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Blade: All of Brooks Medicine Hat’s Premier Smiths Are at Risk

Does the low early turnout suggest a lack of enthusiasm for Smith? You never know what voters will do until the votes are tallied.

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Prime Minister Daniel Smith must risk losing his position as UCP leader and prime minister if he does not win Tuesday’s by-election at Brooks Medicine Hat.

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Yes, that’s a big deal.

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Of course, no one should bet on her losing, but we don’t know what voters are going to do until the votes are counted.

On Monday, there were some signs that worried Smith and her campaigners.

Brutal weather could seriously hamper Tuesday’s turnout, when interest already appears to be very low.

Only 4,231 voted in the preliminary ballot, representing 12.4% of eligible voters.

In the 2019 General Election, 30% of Brooks Medicine Hat voters voted early. The UCP won by an overwhelming majority in a move by conservatives to oust his NDP government.

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Does low early voter turnout suggest a lack of enthusiasm for Smith? Conservative concerns about LDP victory waning? Assuming she’s going to win, why bother voting early, or not voting at all?

Any or all of these factors combined could result in a weaker win than Smith needs.

As political scientist Lori Williams points out, she must win a decisive victory. That’s important to calm the widespread fear within her own party that she’s going in the wrong direction.

A complete defeat would force her to resign or take the extraordinary step of calling another expedited by-election. (Hey, what about the second Calgary Elbow?)

The PC won the 1989 election, but Prime Minister Don Getty lost his seat in Edmonton.
The PC won the 1989 election, but Prime Minister Don Getty lost his seat in Edmonton. Post-media archive photo

She would be in the same predicament that former PC Prime Minister Don Getty faced after the election of 1989. PC won easily, but Getty lost his seat in Edmonton.

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It seemed that he might resign, but he belatedly won a by-election at Stettler.

The PCs gave him a second chance as the party had just won a majority. Facing elections next spring, Smith has no such comfort zone.

Smith faces off against Alberta Party Leader Barry Morishita, a former Mayor of Brooks who is well-known in the community. NDP candidate Gwendoline Dark had a long career as a Medicine Hat teacher.

Both are based locally. Smith is a High His River resident with no particular connection to the area.

The other candidates are Bob Breon of the Alberta Independence Party and Jeevan Mangat of the Wild Rose Independence Party.

Dirk may be looking to recreate Bob Wanner’s 2015 NDP victory aboard Medicine Hat.

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But it happened because the PC and Wildrose votes were split. Those days are long gone and the old medicine hat riding itself is gone.

There is no longer one city-focused precinct, but two: Brooks Medicine Hat and Cypress Medicine Hat.

This is both dividing the city vote and diluting it into much larger rural areas, which can only help the UCP. was held in 2017.)

This by-election itself is an extremely rare event. Since 1935, he has only had two parallel outbreaks in Alberta.

An election that seeks a legislative seat for an unelected person who has won the leadership of the ruling party.

One of the least attractive features of our system is that such a politician can be prime minister with full power and authority.

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In modern times, there is only one directly analogous case.

Jim Prentice was named PC Leader and Premier after Allison Redford stepped down. Calgary then won his Foothills in 2014, but lost the election as Smith himself moved most of the Wildrose caucus to his PC fold.

Before that, we need to find similar examples dating back to 1935.

The social credit movement was shocked after winning a general election without a formal leader. William Aberhart was elected and won the by-election at Okotoks-High River.

A shock is unlikely on Tuesday, but Smith has some reason to be nervous.

Don Braid’s column appears regularly in the Herald

twitter: @Donblade

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Blade: All of Brooks Medicine Hat’s Premier Smiths Are at Risk

Source link Blade: All of Brooks Medicine Hat’s Premier Smiths Are at Risk

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