Alberta Votes

Alberta NDP on the issues, according to Vote Compass

What take on public policy can you expect from Alberta's NDP new government? The research that powers Vote Compass is a good place to find out.

From health care to taxes, this is how Rachel Notley's party weighed in on the issues during the campaign

Premier-designate Rachel Notley will head an NDP majority government after her party won 53 ridings in Tuesday's election. (Nathan Denette/Canadian Press)

What sort of public policy can we expect from Alberta's NDP new government? The research that powers Vote Compass is a good place to find out.

Vote Compass is an educational tool developed by political scientists for CBC News that helps citizens explore how they fit in the political landscape.

Users indicate their views on a series of relevant election issues and Vote Compass calculates their alignment with the party policy platforms. The party positions on each issue are determined by a thorough analysis of the public disclosures each party makes on a particular issue.

This analysis is conducted by a team of policy researchers and political scientists and is reviewed by the parties directly. More information on the methodology is available at here.

While the party positions and their statements on each issue included in Vote Compass are available in the application itself, CBC News has replicated the research below to provide direct access to key aspects of the Alberta NDP's plans for the province, which were stated at different times before the election.

How much say should government have over what landowners do with their property?

Alberta's NDP stands for: no expropriation except in cases of urgent public need; due process with respect to rights of landowners; no "freezing" of land for future projects. Source: Your Land, Your Rights

The government should increase funding for child care in Alberta.

The Alberta NDP supports the federal NDP's call for a national child-care program. The program is committed to a $15 per day cap on child-care cost and the creation of one million new child-care spaces over the next eight years. Source: NDP continues call for more affordable, regulated child care spaces

The provincial government should freeze tuition for university and college students.

Alberta's NDP will ensure that post-secondary institutions receive the stable and predictable funding they need to provide the affordable and accessible education Albertans need to diversify our economy and build greater opportunities for all Albertans. Source: What changed, Mr. Prentice?

Private schools should not receive public funding.

On March 5, 2014, NDP MLA Deron Bilous rose in the Alberta Legislature and stated: "You know, we're draining money from the public system to feed the private system. If there are parents and families that want to put their kids in private school, that's fine. They can. Then pay for it." Source: Alberta Hansard for Wednesday March 5, 2014

Religious schools in Alberta should be obligated to teach the provincial curriculum even when it conflicts with their beliefs.

Speaking of the clause in Bill 44 that allows parents to have their children opt out of certain classes that teach controversial subject matter, Rachel Notley, leader of the Alberta NDP, argued: "Our children should learn that they should all be treated equally, and our schools should not under any circumstances refrain from telling all kids that, because if it's in our human rights code, presumably we believe it too. That is where we are left with all of this. As I have said, it is very, very concerning to me that we are embarking upon a path to, first of all, limit the breadth of discussion and intellectual curiosity within our schools through a mechanism that will put a chilling effect on our teachers and at the same time create a second tier of human rights in the province." Source: Alberta Hansard for Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Class sizes should be reduced in schools, even if it means having to hire more teachers.

Alberta NDP MLA Deron Bilous has argued: "Our children deserve high-quality education, they deserve one-on-one time and they deserve the chance to build nurturing relationships with the teachers and staff they are spending their time with. By neglecting our public education system through chronic underfunding, this PC government is robbing our kids of those opportunities.… We have known for years that growing class sizes, inadequate classroom space and a lack of resources means our kids are not getting the education they deserve and that the current system is failing them." Source: Students, teachers and support staff suffer as PCs refuse to fund public education

How much should Alberta do to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions?

"Today, the PCs have again delayed much-needed changes to the regulations governing this province's greenhouse gas emission, continuing their neglect of protecting our land, air and water. The PCs' neglect of this crucial issue endangers our industry, as well as our natural environment.… We need to take action to ensure that those who profit from our province's emissions are held responsible, to invest in renewable energy, and to ensure that industry is able to behave in a responsible manner by passing strong protections for our air and water." Source: Statement from NDP environment critic Brian Mason on delayed climate change regulations

How much fracking should be allowed in Alberta?

"According to experts, it seems very likely that the earthquake [in the Fox Creek area] was linked to fracking activities in the immediate area. Given the various controversies that have sprung up in recent years around fracking, it is imperative that Alberta Environment and the Alberta Energy Regulator move quickly to develop the required investigation, using the best science and the best independent experts. Albertans need to know that this is not going to be ignored and just papered over," said [NDP environment critic] Brian Mason. Source: Fracking and earthquakes require full scientific investigation, says Mason

How much say should First Nations have over how Alberta's natural resources are used?

"As premier he has a mandate to build respectful relationships with indigenous communities. Instead of jumping to his own conclusions about what is needed and what isn't, Mr. Prentice needs to sit down with stakeholders and participate in meaningful consultation. It's time to fix Alberta's track record on consultation and communication with indigenous peoples." Source: Indigenous communities deserve meaningful consultation: NDP

All schools in Alberta should be obligated to permit gay-straight alliance groups.

"On the steps of the legislature today, I stood proud for gay-straight alliances with all NDP MLAs. Unlike the PCs and the Wildrose, New Democrats have always supported human rights and opposed discrimination against the LGBTQ community. And unlike the PCs and the Wildrose, the New Democrats voted proudly in favour of Motion 503, which supported gay-straight alliances to combat bullying in schools. Gay-straight alliances are proven to reduce bullying, encourage understanding, and build truly inclusive school communities, which is something that deserves all-party support." Source: Statement from former NDP leader Brian Mason on gay-straight alliance rally

How much money should welfare recipients get?

The PCs' speech from the throne clearly says that the government will not invest in services at the rate of inflation and population growth, meaning that again this year Albertans will see more and more services that don't keep pace with the province's growth. "This speech totally neglects a crucial issue that all Albertans are concerned about: the 84,000 children in this province living in poverty. The PCs promised they'd deal with this in the last election, but the throne speech contains only a hollow silence." Source: Prentice continues to put Albertans last in speech from the throne: NDP

The provincial budget deficit should be reduced, even if it means fewer public services.

"This government has become completely out of touch with middle-class Alberta families. We have seen them spend like drunken sailors when it comes to extravagant trips, executive bonuses and corporate welfare for their friends and insiders. At the same time they have slashed budgets for front-line services, implemented wage freezes for their employees, gutted public pensions, slashed post-secondary funding, packed children into already over-crowded classrooms and laid off nurses and teachers. The hypocrisy of this government knows no bounds and we intend to keep their feet to the flames," said Brian Mason. Source: Mason outlines Alberta NDP priorities for spring season

People should be able to pay for faster access to medical treatment.

The Conservatives have shown time and again they support for-profit privatization or moves toward two-tier, American-style health care. A new, more responsive, public health-care system that provides quality care both inside and outside hospitals is needed. Source: Quality Public Healthcare

Albertans should have to pay an annual premium for their public health care.

"Health care premiums would certainly hit vulnerable Albertans the hardest. Before the province even considers reintroducing them, our flat tax system needs to be fixed. We are the only province in the country that still relies on this method that forces middle income Albertans to shoulder a disproportionate amount of the financial burden," said Notley. Source: NDP Leader Rachel Notley calls health care premiums a regressive tax

How much should government workers in Alberta be paid?

NDP MLA Rachel Notley, then the party's human services critic, said it is unfair to talk about public sector pay when there are large inequities in private sector pay. "If the government is looking for places to find revenue, what we would say is the government needs to be making wealthy Albertans pay their fair share of taxes," Notley said. "That's where we need to be starting the debate, along with looking at whether as owners of the resource we're getting our fair share of revenue for the resource." Source: Alberta public sector workers paid 10 per cent more than private sector counterparts, report finds

How widely available should abortion services be in Alberta?

Women face particular health issues that need to be taken more seriously by government, including access to midwifery and abortion services. [Alberta's NDP recommends that government] ensure consistent access to abortion services throughout the province [and] ensure funding for abortions and abortion-related services including pre-abortion ultra-sounds, and counseling. Source: "What Albertans Want": NDP health report (January 2010)

How much should oil and gas companies pay in royalties?

When it comes to royalties, [NDP environment critic] Brian Mason said he is deeply concerned. "Not only does Alberta have amongst the lowest royalties in the world, but our own government is unable to correctly estimate what our resource revenue is worth." Source: Latest auditor general report shows PCs' lack of planning for Albertans' future: Mason

The environmental damage caused by the oilsands industry is exaggerated.

The PC government needs to act on the study released today by indigenous leaders and scientists that show the harmful effects that oilsands development has on the health of residents, wildlife and the environment in northern Alberta, said then NDP environment critic Rachel Notley. Source: Government needs to step up and protect people, environment from oil sands effects: Notley

Alberta should continue to lobby Washington for the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline.

NDP Leader Rachel Notley said that Premier Jim Prentice should "focus less on campaigning for the oil industry" and stick to home to deal with pressing issues such as Alberta's financial mess. She suggested there was little value in Prentice's visit [to Washington]. Source: Prentice heads to Washington as Keystone showdown heats up

Alberta's economy is too dependent on oil and gas.

Coal, oil and gas have been Albertan's trump cards since our province's earliest days. These resources have provided employment, fuelled our homes, businesses and vehicles.… But the rules of the game are changing. Fossil-fuels are not renewable and Alberta is already seeing some of its supplies start to decline.… The future health of our energy based economy, and the health of our environment both depend upon our ability to adapt and promote newer renewable forms of energy. Source: NDP Green Energy Plan

Only individuals should be allowed to donate to political parties.

In Alberta, the NDP, Liberals, and the Wildrose all support enacting a ban on contributions other than from individuals. Source: Should political donations from corporations and unions be banned in Alberta?

MLAs who change parties should be required to immediately seek re-election.

Representative democracy should allow the voters to determine the political hue of their representatives. Floor-crossing violates that fundamental principle of democracy. Source: Should floor-crossings trigger byelections?

Public sector workers in Alberta should not be allowed to strike.

Bill 45 allowed the PCs to fine Albertans for saying or writing anything the government perceives to be a "strike threat," and imposed crippling fines on unions that were unmatched anywhere else in the country. In January, the Supreme Court of Canada affirmed that a worker's right to strike is constitutionally protected and as such, many of Alberta's laws which ban strikes are likely unconstitutional. "This government cannot be trusted to treat the hard-working men and women of the public sector fairly. Bill 45 directly violated the fundamental principles of collective bargaining, democratic process and respect for public employees and repealing it ensures public sector workers and their families will not be bullied," said MLA David Eggen. Source: Repealing Bill 45 long overdue

How much tax should corporations pay?

As Alberta deals with falling revenues from oil prices, Jim Prentice and the PCs are putting the largest corporations ahead of Albertans and services for kids, seniors and families by saying no to any tax hikes for corporations. That's just wrong. Rachel Notley calls for the largest, most profitable corporations to pay their fair share. Source: Fair taxes, not service cuts

How much should wealthier people pay in taxes?

Instead of making hard-working Albertans pay the price for PC mistakes, we need to protect our future with a sustainable, fair revenue system where very wealthy Albertans and corporations pay their fair share. Source: NDP finance critic Brian Mason releases statement on Q3 fiscal update

Alberta should adopt a provincial sales tax.

The New Democrats will not support a sales tax while corporations and very wealthy Albertans continue to get off scot-free. The NDP continues to call on the PCs to protect our key public services, to scrap the flat tax and introduce a progressive taxation system where every Albertan pays their fair share. Source: 43 years and the PCs still can't get it right

All Albertans should be taxed at the same rate, no matter how much money they make.

Instead of making hard-working Albertans pay the price for PC mistakes, we need to protect our future with a sustainable, fair revenue system where very wealthy Albertans and corporations pay their fair share. Source: NDP finance critic Brian Mason releases statement on Q3 fiscal update

Routine vaccinations should be mandatory for all students in Alberta schools.

[Professor Ubaka] Ogbogu says if this outbreak worsens the province should revisit the idea of mandatory vaccinations, as is the case in other provinces. Alberta NDP MLA David Eggen agrees. "We would have had the capacity to immunize, to mobilize," he said Thursday. Source: NDP, U of A prof criticize province's measles outbreak plan

Alberta's laws against hate speech put too many limits on freedom of expression.

Then New Democrat justice critic Rachel Notley said that the Wildrose's motion to repeal part of Section 3 of the Human Rights Act endangers minorities in Alberta and represents a slippery slope toward limiting the protection of those groups from hate speech. "While the task of balancing free speech with protection from hate is a complex one that requires ongoing attention, and while the processes around the administration of this legislation may also warrant improvement, neither changing the act without wide-ranging consultation nor the complete gutting of this provision will help grow inclusion and acceptance in our increasingly diverse province." Source: Wildrose motion endangers protection from hate speech for gender sexuality