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What issues matter most to Albertans this election? We asked and you answered

We put the question to CBC Calgary readers on Facebook: "What federal election issue concerns you most as an Albertan?"

Albertans shared their thoughts on what election issues concern them most

Albertans shared the issues that most concern them during this federal election. (Canadian Press, CBC)

What's the biggest issue of the 2019 federal election? Well, it depends on who you ask.

We put the question to CBC Calgary readers on Facebook: "What federal election issue concerns you most as an Albertan?"

And you sure had a lot to say.

Responses ranged from the economy, to health care, to electoral reform. We've collected some of the most thoughtful responses below, by topic.

The conversation isn't over. What issue matters to you? Let us know in the comments. 

Reader comments have been lightly edited for length, style and grammar.

Energy

Perhaps unsurprisingly, Alberta's energy industry and the economy were the most frequently mentioned issues.

Whether calling for pipelines to be built or investment into renewable energy alternatives, commenters shared their fears that the federal government won't make the province's economy a priority.

The general sentiment could perhaps best be summarized in this comment by Irana A.: "[Can we] regain our sound economy without having a realistic vision? Not only for Alberta, we are concerned, worried and scared for … Canada and for our future."

Here are some other issues Albertans raised.

"For Alberta, I think getting our products to market is the number one issue. It drives the entire economy of the country. The lost revenue from oil and gas over the last decade because of market access could have funded an entire green energy solution, universal health care, increased child-care benefits, free tuition and positioned Canada as a leader in future technologies. This country is cutting its leg off to save its foot." — Darren A.

"Grandfathered rights on the electrical industry. [We've] just got to get rid of that law so that power generation can be more competitive." —Terrance G.

"Import[ing] oil must be stopped." — Wayne S.

"Education and training on non-petroleum sources of revenue." —John S.

"Harmful policies toward Canadian natural resources." —Kenny W.

"Build pipelines quickly across Canada from east to west and big refineries. The oil will be used for another 50 years easily." — Muneer A.

Health

Health care was also top of mind for many, with discussions of higher health transfer payments and pharmacare proposals on more than one party platform. 

"Pharmacare and [the] expansion of required health services to be provided by provinces — dental and mental health services should be covered before they become emergencies. Honestly, the ideal situation would be to take health-care coverage out of provincial hands. Delivery can be done provincially, but the coverage for that care should be a federal, country-wide plan and not in the hands of provinces to tow with people's lives for ideological purposes." — Morgan D.

"I think that all of Canada needs good, clean drinking water … and we don't all have that!" — Chad M.

"Food security … real support for agriculture, protect and nurture fresh water resources." — Joanne D.

Cost of living

In a nation-wide poll commissioned in May by CBC News, the cost of living was the top issue concerning Canadians.

Of course, in Alberta, a lot of those cost-of-living concerns likely translate into the earlier comments about the resource economy.

Many were also focused on the specifics of how they'll get by from month-to-month — affordable housing, seniors benefits, child-care, and student debt.

"Affordable housing and the universal child-care program. Efforts that go a long way to supporting young families living in tough economic times here and elsewhere in our country." — Karen C.

"Bringing down the debt and giving back to the people."  —Becki B.

"Add a proper pilot of UBI [universal basic income] and I'd be so happy!" — Jessy R.

"Jobs and economy. Without a strong base of work and eliminating debt how can we succeed?" — Tom C.

"Child poverty/homelessness. Household food insecurity affects one in six Canadian children under the age of 18." — Michelle G.

"We need trade schools for our young working adults. Seniors that own their homes should be property tax free." —Wayne S.

Environment

Climate policy has been one of the most-discussed election issues across Canada and, despite the province's reputation, it was top of mind for Albertans.

Commenters called for job retraining to help oil and gas workers transition to a green economy and for joint investments in pipelines and renewable resources.

"The environment which includes meeting our Paris numbers. Many think this is all too costly. It will cost us more later on. Especially our children and our children's children. Only issue that matters." — Luanne G.

"We need to address reconciliation and climate issues, everything else will follow as a consequence." — Manley S.

"Pipelines are needed, carbon tax continues with its revenue invested in developing green energy." — Pat S.

"Protecting environment and wildlife." — Tuija R.

"The climate crisis. There is no economy on a dead planet." — Martin S.

Education

Party platforms range from the PPCs stating that education should be entirely under provincial jurisdiction to the Greens asserting that tuition should be free and all student debt forgiven.

But Albertans were more focused on what kind of education they say is needed — post-secondary retraining to diversify the province's economy.

"We should [be] talking and putting all our resources into innovation and technology. Not into farming and oil/gas … we need a massive investment in education, tech and innovation." — Alex G.

"Education, retraining." — Carol C.

Equality

Marginalized people and allies commented, saying they hope elected leaders will hear their voices and consider their diverse perspectives.

"Maybe we can see some change in First Nations relations and start to recognize them as a sovereign nation? Maybe the rest of Canada can start to rally behind the people who have been caring for this land's complex ecosystems from the very beginning." — Slade B.

"LGBTQ+ inclusion and protection." — Atlas L.

"Workplace discrimination and racism in workplaces." — Mu'yira L.

Democracy and governance

Of course, many voters felt the issues most important to them will only be resolved if their vote counts — or if they feel they have a strong leader at the reins.

The need for electoral reform was frequently mentioned (we all know how that went since the last election.)

"Electoral reform." — Leissa R.

"I want every vote to mean something. Getting rid of the first-past-the-post electoral system we have will give a lot more meaning to elections and reduce a lot of the hopelessness that friends of mine feel." — Jon C.

"Mixed member proportional representation." — Kay M.

"A strong leader, someone who can stand up to China and Trump." — Ryan M.

"Election security and non-interference." — Ben C.

"The fact that our legal system is a complete and utter joke." — Kristi Y.

What wasn't mentioned

What might be even more interesting are the issues that weren't raised.

Of more than 300 comments, the following words and phrases that have been major topics in other regions didn't appear once: immigration, NAFTA, manufacturing, gender, small business and transportation.

The word oil? Mentioned 20 times.

Of course, this wasn't a scientific survey — just a glimpse of what's top of mind for some. Was something missing that matters to you? Want to share your thoughts about the federal election? Talk to us in the comments below.


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