Candidates mudsling in final push before byelection

CALGARY – Albertans headed to the polls Monday morning in four byelections, three in Calgary and one in Edmonton.

The polls opened at 9 a.m. in the ridings of Calgary-West, Calgary-Foothills, Calgary-Elbow and Edmonton-Whitemud.

On the weekend, members of the Alberta Liberal party accused another party of trying to make a back door deal.

Calgary-Elbow liberal candidate, Susan Wright, said that MLA David Swann received a tweet from an Alberta Party volunteer on Tuesday.

The Liberals said that the tweet suggests that a certain path could be advantageous for both parties.

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Wright said it’s disrespectful of the democratic process.

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“We think it was simply an effort to do a backroom deal behind the voters back,” said Wright. “That’s now what we’re up to”.

On Sunday, the leader of the Alberta party, Greg Clark, vehemently denied the accusation.

Clark believes it’s the PCs that have not been playing by the rules. His party has asked the ethics commissioner to investigate education minister and Calgary-Elbow candidate, Gordon Dirks.

Clark said that Dirks has been making government announcements to bolster his campaign.

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“It’s the sort of thing that would be illegal in most jurisdictions,” Clark said. “It’s not acceptable to me, I know it’s not acceptable to most Alberta and it was important we raised that with the ethics commissioner.”

The accusations have been echoed by the Wildrose party.

Wildrose leader Danielle Smith highlighted seven incidents, including a groundbreaking ceremony at a catholic school site on Thursday.

“The problem with the PCs is they’ve been using taxpayers’ dollars for partisan purposes for so long they don’t know the difference between right and wrong, “ Smith said. “So we wanted to document at the ethic commissioner’s request the incidents that we believe crossed the line”.

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Dirks has previously denied all the accusations, he said he was invited to the groundbreaking ceremony as the education minister at the request of the Catholic school district.

Dirks is running in the Calgary-Elbow riding, left vacant by former Premier Alison Redford.

Eligible voters must bring voter cards or a government issued form of ID in order to place their ballot.

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