate Harry Chase explained that major road projects that promote the transport of materials and personal in Alberta are needed.

“The twinning of Highway 63 up to Fort MacMurray is important,” said Chase. “People are getting killed on that highway. Highway 3 heading from Medicine Hat to the Crowsnest Pass also needs to be twinned. We want to see the east west corridor have the same type of opportunity as the northwest corridor.”

The issue of crime in Alberta has been prominent recently in politics. The four major parties in Alberta have created ideas that will address the issue of crime. The Green Party Leader George Read believes that the eradication of crimes must begin in the community.

“The solution to reduce these things is mixed use communities,” said Read. “People need to know their neighbours. Alberta needs more eyes on the streets and walkable communities.”

The PC government also identifies crime as a key concern for Albertans. Alana Delong explained the PC government will do anything they can to help reduce crime.

“For instance, what can we do to deal with crime that deals with drug addiction and situations that deal with mental illness?” said Delong. “Create a separate stream in the system for the mentally ill so they get treatment instead of just moved through the system.”

The NDP believe that more money needs to go into fighting crime through increased police funding.

“Money needs to go to the [police] from tax dollars,” stated Dubois. “Crime goes down in a society where everyone is looked after.”

The Liberal approach to crime enforces education of young people and increased funding for police. They believe education will allow youth to be involved in society and not continue to be driven to crime.

“Through education you involve people and give them alternatives to crime. Involvement in school and sports gives people a sense of belonging,” noted Chase. “We need increase the number of dollars per capita [for police]. Currently it is $16 per capita; we would increase it to $20, to get more on the street enforcement.”

The parties believe that the future generations of Albertans and Albertans of today must benefit from the economic boom Alberta is currently engulfed in.

Read explained that the strong economy of the present must benefit the future people of Alberta.

“Alberta needs long-term planning and investment in Alberta,” said Read.

The Liberal party also contests that because Alberta’s economy is extremely strong the government must invest revenue for the future.

“Set aside 30 per cent of all non-renewable profits and create a fund,” said Chase.

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