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Battle for Alberta

'Bigots in the Wildrose,' Grit leader says

By JACKIE L. LARSON, Edmonton Sun

EDMONTON - 

“Alberta, wake up! What are you thinking?”

That’s the message Liberal Leader Raj Sherman has for Alberta voters casting their ballots for the reigning Progressive Conservatives or the poll-leading Wildrose Party.

“The PCs are like a horse with a broken leg, they need to be put out of their misery,” he said in an animated meeting with the Edmonton Sun editorial board Friday morning. “We’ve got to throw these bums out.”

Like the Liberals’ hot new website, toryorwildrose.ca, Sherman draws little distinction between the province’s two conservative parties.

“Bigots in the Wildrose, bullies in the PC,” he said.

Sherman seeks to put taxation on the table for the wealthy and corporate taxpayers, then to balance the books. His plan calls for the lowest spending of all the parties, he said.

A former ER doctor, he pledged he would keep public health care publicly funded, train and bring in more family doctors, equip allied health professionals, and undo the botttlenecks of seniors in need of long-term care that are taking up hospital beds and prompting long wait times.

Sherman called for heritage funds for municipalities and education and the arts, envisioning the province tucking away hundreds of billions like other oil-wealthy governments have done.

“If socialists like Norway can do it, what the heck? I thought we were conservative - what have we conserved?”

“I’m not a bleeding heart Liberal, I’m an invest-and-return Liberal,” he said, touting his plan as “fiscally blue and socially red.”

“We don’t need to scare industry to Saskatchewan all over again,” he said.

Sherman also took a swipe at federal Conservatives.

“It’s Steven Harper that’s taken all our money, guys,” he said.

And the west’s deep suspicions of Liberal politics? “Pierre Trudeau’s gone, get over it.”

On the “strategic voting” campaigns urging voters from other parties to hold their noses and vote PC to prevent a Wildrose victory, Sherman is adamant.

“I’ve never seen anything so pathetic,” he said, comparing the parties to car salesmen.

The PCs, he said, are selling a broken car, the Wildrose are selling one stripped of parts, and the NDP?

“Brian Mason’s stealing my hubcaps,” he said.

“I’ve got better things to do than be stuck in this mud war ... Albertans, wake up, please!”

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