Local MP concerned with NDP popularity surge


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May 5, 2015 8:15 AM

With only hours remaining in the Alberta general election, and with polls placing the NDP ahead of the incumbent PC Party, Conservative Vegreville-Wainwright MP Leon Benoit is urging Lloydminster residents to “remind” their friends and family across the province of the potential effects of voting for the NDP.

“I’ve stayed out of the election and the only reason I’m not staying out of this one is because it actually looks like it could end up as an NDP government,” he said.

“I’m not going to try to tell you how to vote, but to just think seriously of the consequences, not just potential consequences, these consequences have been well-proven, of electing an NDP government in Alberta.”

Recent polling has shown a surge of support for the NDP in the province. A poll on threehundredeight.com on May 4 showed the NDP had the support of 42 per cent of decided voters, followed by the Wildrose at 24 per cent and the PC Party at 21 per cent. According to the blog, those numbers are in line with the NDP forming a majority government.

Benoit says NDP rule has turned Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan and British Columbia from “successful, buoyant economies” to, in most cases, “have-not provinces.” He says the Saskatchewan side of Lloydminster has “always lagged behind” because of the New Democrats and that voting for them is an act of protest that could lead to an “accidental government.”

“Albertans generally have never been really supportive of socialist governments and NDP governments, so I don’t really understand (the polls) unless it is that in fact people are just looking to punish the other two parties,” he said.

“You’ve heard a lot of talk and the polling has shown that the people are not very happy with the PCs because they’ve been governing for a long time. A lot of people aren’t very happy with the Wildrose (because of the floor-crossing). I just want people to be very careful if they decide to vote NDP just to punish these parties for what they have done in the past.”

In a press release, Benoit alluded to unpopular NDP policies of the past, particularly referencing former Ontario Premier Bob Rae’s austerity measures, in which wage freezes and unpaid days off were imposed on public employees during the province’s early ‘90s recession. Going further, Benoit says the NDP has “a terrible record right across the country.”

“It’s not that I think that one particular party has to win to save this province and to move it ahead, but all I’m saying is that under the NDP we will suffer and it will lead to long-term suffering as it has in every other province. It wouldn’t be any different,” he said. “Our oil industry isn’t going to save us if we have a political party that is not friendly and is not going to allow it to operate.”

Benoit is not publicly predicting who the winner will be on May 5. He says the stakes are too high to be playing guessing games.

“This is such a serious time in the history of Alberta. Never in my lifetime and never in Alberta history have we seen the threat of electing a socialist party,” he said.

“So I just hope that what the polls show now isn’t what the final result is.”

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