Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Rachel Notley Takes Helm of Alberta with Cast of Newbies, Concerns from Business

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Rachel Notley Takes Helm of Alberta with Cast of Newbies, Concerns from Business

Article excerpt

Notley takes charge with cast of newbies

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EDMONTON - Alberta NDP Leader Rachel Notley, fresh off dismantling a four-decade Progressive Conservative machine, said she's ready to begin work as premier-elect with a cast of newbies.

"It's a really great group of MLAs," Notley told reporters after her party swept to a majority win in the provincial election Tuesday, dropping a PC party that had been in power since 1971 to third-party status in the legislature.

"There are a few students amongst them. Not very many, but a few. And I think that's great because we are the youngest province in the country and quite frankly post-secondary education is one of the issues that we need to do a better job on.

"So I'm very excited to be able to rely on their counsel, and their energy and their enthusiasm."

The NDP caucus had four members before Tuesday's election, but that figure has now exploded to 53 in the 87-seat legislature.

Notley also has to revamp the budget in the coming weeks.

PC Leader Jim Prentice did not pass the budget before calling the election on April 7, saying he needed a mandate from voters to implement it. The Prentice plan called for across-the-board tax and user fee hikes to go with service cuts and a $5-billion deficit.

Notley has promised to restore $1 billion in cuts to health care in the budget and says she will make sure there is funding to cover an extra 12,000 students expected to enter the grade school system this fall.

She also plans to hike income taxes for the wealthy and increase the corporate income tax rate to 12 per cent from the current rate of 10 per cent, which is the lowest in Canada.

She has also promised a royalty review to determine if Alberta is getting the proper amount of return from its resources.

In the dying days of the election, Prentice and business leaders attacked Notley's plan, saying it will drive investment and jobs out of Alberta. …

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