Global exclusive host of 2015 Alberta election leaders’ debate

CALGARY and EDMONTON – Global News is hosting the 2015 Alberta election leaders’ debate on Thursday, April 23,  less than two weeks ahead of the Alberta provincial election on May 5.

The debate will take place from 6:30 to 8 p.m. MT and is being hosted by Gord Gillies and Nancy Carlson. It will air on Global Edmonton, Calgary, Lethbridge, Shaw Community Channels and on News Talk 770 and 630 CHED.

Premier and Progressive Conservative leader Jim Prentice dropped the writ a year early for an election that will send Albertans to the polls. By law, the province was not slated to hold a vote until the spring of 2016, but Prentice told supporters in Edmonton on April 7 that his plan to remake the economy demands an endorsement from the people.

Global’s leaders debate will feature Prentice, Wildrose Party leader Brian Jean, Alberta Liberal Party leader David Swann, and Alberta NDP leader Rachel Notley. As with previous debates, only the leaders of the parties with elected members in the Legislature at dissolution will participate.

Story continues below advertisement

READ MORE: Alberta party leaders getting ready for televised debate 

Global News has been asking Albertans to submit their burning questions. We have received hundreds of suggestions and then asked people to vote for the question they’d most like to see posed to the party leaders during Thursday’s debate. The top two questions (when the poll closed at noon Thursday) will be asked.


In addition to streaming the debate live, we’ll also be hosting a live blog to include your reaction to what is said during the debate. We’ll have three special guest contributors participating in the live blog:

Dave Cournoyer, political analyst and blogger,

Dana DiTomaso, marketing expert, Kick Point

Dr. Tami Bereska, sociology professor at MacEwan University, impression management expert

Story continues below advertisement

READ MORE: Alberta Election 2015: What is your burning question? 

Mount Royal University political analyst Duane Bratt says leaders’ debates haven’t always predicted outcomes in Alberta elections: Brian Mason had a strong performance in 2008, but Ed Stelmach still won a large majority government, said Bratt.

“Ralph Klein looked bored and disinterested in the 2001 and 2004 debates, but won majority governments both times,” said Bratt.

READ MORE: Day 9 on Alberta election campaign trail: power to the people

But he says there are two factors that could make the 2015 debate significant: One is that all the leaders have changed since 2012. He points out Brian Jean, who has only been Wildrose leader for a few weeks, now has an opportunity to introduce himself to Albertans.

“If polls are to be believed, this is a closer election than was expected. In a tight election, a debate could be a difference-maker.”

Bratt said the old cliché is true – winning a debate isn’t as significant as losing one or having a memorable gaffe.