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Leaders eye social issues

<p>The handicapped and the homeless were the focus of the campaign engines chugging across the province yesterday.</p>

Parties pledge plans for disability, homelessness while campaigning in city


The handicapped and the homeless were the focus of the campaign engines chugging across the province yesterday.



In Calgary, Alberta PC Leader Ed Stelmach announced a campaign promise to increase the AISH (Assured Income for the Severely Handicapped) income exemption, effectively allowing those with disabilities to earn more money without having their benefits reduced.



Single adults able to earn $1,000 under the former plan, now can earn $1,500 per month before having payments clawed back, while single parents and couples will be able to earn up to $2,500 per month.



The change is expected to benefit 36,000 Albertans.



"Society is judged by how we treat the most vulnerable. And when we look at Albertans receiving income assistance, we often hear that they want to work because it boosts their self esteem when they are in the workforce," said Stelmach.



After the announcement the Stelmach bus made its way to Airdrie and then to Red Deer for a series of meet and greets.



Alberta Liberal leader Kevin Taft, also on the Calgary campaign trail, announced his party’s strategy to end homelessness in the province.



A plan to create a provincial department to assist municipalities in reducing homelessness and implementing plans, improving outreach services and developing early intervention programs were part of Taft’s tactics to address the issue.



"The Alberta Liberals believe that everybody in this province needs a home," said Taft in a prepared statement.



"With this plan, we want to help the homeless move beyond the shelter and access the services they need to get back on their feet."



Taft also made his way to Edmonton yesterday to unveil the ‘Edmonton Agenda.’



Meanwhile, Alberta NDP leader Brian Mason was in Devon yesterday, the site of the province’s first major oil find, to once again call for a new royalty structure for Alberta.



"Oil and gas created most of the wealth in Alberta," Mason said.



"So it’s important to get the royalty scheme right. We need to make sure we are getting full value for our resources and not giving them away.




darren.krause@metronews.ca


















today’s agenda




  • Conservative Leader Ed Stelmach will be in Red Deer once again before heading to Westaskwin and Drayton Valley.

  • Liberal Leader Kevin Taft will be in Edmonton, Ponoka and Red Deer.

  • NDP Leader Brian Mason will kickstart his Calgary campaign at 2 p.m. in the city’s northeast.


 
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