Edmonton Journal

Minority government of any stripe is victory for province, says Swann

- Mariam Ibrahim

Interim Liberal leader David Swann said Wednesday a minority government of any stripe would be a victory for the province.

Swann, whose party is lagging in the polls and running candidates in only 56 of the province’s 87 ridings, urged Albertans to vote “anybody but conservati­ve” if there’s no Liberal name on the ballot.

“What I anticipate and hope for is a minority government.

“We would finally get some negotiatio­n and real back-and-forth in the legislatur­e, some meaningful debate, some honest reflection of what the public interest is in a particular policy,” Swann told the Journal editorial board Wednesday.

Although he has ruled out a formal coalition with either the Wildrose or New Democrats — calling them “too far” for Alberta, Swann said he would strive for co-operation if voters elect a minority government May 5.

“There’s lots of things we could work on together, but it would depend on the issue,” Swann said. “We would have to be very clear that this is public interest, long-term — not short-term private interests, not short-term political interests.”

Both Wildrose Leader Brian Jean and NDP Leader Rachel Notley have said they would also be willing to find common ground with their political opponents in the legislatur­e.

Progressiv­e Conservati­ve Leader Jim Prentice continued his push Wednesday for a majority government, positionin­g his party as the only one capable of leading Alberta out of economic uncertaint­y in the face of collapsing oil prices.

But Swann, who maintains the election has always been about trust, said Albertans aren’t willing to give the PCs another chance.

He said in all his years in politics he’s never seen an election like this one, adding the anger at the longgovern­ing Tories is evident at the doorsteps.

“I’ve longed for this day, actually. I’ve been so happy to hear at the doors people say, ‘I don’t know if I’ll vote for you, but we’re sure not voting for the PCs.’ That is a victory for me,” Swann said.

But with the Liberals trailing a distant fourth in the polls, many political observers have mused about the potential for the party to be shut out of the legislatur­e completely. Only Swann and Edmonton-Centre candidate Laurie Blakeman remain as incumbents after the party’s former leader, Raj Sherman, stepped down and two Calgary MLAs left provincial politics to run federally.

He said he will stay on as the party’s interim leader as long as he wins his Calgary-Mountain View seat, and said he expects discussion­s about co-operation among the Liberals, the Alberta Party and the Greens to begin soon after the election is over. mibrahim@edmontonjo­urnal.com Twitter: @mariamdena

 ?? Shaughn Butts/ Edmonton Journal ?? Alberta Liberal interim leader David Swann said in all his years in politics, he’s never seen an election like this one.
Shaughn Butts/ Edmonton Journal Alberta Liberal interim leader David Swann said in all his years in politics, he’s never seen an election like this one.

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