The Weekly Writ for Apr. 26: On your marks, Alberta
Liberals hold in New Brunswick, Sask Party faces a challenge and Alberta's election campaign is days away.
Welcome to the Weekly Writ, a round-up of the latest federal and provincial polls, election news and political history that lands in your inbox every Wednesday morning.
Alberta’s election campaign is scheduled to officially begin on Monday with voting day set for May 29. It should be a barnburner of an election.
The polls suggest Danielle Smith’s United Conservatives and Rachel Notley’s New Democrats are running roughly even — with the NDP dominating in Edmonton, the UCP in the rural areas and it all coming down to Calgary.
We could even get more specific than that. There’s a good chance the NDP will win the most seats in Calgary, but it will come down to whether or not the NDP can take 18 or 19 of the city’s 26 seats. That means winning the suburbs on the outskirts.
Of course, things can change. Probably not the electoral geography, but at least the competitiveness of the race. Support for the NDP could drop enough to make the outcome a foregone conclusion. Smith could repeat her performance as leader of the Wildrose Party in 2012 and cause the UCP’s support to bottom out by election day. Those are pretty much the only three plausible outcomes — and again it will come down to whether the NDP wins a lot of Calgary or just a bit of it.
For The Writ, this is one of the ‘major’ elections on the calendar. Those majors are the federal election, of course, and the provincial elections in Ontario, Quebec, British Columbia and Alberta.
Elections in Ontario and B.C. are important simply because the provinces are big and they also happen to be federal battlegrounds.
Quebec and Alberta are big, too, but what makes them especially worth keeping an eye on is that these two provinces have been, if you’ll pardon my French, Confederation’s shit-disturbers.
Not always, of course, and the extent of and reason for that disturbance has varied. But rarely does Canada find itself in a national unity crisis because of something happening in Ontario or British Columbia. In Alberta and Quebec, however, there are the spectres of Western alienation and Quebec sovereignty that are always looming. While that ebbs and flows, what’s constant is that, even when these provinces don’t want to assert their autonomy or break away, they still look out for their interests regardless of what the rest of Canada thinks.
Alberta’s oil wealth often puts it at odds with the federal government’s environmental goals or other provinces’ equalization payments. Quebec nationalism and its distinct identity often put Quebec at odds with the rest of a country that sees the world very differently. So, what happens in these provinces’ elections matter a lot — and not just to the people voting in them.
You can expect extensive coverage of the election here. The regular Friday episodes of The Writ Podcast will delve into the campaign (perhaps not every week, but frequently), and there will also be bonus podcast episodes for subscribers that will focus primarily on the polls. In addition, you can expect deep dives into the polls every Wednesday in the Weekly Writ and a few extra analyses on the campaign being posted.
If there’s anything in particular you’d like to see from me over the next few weeks, please let me know!
Now, let’s get to what is in this instalment of the Weekly Writ:
News out of the three byelections in New Brunswick, where the Liberals are breathing a sigh of relief.
Polls show who is leading in Toronto, a big swing in Saskatchewan and some other results you might have missed.
The UCP would win in a nail-biter if the election were held today.
Calgary-Peigan riding profile ahead of Monday’s election kick-off in Alberta.
The PCs’ triumph in Saskatchewan in the #EveryElectionProject.