Alberta holds state elections as political parties stoke separatist sentiments

Alberta holds state elections as political parties stoke separatist sentiments

Today, the Canadian province of Alberta will hold elections today for its 87-seat Legislative Assembly. Equalisation payments, money provided by

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Photo: Reuters/Chris Wattie

Today, the Canadian province of Alberta will hold elections today for its 87-seat Legislative Assembly.

Equalisation payments, money provided by the federal government to level fiscal disparities among provinces, has been a major talking during the campaign. Alberta, due to its oil and wealth gas, receives no payments, though the province has run a budget deficit since the oil price crash of 2014.

The United Conservative Party (UCP), which leads the polls, has demanded that the federal government foot the bill for new oil export pipelines or it will hold a referendum on eliminating the principle of equalisation from Canada’s constitution and flirted with the idea of secession.

Though the secession movement is unlikely to gain any substantial momentum, it will continue to inflame populist sentiment surrounding energy projects and investment in the province. Though the ruling New Democratic Party has bounced back in the polls in the last few days, the UCP is expected to be the big winner today and could possibly secure a majority, which would mean a greater focus on bolstering the province’s oil industry–– mostly through pipeline installations–– in the years to come.

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