In what is easily the biggest non-secret in recent days, Premier Prentice kicked off an anticipated election campaign yesterday. Anticipated but not necessarily wanted. I don't see the need for an election when the government already holds a super majority of seats and find it odd that the Premier has been preaching fiscal prudence but will now hand us a bill for what is reportedly the most expensive election campaign in Alberta history. It doesn't make much sense for Prentice to be seeking a mandate for his budget when the reality is that each Opposition MLA could vote 3 or 4 times over and the government could still get its budget passed in the Legislature. But it is what it is. We head to the polls May 5th.
It didn't take long for candidates to hit the bricks here as I noticed quite a number of PC and NDP election signs along the route home from work yesterday evening. While the PC's winning yet another majority isn't in question, it will be interesting to see how many seats the Wildrose Party and the NDP can pick up. I've made up my mind long ago on how I will be voting so I won't be subjecting myself to long bouts of campaigners at my door with long-winded speeches.
I do hope that our region and the province improves it's dismal voter turnout. Our riding here is known to be pretty bad. I suspect there will be a lot of focus on this riding anyway and not just because of economic issues after the price of oil tanked. The NDP has never really been much of a factor here so the real choice comes to one between a sitting cabinet minister, Don Scott, and a newly minted party leader, Brian Jean, who could potentially be the next Leader of the Opposition or perhaps the province's next Premier depending on how election night unfolds. I would have thought Jean would have ran in the other Fort McMurray riding against controversial PC MLA Mike Allen as Allen is much more vulnerable but the race here should be a very interesting one and many in the province here will no doubt be focused on it.
Clearly, the PC's have no choice to run on the spring budget rather than their past record. Running on a record fraught with scandal, corruption allegations and a seemingly incurable desire to spend every single cent they can ring out of the taxpayers clearly isn't politically palatable. I don't plan on blogging a great deal during the campaign unless something really weird happens (and weird things have happened in Alberta politics in recent months so you never know). As I said, I know how I'm voting and that won't change. I do hope that Albertans get out and vote. For all the sticks and arrows that have been hurled at this budget at least it seems to have gotten people talking about it. It's my hope that this talk translates in to people actually wanting to vote on election day.