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UCP and NDP make final push day before Alberta election

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The UCP and NDP are making a final push as voters from across Alberta prepare to go to the polls on Monday to cast their ballot in the provincial election.

UCP leader Danielle Smith spent the final leg of the election race running the 5K in the Calgary Marathon. She crossed the finish line and received a medal for participating.

Smith didn’t hold a media availability over the weekend.

Meanwhile, NDP leader Rachel Notley made her way back to Edmonton after spending several days in Calgary.

She stopped in Red Deer before holding a rally in the provincial capital with her supporters.

“My commitment to you is that our team will work everyday to be the government that you deserve,” Notley said to the large crowd.

Former Calgary mayor Naheed Nenshi, along with several former progressive conservative cabinet ministers, will support the NDP.

While, federal conservative party leader Pierre Poilievre and former prime minister Stephen Harper have endorsed the UCP.

Mark Crawford, a political science professor at Athabasca University, says this final push can make all the difference in who comes out on top.

“I would say more important for these two leaders than just about any Alberta election I can remember because of the closeness of the election,” he said.

As the campaign nears the end, there have been some missteps from both parties along the way.

From Smith navigating her party’s controversial candidates, to the ethics commissioner finding she violated the Conflict of Interest Act by making a call to the justice minister about Calgary pastor Artur Pawlowski’s COVID criminal charges.

“The NDP campaign was very well-suited to capitalizing on those early errors that Danielle Smith made,” Crawford said.

“The question is whether maybe the NDP’s misstep was to focus too much on that, and not enough on maybe clarifying its own agenda.”

Prior to the writ being dropped, all but three of the 26 seats in Calgary were held by the UCP. The others belonged to the NDP.

With the UCP’s core support lying in the rural ridings and the NDP’s in Edmonton, Crawford says Calgary will determine the winner.

“The NDP will need 15 or 20 seats in Calgary if things go as the polls have suggested they probably will. The conservatives might only need, let’s say, eight to 12, something like that. So it’s a narrower path to victory for the NDP,” he said.

Advance voting ended on Saturday, with 758,550 people casting a ballot, beating the 2019 record of 696,000.

Unlike advance voting, people can only vote at their assigned polling station on election day.

People can find their exact voting location, which is based on where they live, on the Elections Alberta website.

All polling stations are open from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Monday. 

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