Albertans head to the polls, premier keeps distance
It's Election Day in Canada and it comes amid the fourth wave of the pandemic that's overwhelming Alberta's hospitals while the premier has steered clear of the campaign trail.
Premier Jason Kenney campaigned for the Conservative Party of Canada (CPC) in 2019, but is keeping out of public view as political watchers have drawn comparisons between him and CPC leader Erin O'Toole.
Both Kenney and O'Toole were cabinet ministers under Stephen Harper and O'Toole has publicly lauded Kenney's pandemic response. In recent days, the Conservative Leader has refused to address questions regarding whether that sentiment persists.
The pandemic is also likely to have an impact on the final election results, as an estimated 5.78 million Canadians voted in the advance polls -- an increase of nearly 18.5 per cent compared to 2019 general election advance voting.
There are more than 19,000 active cases reported in Alberta as of Friday, and that could also affect voter turnout as confirmed cases are legally required to isolate.
Mail-in ballots also proved to be a socially distanced option for many and will be counted in the day following the election.
The polls open at 7:30 a.m. and will close at 7:30 p.m.