Edmonton will play a key role in the 2019 federal election, says a MacEwan University political science professor.
Over the course of the last few months, the leaders of Canada’s main political parties have been travelling the country, making their appeals to the electorate.
So far, Edmonton has been an important stop. In the last nine weeks, the city has been visited by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh and Conservative Party Leader Andrew Scheer.
WATCH (July 20, 2019): Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer mingles with potential voters at K-Days in Edmonton
“In Alberta, the worst-case scenario for Mr. Trudeau is a sweep by the Conservatives. I don’t think that is going to happen,” political science professor Chaldeans Mensah said. “I think Calgary will likely go Conservative.”
Mensah expects Edmonton to be a highly contested battleground with the vote — much like in 2015 — coming down to a select few ridings.
Edmonton Mill Woods
The riding of Edmonton Mill Woods is currently represented by Amarjeet Sohi, Canada’s minister of natural resources.
However, Sohi’s 2015 election was razor-thin, having edged out Conservative candidate Tim Uppal by just 92 votes following a judicial recount.
“It’s going to be very interesting to watch that contest. The two candidates are very strong on the ground,” said Mensah.
“A perennial swing riding” is how Mensah describes the Edmonton Centre riding, currently held by Randy Boissonnault. Since 2004, Edmonton Centre has been represented by both Liberals and Conservatives.
Mensah believes Trudeau’s campaign is likely to be centred around social issues and climate change, and that could garner the progressive vote in the riding.
“If Mr. Scheer runs on the record of Mr. Trudeau, that is a galvanizing, mobilizing force for the Conservatives,” said Mensah.
Since 2008, the riding of Edmonton-Strathcona has been represented by the NDP’s Linda Duncan, who is not seeking re-election.
The NDP is looking to Heather McPherson to keep that seat orange, with Edmonton-Strathcona being the only riding the party holds in Alberta.
Edmonton-Strathcona is an NDP stronghold and could remain that way with help from Alberta’s only NDP premier to have served, Mensah said.
“If Rachel Notley comes out strongly in support of that candidate, it could be a huge difference. It could translate into a win for the NDP in Edmonton-Strathcona,” said Mensah.