The Calgary Sun- Alberta Election 2015 Livingstone-Macleod: The candidates, the issues

In the southern Alberta riding of Livingstone-Macleod, it’s round two between current Wildrose MLA Pat Stier and the Tory he knocked out of office, Evan Berger.

Stier said the constituents remain tired of the Progressive Conservatives in the largely rural riding and the winds of change are coming for Alberta as a whole.

“They see the same thing (from the PCs) over and over again,” he said.

But Berger said the future is very bright for the reigning government.

“I think the plan that we put forward, spending within our means and saving for our future, is definitely where our thrust needs to be,” he said.

Doorknocking, both Stier and Berger have heard the same issues, which are varied in the massive riding depending on where you are — some places hold agriculture and environmental issues near and dear, others live in fear of flooding, and education and health care pop up as worries everywhere.

And of course, dollars and cents.

“Rural Alberta has wonderful communities, wonderful people ... they deserve to be treated just like everybody else,” Stier said.

Meanwhile, Berger said, “There’s always an opportunity to invest in infrastructure” and “I think there’s plenty of opportunity to invest in agriculture again.”

Unveiling an unpopular budget and then calling an election immediately after, the PCs actually helped every other party, NDP candidate Aileen Burke said.

“Everything is very front and centre — it’s in their faces,” she said.

Education is a big issue for her — she said the current government is “shortchanging the education system” and “putting all of our children at a disadvantage.”

“The money’s there if we tax appropriately,” Burke said.

Liberal candidate Alida Hess likewise called the current cost of educating Alberta’s young “disgusting.”

And she said the people needn’t be so afraid of placing some of the financial burden onto big business, rather than squarely onto the back of the common constituent.

“We should increase the taxes on the corporations ... We’re so scared — we think they’re going to leave. They make so much money — do you really think they’re going to leave?” she said.