With election rhetoric heating up at the Alberta legislature, residents say they are ready for the writ to drop and to have their say in the next group of provincial leaders.
Last week, the NDP launched a website targeting UCP Leader Jason Kenney and highlighting the opposition leader's political record. Within half an hour, Kenney had planned and held his own press conference, delivering “sweeping” democratic reform policy positions.
The duelling press conferences kicked up the heat for the pre-election campaign period for an election that could be called any day now.
Kevin Malinowski, who moderates the St. Albert Poliwings political Facebook page, said while it may seem like things are only heating up in the last week, the UCP has been campaigning since Kenney got involved in provincial politics.
The political watcher said this has been a very long pre-election campaign period, which began in the spring of 2016 when Kenney announced he would be leaving federal politics to come to Alberta to merge the two conservative parties in the province.
Malinowski said before the election is officially underway, he wants to see candidates listening to the voters to make sure they know what issues are important when they are MLAs.
Liam Connelly, who serves on the Morinville-St. Albert UCP board, said he finds the election rhetoric off-putting and is ready for the election to be called.
Connelly said one thing he wants to see from the candidates before Albertans head to the polls is more personality.
“I want to see how (candidates) are going to personally think,” Connelly said.
The UCP board member said he thinks voters are going to be heading to the polls to vote in favour of a party or candidate, as opposed to last election when people were going out to vote against a party or candidate. Connelly said it is important for politicians to motivate their political bases this year to come out and vote.
Website releasedThe NDP website, thetruthaboutjasonkenney.ca, is a collection of some of Kenney’s past political actions, including while he was a member of the federal government.
NDP MLA Brian Mason, who will be retiring from politics this year, announced the website, which Mason said showed Kenney working against everyday people and instead serving special interest groups like anti-abortion and anti-LGBTQ groups.
“(Kenney) recognizes that some of his deeply held views are no longer very fashionable, and have become inconvenient for him in trying to get the support of Albertans, and I think Albertans need to judge for themselves whether or not he has changed his spots,” Mason said.
Kenney called the website “politics of personal destruction, fear and smear” and announced some policy platforms of his own, including introducing MLA recall legislation, creating a fixed election date, banning floor crossings and bringing back senate elections. He also recommended putting a fundraising cap of $30,000 on third-party advertisers.
The opposition leader said he also wants to pass a law mandating a referendum before a carbon tax can be imposed by any future government.
"Albertans sent a clear message in the last provincial election: they want to clean up our politics and they wanted real accountability," Kenney said.
The provincial election will likely happen between March and May of 2019.