Don’t Write off Alberta PC Government Quite Yet Says UNBC Prof
Prince George, B.C. – Despite a series of polls suggesting otherwise (click here), the Chair of the Political Science Department at UNBC isn’t writing off the Progressive Conservative government in Alberta quite yet.
Dr. Boris DeWiel, a native Albertan who earned his undergraduate and graduate degrees at the University of Calgary, says he wouldn’t be surprised if Alberta voters get cold feet and stick to the devil they know in Tuesday’s provincial election.
“I would not be surprised if a lot of people in Alberta, when they get in that polling booth, they sort of revert to their old habits,” he says. “I think it will be hard for a lot of voters to vote NDP at the end of the day and to vote for the new, untested Wildrose Party.”
While giving the NDP under new leader Rachel Notley credit for its impressive showing so far in the campaign, DeWiel says one of the party’s big challenges is building support outside of its Edmonton power base.
“One of the problems with the NDP is that their vote is concentrated mostly in the City of Edmonton and so they can have high poll numbers but if most of your supporters are in one area, it limits the number of seats you can get.”
But is he surprised the opposition parties seem to have the PC government on the ropes?
“Well on one hand it’s a surprise because they’ve been in power for so long but almost correspondingly, it’s not a surprise because they’ve been in power for so long (1971),” says DeWiel. “Governments are expected to come to an end, it’s healthy for governments to come to an end and have a change of government. So maybe people are just deciding it’s time.”
He also says its worth remembering the Wildrose Party led all opinion polls heading into the last provincial election in 2012.
“The polls were wrong, the pollsters said their numbers were right until just a few days before the vote and there was a real shift on the ground and a lot of voters changed their minds.”
So is DeWiel making any predictions this time around?
“I think the safest prediction would be a PC minority with an NDP opposition.”
But if the PC government does go down to defeat, will there be any implications for B.C.?
“I don’t think so. Maybe indirectly it may be that if the BC Liberals have created any lines of communication with the Alberta PCs those might have to be re-made,” he says. “But I think the Liberals in B.C. will find a way to work with whoever is in power in Alberta because they have to.”