The NDP wants to jostle the Conservatives in rural areas | Alberta Elections 2023

The NDP wants to jostle the Conservatives in rural areas | Alberta Elections 2023

NDP wants to upset rural Conservatives | É2023 Alberta Elections

New Democrat Rachel Notley's party intends to make gains in rural areas, the traditional stronghold of Danielle Smith's United Conservative Party.

In rural Alberta, Conservative blue still dominates, but more and more orange New Democratic Party (NDP) signs are appearing in the landscape, to the point that the party is aiming for at least five rural seats.


Along a quiet street in Pincher Creek, in the south of the province, a few houses sport bright orange signs that contrast with the dominant blue.

Juneva Green was out running errands when her husband put up the NDP banner on their lawn.

“When I got home and he had the sign up, I said, 'Jim, neighbors are going to think that we are communists"

— Juneva Green, NDP supporter

The Green family lives in Livingstone-Macleod, a riding the NDP has not won since 1966, but which is home to pockets of progressive voters.

Seat projections show that the Progressives are strong contenders in only a handful of the 41 ridings outside the province's two major cities, Edmonton and Calgary.

The United Conservative Party's (UCP) greatest concentrations of strength continue to be in rural constituencies, of which it currently holds 39. This means that the fewer seats the NDP wins in small towns and rural areas, the harder its path to victory will be.

Juneva Green is an NDP supporter in Livingstone-Macleod, a riding the NDP hasn't won since 1966.< /p>

However, as hard as it is to vote Progressive in small town Alberta, it is hard to be a Conservative in NDP-held Edmonton.

During the last election, we put up NDP signs on both sides of the house and realized that we were the only ones with signs, testifies Sharron Toews, a resident of Nanton, who voted for all political tendencies.

According to her, the province having been dominated by the Conservatives for many years, some Albertans might now be tempted by another choice.

The fact that we are in a two-party system where opposition to the Conservatives has largely coalesced around the NDP is really important, argues Clark Banack, director of the Alberta Center for Sustainable Rural Communities at the University of Alberta. x27;Alberta.

He says he expects much tighter results than 10, 15 or 20 years ago.

The other Alberta, as the pollsters sometimes call the regions outside the two metropolises, does not smile enough at the New Democratic Party. In 2019, the party n' there only got 23% of the 927,000 votes cast.

The constituency of Livingstone-Macleod, for example, elected a PCU MP in 2019 with more than 70% of the vote, compared to 21% for the NDP. It is a Conservative stronghold and the home base of Conservative leader Danielle Smith.

Still, New Democrat Kevin Van Tighem wants to challenge Conservative candidate Chelsae Petrovic, saying that people in rural Alberta “are concerned about the same things as anywhere else in the province.”

New Democrat Kevin Van Tighem will challenge Conservative candidate Chelsae Petrovic in the riding of Livingstone-Macleod.

The 41 seats outside of Edmonton and Calgary also include cities like Red Deer and Lethbridge, which are harder to decide.

The issues across the province are the same: health care and the cost of living.

The NDP campaign aims to secure gains outside the cities. The goal is to get at least 5 rural seats and at best 10.

Karen Shaw was raised in a conservative family that practiced farming in the northern half of Alberta. She is now the NDP candidate in the riding of Morinville-St. Albert, a constituency where the polls indicate a race to quits or double.

The orange wave that carried the NDP to power in 2015 included a victory in this region. That is not the case four years later in the 2019 election. The New Democratic Party is struggling to convince undecided voters that it deserves another chance to to govern.

Jean Pultz first voted for the NDP in 2019. He will try his luck again with Rachel Notley's party, although he is skeptical about the party's ability to keep its promises.

It is also this voter reluctance towards the two major parties that smaller parties, notably the Alberta Party, would like to take advantage of.

With information from Elise von Scheel