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Smaller political parties hope to break through UCP-NDP dominance in Alberta election

Posted: May 03, 2023 4:00 AM EDT | Last Updated: 1 hour ago
Alberta Liberal Leader John Roggeveen launched his party's campaign on Sunday.
Alberta Liberal Leader John Roggeveen launched his party's provincial election campaign on Sunday in front of a handful of media in the cavernous atrium of a Calgary office building.
Flanked by two candidates, Roggeveen addressed the difficulties his party expects to face during the campaign leading up to the May 29 vote.
"We don't have the resources that the UCP or the NDP have," he said.
"No question we've been at a low ebb up until the last election we had at least one member in the legislature and now we don't."
Trying to break the province's two-party deadlock Albertans elected 63 UCP and 24 NDP MLAs to the 87-seat assembly in the 2019 election will be a challenge for the smaller parties.
The Alberta Liberals were once the province's official opposition. Their numbers have dwindled over the past 15 years to the point where Dr. David Swann was their last elected representative in the legislature from 2015 to 2019.
Here's a searchable list of candidates in the 2023 Alberta election
Swann didn't run again. Then-leader David Khan was not able to keep the Calgary-Mountain View seat for the Liberals. The centrist Alberta Party, which had four MLAs when the writs were issued for the 2019 election, were also shut out in 2019.
Since then, both parties have struggled at getting their message out when the political discourse is dominated by the back and forth between the free-enterprise UCP and socially-progressive NDP.
The Alberta Liberals party have nominated 12 candidates so far. Roggeveen hopes to have as many as 22 by the time the nomination period ends on May 11.
"We don't have any outlandish expectations, but what we do hope to be able to hold the government to account by getting some members elected," he said. "One would be enough."
Moderate voice
The Alberta Party also hopes to get at least one MLA elected to the provincial legislature after four years in the political wilderness.
Interest in the centrist party peaked in 2017 after Jason Kenney was elected as leader of the new United Conservative Party. Former Progressive Conservative cabinet ministers and MLAs were spotted among the crowd at the party's AGM in Red Deer late that year.
Alberta Party leader Barry Morishita hopes his party will win at least one seat in the Alberta legislature on May 29.
(Sam Martin/CBC)
Shortly afterwards, party leader Greg Clark stepped down, triggering a leadership race won by former Edmonton mayor and Progressive Conservative health minister Stephen Mandel.
The party fielded a full slate of 87 candidates in the 2019 election. Not one of them won or kept their seat. Mandel resigned two months later.
Former Brooks mayor Barry Morishita became leader in 2021. He said the party has been hampered by poor fundraising and the current political climate dominated by the two major political parties.
The 2023 campaign will be a far more modest effort for the Alberta Party with 18 candidates nominated so far.
Morishita said politics have become more divisive with the UCP and NDP in the legislature. He said Alberta Party MLAs could provide a more moderate voice and encourage collaboration.

Wednesday, May 3, 2023 at 8:00 am

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