United Conservative Party leader Jason Kenney attends a rally as part of the UCP campaign platform roll out in Calgary, Alta., Saturday, March 30, 2019.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh

United Conservative Party leader Jason Kenney attends a rally as part of the UCP campaign platform roll out in Calgary, Alta., Saturday, March 30, 2019.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh

ELECTION DAY: Polls now open in Alberta

Polls are open from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. MT

Voters across Alberta head to the polls on Tuesday to choose between two main political parties, among others: Rachel Notley`s NDP and Jason Kenney`s United Conservatives.

Advance turnouts suggest it could be busy at the ballot boxes.

Almost 700,000 people voted early in malls, airports, recreation centres, public buildings and even an Ikea store. That was well ahead of the 235,000 who came out early in the 2015 election that saw Rachel Notley’s NDP deliver a surprise knockout blow to the 44-year run of the Progressive Conservatives.

Check your local Black Press Media community news website for full election coverage, starting at 8 p.m. MT. See where to vote here.

The four-week campaign focused on personal attacks and on Alberta’s fragile economy, which has been struggling for several years with sluggish oil prices and unemployment levels above seven per cent in Calgary and Edmonton.

UCP leader Jason Kenney has argued that Notley’s government has made a bad situation worse with higher taxes, more regulations and increases in minimum wage.

Notley, in turn, has said Kenney’s plan to freeze spending and pursue more private-care options in health care will have a profound impact on students in the classroom and on patients waiting for care.

The campaign also featured Alberta’s relationship with Ottawa, specifically Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

Notley said her success working with Trudeau — or picking her fights with him as necessary — is what led to progress on the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion to the B.C. coast. She expects construction to begin this year.

She said Kenney’s promise to challenge Trudeau in court on everything from the federal carbon tax to proposed energy industry rule changes is cynical, self-defeating shadow-boxing given the collaborative realities of political decision-making.

Kenney has campaigned on the “Trudeau-Notley alliance” that he says has turned Alberta into a doormat for Trudeau and other oil industry foes with no more than a faint and as yet unrealized promise of one pipeline expansion to the coast.

Notley has also tried to make Kenney’s character an issue. A number of his candidates have either quit or apologized for past comments that were anti-LGBTQ, anti-Islamic or sympathetic to white nationalism.

Kenney has called the attacks a “fear-and-smear” red herring to distract from the NDP’s economic track record of multibillion-dollar budget deficits and soaring debt.

On the political fringes are the Alberta Party and the Liberals, each of which elected one candidate to the legislature in 2015.

The Alberta Party, led by former Edmonton mayor Stephen Mandel, is running a full slate of candidates. It’s promising to be the safe centrist middle ground by combining the economic conservatism of the UCP with the social progressivism of the NDP.

The Liberals, led by lawyer David Khan, are running on a similar platform with one significant exception — a provincial sales tax.

History will be made no matter what.

Notley will either be the first Alberta NDP premier to win re-election or the first leader in the province to fail to win a renewed mandate on the first try.

Dean Bennett, The Canadian Press

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A restricted gun licence holder holds a AR-15 at his home in Langley, B.C. on May 1, 2020. Advocates of stricter gun control are urging the Trudeau government to get on with promised reforms, saying they are months overdue. Public Safety Minister Bill Blair has pledged new measures including a buyback of recently outlawed firearms, stricter storage provisions and steps to control handguns. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Get on with promised gun-control measures, advocates urge Trudeau government

OTTAWA — Advocates of stricter gun control are urging the Trudeau government… Continue reading

Janelle Robinson owns and operates Spirit’s Respite Ranch near Stettler. The Ranch, just north of Stettler, is an animal therapy ranch that helps those with special needs and conditions ranging from PTSD to anxiety. Mark Weber/Stettler Independent
Spirit’s Respite Ranch near Stettler provides support through animal interaction

‘I also come from a family of doers - if something that is needed isn’t there, you just figure it out’

Although B.C. has not made masks mandatory in public indoor spaces, some business owners are requiring all customers to wear them before entering their store. (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Mandatory indoor mask wearing starts Monday in Red Deer

A municipal bylaw requiring masking in public indoor places takes effect Monday… Continue reading

A pedestrian makes their way through the snow in downtown Ottawa on Wednesday, Nov. 25, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Wild winter, drastic swings in store for Canada this year: Weather Network

Wild winter, drastic swings in store for Canada this year: Weather Network

In this Saturday, Nov. 21, 2020, photo taken through a camera lens the word "pandemic" in seen in a dictionary in Washington. Dictionary.com declared “pandemic” its 2020 word of the year. (AP Photo/Jenny Kane)
Dictionary.com picks ‘pandemic’ as its 2020 word of the year

NEW YORK — On Dec. 31, China reported a cluster of pneumonia… Continue reading

Idyllic winter scenes are part of the atmosphere of the holiday season, and are depicted in many seasonal movies. How much do you know about holiday movies? Put your knowledge to the test. (Pixabay.com)
QUIZ: Test your knowledge of holiday movies and television specials

The festive season is a time for relaxing and enjoying some seasonal favourites

Downtown Iqaluit, Nunavut, is shown after 2 p.m. sunset on November 24, 2020. The territory plans to start lifting a two-week lockdown due to COVID-19 spread on Wednesday. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Emma Tranter
Nunavut to start lifting its two-week lockdown as COVID-19 cases recover

IQALUIT, Nunavut — Nunavut is to start lifting a two-week lockdown on… Continue reading

Minister of International Trade Mary Ng participates in a news conference on the Canada-United Kingdom Trade Continuity Agreement in Ottawa, on Saturday, Nov. 21, 2020. Ng says she is unable to provide a guarantee to MPs that they will see a bill to ratify the new provisional Canada-Britain trade agreement before Parliament adjourns on Dec. 11.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang
No text of Canada-U.K. trade deal, minister says as Dec. 31 tariff deadline looms

OTTAWA — Canada’s International Trade Minister Mary Ng says she can’t guarantee… Continue reading

Quebec Premier Francois Legault responds to reporters during a news conference on Thursday, November 26, 2020 at the legislature in Quebec City. An association of Quebec booksellers says it acted in haste when it removed social media posts outlining Premier Francois Legault’s book recommendations. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jacques Boissinot
Quebec booksellers’ group apologizes, republishes post outlining premier’s top reads

MONTREAL — An association of Quebec booksellers says it acted in haste… Continue reading

Regine Laurent, president of the Special Commission on the Rights of the Child and Youth Protection, arrives at a news conference to deliver a preliminary report in Montreal on Monday, November 30, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
Quebec urged to create national director of youth protection to oversee system

MONTREAL — A provincial commission looking into the protection of vulnerable children… Continue reading

Ontario Premier Doug Ford puts his mask back on during the daily briefing at Humber River Hospital in Toronto on Tuesday November 24, 2020. Ford says he wants a clear delivery date for the province’s share of COVID-19 vaccines, stressing that “the clock is ticking” when it comes to fighting the novel coronavirus. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
Ontario premier pushes for clear delivery date for COVID-19 vaccines

Ontario Premier Doug Ford says he wants a clear delivery date for… Continue reading

Janelle Robinson owns and operates Spirit’s Respite Ranch near Stettler. The Ranch, just north of Stettler, is an animal therapy ranch that helps those with special needs and conditions ranging from PTSD to anxiety. Mark Weber/Stettler Independent
Spirit’s Respite Ranch near Stettler provides support through animal interaction

‘I also come from a family of doers - if something that is needed isn’t there, you just figure it out’

The Alberta government passed new, stricter COVID-19 measures across the province on Tuesday. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
Here’s a list of Alberta’s new COVID rules

The Alberta government has provided a list of new COVID-19 measures to… Continue reading

FILE - In this Feb. 11, 2019 file photo, George Clooney participates in the "Catch-22" panel during the Hulu presentation at the Television Critics Association Winter Press Tour at The Langham Huntington in Pasadena, Calif. In a Sunday, Nov. 29, 2020, interview on “CBS Sunday Morning,” Clooney said he's been cutting his own hair for more than two decades with a Flowbee device. (Photo by Willy Sanjuan/Invision/AP, File)
George Clooney’s secret to cutting his hair, as seen on TV

LOS ANGELES — George Clooney is just like us, maybe. The star… Continue reading

Most Read