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Alberta Premier Rachel Notley has called for an election to be held on April 16th.
The Notley New Democrats will be up against Jason Kenney’s United Conservative Party, a new party that was established in July 2017 as a merger between the Progressive Conservative Association of Alberta and the Wildrose Party.
Notley is calling the election at a time when many Albertans are unsatisfied. With a struggling and under-utilized oil industry, and an economy whose future remains a mystery, Notley will surely be heading into the election with her work cut out for her.
The campaign is expected to focus primarily on the economy, a key issue that has been a thorn in Notley’s side her entire term in office, as well as the repeated failures surrounding the construction of pipelines.
According to the Globe and Mail, “the province’s oil sector has struggled in the face of low prices compared with U.S. markets. The discount, or differential, between Alberta oil and West Texas Intermediate topped US$50 a barrel last fall. Prices have narrowed since production cuts took effect on Jan 1, bouncing around between US$10 and US$14.”
With mass layoffs in the oil sector fresh in the minds of Albertans, along with bankruptcy talks, the economy will surely be the center piece of the coming election.
The Notley New Democrats took power in 2015 with a stunning victory over then-Progressive Convservative leader Jim Prentice. The victory sent a jolt throughout the nation, as Alberta had become synonymous with Conservative governments. Many also pointed to split vote among right-wing parties in that year.
Notley had trailed to the Wildrose Party in the polls at the start of the campaign when they won their majority. In neighbouring BC, former Premier Christy Clark earned the monicker “the comeback kid” when she won a majority in 2013. Clark had trailed in every poll during the campaign, right up until election day.
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