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Alberta's Election History

Alberta's Major Parties

The major Alberta political parties are the Progressive Conservatives, the Liberals, and the New Democrats.  Two of these, the Progressive Conservatives and the Liberals, have their roots in the 19th century, while the New Democratic Party was born in the 20th century.  The same parties are prominent in federal politics and also in the politics of other provinces, but all of these parties have both federal and provincial wings, and each wing has its own members and selects its own candidates.  Political parties begin their work to choose their candidates long before an election.  Each party tries to select, or nominate, one candidate running in every constituency, and each constituency can have many candidates.  Sometimes candidates who don't belong to a political party run for office, and they are called Independents.

You might want to vote for a candidate based strictly on individual qualifications.  However, when you vote, you vote for both your candidate and for the party that candidate represents, unless the candidate you happen to like is running as an independent rather than as a member of a party.  So when choosing a candidate in an election, listen not only to the candidate, but also to the party leader.  Party leaders will tell you what their party intends to do if they form a government, while individual candidates may also focus on what they want for their constituencies.

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Reprinted from Teacher's Guide to the Alberta Legislature, 1993 with permission from the Legislative Assembly Office.


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