It was supposed to be a boring affair. At one stage earlier this year, the Progressive Conservative party were polling 54% while the Wildrose were only at 16%. The PCs would extend their 41 year reign and be re-elected again for a 12th term, breaking the record for the longest serving provincial government in Canada.
But the Wildrose polling skyrocketed throughout this year and now Albertans have a real, proper, actual contested election for the first time in decades. Politics geeks rejoice.
My political instinct is telling me the Wildrose will hold on to the lead they have in the polls, despite it narrowing during the campaign, but I won’t make any official prediction – I’m new to the country, I’ve never even been to Alberta, and haven’t studied individual riding contests closely enough to have any insight.
The 41 year reign could come to an end tonight, or not. But it really doesn’t matter – today’s election will change the Albertan political landscape dramatically, no matter the result.
Politics goes in cycles – periods of stability and change. A whole generation (or more in Alberta’s case) can pass without much happening and then rapidly, and often unexpectedly, everything can change.
If the Wildrose do go from no seats at the last election to a majority tonight, it must surely go down as one of the most remarkable shifts in politics. And us policy geeks might get some entertainment over the next few years too.