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Alberta election candidates are ready

INNISFAIL – As Albertans prepare for a spring election candidates are already hitting the campaign trail.
Albertans will go to the polls in a provincial election this spring.
Albertans will go to the polls in a provincial election this spring.

INNISFAIL – As Albertans prepare for a spring election candidates are already hitting the campaign trail.

Most, including several from the Innisfail-Sylvan Lake riding, have been nominated in the last couple of weeks and are fine-tuning messaging for their party's platforms.  The writ is expected to be dropped after the throne speech on March 18.

Devin Dreeshen, 31, will be running as the United Conservative Party (UCP) candidate and will seek to retain his seat, which he won last July in a byelection.

“I want to get Alberta back on track,” said Dreeshen. “For the last four years especially, we’ve seen Alberta go in a way of high taxation and against our energy sector.

“That’s one of the primary reasons (I’m running) is to try and get the economy back on track,” he added, noting the economy, jobs and the pipeline are major issues for the riding, along with the carbon tax, business investment and health care.

Danielle Klooster, 54, is running for the Alberta Party for the third time.

“My hope is that people are ready to embrace good, common sense governance,” said Klooster. “I think people are frustrated with the economy and frustrated with some of the decisions of the current government. They were frustrated with the decisions of the previous government.”

Klooster pointed to key issues including the economy, jobs, health-care infrastructure and long-term care.

“If people aren’t working the economy is languishing,” said Klooster. “We really need some leadership and support on the economy.

“I cannot understand why the long-term care crisis is not seen as a crisis,” she added.

Clayton Knutson 37, will represent the Freedom Conservative Party (FCP) in Innisfail-Sylvan Lake.

“I think that I can make a difference,” said Knutson. “I want a party that actually does have grassroots guarantees and can actually follow through on them.”

He too noted the important issues for the riding, include the economy, support for farmers and the carbon tax.

“For people in Innisfail-Sylvan Lake we do need a strong economy, we do need lower corporate taxes,” he said. “Also for farmers, I don’t think we should have a carbon tax, nor people in the rural community having to be burdened by a carbon tax.”

NDP candidate Robyn O’Brien, 33, will look to help Premier Rachel Notley win a second term in Edmonton.

“I was prompted to run for a number of reasons but mainly because it’s where my family is from,” said O’Brien. “Communities and connection is really, really important to me and it’s important to me to build those things in the place I want to live and raise my kids.”

O’Brien said jobs, farmers' concerns, agriculture and health care are important issues for the riding in the upcoming election.

“Jobs are always the most important thing. People getting back to work and feeling that they can provide for their families,” she said.

“Every person I talk to, health care is the Number 1 issue,” added O’Brien. “It’s really paramount (for) this election.”

Calls to the Alberta Liberal Party for comment about its Innisfail-Sylvan Lake riding candidate were not immediately returned.