Albertans take to the polls in provincial election

It’s voting day in Alberta, and the entire country is watching.

“This election will define our future, and it will also describe to the rest of Canada who we truly are and what we want to be,” said Alison Redford, who has been Alberta’s premier since winning the Progressive Conservative leadership last year, quoted by the National Post.

The newspaper is reporting that polls put the upstart Wildrose Party on the cusp of winning a majority in the province’s 87-seat legislature. That would make them the fifth political party ever to form government in Edmonton by ousting the Progressive Conservatives that have ruled since 1971.

Both Redford and Danielle Smith, the Wildrose leader, toured the key election battleground of Calgary on Sunday. Polls show Wildrose has the lead in rural Alberta, while the more progressive parties tend to have strong support in Edmonton. Calgary, therefore, may prove to be kingmaker region in today’s election.

One of the key issues that has dogged Redford during the campaign has been to so-called “do-nothing committee,” which paid MPs thousands of dollars to hold meetings that never happened. At first, the PC leader was dismissive of the controversy, but in the first week of the campaign she flipped on the issue and ordered her caucus to pay the money back.

Members of the Wildrose Party, meanwhile, have generated headlines for making homophobic comments and suggesting that white candidates have an electoral edge over visible minorities.

According to the National Post, Wildrose was able to raise more money than the Progressive Conservativess during the election campaign, taking in $2.3 million compared with the $1.8 million raised by the PCs.