As the national media and blogosphere let out a collective gasp at the prospect of a political party wanting to form a majority government, Graham Thomson points out that the much less attention grabbing world of Alberta politics is far from dead.
Next week marks the beginning of the first round of public hearings for the Electoral Boundaries Commission and the by-election in Calgary-Glenmore. This weekend also marks the Alberta NDPs 43rd annual convention, and while it’s no surprise that the left faces some serious challenges in Alberta, so apparently does the right.
At their first leadership forum in Grande Prairie, the Wildrose Alliance is reported to have only attracted 30 people. While Grande Prairie has hardly been a hotbed of Wildrose Alliance support (that party only contested one of that city’s ridings, Grande Prairie-Smoky, where the candidate placed third with 13% support), it raises questions if that party’s leadership race is attracting more media attention than it is attracting new members.
Their leadership convention isn’t until October 17, but much of that party’s short-term prospects will be determined by how well outgoing leader Paul Hinman places in Monday’s by-election. Even if voters in Calgary-Glenmore choose not to elect Hinman, but he is able to significantly increase his party’s vote it could be seen a moral victory. Between the 2004 and 2008 elections, the Alliance increased its vote by 4% to 1,025 votes, which add up to a significant amount of votes in a by-election that may see a lower than normal voter turnout.
As Hinman’s campaign pushes into the final days of the by-election, I’m sure that Liberal candidate Avalon Roberts will be hoping that the Wildrose Alliance cutting into the right-wing supporters of PC candidate Diane Colley-Urquhart will lead to a repeat of Craig Cheffins‘ 2007 Calgary-Elbow victory. Not a far fetched scenario.
I will be at tonight’s Wildrose Alliance leadership forum and this weekend’s NDP convention in Edmonton, and will be reporting back on this blog and on twitter with all the latest news.