St. Albert voters will be heading to the polls May 5 to cast their ballot in a general provincial election.
The writ was dropped on Tuesday morning at a press conference held by Premier Jim Prentice in Edmonton.
Standing behind a podium emblazoned with the slogan “Choosing Alberta’s Future” and with a diverse group of Progressive Conservative party supporters standing behind him, Prentice delivered the long-expected news that Albertans will head to the polls a year earlier than originally anticipated.
Prentice said he needs a mandate from Albertans after putting forward a budget in March that included a suite of tax increases, a new health premium and increases to other fees and fines.
“Albertans deserves a government that tells its citizens the straight facts even if the news is bad,” Prentice said.
The budget included a 10-year plan, and Prentice challenged the other parties to produce their long-term plans so Albertans can weigh their options.
Prentice took early aim at the other parties, telling the supportive crowd that neither increasing spending and corporate income taxes nor deep cuts, including frontline staff, are the answer.
“What is this election about? It’s about one fundamental question, my friends. Who has a realistic plan to solve the challenges that face Alberta. Who is being honest with Albertans? And who has the realistic plan to put things right in this province?” Prentice said.
Other parties have been expecting this election call and St. Albert and Sturgeon County’s ridings have several candidates ready to run.
In St. Albert, incumbent PC MLA Stephen Khan will run against the Alberta Party’s Trevor Love, NDP candidate Marie Renaud and Wildrose candidate Shelley Biermanski. A Liberal candidate has not been announced.
In Spruce Grove-St. Albert, the seat vacated by retiring MLA Doug Horner, Rus Matichuk will seek the seat for the Tories, Gary Hanna for the Alberta Party, Trevor Horne for the NDP and Jaye Walter for the Wildrose. No Liberal candidate has been announced yet.
In Barrhead-Morinville-Westlock, incumbent PC MLA Maureen Kubinec is being challenged by the NDP’s Tristan Turner and Glenn van Dijken for the Wildrose. No Alberta Party or Liberal candidates have been announced yet.
In Athabasca-Sturgeon-Redwater, incumbent PC MLA Jeff Johnson will face Colin Piquette from the NDP and the Wildrose’s Travis Olson. No Alberta Party or Liberal candidates have been announced yet.
According to a news release from Elections Alberta, candidate nominations started Tuesday and end at 2 p.m. on April 17.
Advance polls will run between April 29 and May 2.
For information on registering to vote, please see www.election.ab.ca.