Alberta Votes

Alberta election 2015: Opposition parties react to May 5 vote

Jim Prentice called an election in Alberta today before boarding a bus with reporters on the way to his first campaign stop in Grande Cache.

Party leaders raise questions about motivation behind vote

Wildrose Party Leader Brian Jean boards his campaign bus in Calgary. He says this is not his first campaign and hopes to bring his message of better government and health care to Albertans across the province. (Brian Burnett/CBC)

Jim Prentice called an election in Alberta today before boarding a bus with reporters on the way to his first campaign stop in Grande Cache.

Alberta's opposition parties are also jumping onto the campaign bus — albeit reluctantly. Many political experts say the real race is for Official Opposition status after the Wildrose Party lost several members to the governing PC party last year. 

Brian Jean launched his party's campaign in Calgary but called it an illegitimate election because it does not stick to the province's fixed date, which would have been next spring.

"This election call by Jim Prentice is not motivated by a quest for good government or accountable government," he said. "It's about Jim Prentice's belief that he can manipulate the system in order to gain personal advantage for himself."

Jean said the budget introduced March 26 has Albertans paying for the government's mistakes with more taxes, and the Wildrose is the only party focused on lower taxes.

"A vote for any other party is a vote for higher taxes," he said.

'Costly and early election'

NDP Leader Rachel Notley also launched her campaign today in Edmonton. She'll travel to Calgary this afternoon under the banner Leadership for What Matters.

Notley says it's clear Albertans feel let down by their government — and it's time for new leadership.

"Jim Prentice is asking you and your family to pay more and get less while letting the most profitable corporations walk away from paying their fair share," she said in a release. "The NDP are the only choice to protect our health care, education, seniors care and to fight for fairer taxes." 

Interim Liberal Leader David Swann says he hopes he can carry the party to 12 seats, but says Albertans should vote for anyone but the PCs. 

"Today Mr. Prentice made the decision to break his word to Albertans and call an unnecessary, costly and early election," said Swann. "At a time when Albertans are worried about their jobs, their children, and their communities, the premier is more interested in solidifying his grip on power than helping Albertans."

Alberta Party Leader Greg Clark said Prentice likely hopes to see the lowest voter turnout in Alberta history.

"Jim Prentice said during his leadership run that there would be no election until 2016," Clark said. "After decimating the Official Opposition he's decided now is the best chance to win yet another PC majority."

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