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Thursday, 03 November 2016 08:00

Alberta province-wide Rally Against the NDP set for Nov. 5

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Medicine Hat is just one centre in Alberta taking part in the Alberta Wide Rally Against NDP on Nov. 5. Others will take place in 11 centres from Fort McMurray and Grande Prairie, to Edmonton, Red Deer, Calgary, Hanna, Lethbridge, and Medicine Hat.

The Medicine Hat rally is at the Visitors’ Centre which is near the Saamis Teepee starting at noon on Saturday. It’s expected to run for approximately an hour.
Aaron Noga and Sheldon Johnston, two of the people behind the organization of the southeastern Alberta rally, are saying Nov. 5 is meant for people to express how recent government policy has adversely affected their well being no matter what their social status or profession.
Johnston, a pastor of a local church and a Libertarian candidate in the recent federal byelection, says he was contacted by someone in Drayton Valley where another of the province-wide rallies is being held.
“I was one of the first people notified to get the ball rolling,” Johnston explains.
The event kicks off at noon with Noga acting as master of ceremonies. Both agreed it took a while to get everything organized.
Noga, who is a realtor for Royal Lepage, was in the oil industry for 35 years.
He says the fiscal policies are destroying the province.
“It’s very hard to make a living,” explains Noga who adds he has friends and knows families who are spiraling out of control because of their employment situations and the economic climate. “(This province) is heading down the road to disaster.
“This rally is a way to awaken people. It’s sad what’s happening and we can’t sit back and let this happen. It’s not a ‘protest’, but a rally.”
Noga says what pushed a lot of people over the edge as well as one of the many issues the rallies want to highlight is the unwillingness of the government to really listen and/or take into consideration the concerns of industry or citizens in regards to policies such as the Climate Leadership Implementation Act – “They won’t do an economic assessment” says Noga, —health, and  Bill 6 and how it was going to affect the agriculture industry and how it came without consultation.
“No one there understands rural Alberta,” explains Noga. “Oil and agriculture is what drives the economy and then you add the Canadian government and their policies and it’s just compounding the problem.
“The NDP is blaming the PCs for doing a bad job the last term. No argument,the PCs did a crappy job the last while with overspending, but now we have a spending problem that’s even worse now than it was before. We can’t just keep borrowing money,” says Noga.
“I have deep reservations about (the Alberta) cabinet, they don’t have the experience or the background. I mean look at the Bill 6 protest rally, they sent their health minister (Sarah Hoffman) who I am sure has no experience with agriculture,” Johnston explains.
He adds the changes coming to education and what he points to the attacks on home school educators and private schools are alarming.
He adds the 13 per cent decrease in disability funding to school divisions is also alarming.
Noga hopes the gathering just off of the TransCanada Highway at the Medicine Hat Visitors’ Information Centre Nov. 5 will be noticeable enough, it will garner even more interest and grow as people check out what’s going on.
There have been speakers invited, but nothing has been confirmed as of Oct. 31. It will be informal and people from the crowd will be allowed to get some time on the microphone.
“If anyone from the NDP wants to come and talk and explain their policies, they are more than welcome to,” adds Noga.
He is also hopeful the weather will co-operate and as of earlier this week, forecasts looked promising the temperatures would be in the teens.
The reason local organizers decided to host the rally outside and at the Visitors’ Centre was because, according to Noga, it’s provincial land so that wouldn’t be a problem having to get special permits.
“Plus, there’s lots of parking and it’s right beside the highway so we’re hopeful we can attract people who want to come see what’s going on,” adds Noga.
Johnston says they floated the idea of holding a procession but they ran into “roadblocks” with the City of Medicine Hat involving costs of getting an official police escort and subsequent permits.
Plus, to host it at a venue, and any costs incurred are being paid out of pocket by the six organizers themselves.

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Ryan Dahlman

Managing Editor