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Change in wind with campaign on home stretch

Change is in the wind in the April 23 provincial election.
Whether the Progressive Conservatives are returned to power, or there is a new governing party or a minority government, the Alberta Legislature will have a different look.
Progressive Conservative candidate Evan Berger, who served as agriculture and rural development minister in his first term in office, said people who want change don’t need a new government.
Berger pointed out his party elected 32 new MLAs in 2008 and has 25 new candidates this year.
“That’s a pretty big change,” Berger said, addressing challenges that his party is arrogant and out of touch.
Berger urged voters to consider how well-positioned Alberta is in Canada and the world.
“We live in the best place in the world,” Berger said. “People come here because of what we have to offer.”
Berger said his party’s policies have helped put Alberta in such an enviable position.
“We have the best education system in the worked, we have the stablest economy in the world,” Berger said. “We have the best health care. Do we strive to continue to improve? Yes we do. We’re never going to stop that.”
The other four candidates in Livingstone-Macleod maintain Albertans are hungry for a bigger change on April 23.
“We’re more than optimistic,” Wildrose candidate Pat Stier said. “We’re quite confident that things are going well.”
Stier has spent six weeks knocking on doors across the riding and has received a response.
“People are pleased to have an alternative now,” Stier said. “That’s resonating all over the place.”
Wildrose plans in the final week of the campaign to continue with the approach it has used since the writ was dropped.
“I think our success has to do with a lot of solid, steady messaging,” Stier said. “The other ones are not doing that. They seem to be unsteady these days.”
Liberal Alex Macdonald holds no illusions that he will win in Livingstone-Macleod or that his party will form the government.
“I would love to think a vote split is possible in Livingstone-Macleod but I’m not that stupid,” Macdonald said with a laugh.
Macdonald said the battle in Livingstone-Macleod will be between the two conservative parties, with Wildrose winning.
“There is no doubt there is a green wave happening in Alberta,” Macdonald said of support for Wildrose. “I think we’re watching not just the end of an area but the collapse of a political party.”
“The Wildrose has done a very good job of finding and engaging discontented people right of center.”
Macdonald said the tight battle between Wildrose and the Progressive Conservatives creates new possibilities for the Liberals.
“The other possibility is we may end up being involved in some sort of minority government situation,” Macdonald said.
Liberal leader Raj Sherman said in the leadership debate Thursday his party is interested in working with any party for the benefit of Alberta.
“We may end up holding the balance of power,” Macdonald said. “That would be very interesting.”
The New Democrats also expect to make gains from the two MLAs elected in 2008.
“I feel there is a very strong sense of optimism,” said Matthew Halton, who is campaigning for the New Democrats in Livingstone-Macleod.
Halton is hopeful people will look for an alternative to two conservative parties.
“I’m happy for the two right wing parties to battle it out,” Halton said. “I don’t see a big difference between the two. In the end, I don’t see the Wildrose being a heck of a lot different.”
Evergreen Party of Alberta leader and Livingstone-Macleod candidate Larry Ashmore predicts change in government.
A new party could be in charge, and there is a strong possibility of a minority government.
“Change is already happening,” Ashmore said. “We just need to see what the final count is.”

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