WATCH ABOVE: The federal Liberals are holding their summer caucus in Edmonton this week. Tom Vernon sat down with party leader Justin Trudeau.
EDMONTON — The Liberal Party of Canada has an eye on Alberta, in hopes of breaching the Conservative stronghold in the next federal election.
Justin Trudeau and his three dozen Liberal MPs gathered in Edmonton Monday for a three-day caucus retreat.
Global Edmonton’s political affairs reporter Tom Vernon will sit down with the party leader for an interview. Possible topics include the recent break-in at Trudeau’s Ottawa home, the Northern Gateway and Keystone XL pipelines, his stance on legalizing marijuana and the Liberal’s prospects in Alberta.
The Liberals have said they could win as many as six inner-city ridings in Calgary and Edmonton, with an outside chance at snagging Fort McMurray, where the party placed a strong second in a June 30 byelection.
In the past 60 years, the most seats the Liberals have help at once in Alberta is four, and they’ve frequently wound up with none.
The Grits lost their only seat in Alberta during the 2006 election, when Conservative Laurie Hawn defeated Liberal Anne McLellan in Edmonton Centre.
A recent EKOS poll on the political landscape in Canada shows if they were to vote in an election today, 37.8 per cent of respondents would choose the Liberals, up from the 18.9 per cent in 2011.
On Monday in Edmonton, Justin Trudeau said he doesn’t put much stock in public opinion surveys.
“Polls don’t mean anything, as we all know and as we all say,” he said.
As he heads into a crucial year of non-stop campaigning before the next scheduled election in 2015, Trudeau said he prefers to rely on other indicators: the enthusiastic response of Canadians everywhere he goes, the party’s success in a series of byelections, and improvements in party membership and fundraising numbers.
“All those things together, plus the extraordinary candidates that we’re drawing to us across the country, give us a sense that … we’re doing the right kind of work to earn Canadians’ trust,” Trudeau said.
But he acknowledged those signs of momentum won’t necessarily translate into victory a year from now.
“As much as we can say, ‘Oh yeah, the Liberal party is doing well’ and great, that’s nice to see and nice to hear, we’re still at only 30-some-odd seats in the House of Commons.
“We’ve got an awful lot of work to do to demonstrate that we are the alternative government, that we are ready to form a responsible government in 2015,” he said.
With files from the Canadian Press
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