CALGARY- A flurry of political moves across Alberta this week.
Some MLAs say they won’t run in the next provincial election.
While others seem to already be campaign mode.
It all points to Premier Prentice calling an early spring election.
Another big announcement Saturday from a Tory MLA.
Kerry Towle, the MLA in Innisfail-Sylvan Lake held a press conference at the legion in Innisfail Saturday to say she will be re-seeking the nomination in that riding.
With solicitor general Jonathan Denis at her side, Towle made her intentions clear, saying she will seek the nomination in that riding for a vote to be held in Penhold on February 28th.
But Towle could face a tough battle.
She was elected as a Wildrose MLA in the last election but crossed over to the progressive conservatives in November.
Of course several more Wildrose members joined a mass exodus and joined the PC’s in December… sparking a public backlash from voters who said the floor crossing undermines democracy in Alberta
Now, last week, Jim Wood, the Mayor of Red Deer County, announced he would seek the PC nomination in the riding, and has said constituents tell him they feel betrayed by Towle.
However Towle says that’s not what people are telling her.
“Quite frankly we are hearing overwhelming support. I wouldn’t necessarily say people are angry. I would actually say people are confused. And a lot of it is because they’re not ready to hear that there is a true vision for Alberta. I think as Premier Prentice rolls out his vision and rolls out his thoughts and his processes on the budget, on how we’re going to proceed in Alberta the next few months and years then I think Albertans will understand that we have a true leader there,” Towle said.
Many think that’s what’s prompting the early election speculation.
Premier Prentice has said falling oil prices mean Alberta is facing one of its most challenging economic crisis’s in decades.
Prentice says the province is expected to be looking at a seven-billion dollar revenue shortfall in the next year as a result of the slide.
Many pundits think Prentice will call an early election to give him a clear mandate to bring in an austerity budget.
The budget is expected to be tabled sometime in March.
Now, Alberta’s New Democrats also appear to be in campaign mode already holding a pre-election media availability in Edmonton Saturday.
Alberta NDP leader Rachel Notley told a crowd of supporters that she thinks it’s quite clear with all the recent PC nomination announcements, Jim Prentice is getting ready to drop the writ early.
“I think this political party has always been about saving their political behind, They’re always going to do whatever they can to maximize their own political outcome. Whether it’s Gordon Dirks playing around with the priority list for portables in his won riding and cue jumping those portables in the middle of a by-election o whether it’s breaking an election law early because they think the’ll have a better chance now than a year from now. It’s always about the conservatives plan to get re-elected,” Notley said.
Of course the Wildrose Party is regrouping after losing members to the PC party last month and interim leader Heather Forsyth is working to turn the party’s fortunes around.
And of course the Liberal Party is also dealing with changes.
Earlier this month, grit leader Raj Sherman said he’s stepping down as leader so the party is now looking to find a new interim leader.
The liberal party is holding a board of directors meeting here in Calgary Sunday and we expect to hear from the party president.
No election call yet, but certainly a lot of behind the scenes moves by all provincial parties.