No one seemed too surprised at seeing the bruises on a provincial Conservative candidate in Edmonton the other day. The candidate claimed that he had been punched by an overly enthusiastic Wildrose Alliance Party supporter when door knocking. Luckily the campaign is in its last two weeks. It might all be over before anything more serious happens.
We always teach prospective canvassers that the greatest danger in an election campaign is a broken stair to a front door. We have been told occasionally to get off someone’s porch but this has never been followed up with physical violence. Albertans like their politics on the raw side.
That was why it was disappointing to see that Wildrose Alliance Leader Danielle Smith’s bus was repainted to move her picture away from the twin wheels toward the rear of the bus. There was no question that it emphasized her bust line well beyond what nature had given her. Whoever had positioned that picture on the bus knew exactly what he (or she) was doing. It got a great laugh to launch her campaign.
Only the braver of the western bloggers and media experts are saying who the likely winner is at this stage. The betting is still even money between Alison Redford’s Conservatives and Danielle Smith’s new Wildrose Alliance Party. It will probably be the television debate, scheduled for this Thursday that will push the undecided vote one way or the other. Those of us in the East will have to settle for seeing the debate on the Internet but you can expect Danielle Smith to have the advantage.
Smith has the better television skills. Redford has the incumbency factor but after 41 years of Conservative rule in the province, her promises are a bit tired. While a right-wing Libertarian spiel from Smith would not go down very well with Eastern voters it does not come across as crazy to Westerners. They have been softened to it for years by the Social Credit and Reform Parties and the Manning’s (Ernest and Preston).
This is not to ignore that the Liberals and NDP are also in the race. It is just that this is Alberta and there is only one moon in the sky.
So mark your calendar for election night, April 23. Our best guess at this stage is Smith will win but there is lots of time for a Conservative recovery. Alberta politics is like that.
Copyright 2012 © Peter Lowry
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