Party Platform Comparison

In advance of the 2023 Alberta Provincial Election on May 29, we have reviewed the major party platforms in order to highlight commitments related to our organization’s key issues.

While far from exhaustive, we have chosen to showcase commitments related to coal, land-use planning, parks and protected areas, wildlife habitat management, water conservation, recreation management, forest management, and responsible resource development. This doesn’t mean that these are the only topics that matter in this election — far from it! We know that healthcare, cost of living, education and other important issues matter and are top-of-mind for folks.

In addition to the below platform content sourced from party websites, CPAWS Southern and Northern Alberta also sent letters providing recommendations and requesting further information on environmental commitments to each major party. However, we only received a response from the NDP. We have included the additional commitments we received in letter-format to those stated on their website below, and noted it as such.

Coal Mining / Coal Policy

PartyPlatform Content
AlbertaNo mention of a Coal Policy
GreenImmediately end coal exploration in Alberta and particularly in the Eastern Slopes to protect watersheds from selenium contamination
LiberalNo mention of a Coal Policy
New DemocratProtect mountains by law, and pass the Eastern Slopes Protection Act, which will ban coal mining projects in the Rocky Mountains and surrounding areas
United ConservativeNo mention of a Coal Policy

Land Use Planning

PartyPlatform Content
Alberta– Little mention of land-use planning
– Focus on crop and animal sciences supports for yield improvement, climate resistance, technology innovation & sustainability initiatives like irrigation and land management improvements  
Green– Promote urban density and sustainable land use 
– Subsidies for sustainable farming practices (e.g., methane reduction feed, eco-agriculture, organic farming) 
– Eliminate RSTAR (Liability Management Incentive Program), enforcement of polluter pay law & implementation of stronger regulations for right balance between responsible resource development & environmental protection 
– Foster urban agriculture such as community gardens and protect agricultural land from development
LiberalFunding all watershed councils to develop land-use planning documents 
New DemocratOnline Platform Commitments
– Support employment, land management, and environmental monitoring programs with Indigenous Nations and communities by investing $5 million over three years 

Commitments made to CPAWS Southern and Northern Alberta via Letter*
– Engage Albertans & Indigenous Peoples to assess current regional & land-use planning activities for effectiveness given emerging environmental pressures & cumulative effects 
– Advance solutions identified in the Truth & Reconciliation Report 
Work with Indigenous Communities to ensure their spiritual and cultural connection to land continues to be constitutionally recognized & legally protected 
– Will engage not-for-profit & private landholders to conservate headwaters, grasslands & river valleys 
– Support conservation on Crown lands & activities including land trust partnerships with ranchers 
United Conservative– Bringing stakeholders together to develop an integrated and streamlined Crown Lands recreation and conservation policy that expands Albertans’ ability to enjoy our province’s beauty, in a responsible way that protects our natural spaces for generations to come 
– Enabling the expansion of trails, campsites, and other opportunities on public lands by entrepreneurs and not-for-profit organizations 
*As noted in the introduction text, above.

Parks and Protected Areas

PartyPlatform Content
AlbertaNo mention of protected areas
Green– Make provincial parks accessible by removing user fees, such as the controversial park pass in Kananaskis County for day-use activities 
– Make Indigenous communities active partners in preserving and protecting watersheds, natural environments, and prime agriculture lands 
LiberalExpand protected areas to cover 30% of Alberta by 2030 and 50% by 2050 
New Democrat– Improve access to Alberta Parks & services 
– Cancel K-Pass 
– Fund infrastructure for new trails, campsites, etc. (additional $40 million in parks and public land infrastructure totaling $250 million over 3 years) 
– Strengthen & guard AB’s parks system 
– Updated Parks Act to prevent de-listing & selling parks 
– $5 million over 3 years to support employment, land management, & environmental monitoring programs with Indigenous Nations & communities 
– Increase matching funds for the Alberta Land Trust Grant Program ($25 million over 3 years) to provide incentive to farmers ranchers, landowners, & others to conserve more land & headwaters 
United ConservativeImplement a Tourism Strategy with goal of doubling tourism spending in Alberta to $20 billion by 2030

Wildlife Habitat Management

PartyPlatform Content
AlbertaNo mention of wildlife habitat
Green– Enforce and strengthen regulations protecting natural areas and wildlife corridors, and support restoration of degraded habitats 
-Restrict the use of pesticides and herbicides that harm pollinators, including bees and butterflies, which are essential to the reproduction of many plants 
-Identify, monitor, and act on expert recommendations to conserve the habitats of keystone species such as wolves and grizzlies 
LiberalNo mention of wildlife habitat
New DemocratNo mention of wildlife habitat
United ConservativeNo mention of wildlife habitat

Water Conservation

PartyPlatform Content
AlbertaNo mention of water and/or water conservation
Green– Guarantee water resources remain in public hands, rather than privatized for corporate gain 
– Strengthen regulation of the fossil fuel and agricultural industries to prevent contamination and hold polluters accountable 
– Prioritize remediation of contaminated sources, especially in Indigenous communities which are disproportionately affected 
Liberal– Greater scrutiny of projects with large impacts on water usage.  
– Reducing the amount of freshwater used in fracking.  
– Implementing mandatory baseline groundwater testing where hydraulic fracturing has been used.  
– Opposing inter-basin water transfers in all but the most extreme circumstances 
– Greater transparency in reporting of contamination incidents such as the recent toxic tailings pond releases 
– Better monitoring of water quality downstream of industry 
New DemocratOnline Platform Commitments
– Create an Alberta Water Stewardship Group for Eastern Slopes to advise on regional planning, water allocation decisions 

Commitments made to CPAWS Southern and Northern Alberta via Letter*
– Include Indigenous membership & support communication with Indigenous rights holders 
United ConservativeNo mention of water and/or water conservation
*As noted in the introduction text, above.

Recreation Management

PartyPlatform Content
AlbertaNo mention of recreation
Green– Utilize a climate corps to expand and maintain trail systems and support ecotourism
LiberalNo mention of recreation
New Democrat– Improve access to Alberta Parks & services 
– Cancel K-Pass 
– Fund infrastructure for new trails, campsites, etc. (additional $40 million in parks and public land infrastructure totaling $250 million over 3 years) 
United Conservative– Developing the Crown land recreation & conservation strategy (mentioned in Land Use Planning section) 

Forest Management

PartyPlatform Content
AlbertaNo mention of forestry
Green-Enhance prescribed burning, an effective way of reducing fuel loads and controlling wildfire spreads, using Indigenous traditional knowledge to guide and enhance our application of enhanced burning 
-Promote safer forest harvesting, regulating practices better to require removal of leftover debris 
LiberalNo mention of forestry
New DemocratNo mention of forestry
United Conservative– Expand the Agri-Processing Investment Tax Credit to forestry and other areas, develop programs similar to the Alberta Petrochemical Incentive Program for more capital-intensive technologies
– Expand the Feeder Assistance Loan Guarantee to $3 million
– These measures are designed to help continue to attract major investments to the province, further helping grow and diversify Alberta’s economy and attract and create jobs  

Responsible Resource Development

PartyPlatform Content
Alberta– Increasing the annual minimum spending targets for site reclamation activities, increasing the number of jobs for oil & gas professionals 
– Enforcing existing Alberta Energy Regulator (AER) “due diligence” for inactive well site cleanup with a “shared responsibility” approach 
– Providing tax incentives to encourage innovative practices that reduce environmental impacts or create opportunities to drive down costs 
Green– No new approvals for oil, gas, or coal projects across Alberta and institute a ban on hydraulic fracturing (fracking) 
– Enforce regulations to make polluters clean up the messes they create and pay sizable fines, and resolve the harm done to the health and safety of Albertans and the environment by the incapable AER 
– Replace the privately incorporated and industry-captive AER with review boards that work in the public interest and are truly independent from the industries they’re regulating 
– Scrap the RStar giveaway 
– Follow the example of Peter Lougheed and increase royalties in resource development 
– Introduce a cap on excess profits from resource development and distribute the benefits of oil and gas industry profits more evenly, fund mitigation of its harms, and ensure all Albertans enjoy a good standard of living 
– Create government-funded programs to put unemployed riggers and idle equipment to work cleaning up the legacy infrastructure left behind by the energy industry 
– Require the full consent of impacted Indigenous communities in development and natural resource projects, and subject projects to revenue-sharing and co-management with these communities 
Liberal– Make sure polluters pay and the well sites are cleaned up on the industry’s dime rather than on the taxpayers’ 
New DemocratCommitments made to CPAWS Southern and Northern Alberta via Letter*
– Improve Alberta’s Environmental Regulatory System, including through environmental regulatory assurance, oversight, & monitoring across government 
United Conservative– Committed to continuing to set own ‘made in Alberta’ policies to managed environment & natural resources while focusing on unique needs of Albertans & industries
– Double the Alberta Indigenous Opportunities Corporation (AIOC) loan capacity to $2 billion and further expand the types of projects that are eligible
*As noted in the introduction text, above.

Energy and Climate Change

PartyPlatform Content
Alberta– Repatriating the carbon tax and replacing it with a ‘Made in Alberta’ cost of carbon aligned with the royalty framework tied to production rates 
– Expanding and enhancing federal incentives for energy efficiency measures of heating and cooling to low-carbon solutions (like ground source heat pumps or hydrogen for space heating) and renovating existing provincial government buildings to increase energy efficiency 
– Supporting investments to make Alberta a leader in alternate energy technology like low emissions hydrogen, ethanol/Biomass fuels, solar, wind, hydro, geothermal, small scale nuclear power (Small Modular Reactor – SMR), and other emerging low carbon energy sources 
– Promote incentives for greenhouses to leverage new forms of Green Energy production being simultaneously developed in Alberta (e.g., geothermal in old well bores, solar, wind) to diversify the energy market and reduce greenhouse gas emissions 
– Modernize the transmission grid and remove barriers to inhibit renewable energy source expansion 
– Work with the province’s electrical power distributors to establish a deadline for installing bi-directional smart meters for all connections to the power grid
Green– In line with the recommendations from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), reach peak emissions by 2025 and reduce to 60% of 2019 levels by 2034  
– Decarbonize electricity production by replacing coal and gas power plants with low carbon sources like solar, wind, and green hydrogen 
– Promote active and public transportation alternatives while continuing the transition from internal combustion engines to electric equivalents 
– Mandate sustainable construction and fund retrofits to improve the energy efficiency of existing building stock 
– Expand Level 3 charging for electric vehicles (EVs) into rural Alberta, tourist destinations, and provincial parks 
Liberal– Support creation of ‘Made in Alberta’ carbon tax 
– Creating a business and regulatory environment that allows renewable energy to grow and thrive
– Invest in research that helps make these projects more economical and promote greater competition in energy supply to help drive costs down for consumers 
New Democrat– Contribute to global energy security with oil and gas resources and expertise, and diversify the energy sector in emerging industries like bitumen beyond combustion, hydrogen, geothermal, critical minerals, wind and solar 
– Contribute to global energy security by advancing LNG projects that replace higher-emissions energy globally
– Set an economy-wide target and supportive incentives to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050
– Alberta will work with industry partners to create a net-zero electricity system by 2035
– Consult to ensure that large industrial emitters set an emissions reduction trajectory to net-zero by 2050
– Reduce methane emissions, a 75% reduction in methane emissions by 2030 relative to 2014
United Conservative– Work to axe the carbon tax altogether
– Continue to cultivate a hydrogen economy based on hydrogen road-map 

For the full party platforms, see below:

Alberta Party: Platform 2023 – Alberta Party 

Green Party: Platform 2023 – Green Party of Alberta 

Liberal Party: A Better Choice – Alberta Liberal Party 

NDP: Alberta NDP | Our Commitments « Alberta’s NDP 

UCP: UCP Platform 2023 – The United Conservative Party