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When will this end?
What feels like it has gone on forever, but won’t be over until May?
If you answered “winter” you’d be correct. But if you answered “the 2023 Alberta election campaign” you’d also be correct! And I’ll be honest: I’m not sure which one feels more tedious at this point.
Seven weeks from today, the Premier will visit the Lieutenant-Governor and the election will begin, and four weeks after that, we’ll finally vote.
77 days. Remember the 2015 federal campaign, that felt like it went on forever? 78 days.
Of course, it doesn’t help that Alberta has been in election mode for at least the past three or four months. Pity the poor pundits who have to try to make it sound like a novel insight when we say “well, this election is going to be decided in the suburbs of Calgary” or “the NDP seems to be struggling to define its message.” (Warning: DO NOT turn this into a drinking game. You’re not going to survive.)
Am I the only one who wishes the election would be called today? The polls tell us the parties are at a stalemate. Most voters are pretty firmly entrenched, and the 20% or so who keep telling pollsters they’re undecided aren’t going to start paying attention until there are lawn signs popping out of the snowbanks.
Perhaps some of them have already made up their minds, but they aren’t willing to tell pollsters; they’re too embarrassed to admit they’re voting for one party or the other. Perhaps some of them live in blissful ignorance of the endless election campaign, and were surprised to see Rachel Notley pop up in the Oscars ads last night. And surely some of them don’t care and aren’t going to vote anyway.
Much as I might wish otherwise, the election won’t be called today, or next week. Seventy-seven days to go. Seven more weeks of government advertising of affordability payments and various other ways that Alberta is awesome (unspoken: you should be careful not to let the nasty socialists break it). Followed by four weeks of signs! billboards! TV ads! radio ads! social media ads! galore.
But this is just the discontent of late winter talking. By May, the snow will be gone. There will be a leader’s debate that might make a difference. A spring wind could blow the undecided voters in one direction or another. And yes, at some point it will be exciting again.