The big talk of the campaign has largely been “what’s happening in Calgary?” With the departure of Ralph Klein last year, Calgarians found themselves on the outside under Ed Stelmach‘s Tories, which as led to the real proposition that Alberta Liberal gains are on the horizon in this city (building on their three MLAs elected in 2004 and the election of Craig Cheffins in the June 2007 Calgary-Elbow by-election).
Though the Tories’ 37-year advantage in political organizing in Calgary shouldn’t be underestimated, the Alberta Liberals have probably put together their most impressive list of Calgary candidates since Harper Prowse in 1955 – in 2008 the list includes Kent Hehr, Beth Gignac, Mike Robinson, Cathie Williams, Greg Flanagan, Laura Shutiak, and Michael Embaie among others. This obviously doesn’t equal an automatic win for these candidates, but it does say a lot about the changing political environment in this city that a political party other than the ruling Tories were able to recruit strong local candidates.
Calgary becoming a competitive political environment on the provincial level is exciting, but I’m going to remain cautiously optimistic and wait for Calgarians to surprise me tomorrow.
Constituencies I will be keeping an eye on will be Calgary-Bow, Calgary-Buffalo, Calgary-Currie, Calgary-Egmont, Calgary-Elbow, Calgary-Fish Creek, Calgary-Foothills, Calgary-Glenmore, Calgary-McCall, Calgary-Montrose, Calgary-Mountain View, Calgary-North Hill, Calgary-North West, Calgary-Varsity, and Calgary-West.