8

So Canada just witnessed the epic fall of the Progressive Conservative (PC) empire in Alberta, who had ruled over the Legislative Assembly of Alberta for a solid 44 years uninterrupted, and it all happened during an early election that the Premiere of Alberta, for some reason, decided would be a good idea. Now that same former Premiere has resigned his position as leader of the party, as well as his legislative seat (on the very same evening he had just barely won it again in his riding).

Had he not called an early election, his whole party would have been able to hold onto their seats (they lost 60!) and Prentice would still be the Premiere for at least another year before the fixed election date would have rolled around. Calling this election now was about as effective as gunning down his entire party and then putting the gun to his head immediately after. How did Prentice think this was a smart move? What was his end game? Why did he think an early election was going to help him and with what?

Charts showing party shifts in election

5

While Jim's reasoning looks foolish when we look at the results he had some reasoning for calling an early election. (I am not saying it was wise as we are aware of the results.)

I couldn't find any direct quotes but several articles before the early election attributed his decision to:

  • It looks like the oil price will continue falling (and therefore) cause job losses to continue until the election was (originally) scheduled. Jim may have expected that this (job loss) will be seen as a failure by the PC's to plan ahead.
  • The Liberals Leader is interim and Jim may have seen this as an opportunity to gain their seats.
  • The Wild Rose Party Leader is new and Jim may have seen this as an opportunity to gain their seats.
  • Several members 'crossed sides' and Jim may have seen this as a face-losing move from the Wild Rose Party.
  • As the NDP had only 4 seats last election and Jim may have not been keeping up with the polls, instead he may have been thinking that the NDP had only the support of ~4% of Albertans. (Ignoring the first-past-the-post bias that affected the previous election.)

I may have missed a few but from what I found these look like the key points (flawed or not) Jim used to make his decision.

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