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Jason Kenney's false dilemma: prosperity or compassion

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We're on the cusp of the election and many moderate conservatives still don't know who they’ll support. Will they ignore the allegations of vote tampering in the UCP leadership race and the slate of unfit candidates stacking up "25 deep" to support Jason Kenney or will they follow the lead of life long conservatives like Denny Hay, three-time Canadian champion saddle bronc rider, and support Rachel Notley?

The conservatives' main sticking point is the economy.

Kenney says he'll freeze spending and balance the budget in 2022/2023.

Notley says Kenney's "freeze" is actually a cut of 13–14 per cent when you factor in inflation and population growth; she says she'll continue to invest in public services and balance the budget one year later in 2023/2024.

Notley explained her rationale at a recent rally in three little words:  Don't look away.

She refuses to look away when 44,000 children slip back into poverty, 15,000 children have no teachers, women can't access their legal right to choose and the LBGTQ community is marginalized.

She refuses to look away when our seniors can't afford their meds, universal health care is replaced by credit card health care and Alberta's greenhouse gas emissions go through the roof.

If conservatives support Kenney they must look away because he's convinced them that "in order to be a compassionate, caring society, we must be prosperous first."

But they've been duped. Kenney is proposing a false dilemma. He's offering an either/or choice. Either compassion or prosperity but not both.

Notley is offering a third alternative -- compassion and prosperity with a balanced budget one year later. There's no need to sacrifice public services on the road to prosperity.

And that's what this election is really about.

Moderate conservatives have a choice. They can look away while a sketchy premier slashes public services to achieve balance in 2022/2023 or they can vote with compassion and wait an extra year to balance the budget. Is the extra year worth it?

Yes, for anyone who believes compassion is not contingent on the size of their bank account.

Anyone with the courage not to look away.

Susan Wright is a lawyer with over 26 years of experience in oil, natural gas, petrochemicals and pipelines. She believes that engaged citizens can change the world. She writes a political blog called Susan on the Soapbox.

This post originally appeared on Susan Wright's blog, Susan on the Soapbox. It is reprinted here with permission.

Photo: michael_swan/Flickr

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