Fake news, Indigenous relations and healthcare: Alberta election heating up in Slave Lake
With less than a week to go until Alberta voters head to the polls, the election is heating up across the province. In particular, tensions between the NDP incumbent and other local candidates are rising following a debate in the northern riding of Lesser Slave Lake.
An answer given by NDP MLA Danielle Larivee on a question dealing with representing the riding’s large Indigenous population has caused some consternation amongst her opponents.
The local Alberta Party Candidate, Vincent Rain, an Indigenous man himself, can be seen shaking his head in disgust during Larivee’s answer during the debate.
Describing her record with First Nations during her tenure as MLA, Larivee said she has “absolutely” been active among the First Nations communities in the riding and has always looked to represent their needs “at the cabinet table.”
Another issue that has sparked some controversy following the debate is healthcare spending, specifically in regard to the UCP’s commitment towards a new consolidated campus for Northern Lakes College and dialysis for the High Prairie Health Complex.
Accusations from Larivee, parotted in the local newspaper as fact, although eventually corrected, claimed that local UCP candidate Pat Rehn’s Party would cut funding to these projects if elected.
As it turns out, this was not the case, as Rehn has made no such statement confirming the cuts during the campaign.
In a statement sent to The Post Millennial, Rehn’s said “I’ve been clear for the entire campaign that a UCP government would maintain or increase health spending, and that dialysis services would fall under that commitment – so I’m not sure why this reporter is printing these divisive, nonsensical attacks from my NDP opponent. “
“This article wasn’t a fair treatment of the issue as I wasn’t given a chance to comment. I hope this reporter ensures he’s getting both sides of the story on record before publishing similar columns in the future.”
Larivee has represented the riding for the last four years, elected in 2015 during the NDP’s surprise surge into power. Based on current polling, thanks to the uniting of the Wildrose and PC parties, the UCP are projected to win big in rural Alberta, including Lesser Slave Lake.