True Grit: George Chahal is the only Alberta Liberal MP, and may be the Voice of the West in Trudeau’s cabinet

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After a well-known former councilor flipped a seat northeast of Calgary, the Liberal Party has gained a foothold in Alberta, giving the province a chance to have a representative in cabinet.

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George Chahal defeated the Conservative Party of Canada in the Calgary skyview, a part of the city that the Liberals claimed in 2015. Liberals could also choose Edmonton Center, where their candidate led the CPC by 136 votes on Tuesday afternoon.

Liberal leader Justin Trudeau secured a minority government on Monday that will once again be low on representatives from the prairie provinces. The CPC retained the majority of seats in the prairie, although the amount of support from its voters in this election decreased. Mr Trudeau gave cabinet positions to rookie members of parliament from Alberta after the 2015 campaign.

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Mr Chahal served a term on the Calgary City Council before running for the Liberals. According to political scientist and communications professor David Taras, because Mr Trudeau lacks Liberal lawmakers in Alberta, Manitoba and Saskatchewan, Mr Chahal could end up as the “voice of the West” in the government.

“It’s a huge role. If he plays it right, it’s a huge amount of power,” said Dr. Taras, who teaches at Mount Royal University in Calgary. “It’s power not to be overlooked. May go.”

Mr Trudeau has previously shown sensitivity to regional representation. Jim Carr, a Liberal MP from Winnipeg, previously served as Minister of Natural Resources. Kent Heher of Calgary and Amarjit Sohi of Edmonton both sat in previous editions of Mr Trudeau’s cabinet.

Mr Chahal declined to comment through a spokesperson.

At the Edmonton centre, Liberal candidate Randy Boissonault, who was elected riding in 2015 and lost two years earlier, had a narrow lead over the CPC’s incumbent James Cumming.

Blake DesGerlais defeated the CPC incumbent to secure Edmonton Grisbach for the New Democratic Party. The rookie politician, who is Metis, would be Canada’s first openly two-spirited lawmaker. The NDP’s Heather McPherson captured her Edmonton ride, while the CPC captured the rest of Alberta’s electoral map.

Voter support for the CPC declined sharply in Alberta, where Premier Jason Kenney is extremely unpopular with residents of all political stripes. Across the province, 55 percent of ballots cast in the 2021 race supported the CPC, down from 69 percent in 2019, according to Elections Canada.

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Meanwhile, the NDP collected 19 percent of Alberta’s vote, up from 11.6 percent in 2019. The Liberals garnered 15 percent of the vote, up from 13.8 percent in the previous election. The far-right People’s Party of Canada, particularly those opposed to coronavirus restrictions and vaccine passports, received 7.5 percent of Alberta’s ballots.

Doreen Barry, a professor of political science at the University of Calgary, is among observers who argue that Mr Kenny’s pandemic performance hurt the CPC. Voters who believed that Mr. Kenny caused a crisis of extensive ICU wards in Alberta could have moved to the Liberals or the NDP. Voters who argued Mr Kenny was overtaken by the province’s most recent restrictions, which include a vaccine passport system, could have been opposed by supporting the PPC.

“I think he was an albatross around Erin O’Toole’s neck,” said Prof Barry.

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