For South Peace News
One thing that bugs Lesser Slave Lake NDP candidate Danielle Larivee is what she regards as a phony narrative along the lines of ‘the NDP is anti-oil industry.’
She admits the NDP government had a lot of learning to do after it gained power in 2015. It has done that and continues to, she says, working closely with the industry on ways to improve things.
And the notion – constantly perpetrated by its opponents – that the NDP is somehow a bunch of industry-hating lefties is nonsense, she says.
“We’re not even close to the NDP in other provinces,” she says. “We’re closer to what Lougheed [former PC Premier Peter] had when he started out.”
Larivee supported the Progressive Conservatives for years, she says – was even a youth delegate at one point.
“But over the years they stopped being progressive and turned into far-right conservatives.”
Larivee is taking that message – and others about the accomplishments of her party – on the campaign trail. She talks about the child poverty rate being cut in half and the programs instituted through her cabinet department [Children’s Services] that have helped make that happen.
She’ll talk about $25 per day daycare that was renewed recently for Slave Lake. She’ll mention government support for schools and hospitals in the region, as well as housing projects.
And the real and immediate improvement coming from the school nutrition program.
Larivee says she’s hearing lots of appreciation for those things in her door-knocking but inevitably, she’ll run into that belief that the NDP government has been bad for the economy.
The deficit budgets are another thing making people nervous.
“We’ve definitely learned a lot,” she says. “But I’m proud of how we were able to a lot of things that have made Alberta better. The PCs ran deficits, too, five of their last six years – and that was with $100-a-barrel oil.”
Larivee came to Slave Lake as a youngster in kindergarten in 1979. She worked many years as a nurse in the community and maintains her registration in the profession – although it’s been a while since she’s practiced it. After getting elected in 2015 she was appointed to co-chair a review of the province’s mental health system. In the fall of that year she became Minister of Municipal Affairs. That lasted to February of 2017, when she was made Minister of Children’s Services. Minister responsible for the Status of Women was added and more recently she’s been Deputy Government House Leader too.
“I work with the house leaders for the other side to make sure the sitting goes well,” she explains.
Larivee says volunteers and well-wishers have been dropping in.
“We’re all ready,” she says. “It’s actually really fun.”