Federal election results are already trickling in from the Maritimes, as Calgarians lined up at the polling stations at the end of their work day.
But David Stewart, political science professor with the University of Calgary, fears for Alberta’s economic future if the strong Liberal showing in the Atlantic provinces continues across the country.
With the majority of polls in the Maritimes reporting, the Liberals had already grabbed 25 seats, while the Conservatives only held five seats and the NDP hung on to just one seat.
“It’s a better showing for the Liberals than they even expected I think. But it’s an early blow for the conservatives.”
But Mayor Naheed Nenshi has said that Albertans shouldn’t necessarily fear a minority government.
The Trans Mountain pipeline could survive future votes in Parliament with the combined support of the Liberals and the Conservatives, said Nenshi.
“I think that’s what a lot of people are forgetting, they’re like, if the Liberals win a minority and the NDP want to kill the pipeline and the Greens want to kill the pipeline and the Bloc want to kill the pipeline, the pipeline’s dead” — but they’re forgetting the power of the Conservatives and the Liberals together will almost certainly prevent that from happening, said Nenshi.
“We had a pretty stable minority government with Prime Minister Harper for (nearly) six years and so I imagine that we will still have a pretty stable minority government. It’s worth reminding people that this is how the parliamentary system works.”
But Stewart says even if every riding in Alberta ends up Conservative, it may still remove them from any seats at the cabinet table under a Liberal government scenario.
“We’re just not going to have that prominent liberal voice from Alberta under a Liberal government.”
All eyes are on two contentious Calgary ridings, including Calgary Centre where Liberal incumbent Kent Hehr remains optimistic.
“I’ve really enjoyed this campaign. I feel better than I did on election night 2015,” Hehr said.
“We’ve knocked on more doors, we have more volunteers, and we’ve raised more money and that’s because I have helped deliver infrastructure projects our city needs.
“Calgarians deserve a progressive voice in Ottawa and I hope to be that voice. Calgary voters are starting to collect at voting stations at the end of their work day, with all eyes on two contentious Calgary ridings election day and eligible voters across Canada are headed to the polls.”
Greg McLean is the conservative candidate in the riding.
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Calgary Skyview is also shaping up to be a tight race, with Nirmala Naidoo running for the Liberals and Jag Sahota running for the Conservatives.
“We’ve had a great response at the doors, people have been out there voting today with a great response from all the teams coming back,” Naidoo said.
“We were at the train station for about 45 minutes and people were saying they’ve already voted or they’re voting Liberal.
“When we walked into a store it was the same response. We’re feeling really positive.”
Calgary Forest Lawn is also expected to get a new face after the death of former MP Deepak Obhrai died of liver cancer in August. The top contenders there include, Jasraj Singh Hallan for the Conservative Party, Jag Anand for the Liberal Party and Joseph Pimlott for the NDP Party.
Inner-city Coun. Jeromy Farkas says he’s backing Greg McLean and hopes to celebrate a conservative win in the core.
Farkas said he’s a fiscal conservative and progressive on social issues, but his top concern is pocket book issues.
“The reason I’m supporting specifically Greg is I’m worried about the state of confederation.
“Unless Alberta is treated as an equal partner I see politics in this province and country becoming increasingly polarized and I feel like the federal government has lost the moral authority to govern,” he said.
“I’m supporting the conservative because I feel like they best line up with my values and I want to hear about the economy and opportunity.”
The polls opened at 7:30 a.m in Calgary and are scheduled to close at 7:30 p.m.
Take a look at our map for the live results in your riding: