They're frustrated, not apathetic. We spoke with undecided voters in a battleground riding

Have you decided how you're voting yet? In this battleground Calgary riding, many people have not. But it's not apathy causing the delay. It's frustration.

'They want to put each other down, and I'm just really not that type of person'

A collage of people who are all smiling or talking to the camera on a sunny day outdoors.
These residents in a potential swing riding in northwest Calgary spoke with CBC Calgary about their hopes and voting intentions. (Kelsea Arnett/CBC)

Polls suggest this election is still too close to call, and in Calgary-Beddington, several people told CBC News they're struggling to make up their minds.

But they're not apathetic, just frustrated. 

"I only see two faces that are pretty familiar to everyone," said Shayne March, a father who was at Beddington Towne Centre when CBC interviewed him.

"It just seems like a squabble of some sort. They want to put each other down, and I'm just really not that type of person."

Calgary-Beddington is a riding that's neither progressive nor conservative. Line up the 26 Calgary ridings from right to left based on their Vote Compass data and Beddington is dead set in the middle. And it's ridings like this that could go either way on election day. 

On the ground, CBC News found voters who were certain about their choice. But the tone of the election was turning off others and had them searching for alternatives to the big two. 

A man speaks into a microphone
Voter Shayne March said each party's stance on Indigenous relations is going to influence his vote. (Kelsea Arnett/CBC)

March said he'll be doing his homework this weekend. He's Dene from Cold Lake, Alta. Part of his decision will come down to each party's effort to move forward on Indigenous reconciliation. 

"How could we all resolve the past to make the future better?" he said. "The past is the past, but it's still very painful for a lot of Indigenous people. I hear this word reconciliation, but I don't really see it."

Throughout the campaign, various polling companies have found either the NDP led by Rachel Notley or the United Conservative Party led by Danielle Smith have a slight edge in Calgary. 

New results from pollster Janet Brown published Friday suggest the UCP is likely to win, but many Calgary ridings are still in play.

Voter Wayne Pigeon has certainly decided. He used to work for Calgary Transit before retiring. He said he's voting for the NDP because he's tired of hearing about all the "skeletons" in the UCP closet.

"I've lived here all my life and all I've listened to is conservatives," he said. "I don't want them in power, I want the NDP back. I want Notley back." 

Found a home for your vote?

4 months ago
Duration 0:59
We asked residents in the battleground riding of Calgary-Beddington about their voting intentions in the last days of the campaign.

Over at the Simons Valley School playground, Brenda Hrynyk has decided the other way.

"Most definitely Danielle Smith and I hope she gets in," Hrynyk said. "I hope that works out that way, but I guess we'll see."

Hrynyk is working as a nanny and has lived in Calgary for almost 30 years. She said she likes Smith as a leader and the promises of the UCP's platform.

"Just the fact that she fought fires — she was out there," said Hrynyk. "I just like her."

A woman at a playground smiles for the camera.
Brenda Hrynyk says she'll vote for the UCP because she likes party leader Danielle Smith. (Kelsea Arnett/CBC)

For most of this election, the focus has been on Notley and Smith, the leaders of the two largest parties, making for a polarized campaign.

But when CBC journalists have been out talking with regular Albertans, most people didn't fall neatly into these two camps. The issues they cared deeply about straddled the political divides, and many spoke about a longing to move forward, past the divisions.

Even if they're undecided, in their interviews people did not sound apathetic. That's also what Vote Compass researchers found.

Frustration driving indecision

When Vote Compass asked people if they agree with the statement "It makes no difference who is in power," 74 per cent of people said they disagree or strongly disagree. Only 20 per cent said they agree or somewhat agree.

That's out of 4,200 people polled through the questionnaire, which is hosted on

In Beddington, that's exactly what people were saying.

Danny Quaschnick said choosing a party could be frustrating and laughed when asked if he'd made his decision.

A man speaks into the camera.
Voter Danny Quaschnick said he wishes Alberta had a different voting system that wasn't so all-or-nothing. (Kelsea Arnett/CBC)

"It's hard to decide out of the three even. I find they all have good reasons and they all have bad reasons. It's hard to get alongside one completely. I wish there was a different way."

Tracey, who's been so turned off by the attacks and rhetoric that she did want to share her last name with her opinion, said she doesn't have confidence in Notley or Smith.

"It's just getting cutthroat now," said Tracey, who ran a day home before she developed knee problems. "It's heartbreaking, you know, those are the choices, and I'd rather not vote."

Huguette Mayer also doesn't know whom to vote for. She's been researching but can't find a party she really likes yet.

"I don't know the different parties enough to make a decision. That's why I'm hesitating," she said. "An affordable province, that's very important cause a lot of people have a hard time right now."

A man wearing a baseball cap smiles at the camera.
Naim Kermouni says he encourages everyone to vote and have their say. (Kelsea Arnett/CBC)

Even if people were undecided, they told CBC News they would be voting. And that's the message Naim Kermouni gives his friends. 

He's a small businessman who was picking up his daughter at the park. He supports the UCP because he believes their promise not to raise taxes will help businesses grow. 

"A lot of people don't even vote and then they complain about a certain candidate or this party or the other one," he said. "At least when you vote, you can make a change." 

Advance polls are open across Calgary through Saturday. Election day is Monday, May 29.


Kelsea Arnett

CBC researcher

Kelsea Arnett is an election researcher based out of CBC Calgary. In the fall, she'll be heading into her third year of journalism at Mount Royal University.