Earlier this month, the NDP indicated that the spring session of the Alberta legislature would open with a throne speech March 18.
From there, it’s anyone’s guess what comes next. By law, the government must call an election between March 1 and May 31, 2019.
Mount Royal University political scientist Duane Bratt outlined some of the possible scenarios once the spring session begins, starting with likeliest options and then moving their way down.
- Throne speech, then immediate election call
Come March 18, the throne speech will be delivered, giving the NDP the chance to showcase their platform to voters. Bratt said the following day, Premier Notley would likely pay a visit to Lt. Gov. Lois Mitchell to ask for an election writ.
“That, I think, is the most likely scenario,” Bratt said.
Bratt said that would land the election date on April 16, 2019.
2. Short session, late spring election call
Throne speech would be delivered, members would debate and pass some small legislation, then having an election writ dropped sometime in April or very early May.
“I think that’s less likely,” said Bratt.
3. Short session, budget presented, election called
Bratt said presenting a budget that doesn’t get debated is possible, but then they would call the election right after that.
4. Extend mandate one year
Bratt said the NDP could recall the legislature and then change the legislation around the fixed election dates (via the Canadian Constitution) and give themselves another year. He said this was the least likely of the four scenarios, but still an option on the table.
Bratt did say the government had the option of not setting a date for a throne speech, not recalling legislators and instead calling for a provincial election earlier. It’s unlikely that will play out.