Former Alberta Liberal Party leader endorses NDP, spurs two-party debate

Former Alberta Liberal leader David Swann is asking people to vote for NDP. Henna Saeed talks to Swann and finds out if Alberta is a two-party province with the UCP versus NDP.

For voters in Alberta, changing the colours of the election signs and their alliance with parties is not unusual.

But recently, Dr. David Swann, the former leader of the Alberta Liberal party who is retired now, wrote a tweet that is causing a storm.

“I am now calling on all liberal democratic Albertans: vote for Rachel Notley and the NDP, who represent the public interest,” his tweet reads.

Talking to CityNews, Swann says he is aware of the attention and backlash that his tweet is getting.

He says if the Liberal vote is split with the NDP, it will increase the chance the UCP wins, so he wants to see it come down to two parties.

“It’s not usual that a former party leader would support an alternative party, but this is an extraordinary time for the people of Alberta,” he said.

“I believe the NDP is the best government for Alberta and for Canada. I do not support in federal, but in Alberta, and I have worked with Notley, so I support her,” he said.

“I have been watching the election campaign unfold, and I’ve been seeing how close the two major parties are. And I have come to the belief that we need to throw our support behind the NDP if we’re going to stop the UCP from taking power again.”

But it is not what the current leader of the Alberta Liberal Party wants to hear.

In a statement to CityNews, John Roggeveen says.

“I have a lot of respect for Dr. Swann, but we have a difference of opinions here. So-called strategic voting turns our politics deeply vicious and partisan. Just look at how nasty this election is after just four years of two-party rule in the legislature. We can’t let it keep getting worse,” his statement reads.

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A former Alberta NDP candidate, Marilyn North Peigan, says the tweet does not come as a surprise in the current political climate.

“The liberal party, to be promoting the NDP party, just goes to show how much of a disconnect UCP created within Alberta, and it’s turning into politics of emotion,” she said.

“We need to really do our research on our own to look at the candidates who are running in our ridings, regardless of what party they’re running for.”

On the other hand, Mount Royal University political scientist Lori Williams says voters need to be more diligent about parties and their mandates rather than just the candidates.

“The reason parties are more important is their organization, their platform, it’s their vision, it’s their leadership, but simply looking at the candidate and not considering whether they’re likely to have an impact by getting a seat in the legislature,” she said.

“That, I think, is something that a lot of Albertans have decided against. They want their vote to make a difference.”

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