Alberta NDP asks premier to confirm promise to hold election May 29, not seek delay

EDMONTON — Alberta’s NDP Opposition leader wants a public guarantee from Premier Danielle Smith that she will follow through on her promise to hold the next general election on its scheduled date next spring.

Rachel Notley, in a letter sent Friday to Smith, says the United Conservative premier is already trampling on Albertans’ democratic rights by promising to implement radical policy changes without first seeking a popular mandate.

Notley says extending that mandate past the next scheduled election on May 29 would, in her words, “be genuinely destabilizing to our provincial economy and our democracy.”

Smith has promised to hold the election on May 29 and has not even hinted or suggested she is reconsidering such a move.

However, the scope of her planned changes has led to speculation she might delay the vote to its full five-year mandate — an extension that is legal but rarely used.

Smith has promised to reorganize and decentralize Alberta Health Services, pursue a separate Alberta police force, introduce health spending accounts for every Albertan and replace the chief medical officer of health.

She has also said her government would introduce changes as needed to forbid mask mandates in schools and provide discrimination protection for those who choose not to get vaccinated for COVID-19.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 4, 2022.

The Canadian Press