After weeks of speculation, NDP Leader Rachel Notley has made it official: it’s election time in Alberta.
The vote will take place on April 16, she said Tuesday morning in Calgary.
The start of the campaign comes one day after the NDP government delivered its throne speech in the legislature and amidst a near-constant stream of controversies involving their main rivals, the United Conservative Party led by Jason Kenney.
Notley focused her attention on those controversies as she called the election before a boisterous crowd at the National Music Centre in Calgary, saying she hopes to earn the support of disaffected conservatives.
“A growing number of conservatives here in Calgary and across Alberta are coming to have serious doubts about Jason Kenney as premier,” she said.
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But it wasn’t just an attack on her main rival.
Notley also focused on the role a re-elected NDP government would play in what she characterized as a more inclusive province — from rights to incomes.
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Kenney has been fending off allegations that his campaign cooperated with rival Jeff Callaway in the party’s leadership race.
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On Monday night, one of his star candidates dropped out of the running in the Calgary-Mountain View riding following the release of private messages from two years ago when she talked about a double standard for white supremacist terrorists.
Under provincial legislation, the vote had to be held before May 31 and have a 28-day campaign.
A new session of the legislature began Monday with a throne speech that focused on the NDP government’s accomplishments in the last four years — from building schools, roads and hospitals to providing more supports for seniors, students and those in need.
It also criticized the former Progressive Conservative government, and said the New Democrats have been working to overcome the failures of the past.
The spring election will be the first for the United Conservative Party and Kenney, a federal cabinet minister under former prime minister Stephen Harper.
The United Conservatives were Kenney’s answer to unite the right, and were born out of a merger of the Alberta Tories and what was the Opposition Wildrose Party.
More to come.
This story originally appeared on CBC