Keith Gerein: NDP may regret being the tortoise as the provincial election race draws near

In as little as three weeks, the NDP will begin to wage its first-ever election campaign as the defending champions of Alberta politics.

Instead of attacking the government in charge, Rachel Notley’s team will be in the unfamiliar position of defending its record, touting its accomplishments, and re-hyping a vision of the province grounded in four years of established policy.

Given the enthusiasm Notley and her supporters showed at the NDP’s convention last fall, you’d expect the party would be the proverbial bull in the chute, rarin’ to be unleashed for what is sure to be the fight of its political life.

While the rhetoric is sure ready to go, it’s less obvious that the party is prepared on a practical level.

You certainly wouldn’t know it from the NDP’s list of approved candidates to date.

As of Friday, the party website listed 36 officially endorsed candidates. That’s 36 out of 87 ridings.

For comparison, the United Conservative Party’s website shows 79 approved candidates, while the Alberta Party’s list sits at 53.

Even more concerning for the NDP is that the vast majority of its candidates approved so far are incumbent MLAs, who are already well known in their communities.

That means the party has yet to OK most of its rookies, the unknown political neophytes who theoretically need as much pre-election time as possible to meet and greet voters.

Similarly worth noting is that the NDP has spots filled in just eight of 26 ridings in Calgary, where the party must equal or surpass the 15 seats it won last time to have any chance of hanging onto power.

With an election that could be called as early as Feb. 1, you’d expect the governing party to be a little further ahead at this point.

The fact they aren’t is as good an indication as any …read more

Source:: Edmonton Journal

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