Thursday, August 30, 2012

Fort Whyte Byelection

The biggest issue in regards to the byelection for provincial seat Fort Whyte is likely that people are unaware that it is being contested. Certainly there are signs up and door knocking going on but many  are kind of out of the loop. Hard not to think this is exactly what the NDP wants. Either they wanted a steal due to lower voter awareness and turnout or they wanted a Progressive Conservative victory to go by without so much as a ripple indicating any momentum.

By all accounts, the PCs have run an extremely organized campaign to get their leader Brian Pallister a seat in the Legislature. The NDP has run a quiet campaign.

The most spirited campaign has come from the Liberals running Bob Axworthy. There has been quite a few fundraisers, high profile Liberal assistance and a serious campaign since the election was announced.

In the end though, the margin for this seat will probably be too high to overcome. Even a combined vote of non-PC supporters would not have wrested the seat away from the Tories.

It is only the rare candidate and the rare campaign that can do the truly exceptional. Think Kevin Lamoureux's ability to steal NDP seats provincially and federally.

On September 4, I expect voters will show up in smaller numbers than a full provincial election. Will something unexpected happen? It is an extreme longshot. The leader of a party running in the area does have particular strengths with the voting public.

In terms of the issues? Locally, it is one things that is probably in everyone's mind: Traffic. Kenaston Route 90 is getting busier and busier. Despite the tens of millions spent, the area continues to be a source of problems. I am sure every candidate has heard it at the door. Come this fall, the irritation could reach fever pitch as IKEA is complete.

To those in Fort Whyte who are still deciding how to vote, think about what is important to you and ask the candidates hard questions. There is no doubt that some difficult times lay ahead in the direction of the province. It is best we think about who actually proposes solutions to the problems.

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