Politicians revving up as campaign begins for May 5 Alberta provincial election

Alberta’s opposition parties may not like the early call, but they’ll have no choice but to hit the ground running today as the campaign begins for an election on May 5.

Alberta’s opposition parties may not like the early call, but they’ll have no choice but to hit the ground running today as the campaign begins for an election on May 5.

Albertans were not scheduled to go to the polls until the spring of 2016.

But as was widely expected, Premier Jim Prentice dropped the writ on Monday, saying his plan to wean the province from its dependence on oil revenues demands an endorsement from the people.

Prentice starts off today with an appearance at the coal mine in Grande Cache, then makes stops in Edmonton, Ponoka and Lacombe.

NDP Leader Rachel Notley will spend her first day of the campaign attending rallies in Calgary and Lethbridge.

Wildrose Leader Brian Jean hopscotches across the province with visits to Calgary, Kananaskis and Spruce Grove.

The Tories held 70 seats in the 87-seat legislature at dissolution, including 11 members of the Wildrose opposition who crossed the floor to join the government.

However, several of the defectors failed to win their nominations as Conservatives, including former leader Danielle Smith.

Jean is now focused on getting his five-member team back into the fight with the goal of retaining official Opposition status, and says future defections will be met with a $100,000 fine from the party.

The NDP had four members but Notley says she’s seeing unprecedented support across the province partly because of Prentice’s budget and partly because of a legacy of financial mismanagement and scandal under the Tories.

Prentice’s recent budget called for increases in taxes and fees, and cuts to public services, to help cope with a drop in oil prices that erased an estimated $7 billion from Alberta’s bottom line this year.

But while Prentice has said everyone must help fix Alberta’s cracked fiscal foundation, he has not raised oil royalties or changed corporate taxes because he says doing that could harm the economic recovery.

The Liberals had five members in the legislature, but only two — party leader David Swann and house leader Laurie Blakeman — are campaigning again, and the party only has candidates nominated in about 30 ridings.

Blakeman, who favoured a merger with the Alberta Party earlier this year, is running under the Alberta Party and Green party banners in an effort to fend off the Tories.

The Alberta Party, which did not hold any seats, has 32 confirmed candidates and is considering another 10. There were two vacancies in the last legislature, caused by the resignation of two cabinet ministers, and a former Wildrose member was sitting as an Independent.

Just Posted

Red Deer mall repurposes former Sears location

The Great Indoors Market at Bower officially launches Nov. 10

Red Deer-area businesses prepare for economic boost from Canadian Finals Rodeo

Hotels, restaurants, gift shops get ready for rodeo fans

Sylvan Lake considering banning charcoal barbecues in lakefront parks

Town council wants more information on concerns about charcoal barbecues and over-sized tents

Winter Games relocates its Volunteer Centre

Now open at Bower Place in Red Deer

Coalition of consumer groups calls for new code of conduct for telecom sales

A new government-backed code of conduct is needed to protect consumers from… Continue reading

Canadian National Railway rakes in record revenues amid concerns over capacity

MONTREAL — Canadian National Railway Co. says it raked in the highest… Continue reading

Alberta Party candidates set for Red Deer

The Alberta Party will have candidates running in both Red Deer-South and… Continue reading

Montreal Alouettes defensive lineman Woody Baron co-authors children’s book

TORONTO — Woody Baron finds the spectre of tangling with a hulking… Continue reading

Sundin not surprised Leafs asking stars to take less money to stay together

TORONTO — Mats Sundin isn’t surprised the Toronto Maple Leafs are asking… Continue reading

Anywhere but Washington: Why DC stories rarely film in DC

WASHINGTON — It’s a hobby among District of Columbia locals: Picking apart… Continue reading

‘Halloween’ scares up $77.5 million in ticket sales

LOS ANGELES — Forty years after he first appeared in theatres, Michael… Continue reading

iPhone XR makes the right trade-offs for a cheaper price

NEW YORK — Apple offers you a simple trade-off with its new… Continue reading

Most Read