Leaders Debate Looms Large
Posted on April 3, 2019
The next significant milestone in the Alberta election is the leaders debate on April 4. This will be an opportunity for each of the parties to appeal directly to Albertans while asking critical questions about the policies of the other parties. While most eyes will be on Rachel Notley and Jason Kenney, the debate also provides a podium for the smaller parties such as the Alberta Liberals and the Alberta Party to share their platforms with Albertans who may not be following the election outside of the major headlines.
Now that all of the parties have released their full platforms, the leaders will be using the days leading up to April 4 to develop and test messaging for the debate. The information gathered in those leadup days will be critical in framing a narrative that Albertans identify with.
UCP candidate issues just keep coming. Yesterday, two more UCP candidates were confronted with past audio recordings in which they shared a number of extremely socially conservative views against abortion and same-sex marriage. The backlash against these candidates continues to be intense and many Albertans have called for them to be removed from the UCP. However, the UCP has indicated that both candidates retain the support of the party and will not be removed. This is likely because that candidate nomination window has now officially closed. If the UCP were to remove those two candidates, they would be unable to replace them before the election. Despite Jason Kenney’s promise that all candidates had been thoroughly vetted, problem candidates continue to emerge. Last minute candidate issues torpedoed the Wildrose Party’s campaign in 2012 and the question remains whether or not Albertans can forgive candidates for things they have said or done in the past.
Despite the continuing candidate problems, new polling has suggested that the UCP maintain a significant lead in across Alberta, with the exception of Edmonton. The lead is most significant in the rural parts of Alberta, however, according to this poll, Calgary remains firmly in the UCP’s grasp.
Every poll is just a snapshot in time and the information presented should always be taken with a grain of salt. This week, two polls have shown both a significant UCP lead and a very slim UCP lead. Regardless of this, parties will be using this information to plan for both the debate and the next week of the campaign, and will be targeting ridings that are potentially seen as either vulnerable or ripe for the taking.
Navigator’s top 6 news story daily picks
Battleground Alberta offers two campaigns for the price of one, by Graham Thomson with CBC News
- Graham Thomson explains how the most important battleground varies depending on which campaign you consider. Although conventional wisdom points to Calgary, an area that the NDP will need to find a way to capture in order to win, Thomson mentions how Edmonton may be just as important to the UCP.
Miles apart: Here’s how the NDP and UCP platforms compare, issue by issue, by Clare Clancy with the Calgary Herald
- The platforms of Alberta’s two major political parties are poles apart, with the NDP branding itself as the choice for continued investment in public services while the UCP hammers down on its promise of new jobs.
Two UCP candidates criticized for homophobic views, another takes heat for ‘yellow vest’ support, by Janet French and Clare Clancy with the Edmonton Journal
- A trio of UCP candidates came under fire Tuesday as past homophobic comments from two men came to light, while a third candidate’s apparent support for the contentious Yellow Vest movement forced the party leader to come to his defence.
Third-party advertisers spend $1M to influence election, by Emily Senger with CBC News
- Twenty lobby groups are spending a combined total of more than $1 million to shape the message Albertans are hearing during this election campaign. Emily Senger discusses some of the groups involved in these efforts.
Provincial Election Survey: Janet Brown Opinion Research, by Janet Brown Opinion Research
- According to exclusive polling data from Janet Brown Opinion Research, the UCP maintain a significant lead over the NDP across the province and in the battleground of Calgary. The Alberta NDP maintain a 7-point lead in their Edmonton but trail the UCP by more than 40 points in rural parts of the province.
Former CFO for UCP leadership candidate faces 2 years in jail, accused of ‘corrupt practice’, by Meghan Grant with CBC News
- The latest development in the “kamikaze” scandal sees the Chief Financial Officer for former UCP leadership candidate Jeff Callaway is facing up to two years in prison or a $50,000 fine for allegations of “corrupt practice,” in breach of the Elections Act. Lenore Eaton allegedly signed cheques from a corporation to pay two campaign staff.