Former Alberta deputy premier Sarah Hoffman is the latest candidate to throw her hat in the ring for Alberta’s NDP leadership. 

Hoffman’s policy mirrors that of Rakhi Pancholi, who announced last week that she would be against the carbon tax if elected leader.

Hoffman was second in command to former Alberta premier Rachel Notley when the NDP was elected in 2015. She joins Kathleen Ganley and Pancholi in the race to replace Notley, who announced that she was stepping down as the party leader on January 16.

As Pancholi said three days earlier, Hoffman called for an end to the consumer carbon tax.

“I think the consumer carbon tax is dead. It died provincially in the last election. The feds took it over. Justin Trudeau played dirty politics with it and picked winners and losers. If you don’t have public support, you can’t carry on with something like that,” Hoffman told Canadian Press reporters.

She mirrored Pancholi’s messaging, saying that Albertans care about climate change. However, she argued that the consumer carbon tax is not the model going forward. 

“We need to find new tools that are successful,” she said.  

The NDP brought its provincial carbon levy when Hoffman previously worked for the party. She said she would release more details about her plan during her campaign but pledged that large polluters need to pay more as they can likely afford it. 

“Nobody is on board with what Justin Trudeau did with the federal carbon tax. He absolutely broke trust and broke confidence when he looked at the polls in Eastern Canada and decided to exempt them,” she said.

Canadian Taxpayers Federation Alberta director Kris Sims told True North that she welcomes the surprising news. 

“It’s surprising because it was the Alberta NDP government that first brought a provincial carbon tax to Alberta. So that cost Albertans an awful lot of money, and it cost the NDP, I would argue, some popularity in Alberta,” said Sims. 

However, Sims said to be cautious about the NDP candidate’s promises. She said that when the NDP were in opposition in British Columbia, they campaigned against the federal carbon tax. Now they have two. 

“So, we need to make sure that any politician who’s vowing up and down to scrap the carbon taxes keep his or her word. We have to hold them accountable. Good thing we have provincial recall here,” said Sims. 

After announcing her bid, Hoffman hosted an event to discuss her campaign.

“We know things have gotten much worse in the past five years under the UCP,” she said. 

“Every day, we see our public health care sabotaged by Danielle Smith. We see longer wait times for emergency care, longer drives for rural parents wanting to deliver a baby that have to go further and further from home. And so many Albertans can’t find a family doctor.” 

Pancholi had previously emphasized the importance of rural Alberta and its importance towards winning the election. While Calgary and Edmonton were predominately orange, signifying NDP-winning ridings, almost the entire rest of the province was blue.

Hoffman, a native of Kanuso in rural Alberta herself, thinks that she can be the change the NDP needs.

“In my hometown, Kanuso, there’s a UCP MLA. That’s going to change. I pledge a positive leadership campaign about forward-looking ideas, free from personal attacks in public or in private, and I invite my fellow contestants to join me in making the same pledge.”

Sims said that this issue is more than just capturing rural Alberta, but perhaps about the NDP and how the party aims to champion itself as the party of the working man or woman, to look out for the poor and the little guy. She said that the carbon tax hurts the poor the most.

Hoffman pledged to fix the housing crisis, act on climate change, and rebuild Alberta’s publicly funded and delivered health care system.

Others rumoured to be considering running are MLA Jodi Calahoo Stonehouse and former Calgary mayor Naheed Nenshi.

David Shepherd, who was previously rumoured to be running, posted on X that he will not be running due to ongoing health issues.

Party members will pick a new leader on June 22. 

Alberta’s next provincial general election is scheduled for May 31, 2027.

The federal and provincial NDP are one party. Sims remains hopeful that if enough provincial counterparts turn against the carbon tax, maybe so too will Jagmeet Singh. 

Sims said Manitoba’s NDP Premier Wab Kinew is a prominent figure. She believes that he is influential within the NDP circle and that these candidates might be taking notes from him. He stopped collecting carbon tax on home heating in November.