With only one day remaining before the official election in Alberta’s hotly contested provincial race, both major party leaders are still going hard on the campaign trail.
On May 29, the province’s voters will decide if they will make what would be a historic decision and return New Democrat Party (NDP) leader Rachel Notley for a second term after her defeat by the United Conservative Party (UCP) in 2019, or return UCP Leader Danielle Smith to the premier’s chair after a brief seven-month stint.
Notley was at the Islamic Association of North West Calgary on May 27, promoting NDP “plans to support Alberta’s vibrant Islamic Community, including funding Islamic schools, facilitating Halal financing, and implementing an anti-Islamophobia strategy.”
Notley also held a campaign rally at the Grand, the oldest theatre in downtown Calgary, on May 27, with NDP chief of staff Jeremy Nolais announcing 1,200 people in attendance at 10 a.m. local time. The Grand website indicates the space has a maximum capacity of 419 people with no seats, or a 250 capacity seated.
In an interview with The West Block on Global News on May 28, Notley said there were 1,400 people at the event.
Notley had a scheduled event in Red Deer in the morning of May 28, at the campaign headquarters of party candidates Michelle Baer and Jaelene Tweedle. In the afternoon, Notley was scheduled for an event in Edmonton at The Polish Hall.
“I’m heading home to Edmonton and reflecting on this incredible campaign to build a better future in Alberta,” said Notley.
UCP Leader Danielle Smith, in the lead-up to the weekend, held a rally outside a Calgary resort and casino on May 25 that had an estimated 2,000 supporters in attendance, with the event being moved outside to a giant tent to accommodate the massive crowd.
On Saturday, May 27, Smith made multiple campaign stops beginning in Elbow Valley, west of Calgary, to support UCP contender for Banff-Kananaskis Miranda Rosin, then speaking to a large crowd from Calgary’s Chinese community.
Smith was still in Calgary on May 28, with a campaign stop for UCP candidate Inder Grewal in Calgary-North East, saying she was there to “thank the team for their hard work.”
“Our volunteers are pushing hard through the weekend to earn every last vote,” Smith wrote on Twitter.
A number of last-minute endorsements took place on May 26, with former Calgary mayor Naheed Nenshi throwing his support behind Notley, while former Conservative prime minister Stephen Harper and federal Conservative leader Pierre Poilievre said voters should get behind Danielle Smith and the UCP.
Civic engagement in the province is breaking records. According to the latest information from Elections Alberta, as of 8:40 p.m. on May 27, a historic 758,550 advance ballots had been cast.
In the last election, which opened advanced polls on April 9, 2019, and ended polls on April 13, 2019, there were over 696,000 ballots cast in those five days across the province.
At the time, Chief Electoral Officer Glen Resler said, “The turnout at advance polls was record breaking, with almost triple the number of votes cast at the advance polls than in the 2015 general election.”