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August 29, 2017

NDP coal town hall a disaster for residents seeking answers: UCP

The NDP government has conceded it has no plan to deal with the consequences of phasing out coal on an accelerated timeline, with Economic Development and Trade Minister Deron Bilous admitting his government has no answers for affected communities, the United Conservative Party caucus said today.

Bilous made the comment at a lackluster town hall event in Hanna, where many residents are facing job loss and economic devastation as a result of the ideological NDP policy.

“If Minister Bilous wants to visit hard-hit coal communities at a time when people are seeing the values of their homes plummet and their jobs disappear, he should do so with answers in-hand,” United Conservative Party Interim Leader Nathan Cooper said. “Anything less is making a bad situation worse and reminding folks that the NDP bulldozed ahead with this disastrous policy before it consulted with coal communities or considered the consequences for working families.”

Drumheller-Stettler MLA Rick Strankman said the meetings are being moderated by Alberta Federation of Labour President and former federal NDP candidate Gil McGowan, adding insult to injury for affected residents.

“People are coming to these town halls because they’re looking for answers, not an NDP sales job,” Strankman said. “If the Minister and Mr. McGowan have no answers for coal communities, then the government should park this policy until it carefully considers all of the possible outcomes. Too much is at stake for communities like Hanna.”

Strankman is taking a wait-and-see approach on the small government grant for perceived economic diversification, but said the money will make little difference in salvaging the negative economic situation the NDP has put this community in.