Phillips targets Smith during press event; Neudorf calls out NDP on negative campaign tactics

·3 min read

With accusations of stealing pensions and paying polluters, to privatizing healthcare and so much more, the UCP has come under fire from their main counterpart as the election creeps ever closer.

Lethbridge-West MLA and NDP finance critic, Shannon Phillips, targeted UCP leader Danielle Smith during a press conference Thursday.

She accused Smith of supporting criminals while saying Albertans must choose their leader carefully.

“We can choose to build a better future with trusted leadership in the form of Rachel Notley, a leader who says what she means and means what she says,” announced Phillips during the press conference. “Or we can move backwards with Danielle Smith, who supports criminal extremists.”

She doubled down by saying Smith has a hidden agenda that she is refusing to share with voters.

“She’s just working overtime to hide it from Albertans,” said Phillips.

Continuing with the campaign of the NDP over this election, Phillips claims the UCP will make Albertans pay to see a family doctor.

“Her belief in wanting to privatize healthcare isn’t just some off-hand comments, it’s what she truly believes in,” said Phillips.

She went on to say that Smith will steal pensions from Albertans by removing the province from the Canada Pension Plan.

“She wants to steal pensions that are earned by people after a lifetime of hard work,” said Phillips. “As far back as 2012, she’s been campaigning on this.”

Phillips also says Smith will fire local RCMP officers to make room for a provincial police service.

“She’s directed her attorney general to start working on creating the Alberta provincial police,” said Phillips.

She says this will not increase safety and it will only create higher costs for families in the province.

“It will cost municipalities as much as $1.36 billion of transition costs and lost federal revenue,” said Phillips. “That’s why over 70 municipalities including many here in southern Alberta, who use the RCMP, have made their wishes clear in an open letter, stating they don’t want a provincial police service.”

She claims the UCP has ignored those municipalities.

Furthermore, Phillips has accused Smith of pumping billions of dollars into the pockets of corporations suspected of polluting the environment.

“While regular families struggle with rising costs, Danielle Smith will hand over $20 billion to the biggest polluters,” said Phillips.

She took a moment to then target Smith directly, over the UCP, by saying all these ideas come straight from her.

“She’s issued (these ideas) as instructions to her ministers, but she knows how unpopular they are,” said Phillips. “That’s why she’s not campaigning on them.”

She continued by saying this is Smith’s hidden agenda, but Albertans will not want it to come into fruition.

“Albertans are looking for a government that’s focused on what matters, not on Danielle Smith’s chaotic and extreme pet projects,” said Phillips.

Lethbridge-East MLA and Deputy Premier, Nathan Neudorf, released a statement following the NDP press conference, saying Phillips is simply trying to stir the pot with these remarks and her beliefs are not shared by Albertans.

"What I hear at the doors is that Albertans are tired of being lied to and misled by Rachel Notley's NDP. This recent tour of Shannon Phillips is a prime example of their negative fear and smear campaign tactics,” read the statement by Neudorf.

The statement continued by saying Phillips is only doing this as a way to step closer to becoming leader of the NDP sometime in the future.

“If I didn’t know any better, I would suspect this is her testing the waters for a future leadership bid for the Alberta NDP."

The provincial election will officially occur on Monday, although advance voting can be done today and tomorrow at various polling stations across the city.

Justin Sibbet, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Lethbridge Herald