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Watch reside as Alberta UCP management candidates face off in last debate

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Watch reside as Alberta UCP management candidates face off in last debate

Alberta’s management race has been dominated by two points: autonomy for the nation’s richest province and COVID-19 public well being measures

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Alberta’s leadership race has been dominated by two issues: the autonomy of the nation’s richest province and COVID-19 public health measures.

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It’s the same issues that, just months ago, helped end Prime Minister Jason Kenney’s term as county leader, so, unsurprisingly, they are the exact issues party faithful want to see potential party leaders discuss.

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While the candidates all have views on these issues, it was a special boon for Danielle Smith, the former leader of the now-defunct Wildrose Party, who has since taken on a stint as a talk radio host and newspaper columnist, emerging as the frontrunner on Widespread in the race, and the one the other six candidates had to work to set themselves apart from.

On Tuesday, the seven nominees – Smith, Brian Gunn, Travis Toews, Lila Aher, Todd Lewin, Rebecca Schulze and Rajan Sawhney – gathered in Edmonton for the final leadership debate. Watch it directly below, or here.

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The race took off in May when Kenny, after narrowly winning a review of his leadership after two turbulent years of pandemic rule, announced he was stepping down. The new party leader – the new prime minister – will be announced on October 6 in Calgary, about six months before the next local elections.

“Obviously so far, this race has seen Daniel Smith dominate the debate about politics, about where the party should go,” said Matt Solberg, partner at New West Public Affairs. “This does not mean, in any real sense, that she is the frontrunner. Votes are still available for the candidates.”

Having said that, it’s hard to say who might actually be in the lead. There have been very few polls in recent weeks, although a Leger poll in late July showed Smith with 22 percent support, compared to Jean, another former Wildrose leader, at 20 percent and former Treasury Secretary Travis Toyos at 15. percent.

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The prime minister’s embellished strategy to fight back against Ottawa and perceived enemies of the oil and gas sector, and the profound unpopularity in parts of boycotting public health measures for COVID-19, not only led to Kenny’s ouster, but proved crucial in the race to replace him.

“Kenny’s strategy, and his complete ‘response’ technique, now seems average in comparison with what the opposite candidates have promised,” said Duane Pratt, a professor of political science at Mount Royal University in Calgary.

In particular, Solberg said, Smith was knocked out of the lead, capitalizing on the resentment still simmering over Alberta’s rickety treatment by Justin Trudeau’s Liberals in Ottawa.

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“This seems to be essentially the most standardized concern so far,” Solberg said.

Three candidates – Todd Lewin, Smith and Jean – attended a forum last week hosted by a pro-independence group. And last week, Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland was verbally harassed on a visit to Grand Prairie, a city in northwest Alberta.

Early in the campaign, Smith made a provocative promise: to introduce legislation, the Alberta Sovereignty Act, which was intended to allow Albertans to simply ignore federal laws, court rulings, and regulatory decisions that the legislature believed were inconsistent with Alberta’s interests.

This led to an immediate backlash: Constitution scholars condemned it as blatantly unconstitutional, and fellow candidates, including Toews, emphatically said it was a shocking idea that would damage the county’s reputation. Rajan Sawhney, the former Minister of Transportation, has a section on her website referring to the “phantasm of sovereignty.” Kenny called the idea “loopy” on his radio present just lately.

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But Alberta’s Sovereignty Act, combined with continued anger over COVID-19 public health measures, has proven to be a powerful combination for Smith. Before entering the race, Smith was still weighed down by her decision in December 2014 to cross the floor from the Wildrose Party to the Progressive Conservative Party under then-Prime Minister Jim Prentice; The party would lose to the New Democrats just months later, ending a four-decade period of Conservative rule in the county.

This unforgivable sin now seems forgotten, because its own brand of conservative red meat has found willing recipients among UCP believers.

“Each the candidates and members appear keen to bury that grudge,” Solberg stated.

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The leadership race also marked a period of remarkable growth for the party. At the time of Kenny’s resignation, the party numbered perhaps 60,000; It nearly doubled to 123,915 members.

Membership sales are closed, available votes are closed, but there is still plenty of room to compete in the race. Pratt said that while Smith appears to be the front-runner, it’s not clear who the second and third candidates will be, which may be crucial, given the party’s ranked ballot system to choose a leader.

When it comes to hot issues, many candidates have been optimistic about COVID-19 measures, in particular. Health care is also clearly an important issue, but candidates will need to know how to talk about how the system itself — which has worked so well with the influx of COVID patients — can be improved, rather than just protesting public health measures, Solberg said.

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This also applies to the economy – which gets little attention on candidate websites, even though the conversation has not only dominated Alberta politics for the past seven years, but was the core issue that propelled the KKE to power in first place in 2019 What are they going to do with the windfall financial gains that the next prime minister will inherit, Solberg said; Spend, save, underspend? All of these questions must be resolved before the next elections.

“Leadership candidates will find the best solutions that work to find solutions to the issues with the most complaints,” Solberg said.

This is the issue looming over the party and its potential leader. During the Kenny years, the New Democrats led by Rachel Notley were ahead of the United Conservative Party. But after his resignation, the United Communist Party again began to crawl into the ballot. The next leader – and the big party – will need to think about how to win the next election.

“A lot of the vote-changers who were more willing to vote for the NDP, even if they come back to the NDP in 2019, we can’t take those votes for granted, and so far this leadership race, I think we are doing well,” Solberg said.

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