Watch above: It’s the final countdown for candidates competing in four by elections in Alberta. Shallima Maharaj spent Sunday with two of the candidates who were out pounding the pavement in the Edmonton-Whitemud riding.
EDMONTON — With just over a week until voters head to the polls in four Alberta byelections, the race in the Edmonton-Whitemud riding is heating up.
Global News caught up with two of the candidates who were out door-knocking Sunday afternoon – Alberta NDP candidate Bob Turner and Alberta PC candidate, and health minister, Stephen Mandel.
“I think it’s a two-man race: me and Mandel. And Mandel is losing, badly,” said Turner, a doctor at Edmonton’s Cross Cancer Institute.
“The ones that are not so sure about me say, ‘Anybody but Mandel.’ And I’m getting that at every door that I’m reaching,” Turner said. “I really have a good feel about this election. I think we can take it.”
Mandel also likes his chances come Oct. 27. He and his team have knocked on thousands of doors and Mandel says the reception has been very positive and supportive.
“It’s an incredibly dynamic riding,” he said. “I think my experience as mayor should help quite a bit… I’m very optimistic and hopefully people will get out and vote.”
Both Turner and Mandel say health care has been one of the most important issues brought up by those who live in the riding.
“We don’t have enough ambulance paramedics to get our sick patients to hospitals,” said Turner. “We need a new hospital at the Mis (Misericordia). There’s lots of things I can help accomplish in this riding.”
“There’s a lot of people concerned about health, access to health, the challenge of some of their family members when they get in the system or to get in the system and then long-term care,” Mandel explained. “I’ve heard that quite a bit.”
But while both candidates remained positive Sunday, Mandel has taken some criticism over the past few weeks. Most recently, a letter was circulated in part of the riding.
“I have never written a political letter before. But, the election is coming and I needed to remind you of the events that happened last year that I think might have some influence on how you vote,” reads the letter.*
The letter, which appears to be from an area resident, alleges that at an open house to discuss a proposed supportive housing development in the Terwillegar area, then-Edmonton mayor Mandel attempted to antagonize community members.
“I truly believe he was trying to stir up anger in the crowd,” the letter reads.
When asked about the letter, Mandel said the claims made in the letter were far from accurate.
“We’re not going to get into mudslinging with anybody,” he said. “What was said in that letter was so far off the truth it’s ridiculous, but we’re not going to get involved. I just don’t think I want to lower myself to that level.”
There are four others running in the riding: Wildrose candidate Tim Grover, Alberta Party candidate Will Munsey, Liberal candidate Donna Wilson and the Green Party’s Rene Malenfant.
For more stories and coverage on the byelections, visit Global News’ Alberta byelections website.
With files from Shallima Maharaj, Global News.
*Correction: The copy of the letter Global Edmonton originally received appeared to be anonymous. However, upon further investigation it appears the letter was in fact signed by the resident.
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