Albertans are going to the polls in less than a week after four weeks of a campaign that, particularly at the leadership level, has had a bit more mud-slinging than in the past.
Take the leaders debate on April 4 when Premier Rachel Notley called UCP leader Jason Kenney’s nomination leadership team cheaters. Kenney rebutted with claims of her running a smear-and-fear campaign and accusations of her selling Albertans down the river.
The debate was somewhat informative and didn’t seem to change anything, Notley didn’t score a knockout punch and Kenney, the supposed front-runner, can read the polls and didn’t deliver any “Math is hard” kind of faux pas.
The antics in Highwood have been relatively low-key. No attacks among the candidates, however NDP candidate Erik Overland made what appears to be the required party shots at Kenney’s integrity.
The UCP are taking a strong economic stand, questioning the result of ballooning debt under Notley the past four years and a lack of pipelines vs. the social concerns of the UCP.
Both are of concern. There is a massive provincial debt and a pipeline doesn’t seem to be on the horizon. A 2013 comment from UCP MLA Mark Smith complaining about television’s portrayal of love between LGBQT partners as good love is homophobic.
And Kenney has left him in the race.
Smith has since stated those comments did not reflect his belief and he has apologized.
There have been other concerns from UCP candidates’ comments, some who have been replaced.
The great F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote famously in The Last Tycoon “there are no second acts in American lives.”
But this isn’t America.
On April 16 Albertans can decide whether the NDP gets a second act or some UCP candidates can be forgiven.