Commentary – Get ready to hit the election trail

Richard Froese

As we enter 2019, each of us reflects on the past 12 months and ponders what the new year will bring.

The year will be busy on the political front. Voters head to the polls for a provincial election before June and a federal election on Oct. 21.

Will voters return Conservative governments to rule Alberta and Canada? Voters seem fed up with the Alberta government under the NDP and the federal Liberal government.

People are angry about rising fuel prices and taxes, deficit budgets and the high cost of living.

Opposition to the carbon tax in Alberta grows stronger. Premier Rachel Notley introduced the tax shortly after the NDP was elected in May 2015.

The carbon tax and the Alberta gas and the oil crisis are sure to be hot-button issues in both elections.

The provincial government says the carbon tax was created to help fight climate change and protect the environment. Many Albertans say it only fills the government coffers to cover a deep deficit budget.

Consumers and business owners state the tax adds huge increases in costs of transportation and the price of goods and services.

News reports last week indicate Notley could call for voters to head to the polls in mid-April.

Could that mean a new party could rise as the victors?

Many voters and political experts predict the NDP government will end after just four years, after unseating the Progressive Conservative Party that ruled for 43 years.

Within months of becoming government, the “No-Dynasty Party” was unpopular with many decisions that people say were hurting businesses and consumers in the pocketbook. The phrase “one and done” was spreading around the province.

It seems one term of an NDP government is enough for most vocal Albertans.

Raising the minimum wage was one of the first issues that drew major opposition.

The newly-formed United Conservative Party and Leader Jason Keeney are gaining momentum to take over as government.

A poll conducted by ThinkHQ Public Affairs between Nov. 21-26 [based on interviews of 1,102 Albertans online] finds the UCP leading with 50 per cent support among decided voters.

Notley and the NDP trail with 35 per cent.

The Alberta Party follows with nine per cent and the Liberals trail with five per cent.

That may very well spell a UCP majority government.

But that could all change as the real election campaign starts.

The carbon tax is one of the big beefs that voters have with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and the federal Liberal government. His national carbon tax has drawn opposition by most premiers, all represent conservative-leaning parties.

If voters in Alberta elect the UCP, former Conservative MP Kenney will join the force.

Pipelines are another knock against Trudeau and the Liberal government who were elected in October 2015.

Sounds like it could be one long season of electioneering starting in the spring with a provincial election campaign.

Get ready for the journey on the campaign trail.

Change is something most people struggle with, except when they are disgruntled with elected governments.

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