Canada 2019: Alberta

Battle River-Crowfoot

MP at Dissolution: Kevin Sorenson, Conservative (not running for re-election)

Our Rating: Solidly Conservative

Our Take: Every major party in a country with Canada’s FPTP Electoral System has a number one riding, and Crowfoot is the Conservative’s riding. Even by rural Alberta standards, this is Conservative with small and big cs – it went over 80% for the Conservative Party in 2015, and the overlapping provincial riding of Drumheller-Stettler was the only one where two firm right-wing candidates came first and second. It is a rural riding where most of the polls go Conservative, and where areas going 90% for that party is not uncommon. After 19 years in Parliament, Kevin Sorenson is standing down. In the race to succeed him, his constituency assistant Damian Kurek defeated educator Jefferson McClung and former Conservative MP for Essex Jeff Watson.

This is a true blue rural Alberta riding, which we rate as Solidly Conservative. If you can honestly see Kurek losing, let us know. Because we can’t.

Calgary Centre

MP at Dissolution: Kent Hehr, Liberal

Our Rating: Likely Conservative

Our Take: Calgary Centre going Liberal in 2015 was forecast by some, but was still a standout result in Canada’s most Conservative major city. The riding had elected right-wing candidates since it was formed in 1968, with Hehr, a former ALP MLA gaining the seat by a 1.2% margin. The riding has one of the youngest and most educated electorates in Alberta. Liberal strength increases the nearer you get to the Bow River, with the riding containing the downtown Calgary neighbourhoods to the South. Hehr, in spite of sexual harassment allegations which led to his resignation as Minister of Sport, as well as other criticisms of his tenure, is running again, with businessman Greg McLean challening for the Conservatives.
This is Calgary however, and even in a riding like this, we still forecast the riding to be Likely Conservative. Alberta’s dissatisfaction with the Liberals is well-known, and Scheer’s Conservatives are a better fit for the riding, as is their candidate Greg McLean. Hehr will be hurt by his own allegations, but it would have been a tough ask to hold the riding without them due to the general dissatisfaction with the Trudeau Liberals and the Liberal tide being lower as a result. Whilst this is still an educated and more diverse riding than most others in Alberta, we believe the Conservatives have the upper hand, and could easily win by at least a 10% margin.

Calgary Forest Lawn

MP at Dissolution: Deepak Obhrai, Conservative (was running, died August 2 2019)

Our Rating: Solidly Conservative

Our Take: The death of Deepak Obhrai was a shock to us. Obhrai was the longest-serving Conservative MP, having been elected continuously from 1997. He had been running for re-election in this seat at the time of his death. The seat has been reliably Conservative, and in a tough year for Conservatives in Calgary (tough being that they didn’t sweep the city), Obhrai won with 48% of the vote and a 12% margin of victory. 

This riding we rate as Solidly Conservative. Although the riding is more diverse than other Alberta ridings, it doesn’t always translate into Conservative weakness, and it certainly does not in Calgary. The riding still went comfortably Conservative when the Trudeau Liberals did best in 2015, and so when they are less popular in the West, particularly Alberta, it’s hard to see them taking this. We don’t see them or any other party to be in contention at this stage.

Our thoughts and prayers go to the Obhrai family and the residents of Calgary-Forest Lawn.

Calgary Midnapore

MP at Dissolution: Stephanie Kusie, Conservative

Our Rating: Solidly Conservative

Our Take: Calgary Midnapore is a riding in the south of the city, around the Fish Creek provincial park and Sundance neighbourhoods. Like most of the Calgary suburbs, it has a strongly Conservative history, and was previously held by Jason Kenney. His resignation led to a by-election, which Stephanie Kusie won with nearly 80% of votes cast, and she has now been promoted to Scheer’s shadow cabinet. She is running for re-election.

Like most Calgary suburbs, we see this staying in the Conservative column, and therefore rate it Solidly Conservative. There’s little indication of any other outcome here, and the fundamentals of the race point to another strong victory for the Conservatives this time – an easy race for Kusie.

Edmonton Riverbend

MP at Dissolution: Matt Jeneroux, Conservative

Our Rating: Solidly Conservative

Our Take: Edmonton Riverbend is a suburban Edmonton riding in the southwest of the city. Until 2015, it contained some conservative-voting Edmonton exurbs, but even then, it still went for former MLA Matt Jeneroux with just under a majority of votes cast. Jeneroux had mounted a swift return to politics, losing his provincial seat as the Notley NDP swept Edmonton. He has however opted to remain in federal politics and is running for re-election. 
With nearly 50% of votes, a percentage that could yet rise in 2019, we simply don’t see the Conservatives losing here. The only viable alternative would be the Liberals… Trudeau may be more popular in Edmonton than other parts of Alberta, but we are confident that the Liberals have no chance of overcoming the margin of last time. We therefore rate this as Solidly Conservative.

Peace River-Westlock

MP at Dissolution: Arnold Viersen, Conservative

Our Rating: Solidly Conservative

Our Take: Peace River-Westlock was a new riding in 2015, a patchwork from other ridings made possible by the increase in Alberta’s seat total. It is largely rural and contains many indigenous reserves, although that population is offset by small towns such as Westlock. Nevertheless, it followed the path of those other ridings; it is a Conservative stronghold which went 69.4% for Arnold Viersen in 2015. Viersen is a good fit for the riding and is definitely on the right of the party.
We rate this as Solidly Conservative. It is a Conservative stronghold, and looking at polls of Alberta, and national polls, we don’t think the Conservatives will be losing any ridings like this, and there will not be a competitive race. Viersen faces token opposition as he did in 2015, and should cruise to a big win once again.

Sturgeon River-Parkland

MP at Dissolution: Dane Lloyd, Conservative

Our Rating: Solidly Conservative

Our Take: This riding, to the north and west of Edmonton, is a riding of two halves, the urban area of Spruce Grove and Stony Plain and the rural Parkland areas around Morinville. It is far enough from Edmonton that it has a lot in common with the other rural Alberta ridings that surround it. It was previously held by interim Conservative leader Rona Ambrose, but is now represented by Dane Lloyd, who is running for re-election. He easily won a by-election after Ambrose stood down, cementing the ridings status as one of the safest in the country for the Conservatives.

The seat was a battleground provincially, with Searle Turton and Dale Nally gaining the overlapping provincial ridings. Like many provincial battlegrounds however, the riding is Solidly Conservative. We don’t see any other party coming close to winning this safe Conservative riding.