A day before Albertans go to the polls, on the other side of the country another government with a supermajority has called another early election, and also has a very good chance of being re-elected.
The voters of Canada's smallest but most potato-laden province will head to the polls on May 4th, with new Liberal Premier Wade MacLauchlan - a former university law professor and UPEI president - hoping to keep his party in power, as well as earn himself a seat in the Charlottetown legislature. At dissolution, the Liberals controlled 20 of the province's 27 seats, with 3 Progressive Conservatives, one independent (the former PC leader), and three vacancies, so the fact is that there is no real reason for the early election call outside of wanting to renew and secure his mandate, with the added benefit of throwing off the new PC leader.
Like Alberta, essentially all parties running in this election have new leaders. MacLauchlan took over for former Premier Robert Ghiz; the PCs, following their earlier troubles, elected Charlottetown businessman Rob Lantz as their leader; the NDP have a new leader in Mike Redmond, who is technically the dean of party leaders at this point; while the Greens are now being run by dentist Peter Bevan-Baker.
I expect polling to be very sparse for this election as it was in 2011, with only one poll released for the entirety of the campaign. The most recent polling, released on March 4th, showed the Liberals well ahead with 58% support to 26% for the PCs, with the NDP trailing behind at 12% - but this was before Lantz became leader or MacLauchlan had time to settle in. On those numbers, the Liberals would basically sweep the province, but we really have no idea where things stand today - its possible people don't want an early election and there will be major backlash for the decision, or maybe Bevan-Baker is the new Messiah to Islanders. When new polling does come out, I'll be sure to jump on it.
In the meantime, here are a couple of interesting things to ponder for this election: will the Globe and Mail's exposé on the online gambling centre scheme in PEI (which while not illegal, did raise some ethical questions) have an impact?; can the NDP, who have dropped back down from their highs of 2013, manage to win a seat or even move into third place?; and can the Greens score another upset victory like they did in New Brunswick?
The answer to all these questions and more on May the 4th... be with you.