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'It's the water crisis': Newest Alberta NDP leadership candidate to focus on climate

Edmonton MLA Jodi Calahoo Stonehouse is shown in a handout photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO Edmonton MLA Jodi Calahoo Stonehouse is shown in a handout photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO
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A rookie legislature member for Alberta’s NDP is making a bid for the party's top job, promising a campaign focused on climate change and drought.

"I think I'm going to garner support because I'm a new voice and my colleagues have already had their shot at being government,” Jodi Calahoo Stonehouse, 49, said in an interview with The Canadian Press.

“I bring a diverse perspective and a new energy, a new light to the party.”

Calahoo Stonehouse, a first-term member representing Edmonton-Rutherford, was to make her leadership bid official later Saturday at an event in Lethbridge, Alta.

She said the environment will be the centrepiece of her campaign, particularly drought concerns facing the province this spring and summer.

"How are we going to water our crops? How are we going to put out the forest fires?” she said.

“We know we're expecting record numbers of forest fires again. So for me, it's water, water, water. For me, it aligns with the world view — water is life."

Calahoo Stonehouse, who identifies as Mohawk and Cree from the Michel First Nation west of Edmonton, joins former deputy premier Sarah Hoffman, Calgary MLA Kathleen Ganley and fellow Edmonton MLA Rakhi Pancholi in the race.

All are vying to replace longtime leader and former Alberta premier Rachel Notley.

Notley announced last month she would be stepping down as leader once a replacement is picked June 22.

Calahoo Stonehouse said she's had tremendous encouragement from across Alberta and hopes to tap into the province's diverse population during her campaign.

Both Hoffman and Pancholi have been critical of the federal consumer carbon levy, suggesting there needs to be an alternative.

Calahoo Stonehouse agreed.

"Fundamentally, it could have been — should have been — something that worked. But the issue is it's not reducing greenhouse gas emissions,” she said.

“We are not taxing industry at the levels that we should be.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 24, 2024.

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