Alberta Votes

Alberta election: Tories ramp up attacks on rival parties

With the provincial election less than a week away, the Progressive Conservatives appear to be taking a sharper tone in attacking their rivals.

Analyst Duane Bratt says to expect more PC attacks to quell NDP momentum

Mount Royal University professor Duane Bratt says Jim Prentice's Tories need to hold on to the bulk of Calgary's ridings in order to retain a majority government. (Jason Franson/Canadian Press)

With the provincial election less than a week away, the Progressive Conservatives appear to be taking a sharper tone in attacking their rivals.

The PCs say the NDP would turn its back on the energy industry by promising a review of royalties paid by oil and gas companies.

Mount Royal University policy studies professor Duane Bratt says the PCs are taking aim at the NDP because the party appears to be gaining traction -- even in Calgary, where leader Rachel Notley says she'll be campaigning through Friday.

"I think this is just the beginning, I think they're going to go hard against the NDP," he said.

Reminding voters about the party's cousins in Ottawa could be an effective strategy, Bratt says.

"I think that especially if they bring in the federal party and Thomas Mulcair that they can make real grounds against the NDP, maybe not in Edmonton, but I think they may be conceding large parts of Edmonton and are really worried now about fortress Calgary."

Old affiliations questioned

The Tories are also taking aim at the Wildrose candidate in Calgary-Bow, drawing attention to Trevor Grover's 2006 federal run as a candidate for the Canadian Action Party.

In a written release, the Tories describe CAP as "a party that proposes bizarre monetary policy and tearing up free trade agreements."

"Why did Trevor Grover campaign on aboriginals being segregated into their own cities? Why did he campaign on further scientific study on vaccines? Does he still believe in these fringe policies?"

Wildrose leader Brian Jean was asked if he thinks the Tory attacks will continue through the campaign.

"We are the only party that has been consistent in our messaging and in our priorities since the start of this campaign and before," he said.

"We have seen a PC government that has changed strategies and their budget even though they promised to campaign on that budget, we have seen them break promises throughout this election."

NDP Leader Rachel Notley says she will not run a negative attack-based campaign.

In 2012, the Tories won 20 of Calgary's 25 seats. Bratt says they need to win at least that many to hang on to a majority this time.

"If you're being swept out of much of Edmonton, if you're being swept out of half of rural Alberta, you can't just win a draw, you have to do very well in Calgary, you have to do more than just 15, 16 seats — you've got to be in the 20- to 22-seat calibre," he said. 

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