Liberal push to win southern Alberta seat likely 'a waste of resources,' expert predicts
Byelection in Medicine Hat-Cardston-Warner set for Oct. 24
A Calgary political scientist says he's surprised the federal Liberals are trying so hard to win an upcoming byelection in the Conservative Party of Canada's heartland.
The seat in Medicine Hat-Cardston-Warner is one of the most steadfast Conservative ridings in the country. The Tories took 68.8 per cent of the vote in last year's election.
It has been vacant since the death of MP Jim Hillyer in March.
But Prime Minister Justin Trudeau spent parts of two days in southern Alberta last week to drum up support for Liberal candidate Stan Sakamoto, and Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale was in Medicine Hat on Sunday.
Mount Royal University political scientist Duane Bratt says it's probably a waste of time for the Liberals.
"It's never a bad idea to have the prime minister go to smaller towns and smaller cities across the country — that is all good. But if he's doing it for what he thinks are electoral purposes in one small byelection, I think that's a bit of a waste of resources," he said.
"If this was one of the two southern Calgary byelections which are going to have to happen with the resignations of Harper and Kenney, that I would understand. But rural Alberta? That's a tough go."
Conservative candidate Glen Motz says when he knocks on doors, people are eager to tell him the riding is not Liberal territory.
"People are annoyed. They are frustrated. And there is a lot of animosity expressed," he said.
According to preliminary results released by Elections Canada on Tuesday, 5,723 people cast a ballot at advance polls in the riding, compared to 8,122 early voters in the last general election.
The byelection is on Oct. 24.
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