And they’re off

The long-awaited and anticipated provincial election has been called and local candidates are already in high gear rolling out their campaigns.

Election signs have gone up, door knocking has begun and party leaders have already started making their stops to our City. There will be no shortage of any of these in the coming weeks.

Red Deer has a number of declared candidates already including incumbent Cal Dallas, who is for the Progressive Conservatives and who is currently the MLA for Red Deer South.

Also running in the south riding is Serge Gringas for the Alberta Party, Jason Chilibeck for the Liberals, Lorna Watkinson-Zimmer for the NDP and Nathan Stephan for the Wildrose Party.

In Red Deer North, incumbent and MLA Mary Anne Jablonski for the Progressive Conservatives will seek re-election, Brent Chalmers is running for the Alberta Party, Michael Dawe will seek election for the Liberals, Derrek Seelinger for the NDP and Randy Weins for the Wildrose Party.

As the campaigns begin to roll out we are hearing an array of issues from the various parties including doctor shortages, ER wait times, the economy, challenges families face, power prices and the environment that will be focused on.

No two parties are alike in their campaigns and which issues they have chosen to focus on which means Albertans could be hit with a barrage of information on a wide range of topics.

Elections can sometimes be a little bit of a snore, but this election has potential to be exciting as Danielle Smith, leader of the Wildrose Party, has positioned herself to creep up in the polls and put pressure on Premier Alison Redford.

Those ladies could very well end up going head to head in the polls and Smith might surprise Albertans and make an even bigger jump than expected. This could be the election that changes the political landscape in a different way then in the past.

Smith has really gained momentum in the last number of years. Her charisma, drive and that fact that she is personable will help to put the wind in her sails as the campaigns heat up.

Redford has had a little bit of a tough go since being elected as the province’s premier and has been criticized for her decision-making and sometimes her leadership as well.

Only time will tell how the political landscape will change, but one thing is for sure, all eyes will be on the polls come election night.

Anything can happen.