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Week 1 of campaigning wraps for ‘one of the most important’ elections in Alberta history

The first week of Alberta's election campaign is coming to a close. This is “one of the most important and significant elections in Alberta history,” says communications expert Christine Myatt. Melissa Duggan on what’s at stake for the province.

By CityNews Staff

A tight race with high stakes is now in full swing in Alberta, as the province gets ready for an election on May 29.

CityNews is taking a look at the campaign, with a weekly check in with our panel of experts, who will be joining us live on election night to break down what matters to you.

“This is, I think, one of the most important and significant elections in Alberta history. Not only do we have two very strong parties with very strong ideas about how to move the province forward, but we also see a booming economy and a health-care system in crisis,” explained panellist Christine Myatt, a communications expert with New West Public Affairs and former press secretary to former Premier Jason Kenney.

Looking at the race as it stands, polls find Danielle Smith’s UCP and Rachel Notley’s Alberta NDP are neck and neck.

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But what will it take for one party to pull ahead? Myatt says it’ll come down to “not only who can resonate with Albertans on key issues but who can convince voters about the trustworthiness of the leader.”

“The United Conservatives and the New Democrats are going to be saying a lot of the same things, they’re going to be attacking each other. It’s almost going to be a draw, in many ways I think, and it’s going to come down to who do Albertans trust to lead this province? Is it Rachel Notley or is it Danielle Smith? And that is what I’ll be keeping an eye on,” Myatt told City’s Melissa Duggan.

Myatt says the race has been “fairly predictable so far,” as both parties continue to lay out “substantial policy.”

She points to the UCP’s announcement about tax cuts and the NDP’s job creation plans in the energy sector as just some examples.

The writ dropped on May 1, with Alberta’s chief electoral officer naming May 29 as election day.

Though the official campaign has only just begun, Smith, Notley, and their parties have been unofficially campaigning for weeks.

Over the coming weeks, the UCP and NDP are expected to focus on what each party has done wrong during their counterparts’ time in office.

It’s anticipated to be one of the most competitive provincial elections to date, with Calgary as its battleground.

The NDP won with Notley leading the party in 2015 – the first for the NDP in Alberta – before former Premier Jason Kenney won with the UCP in 2019.

Smith became premier and the leader of the UCP last October.

Join CityNews on election night for full coverage of the vote, both on-air and online.

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