Alberta Votes 2019: The Final Week #ableg #abpoli #abvote

Advanced polls wrapped up on Saturday with an incredible 696,000 people taking advantage. It’s exciting to think that there’s a possibility we may have higher turnout by the end of day on April 16th than in the past 20 years.

It’s also unfortunate that because of the high number of people taking advantage of voting outside of their riding, approximately 233,000, I can’t see how we will be able to call a win for any party on Tuesday night.

On average (and I’m sure it wouldn’t be an actual average), 233,000 votes would be 2,678 votes, per riding, that will not be available to count on Tuesday. 

There were few resounding victories outside of Edmonton in 2015. 

More than half, 47 ridings, were won by less than 2,000 votes including 28 ridings which won by less than 1,000 votes and two ridings that were won by less than 11 votes. Not wanting to be the bearer of bad news but that is going to make the 233,000 votes from outside of the ridings very, very important.

Personally, I’m not getting my hopes up that we’ll know who Albertans chose to be their government on Tuesday. I am, however, feeling optimistic about the possibility of a higher than average voter turnout.

If you’re a regular reader, you know I’m not a fan of Kenney or his united conservative party. That hasn’t changed. 

What I am a fan of, however, is people making a resounding vote of confidence in the next government. My hope is that we have high voter turnout and that no one utters the phrase “accidental government” for the next four years – no matter who forms government. 

My hope is that good people are elected to represent their constituencies and that Alberta, on the national stage, is no longer a curiosity in the developed world and the subject of international embarrassment.

My hope is that Albertans pick their battles with the government and hold them to account. 

My hope is that Alberta will benefit from the experience and expertise of more than one party in the legislature. 

If the NDP are given the honour of retaining government, I know that they need to produce opportunities for everyone to partake in the new economic reality that Alberta is facing. That means acknowledging the unequal lack some Albertans are facing. I know they need to address the unemployment rate and offer opportunities for everyone to participate in the new economy.

If the UCP form government, I know that they need to protect children, people from minority communities and the people who elected them by ensuring a future in which all Albertans can participate fully. They will need to act like adults rather than bullies if they want to sit at the big table. They will also need to be held to account for protecting our public services and not just enriching the people who helped propel them into the seats of government. 

As I said on the Agree or Disagree Podcast with Kevin Olenick and Robbie Kreger-Smith, I am no longer convinced we will see a UCP majority. I think the NDP could still form government and I think the Alberta Party will be a force to reckon with in 2023, no matter the outcome this week.  

Tuesday is just the beginning of what I feel will be another eventful term in Alberta politics and I look forward to bringing a balanced perspective to the next four years. 

Please vote, Alberta; choose your future.

This post is an opinion. 

Deirdre Mitchell-MacLean

Contact: [email protected]

Twitter: @Mitchell_AB for all the commentary @thisweekinAB for posts.