Today is election day in Alberta, but not the kind of election day that would dominate the airwaves and twitter streams in most other provinces in a modern liberal democratic state like Canada. Today, Alberta’s forty-year governing Progressive Conservatives are casting their vote in the first ballot for their new leader, which has become in the minds of many long-time Conservative stalwarts and hoards of two-minute Tories, an event as important as a general election.
Does this sound scary? It is probably a confusing political environment for most Canadians, and while most Albertans will not participate in this internal party leadership contest, it will have a large effect on the direction that Alberta’s governing party will take in the months before (and most likely after) the next general election. Despite the lack of defining issues or real narrative during this campaign (aside from candidates reassuring party members that they are not Premier Ed Stelmach), it has been a fairly dull affair.
If you do decide to track down the location of your local PC Party voting station and pay the $5 to purchase a membership, who do you vote for? Over the past few months, and increasingly over the past few days, I have heard more plans for strategic voting than I had ever hoped to.
Vote for Gary Mar to stop Ted Morton from winning.
Vote for Alison Redford to stop Ted Morton from winning.
Vote Gary Mar to stop Frederick Lee from winning.
Vote for Ted Morton to stop Gary Mar from winning.
Vote for Alison Redford to stop Gary Mar from winning.
Vote for Doug Horner to stop Gary Mar from winning.
Vote for Doug Griffiths to stop Gary Mar from winning.
Vote for Rick Orman to stop Gary Mar from winning.
Vote for a Calgarian to stop Doug Horner from winning.
Vote for Doug Horner to stop a Calgarian from winning.
Vote for Rick Orman to split the right-wing Ted Morton vote.
What ever combination of results is achieved today, it could be an interesting next two weeks. If no candidate receives more than 50% tonight, then a second vote will be held on October 1. The results of the first ballot vote are expected to be announced at an event in Calgary at 7:30pm tonight. You will find the results posted on this blog around that time.