Political shifting

There is little doubt anymore that Albertans will be heading to the polls for a spring provincial election.

Premier Jim Prentice is apparently seeking a new mandate as Alberta moves into uncertain economic times with the plunging oil prices. Over the last number of days he has begun to set himself up nicely for an election – one example was the decision to take a pay decrease of 5%. He wants to set an example and stated that Albertans are all in this together, including himself and his cabinet.

How this resonates with Albertans remains to be seen and until we go to the polls, that will remain uncertain.

On the local scene, we have seen a lot of shifting as of late with both Red Deer MLAs announcing they will not seek re-election – also pointing to the imminence of an election.

Red Deer North MLA Mary Anne Jablonski has been in her role for nearly 15 years while Red Deer South MLA Cal Dallas has served for seven years.

Since their announcements, we have seen a few new faces express interest in provincial politics. These include Michael Dawe for Red Deer North as a Liberal candidate, Christine Moore for Red Deer North as a candidate for the Tories as well as Buck Buchanan and Matt Chapin for Red Deer North as well.

So far we have not heard of any candidates for Red Deer South, but it is only a matter of time as Dallas only recently made his announcement.

We’ve also seen Red Deer County Mayor Jim Wood express interest in the PC nomination for Innisfail-Sylvan Lake. Former Wildrose incumbent Kerry Towle is also seeking that same nomination.

If an election is called, it will be interesting to see how it all plays out.

The Liberals just lost their leader Raj Sherman with David Swann recently stepping in as interim leader. The Wildrose are still on shaky ground as Heather Forsyth is acting as interim leader for that party but they have yet to collect themselves after a number of their party members crossed the floor to the Tories last year – including former leader Danielle Smith.

Prentice would be smart to call an election at this time.

How long do people really hang on to their grievances? Will people still fall into the Tory slide even though they say how upset they are with the former Wildrose members who chose to cross the floor late last year?

If anything, it is shaping up to be quite the battle on the politic field. Election season in Alberta can be somewhat sleepy at times, but this year, things are crackling with uncertainty on some fronts.