CALGARY – With just months to go before Canadians cast a ballot, federal politicians are keeping a close eye on the results of Alberta’s provincial election.
The outcome could have an impact on national political strategies and comes just months ahead of the federal election.
If Rachel Notley and her NDP return to power, federally it will be steady as she goes. However, it could be a bumpy ride if the United Conservatives take the helm.
UCP Leader Jason Kenney would join Ontario’s Doug Ford and four other premiers in attacking the Trudeau government’s carbon tax and pipeline policies. Kenney has also slammed the federal government over its pipeline policies.
Mount Royal University Political Scientist Lori Williams says it will be pile on against the prime minister.
“An alliance of provincial premiers that are trying to help Andrew Scheer,” she notes. “A continued attack on Justin Trudeau and the federal government is part of a sort of united strategy.”
Meantime, Keith Brownsey, who is also a political scientist at Mount Royal University, agrees an NDP versus UCP win could have varying outcomes at the federal level.
“A Notley win, it would be status quo. With a Kenney win, all bets are off,” he says.
He says not much will change in federal strategies if the NDP maintains power, but if the UCP claims victory, he notes it could be a problem for the prime minister.
Conservatives could benefit with a Kenney win, but so could the Liberals. The issues of homophobia, xenophobia, and misogyny were hot topics in the Alberta campaign and may hit the federal stage — a battle Trudeau is willing to fight.
“The issue of intolerance is something that is easily seen and grasped by voters,” Williams explains.
Trudeau won in 2015 partially due to battles over religious rights and refugees.
“They will play upon the white nationalists within the Conservative movement,” Brownsey says of the Liberal Party.
The already-struggling NDP need a win in Alberta because a loss may cause more damage to a party failing to gain national traction.