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Alberta is Tory blue, with the exception of Heather McPherson (NDP) in Edmonton Strathcona. In many ways, the CPC will be running against the record of unpopular Premier Jason Kenney who inherited a severe oil and gas-driven downturn which was compounded by COVID-19. The New Democrats hope to double their seat count in Edmonton, but the federal party’s energy platform will not play well anywhere else in the province. The Liberals hope to regain the four seats they lost in Calgary and Edmonton in 2019.

Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe continues to poll well on his government’s handling of COVID-19 and, having won a fourth majority government for his Party in October 2020, has done nothing to help Liberal or NDP fortunes in the province. Two seats could be up for grabs.

Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister has been forced to resign and will not commit to remaining in place until the October 30 leadership vote. This will potentially overshadow the federal vote and with the pandemic still top of mind, it is hard to see where the momentum will come from to change the well-divided seat count from 2019. The major parties have strong local leadership in Jim Carr (Liberal MP in Winnipeg South Centre), Northern Affairs Minister Dan Vandal (Liberal MP in Saint-Boniface—Saint-Vital), Candice Bergen (CPC deputy leader, Portage—Lisgar) and Niki Ashton (NDP MP in Churchill—Keewatinook Aski).

Seat distribution

  • Conservative: 54
  • Liberal: 4
  • New Democratic: 4

5 ridings to watch 

1. Calgary Skyview

  • Incumbent: Jag Sahota (CPC)
  • Primary challenger: George Chahal (LPC)
  • Character: Urban

This is the LPC’s best chance at an Alberta toehold. Mr. Chahal has name and face recognition after serving on Calgary’s municipal council for the past four years. Calgary lawyer Jag Sahota has been a low-profile MP.

2. Calgary Confederation

  • Incumbent: Len Webber (CPC)
  • Primary challenger: Murray Sigler (LPC)
  • Character: Urban

Len Webber has held the riding since its creation in 2015, winning with 55 percent of the vote in 2019. Past provincial PC cabinet minister and son of politician, educator and businessman Neil Webber, he should be returning to Ottawa, if there isn’t a Jason Kenney protest vote. Murray Sigler has profile and name recognition, having most recently served as interim CEO of the Calgary Chamber of Commerce.

3. Edmonton Centre

  • Incumbent: James Cumming (CPC)
  • Challengers: Randy Boissonnault (LPC), Heather Mackenzie (NDP)
  • Character: Urban

Randy Boissonnault lost the Alberta riding to James Cumming in 2019; businesswoman Heather Mackenzie has profile as an ex-Trustee in the Edmonton Board of Education.

4. Regina—Wascana

  • Incumbent: Michael Kram (CPC)
  • Primary challenger: Sean McEachern (LPC)
  • Character: Urban

This was Ralph Goodale country from 1993 until he was upset by the CPC’s Michael Kram in 2019. If the LPC is to regain a Saskatchewan presence, this may be the riding, where their candidate was Goodale’s campaign manager.

5. Desnethé—Missinippi—Churchill River

  • Incumbent: Gary Vidal (CPC)
  • Primary challenger: Buckley Belanger (LPC)
  • Character: Rural

This huge northern Saskatchewan riding was on NATIONAL’s watch list in 2019, having been represented by all three parties since 2006. In the 2015 election, NDP candidate Georgina Jolibois defeated Liberal Lawrence Joseph by 54 votes. This year, long-time Athabasca NDP MLA Buckley Belanger resigned his seat in the provincial legislature to run for the Liberals.

Wild card

Potential gains for the Liberal Party in Alberta: If the Liberal Party is successful in winning seats in Alberta, will it put them over the top for a majority?

Jason Kenney's unpopularity: Will anti-Kenney sentiment hurt O’Toole in Alberta?

Consult our 2021 Federal Election section to get the latest perspectives from our experts.

Other regional analyses:


Written by Jason Craik | Trevor Clarke

Regional analysis: British Columbia
August 30, 2021