By COLLIN GALLANT on September 18, 2021.
It’s been a quick campaign, waged under pandemic conditions, and the federal election will come to a conclusion on Monday after a final weekend of campaigning.
In Medicine Hat-Cardston-Warner, that means a final push and an effort by candidates and parties to get their supporters to the polls, but relatively little of the fanfare that typically accompanies a general election.
“It’s the times,” said Conservative candidate Glen Motz, who says after a final trip to western stretches of the riding this week, he’ll “stay close to home” on the last weekend.
“You can never get to enough doors, and in such a big riding it can be hard,” he said.
Like Motz, the incumbent who secured a large majority of votes in the 2019 general election, candidates in the People’s and Maverick parties told the News they will continue to campaign through the weekend, then enact a get-out-the-vote effort on Monday.
Meanwhile, candidates for the Liberals, Greens, and New Democrats – which have waged relatively low-key campaigns – say they will make calls this weekend to shore up supporters.
Each say they’ll watch Monday’s results with close supporters, but don’t have grand receptions or parties planned to gather for watching the results, either local or national.
“It’s been an experience, that’s for sure,” said Brodie Heidinger, a first-time candidate for the People’s Party, who says he will continue to doorknock this weekend. People’s Party Leader Maxime Bernier will tour Alberta this weekend looking to solidify support for the party’s Libertarian stance.
Maverick Party candidate, Geoff Shoesmith, a business owner from Walsh, haled a meet-and-great barbecue earlier said he plans to conclude his first ever try for public office “head down, going hard, hitting doors” this weekend.
The local campaign has been marked by very few events, no forums and relatively little in the way of advertising or signs, though roadways and lawns are covered in signs for the coming municipal vote.
Nationally, the Conservatives will seek to wrest control of government away from the Liberal Party, which earned a minority mandate in 2019 and, according to some polls, appear to be heading to a similar position in the 44th general election.
In Alberta, observers believe the CPC will retain a large majority of Alberta’s 34 seats – they won 33 in 2019 – but polls suggest several ridings are close.
New Democrat candidate Jocelyn Stenger told the News she has had a busy campaign reaching out virtually and by telephone to local supporters. As well, the Medicine Hat native who works in Edmonton as a director with the Canadian Labour Congress, visited the local riding last week and hit other ridings “across Alberta.”
She said the federal party is looking to retain the key riding of Edmonton Strathcona from 2019, as well as mount a strong challenge in Edmonton Griesbach.
Also on the ballot in Medicine Hat-Cardston-Warner are Hannah Wilson, of the Liberals, and Diandra Bruised Head, a band councillor from Cardston, is the Green Party candidate.
Polling stations will be open Monday from 7:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. at various locations in Medicine Hat and throughout the riding.
Elections Canada reminds voters to double check their polling station location this year as many have changed. An effort was made to keep stations out of school facilities this year in light of the pandemic.
Elections Canada has also said social distancing will be employed at polls and they do not expect undue delays but request all electors are patient.
Proof of vaccination is not a factor in voting eligibility.
Ballots in the region
A list of names as they will appear on respective ballots in federal ridings in southeast Albert and southwest Saskatchewan:
Medicine Hat-Cardston-Warner – Diandra Bruised Head, Green Party; Brodie Heidinger, People’s Party; Glen Motz, Conservative Party of Canada; Geoff Shoesmith, Maverick Party; Jocelyn Stenger, New Democrat; Hannah Wilson, Liberal Party of Canada.
Bow River – Orrin Bliss, Maverick; Jonathan Bridges, PPC; Tom Lipp, Christian Heritage; Michael MacLean, NDP; Getu Shawile, LPC; Martin Shields, CPC.
Battle River-Crowfoot – Daniel Brisbin, Green; Jeff Goyka, Maverick; John Irwin, Veterans Coalition; Damien Kurek, CPC; Leah Diane McLeod, LPC; Tonya Ratushniak, NDP; Dennis Trepanier, PPC.
Cypress Hills-Grassland (Sask.) – Mackenzie Herd, LPC; Charles Reginald Hislop, PPC; Maria Rose Lewans, Ind.; Alex McPhee, NDP; Jeremy Patzer, CPC; Mark Skagen, Maverick; Carole Vandale, Green.